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3132Re: [DhammaStudyGroup] Re: what can citta know?

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  • Sarah Procter Abbott
    Feb 1, 2001
      Dear Num,

      I'm not sure if I'll catch you before you leave, but
      if not, perhaps you'd like a little more discussion on
      bhavarupa as I wasn't quite happy with my earlier
      response as you may have been looking for more detail
      as well.

      I'm checking more information in 'The Physical
      Phenomena in and Around Ourselves' by Nina Van Gorkom
      and I'm going to be quoting from this. (Pls note I
      have an old manuscipt edition which may now be updated
      or printed or on the web, I'm not sure.) I know you
      are familiar with most of this information, but I'm
      also quoting some of the introduction for others
      who've never heard of bhavarupa.

      "....There are 28 kinds of rupa in all. Rupas are not
      merely textbook terms, they are realities which can be
      experienced. Not everybody can experience all kinds of
      rupa, it depends on one's accumulations which
      realities can be experienced. However, learning about
      all kinds of realities is helpful in order to
      understand more clearly that what we take for 'self'
      consists of many different elements which do not

      "...The objects which can be experienced through the
      sense-doors and also the senses (pasada rupas) are
      gross rupas, the other rupas are subtle rupas. The
      pasada rupas are produced solely by kamma. There are
      also subtle rupas which are produced soley by kamma.
      They are: the woman faculty, the man-faculty, the
      life-faculty and the heart-base.

      As to the woman-faculty (itthindriyam) and the
      man-faculty (purisindriyam), which are collectively
      called bhavarupa or sex, these are rupas produced by
      kamma from the first moment of life and throughout
      life. Thus, it is due to kamma whether one is born as
      a male or as a female. The 'Atthasalini (II, Book II,
      Ch III, 322) explains that birth as a human being is
      kusala vipaka, but since good deeds have different
      degrees also their results have different degrees.
      Birth as a female is the result of kusala kamma which
      is of a lesser degree than the kusala kamma which
      conditions birth as a male...."

      "The 'Atthasalaini' (II, Boo II, ChIII,322) gives the
      following definitions of the female faculty and the
      male faculty:
      'Of these two controlling faculties the feminine has
      the characteristic of (knowing) the state of a woman,
      the function of showing 'this is a woman', the
      manifestation which is the cause of femininity in
      feature, mark, occupation, deportment. The masculine
      controllign faculty has the characteristic of
      (knowing) the state of a man, the function of showing
      'this is a man', the manifestation which is the cause
      of masculinity in feature, etc. (note: See also
      Dhammasangani par.633,634 and Vis. X1V, 58)

      These two faculties which are coextensive with the
      whole body (Vis X1V,58) are not known by visual
      cognition but only by mind-cognition. But, the
      Atthasalani (321) states, their characteristic
      features etc., which are conditioned by their
      respective faculties, are known by visual cognition as
      well as by mind-cognition.

      Seeing experiences only visible object, it does not
      know 'This is a woman' or 'This is a man'. The citta
      which recognizes feminine or masculine features does
      so through the mind-door, but this recognizing is
      conditioned by seeing. When the commentary states
      that these characteristic features are known by visual
      cognition as well as by mind-cognition, it does not
      speak in detail about the different processes of
      cittas which experience objects through the eye-door
      and through the mind-door...." (end quote)

      There's plenty more, but this may add a little more to
      your consideration and at least give you a few
      references to follow up on your return to St Louis.

      Best regards and have a good trip!


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