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Re: [dsg] Smell etc, inseparable rupas

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear Phil, ... N: Just an example to show that in the ultimate sense there are different objects experienced through different doorways, one at a time. In
    Message 1 of 35 , Aug 1 12:40 AM
      Dear Phil,
      Op 31-jul-2011, om 17:08 heeft philip het volgende geschreven:
      > I am confused about rupas and concepts
      > Here is just an illustration: you may experience the smell
      > > of a flower. When you lick the flower there is flavour, when you eat
      > > it, there is some nutritive essense. When you touch it there is
      > > hardness. These ruupas we call a flower can be experienced one at a
      > > time. When you taste the flower, there cannot be smelling at the
      > same
      > > time, but this does not mean that there is no odour. In the ultimate
      > > sense there is no flower, there are only different units of ruupas
      > > consisting of the eight inseparable ruupas, arising and falling
      > away.
      > >
      > Ph: But there is a flower lying on the ground that I can hold in my
      > hands and lick and bite and sniff? If there is a solid object that
      > I csn pick up and hold, I have no trouble understanding how rupas
      > can rise as inseparables, how fragrance must gave a support etc.
      N: Just an example to show that in the ultimate sense there are
      different objects experienced through different doorways, one at a
      time. In reality there is no flower that exists. We may think that it
      was there already and that it lasts. But we can think of a flower, we
      do not have to avoid thinking of concepts.
      > Ph: Or how a waterfall has a sound tgat is different from the sound
      > of a car, we duscussed sound of a waterfall some months ago, is
      > there a solid mass of water that makesa sound, or millions of
      > liitle units or rupas arising and falling to give the illusion of a
      > waterfall or flower or rotten body?
      N: Sounds are not the same. Because of conditions they are different.
      Sound can be heard, that is all. No need to think of units of ruupa
      or how this sound is produced.
      > Ph: Can I pick up an object that we call and think of as a flower
      > flower and sniff it according to the Buddha? I'm perplexed, sorry.
      > A dead body lies on the ground, decomposing. Moment by moment is
      > there actually no body there but rupas rising and falling away,
      > somehow more rotten than the ones that rose and fell away a
      > moment earlier, but no solid body?
      N: When odour, unpleasant odour impinges on smellingsense, there are
      conditions for smelling. Then odour is the object and no need to
      think of the source of the odour, that is another object, namely a
      > What are wrinkles.Don't wrinkles indicate that a solid body covered
      > by skin is changing over time? Why does the Budha talk about old
      > bodies, wrinled, with teeth falling out etc. They are not real.
      > Isn't the point of the teaching of paramattha dhammas and concepts
      > that a
      > panna can see through objects and reduce them to dhammas for the
      > sake of detachment and liberation, and the Buddha didn't say that
      > the objects don't exist?
      N: The Buddha wanted to help people to come closer to the truth in
      speaking about parts of the body, or a body that is decaying. One can
      see the whole, solid body as mere elements. When the time was right
      he would explain that each of the khandhas we cling to are like foam,
      a bubble, a dream:
      Vis. Ch XIV, 224
      there are similes pertaining to each of the five khandhas
      separately and this is how they are seen in detail.

      <Text Vis.: In detail [that is, individually] matter should be
      regarded as a
      lump of froth because it will not stand squeezing, feeling as a bubble
      on water because it can only be enjoyed for an instant, perception as a
      mirage because it causes illusion, formations as a plantain trunk
      because it has no core, and consciousness as a conjuring trick because
      it deceives (S.iii,140-42).>
      N: The Tiika elaborates on these similes, and the text is partly
      similar to the �Dispeller of Delusion� (p. 36-38).
      Ruupa is just like a lump of froth without any substance and it
      cannot be grasped, since it breaks up immediately. Ruupa is like wood
      surrounding the pith of a tree, without core or substance, it is
      weak, and it should not be taken as �I� or �mine�. Ruupa continually
      breaks up from the first stage of a foetus on, until it finally
      breaks up at death.
      The Dispeller adds: <in the face of death it is converted into minute

      Feeling is like a bubble of water. Just as a bubble of water is
      unsubstantial, is ungraspable, and does not last long, so is feeling.
      Just as a bubble arises due to four causes: the water surface, the
      drop of water, wetness of the water and the air which holds it up by
      drawing it together as an envelope, just so feeling also arises due
      to four causes: the physical base, the object, the flame of
      defilements and the impact of contact (phassa). ...

      Sa��aa is like a mirage, since it is unsubstantial and cannot be
      grasped. One cannot grasp it, drink it, wash in it, bathe in it or
      fill a pot with it. A mirage quivers and deceives many people. ..

      The khandha of formations is like a plantain stem since it is
      unsubstantial and cannot be grasped. Just as a plantain stem is a
      combination of many sheets and is without core, evenso the khandha of
      formations which is a combination of many dhammas, the cetasikas, it
      is without core, and cannot be grasped. It cannot be taken as
      permanent, etc. ...

      The khandha of consciousness, vi��aa.na, is like an illusion (maya).
      It is without substance or core, and it cannot be grasped. Just as an
      illusion is changeable and appears swiftly, so is citta. ...>

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Robert E
      Hi Ken O. ... This is good to know in its own right. Constant reflection, in my view, is a form of meditation/contemplation that amounts to a formal
      Message 35 of 35 , Aug 19 3:29 PM
        Hi Ken O.

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Ken O <ashkenn2k@...> wrote:
        > Dear Rob E
        > >Well that analogy begs a very interesting question - are the pixels on your
        > >television "more real" than the picture they form? I think they are two levels
        > >of perception, but I don't think one is more "actual" than the other.
        > >Conventional and ultimate view of realities are both valid in a different field
        > >of endeavor. We would think it was very strange if a scientist walked around
        > >outside of the lab with his microscope glued to his face so he could continue to
        > >
        > >see the molecules in "everyday life," yet the knowledge he has from seeing
        > >directly is very valuable.
        > >
        > >
        > >Even the arahant adopts the "conventional view" [but without any delusions] so
        > >that he can walk, eat, and talk to people. But he has access to the
        > >"microscopic" view, so he can go to the finer level of knowledge when it is
        > >appropriate. Also it will inform his view so that he doesn't cling to
        > >conventional objects.
        > KO:  The reasons for a conventional view of dhamma because the reality of what we
        > experience are conventional reality.  the text describe direct seeing is only
        > possible through constant reflection, investigating the nature of dhamma to
        > develop to purification of view level. 

        This is good to know in its own right. Constant reflection, in my view, is a form of meditation/contemplation that amounts to a "formal pracice."

        > The difference of conventional and
        > direct seeing is the level of our panna and not because this is conventional we
        > do not follow.  If it is, then listening of dhamma will be pointless since it is
        > conventional. 

        Good point too!

        > We should not be concern about two level of perception, it is the
        > conventional perception we should understand, only through a long process of
        > understanding the conventional perception, then the nama and rupa perception
        > could arise.

        I believe that too. There is a pathway between the mundane path and ultimate understanding, but many here do not see it that way. We are meant to live our conventional lives with the Dhamma in mind, not just think about namas and rupas while we are drinking, robbing and stealing. :-) [that was a joke]

        > >Maybe you can say a little bit more about how one can "understand the nature of
        > >dhammas" by perceiving the nimitta, and how the nimitta relates to the dhamma
        > >that it represents - is it a fine, exact replica of the dhamma and its activity?
        > >
        > >Is it a representation that is more general or that shows how the dhamma
        > >operates?
        > >
        > >In this sense, what level of "understanding" and what type of understanding
        > >qualifies as satipatthana?
        > >I see the value in this example, and I believe that the mundane path can develop
        > >
        > >through conventional understanding, leading to greater awareness. However, I am
        > >quite sure that many on dsg will say that this conventional example does not
        > >constitute true satipatthana - that at the very least it has to be a nimitta of
        > >a momentary dhamma to qualify for the knowledge of satipatthana.
        > KO:  The general description of understanding  of dhamma is understanding the
        > general characteristic of anatta, anicca and dukkha or specific characteristics
        > of dhamma.  Just like when we see a beautiful picture, craving arise.  It could
        > condition the arisen of panna which sees that craving of such object brings
        > dukkha, or such object is subject to destruction, since it is impermanent it
        > brings dukkha.  Or the craving itself as a danger, brings dukkha.   The text
        > clearly stipulates the difference between mundane and supramundane is one with
        > taints and one without.  It never say one with concept and one without
        > concept.   Or because of concept there is no development of panna. 

        This is an excellent rundown and I agree with you strongly. I think it is a big mistake to put the normal perception of life to the side and say that it is not eligible for applying the Dhamma, or to noticing the craving and clinging that arises in relation to conventional objects. This is what we really experience, and to ignore it and keep thinking about little individual dhammas that we can't see, is just an intellectual distraction. If we do take the time to contemplate namas and rupas and think about them on the paramatha level, that is a separate valuable practice in its own right. I am not saying that such a contemplative practice is not important. And I think it is a good contemplation to look at the things of everyday life and to understand that they really do break down into momentary namas and rupas. I think that is valuable contemplation of the Dhamma as well. But I think it's also most important, as you say, to include the conventional experiences we have that naturally arise all day and look at them in terms of the three marks that they show and the craving and clinging that arises. There is nothing wrong with thinking, when we have sadness because someone has left or because our rug got stained, "this is not my self, it is impermanent and can not bring real satisfaction because it is not self and temporary" and to see how that relates to the craving and clinging that arises. If we see someone who we are uncomfortable around and aversion arises, we should look at that aversion and see its nature and apply the Dhamma to that too.

        > >That is sensible. However, I am just trying to figure out whether our
        > >understanding of dhammas at this level can qualify as satipatthana and be a true
        > >
        > >contribution to development of the path. I think it can, but I think many here
        > >would disagree.
        > >
        > >I wonder if you think that the mundane path, as you describe, will lead
        > >eventually to development of the noble path with more direct seeing, or do you
        > >think they are two separate tracks as many here believe?
        > KO:  There are two bhavanas, samatha and vipassana which both end at
        > purification of view which develop further leads to enlightenment.    In the text
        > or in the commentaries, there is never a statement said that the object
        > of  mundane satipatthana must be a nama and rupa in order to qualify it as
        > satipatthana.   If it is, the text would have not mention about the meditation of
        > the foul or body parts. 

        Thanks, Ken, I think that is very good reasoning and I agree.

        Robert E.

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