Dear Nina and Scott
Nimitta can be concepts or the signs that characteristics the meaning of dhamma.
The understanding is to penetrate the meaning of the characteristics and not attending to the nimittas of characteristics. But without nimitta, we cannot know the characteristics of dhamma. Our understanding must start at nimitta until we can penetrate the meaning of dhamma directly.
On 2 Dec, 2011, at 6:54 PM, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
> Dear Scott,
> You have a point.
> First of all a similar case we discussed with Kh Sujin. The
> sa"nkhaara nimitta. Realities arise and fall away so fast and when
> one is aware of seeing, it is actually the sign or nimitta of seeing
> that is known. Seeing has fallen away but the nimitta of it remains.
> We asked Kh Sujin: is nimitta a concept? At first she did not answer,
> just: that is only a word. It is now!
> N: this taught me that there is a danger to be fixed on words, like
> the word concept, or: asking, is it a concept? Then we forget to
> attend to this moment.
> We discussed further: I asked how we can be aware of a nimitta. She
> said that it is a concept *of* a reality. We can just be aware of the
> characteristics that appear and do not have to think of nimitta at all.
> N: Thus, when discussing about concept we have to remember that there
> are many kinds of concepts and that the concept of a reality is not
> just any kind of concept.
> She said: it is now. And why do we remind each other all the time of
> the present reality? Because there are characteristics appearing that
> can be known through the six doors, one at a time. Mostly we are
> absorbed in thinking of a hand or a thing we touch, or the sound of
> this or that, but sometimes, without trying or wanting to be aware,
> just one reality can present itself through one doorway at a time.
> Then followed by many moments of thinking. Kh Sujin explained that it
> is important to know the difference between moments of sati and
> moments without sati. It has to be very natural, as she stressed.
> < Many levels or aspects of pariyatti that panna works its way
> through, if we don't interfere.>, as Phil wrote.
> We have to learn what the objects of satipa.t.thaana are, what sati
> of satipa.t.thaana is, and if well understood there can be conditions
> to study with awareness characteristics of realities. Indeed,
> pa~n~naa develops from pariyatti to pa.tipatti, but we cannot say
> with mathematical precision: now this is pariyatti and this is
> already a beginning of pa.tipatti. It also depends on the individual,
> it is not all black and white. Pariyatti is just a word and we do not
> have to think of it all the time, or think: is this a concept of a
> reality or a reality?
> > N: "...Also at the pariyatti level the object can be a reality.
> > Even now, when I think about seeing, just the experience of visible
> > object, not thinking of shape and form, is seeing not the object?
> > And is seeing not a reality?"
> Scott: This is the sort of statement wherein the ambiguity I'm trying
> to sort out is very clear. Pariyatti is now said by you to have both
> concepts *and* realities as object. At one time it seems that it is
> only realities, at another only concepts, and now, at another time,
> it can be both.
> N: Yes, both. Because there is a gradual development. Phil:
> intellectual understanding matures into a more direct studying of
> characteristics' . That is how I feel it.
> > S: Seeing is a reality. I'm not convinced that seeing *as a
> > reality* is the object when one thinks about seeing, or thinks
> > about the experience of visible object, or thinks about shape and
> > form.
> N: Hard to pinpoint it all. There is not thinking of seeing all the
> time. Very slowly there may be a little more understanding.
> > Scott: Is that 'object that is not yet clear' a concept, a reality,
> > both?
> N: I do not know, I cannot lay my finger on it.
> > N: "...Also, there may be a moment of 'studying' a present reality
> > and then followed by thinking. Hard to tell, but awareness can just
> > begin and is very weak..."
> > Scott: This 'moment of studying a present reality' - is it pa~n~naa
> > that 'studies?'
> N: It has to be. Studying in order to gain more understanding.
> > N: "...But as you know, I would rather avoid conceptual, conceptual
> > thinking, etc. I do not see much in it. It seems a lot of
> > speculation..."
> > Scott: While respecting this sentiment, I hardly see how one can
> > satifactorily sort through this question without considering the
> > actual differences (and similarities?) between concept and reality,
> > and the fact of 'conceptual thinking.' Without this consideration,
> > no clarification about pariyatti can be made. I would think that
> > clarifying these aspects of Dhamma would help prevent speculation.
> N: Mathematical precision is not possible in this field. Precise,
> logical definitions will not take us very far. Each person has to
> find out for himself, one has to develop one's 'own understanding',
> as Kh Sujin said. One has to listen, to consider a lot, and this can
> condition direct awareness and understanding, but we do not know
> when, as Kh Sujin said. She also remarked that nowhere in the
> teachings many details are given as to the development of insight in
> stages, because it is a personal matter (paccatta.m). What she
> stressed: the objects of understanding are the same, but
> understanding develops, becomes deeper. The objects are the
> characteristics of naama and ruupa as they present themselves one at
> a time through the six doorways.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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