Re: Question about Mahayana.
- Hi Rob E (and Azita)
--- In email@example.com, "Robert E" <epsteinrob@...> wrote:
> Hi Jon and Azita.
> RE: Well, what I had in mind is that we don't know dhammas at all except by way of citta, so maybe what I should have said is that a dhamma is the "object of a moment of experiencing by citta" or something like that. What I was driving at in a somewhat clumsy way was that dhammas arise with the momentary experience of cittas. Rupas are said to arise independently of citta, but we don't know anything about those rupas. They are not pertinent to the progress of ignorant or wise cittas.
> I like the idea of connecting the definition of dhammas to the experience of citta for that reason - those experiences of dhammas either deluded or wise are the ones that are part of the path. But in and of themselves I guess I would define them as either namas which are momentarily arising mental factors, or rupas, which are momentarily arising physical factors and don't experience anything. I hope as a basic, crude definition of dhammas that is at least partly satisfactory. Dhammas in general can be defined as "phenomena" whose arising is both momentary and actual.
J: Regarding, "Dhammas can be defined as "phenomena" whose arising is both momentary and actual", I think this is a pretty good attempt at a very difficult subject.
However, your definition begs the question of what a "phenomenon" is :-))
In other words, what makes a dhamma/phenomenon a dhamma/phenomenon (and not a concept)?
To my understanding, the answer is tied up with the fact that dhammas are said to be both (a) irreducible and (b) knowable for what they are. This is expressed in the texts by saying that a dhamma has an inherent characteristic (sabhava), and that this characteristic is observable to panna.
> RE: The reason this came up is that Azita asked me for my definition of dhammas on the way to talking about own-being and other attributes of dhammas. I hope those other areas will also be discussed.
J: Yes, I hope so too. But there is obviously a need to know how basic terms such as "dhammas" are understood by the other person, and I think that's why Azita asked the question.
- Hi Sarah.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "sarah" <sarahprocterabbott@...> wrote:
> S: Better to just talk about realities, paramattha dhammas that can be understood now. I think this is more productive than discussions about formal meditation.
> This morning at breakfast, another swimmer started asking me about retreats and meditation because of stress issues. I just started talking about 'now', about seeing now, hearing now, 'meditation' now, even in the noisy cafe. Otherwise, there's always a thinking about another time, another place, never any understanding or awareness now. She appreciated it!
I continue to think this is a very "zen" approach to Dhamma - I think if you called it "zen" you'd probably convert a bunch of Mahayanists, as it is very appealing, and I agree really is the heart of becoming aware, which can only happen at this moment now.
A favorite quote of mine is sort of analogous in its simplicity, from the avant-garde saxaphonist/bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, now deceased: "Music, after it's over, it's gone in the air - you can never capture it again."
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