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Re: [dsg] Sanna - Looking for feedback!

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  • Sarah
    Hi Rob M (Howard, TG, Suan & All), ... There are quite a few points I’d be interested to discuss further, but let ... You mention elsewhere that you don’t
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 4, 2003
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      Hi Rob M (Howard, TG, Suan & All),

      --- "robmoult <rob.moult@...>"

      There are quite a few points I’d be interested to discuss further, but let
      me just take up the first one for now:

      > The cittas in an eye-door citta process have "visible object" (rupa)
      > as their object. A "visible object" is not a flower (flower is a
      > concept). A visible object is a dot, a dot of colour. .....
      You mention elsewhere that you don’t “see Buddhism as a “science” “, but
      aren’t these ideas from science intruding?

      I liked the way Howard suggested “a visual object is the entire "snapshot"
      that appears at one moment, for example when one opens the eyes - so that
      sa~n~na then subsequently carves out and identifies parts of what is
      already entirely present.” I believe this can indeed be tested and
      proved."
      .....

      Simply put, as I understand, visible object is just that which is seen at
      this moment. If there is an idea of dots this is surely thinking about
      what is seen? At this moment of opening the eyes, the seeing sees what
      it’s always seen and accordingly as you say, sanna can mark the various
      objects and there are conditions for the mind-door activity. If there is
      any idea of seeing something special or different, such as dots or blank
      colours or light, then it is not awareness of visible object and is
      probably an aspect of wrong practice (not that I’m suggesting you or
      anyone else is trying this). I think the realities to be known are in a
      way very obvious and simple - just as they’ve always been, but covered up
      by moha(ignorance).

      I tend to think that the reason there is so little awareness relates to
      the lack of understanding of anatta. Even though visible object is in
      front of our eyes at this moment, whilst there is any idea of ‘doing’ or
      ‘practising’ or ‘noting’ now, there won’t be conditions for awareness to
      arise. Just an idea.

      In the texts (Suttanta and Abhidhamma in particular), it is always visible
      object (ruupa) that is referred to rather than dots or anything else.
      “Visual consciousness arises because of eye and visible object, the
      meeting of the three is contact...” and so on.

      From the Sammohavinodani (Disp. of Delusion, ch2, 211) we read;
      “Herein, firstly (as to meaning) in particular: “it relishes” (cakkhati),
      thus it is an eye (cakkhu); the meaning is that it enjoys a visble datum
      (ruupa) and reveals it. “It makes visible” (ruupayatti), thus it is a
      visible datum (ruupa)...”
      .....
      The following is another quote from the same source(227) stressing the
      anatta-ness and lack of control of these various elements:

      “visible data, odour and flavour bases...sound base...but as to
      classification acording to similarity and dissimilarity, they are all of
      infinite variety...
      all these bases should be regarded as having no provenance and no
      destination. For they do not come from anywhere previous to their rise,
      not do they go anywhere after their fall; but rather before they rise
      they had not obtained their intrinsic nature (sabhava) and after their
      fall their intrinsic nature is completely broken up; in between what is
      before and after, they occur without power (being exercisable over them)
      owing to dependence on conditions. Therefore they should be regarded as
      having no provenance and no destination.

      ‘Likewise (they should be regarded) as inactive and unoccupied. For it
      does not occur to they eye and visible-datum and so on: ‘Would that
      consciousness might arise from our concurrence.’....

      ‘Furthermore, the internal (bases) should be regarded as an empty village
      because they are devoid of lastingnes, beauty, pleasure and self; and the
      external (bases) as village-raiding robbers (Siv 175) because they raid
      (impinge) on the internal (bases). For this is said: ‘The eye, bhikkhus,
      is struck by agreeable and disagreeable visible data.’.....”
      *****

      You write later in your post:
      .....
      > Craving is conditioned by pleasant feeling associated with concepts.
      > Visible objects condition neutral feeling and therefore do not
      > condition craving directly. Pleasant feeling is associated with
      > current concepts when sanna "remembers" past concepts and the
      > associated pleasant feeling.
      .....
      I’m not sure I agree here. Visible objects by way of arammana paccaya
      (object condition) can condition craving very directly. Lobha can be
      attached to sense objects, feelings or concepts surely? Feeling is given
      as the proximate or perhaps principal condition, but not the only one.

      Also from Sammohavinodani (837) under the section of “With Feeling as
      Condition, Craving”

      “The meaning is that in this description of “with feeling as condition,
      craving (arises)”, these six kinds of craving are
      illustrated.......”visible-data craving...mental-data craving”, being
      called after their object as a son is called after his father “rich man’s
      son”, “brahman’s son”. Herein, “visible-data craving” (ruupata.nha) is
      craving in respect of a visible datum; ...Similar comments are made for
      the other sense doorways.

      ‘But a regards these (six) kinds of craving, each kind is held to be
      threefold, according to its mode of occurrence as craving for sense
      desire, craving for existence and craving for non-existence. For when
      visible-data craving occurs in the form of delighting with sense delight
      in a visible datum as object that has come into the focus of the eye, it
      is then called craving for sense desire.....”
      .....
      Later, we also read about how in any case all kinds of feelings condition
      all kinds of craving, but yet they depend on the accumulated tendencies as
      well(842):

      “One who suffers yearns for happiness;
      one who has happiness wants more;
      Yet equanimity, took, is knowm as
      happiness since it is peaceful.

      Since all three feelings thus can be
      conditions for all kinds of craving,
      “With feelings as condition, there is craving”
      has been said by the Greatest Sage.

      Though feeling is condition, still
      without inherent tendency
      No craving can arise, and so
      from this the perfect saint is free.”
      *****
      Conditions are very complicated and intricate. Other passages in the same
      chapter give a taste of this intricacy. I believe that if there is any
      idea of ‘breaking the link’ or preventing craving from arising on account
      of feelings, it is to underestimate the power of conditions and to not
      fully comprehend the nature of anatta. The “perfect saint” is free, or the
      link is broken, throught the comprehension and full knowledge of
      conditioned realities and thereby the eradication of kilesa (defilements)
      on account of transitory phenomena.
      .....
      > This progression is described in the Honeyball Sutta (Mn18):
      >
      > -----
      > Dependent on the eye and forms, eye consciousness arises. The
      > meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a condition there
      > is feeling.
      >
      > What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one
      > thinks about. What one thinks about, that one obsesses.
      >
      > What obsesses one is the cause perceptions and notions tinged by
      > obsession that beset a man with respect to past, future and present
      > forms cognizable though the eye.
      .....
      These are very helpful reminders to read over and over. You may not have
      ready access to the The ~Nanamoli/Bodhi transl which adds a Ms note by
      ~Nm which you may like to read(p1204,232:

      “The meeting of eye, form, and eye-consciousness is called contact.
      Contact, according to dependent origination, is the principal condition of
      feeling. Feeling and perception are inseparable (MN43.9). what is
      perceived as ‘this’ is thought about in its differences and is thus
      diversified from ‘that’ and from ‘me’. This divesification -involving
      craving for form, wrong view about permanence of form, etc, and the
      conceit ‘I am’ - leads to preoccupation with calculating the desirability
      of past and present forms with a view to obtaining desirable forms in the
      future.”
      *****
      I’ll leave it here and look forward to any further comments.

      Metta,

      Sarah
      =====


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    • nina van gorkom
      Dear Sarah, I find this in particular very helpful. Awareness of visible object and still an idea of, I have to note this. Then the reality could be lobha,
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 5, 2003
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        Dear Sarah,
        I find this in particular very helpful. Awareness of visible object and
        still an idea of, I have to note this. Then the reality could be lobha,
        thinking with lobha, or even aversion, some slight uneasiness that visible
        object is so difficult. Or "omaana"(minority) conceit: poor me, I am so
        ignorant, thus, clinging to the importance of self. Or
        ati-maana(superiority) conceit: hey, I make some progress.No end to all the
        different kilesas, but good to know. I am grateful for any reminder,
        with appreciation,
        Nina.
        op 04-03-2003 13:29 schreef Sarah op sarahdhhk@...:

        > I think the realities to be known are in a
        > way very obvious and simple - just as they’ve always been, but covered up
        > by moha(ignorance).
        >
        > I tend to think that the reason there is so little awareness relates to
        > the lack of understanding of anatta. Even though visible object is in
        > front of our eyes at this moment, whilst there is any idea of doing’ or
        > practising’ or noting’ now, there won’t be conditions for awareness to
        > arise. Just an idea.
      • Sarah
        Dear Nina, ... ..... Yes, we may have an idea that knowing what visible object is may just be a technical matter of no great importance. On the contrary, I
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 9, 2003
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          Dear Nina,

          --- nina van gorkom <nilo@...> wrote: > Dear Sarah,
          > I find this in particular very helpful. Awareness of visible object and
          > still an idea of, I have to note this. Then the reality could be lobha,
          > thinking with lobha, or even aversion, some slight uneasiness that
          > visible
          > object is so difficult. Or "omaana"(minority) conceit: poor me, I am so
          > ignorant, thus, clinging to the importance of self. Or
          > ati-maana(superiority) conceit: hey, I make some progress.No end to all
          > the
          > different kilesas, but good to know. I am grateful for any reminder,
          .....
          Yes, we may have an idea that knowing what visible object is may just be a
          technical matter of no great importance. On the contrary, I think that if
          there is no understanding or awareness of its characteristic when it
          appears as distinct from seeing and distinct from other rupas -- just a
          dhatu (element) with no self -- then I think there is also likely to be
          misunderstanding and lack of awareness about all other realities.I read
          recently in the Sammohavinodani about why the eyedoor is always given
          first and it is on account of common occurrence. There is seeing of
          visible objects now and attachment or aversion on account of these all the
          time. Just as we read in the Mulapariyayasutta, there is conceiving,
          proliferating and clinging to self, ideas of self and so on. I like your
          reminders about ‘omaana’ (‘poor me’) and ‘ati-maana’(hey, I make some
          progress). Reminds me of Dominique and the other girl James created in a
          post to Kimmy, one of the Star Kids. It impressed her so much.

          RobertK gave so many useful references from Vism about namas and rupas and
          the puppet similes. In ch X1X “Pufification by Overcoming Doubt’ we read
          more about how by understanding the nature of namas and rupas and about
          conditions, it becomes more apparent that other realities not being
          directly exerienced at this moment have the same characteristics and this
          is the way that doubt about realities is overcome:

          6 “When he has thus seen that the occurrence of mentality-materiality is
          due to conditions, then he sees that, as now, so in the past too its
          occurrence was due to conditions, and in the future too its occurrence
          will be due to conditions.”

          This is not merely by thinking but by the deep understanding of present
          realities and their conditioned nature, so that there are no longer
          conditions to speculate or wonder with any doubt about rupas not yet
          experienced or those that have been experienced.

          In the same way, as I understand the texts, after understanding the
          conditioned nature of phenomena, by understanding the impermanence of what
          appears, ‘by inference from that, all formations are clearly seen as
          impermanent. Herein doubt is abandoned. When he brings to mind as
          painful, he correctly knows and sees occurrence. Hence...when he brings
          to mind as not-self, he correctly knows and sees the sign and occurrence.
          Hence “right seeing” is said.”

          I’m looking at these sections in Vism partly because you and Jon were
          discussing khandhas I believe. Under ‘comprehension by groups’in chXX we
          read about all the realities to be known and then :
          “So when a man comprehends the five aggregates by means of this
          comprehending as impermanent, etc, in its two hundred aspects, his
          comprehending as impermanent, painful and not-self, which is called
          ‘inductive insight’, is strengthened.

          Like you said in your other post (which I’ll come back to), when there is
          more understanding of paramattha sacca (absolute truth) and sammuti sacca
          (conventional truth), even when we read about ‘clenching the teeth’ or
          other actions that may appear to suggest a self making a big effort, we
          know there are just the various elements working in combinations and
          according to conditions. This has also been stressed recently in the ‘Way’
          extracts, I think. Hence just as a piano-player can bring to mind any
          music learnt and all previous skills and knowledge in that regard, so any
          understanding developed can be applied with “right seeing” - not
          theoretically at all.

          I’m not sure that this touches on your discussion with Jon or the question
          raised that he’s meant to be re-raising in Bkk, because I don’t have any
          of the posts to hand. I’ll be glad to be corrected if I’ve barked up the
          wrong tree in any regard. These are difficult points because they relate
          to developed stages of insight.

          Metta,

          Sarah
          =====


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        • nina van gorkom
          Dear Sarah op 09-03-2003 12:16 schreef Sarah op sarahdhhk@yahoo.com.hk: When there is ... difficult points because they relate to developed stages of insight.
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 17, 2003
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            Dear Sarah
            op 09-03-2003 12:16 schreef Sarah op sarahdhhk@...:

            When there is
            > more understanding of paramattha sacca (absolute truth) and sammuti sacca
            > (conventional truth), even when we read about clenching the teeth’ or
            > other actions that may appear to suggest a self making a big effort, we
            > know there are just the various elements working in combinations and
            > according to conditions. ....
            > I’m not sure that this touches on your discussion with Jon. These are
            difficult points because they relate to developed stages of insight.
            N: I considered more the qu I raised to Jon about the third (please correct
            third, not second) stage of insight, as to panna that realizes even space in
            between groups of rupa. I realize better: there is I who would like to know,
            but it is panna that will perform its function. I listened to a tape: <Do
            not think of group. It is not the matter of trying to know. When we think of
            groups there is expectation to know all the time. We are trying so hard to
            understand. But the goal of the teachings is elimination, eradication.>
            That is it.
            Nina.
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