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Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT IS NOT A DOT OF LIGHT!!!

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  • robmoult
    Hi TG, ... of light. ... case, then ... vision are ... I was refering to a pixel, not a photon. According to the commentary, the following are the necessary
    Message 1 of 19 , May 1, 2004
      Hi TG,

      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, TGrand458@a... wrote:
      > Just jumping in here. I'm not quite sure what you mean by a "dot
      of light."
      > It sounds like you might be referring to a photon? If this is the
      case, then
      > I totally disagree with that conclusion. The actual objects of
      vision are
      > photons (photon energy.) Without that, no vision.

      I was refering to a pixel, not a photon.

      According to the commentary, the following are the necessary
      conditions for sense consciousness to arise:
      - Eye sensitivity (eye has to work, not blind)
      - Visible object
      - Light
      - Attention

      In other words, photons (light) are necessary for eye consciousness,
      but they are different from visible object.

      Metta,
      Rob M :-)
    • robmoult
      Hi Mike, Long time no chat! ... arises ... ===== Yup! ... merged ... ===== Imagine that the eye were opened for one billionth of a second. The signal to the
      Message 2 of 19 , May 1, 2004
        Hi Mike,

        Long time no chat!

        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "m. nease" <mlnease@z...>
        wrote:
        > I think what you're saying here is that the entire field of vision
        arises
        > simutaneously--so, a 'frame' vs a 'pixel'.

        =====

        Yup!

        =====
        >
        > On what grounds do you hold that entire sequential 'frames' are
        merged
        > rather than sequential 'pixels'?
        >

        =====

        Imagine that the eye were opened for one billionth of a second. The
        signal to the brain would be an entire image (a frame). This is
        unlike a TV screen or computer monitor that builds up an image pixel
        by pixel. The brain would receive an entire image.

        =====
        >
        > > Let's go back to Plato's cave.
        >
        > I'm familiar with this and think it is very far removed from
        Buddhadhamma.

        =====

        The way that Plato took the analogy is different from the way that I
        took the analogy.

        =====
        >
        > I think the entire field of vision is already a concept (that is,
        already
        > post hoc and constructed of many moments of visual consciouness)--
        and that
        > insight into it is conceptual and not liberating.
        >
        =====

        Could you expand on this? I'm not clear on your meaning.

        =====
        >
        > > Perhaps we can extend this metaphor even further to liken a
        Sotapanna
        > > to one who has had a quick glance at the world outside the cave.
        They
        > > are still subject to defilements as the quick glance was not long
        > > enough to uproot lifetimes of accumulated views. Nevertheless,
        after
        > > a quick glance, they are on their way to completely breaking free
        > > from their chains.
        >
        > If I'm right, the sotapanna has to have experienced insight into a
        > paramattha dhamma, and not a concept (or 'frame').
        >
        =====

        What defines a Sotapanna is that attainment of the magga (path)
        citta. This citta has nibbana as object. As a result of this
        attainment, certain defilements are uprooted.

        =====
        >
        > > Clearly Plato's cave has some Dhamma in it.
        >
        > Not clearly at all, to me...

        =====

        You may be right if we are talking about "Plato's cave", but if we
        are talking about "Rob's cave" (same cave analogy, different
        interpretation) then there is some Dhamma in there :-)


        >
        > > Here is an interesting ...
        >
        > This is all very consistent with theosophism and lots of 'new age'
        religion,
        > but not with Buddhdhamma, I think--just my opinion, of course.

        No argument... and since this is DHAMMA study group (not THEOSOPHISM
        study group), I won't pursue this further.

        Metta,
        Rob M :-)
      • upasaka@aol.com
        Hi, TG - In a message dated 5/1/04 12:54:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ============================ The world of the physicists may or may not be a reality.
        Message 3 of 19 , May 1, 2004
          Hi, TG -

          In a message dated 5/1/04 12:54:57 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
          TGrand458@... writes:

          > In a message dated 4/30/2004 9:12:33 PM Pacific Standard Time,
          > upasaka@... writes:
          > Seeing is a kind of awareness, a visual experience, and the object of
          > that is not a photon but a sight. A photon is an element of a biophysical,
          > predictive, conceptual system/theory.
          >
          > With metta,
          > Howard
          > Hi Howard
          >
          > Could you be more specific by what you mean by "sight?" (Keep in mind the
          > topic here is "visible object.") I can only infer when you say "sight" that
          > you
          > are taking about a "view" of something "out there." Regarding your first
          > two
          > statements that -- (Seeing is a kind of awareness, a visual experience) I
          > would regard that as indisputable. A photon is theoretical, but the fact
          > that
          > light energy needs to contact the eye in order to see is not. In the mean
          > time
          > let me be more clear...
          >
          > Whatever we experience through the senses is always an energy that has made
          > contact with one of the sense bases and the corresponding consciousness. We
          >
          > don't actually see a car. We see light (photons, electro-magnetic energy,)
          > reflecting off a car. The car is interpreted (from the contact of light)
          > and as
          > such is a perception and mental interpretation based on the way the light
          > hits
          > the eye (and based on previous conditioning/education.)
          >
          > There are a lot of "sights" "out there." We do not see them unless the
          > energy of light contacts the eye/mind. The topic here is "visible object"
          > and
          > visible object is indeed light. (And that's no rumour.) ;-)
          >
          > TG
          >
          ============================
          The world of the physicists may or may not be a reality. Within the
          biophysical theory of sight, there is posited the existence of wave-particle
          events called "photons" occurring in an "exterior world" that impact the retina
          of the eye (the eye being another presumed reality, but referred to by some
          Buddhists as a "conventional object" and by some as "pa~n~natti", and by some
          Mahayanists as "mind-only"), producing nerve impulses that travel to the brain,
          and the brain responding by producing (excreting? ;-) "consciousness of visual
          object". This is a story to account for, interpret, and predict certain
          phenomena. It is just a story. It may well be a true one - we don't know. It is
          certainly useful.
          Phenomenologically, however - that is, in terms of direct experience,
          whether or not there is an external world independent of experience, and
          whether or not photons are part of it, seeing is not the experience of photons, it
          is the experience of visual objects, and phenomenologically, sights are not
          "out there" (nor are they "in here") - they just "are", or better, they just
          "occur". A photon is not the object of sight but of thought. This is the
          distinction that I make. It is my perspective alone - I'm not a dealer or pusher. ;-))

          With phenomenal metta,
          Howard

          /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
          in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
          phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • m. nease
          Hi Rob, ... From: robmoult To: Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:45 AM Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT
          Message 4 of 19 , May 1, 2004
            Hi Rob,

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "robmoult" <rob.moult@...>
            To: <dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:45 AM
            Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT IS NOT A DOT OF LIGHT!!!


            > Hi Mike,
            >
            > Long time no chat!

            Yes, nice to be in touch again...

            > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "m. nease" <mlnease@z...>
            > wrote:
            > > I think what you're saying here is that the entire field of vision
            > arises
            > > simutaneously--so, a 'frame' vs a 'pixel'.
            >
            > =====
            >
            > Yup!
            >
            > =====
            > >
            > > On what grounds do you hold that entire sequential 'frames' are
            > merged
            > > rather than sequential 'pixels'?
            > >
            > =====
            >
            > Imagine that the eye were opened for one billionth of a second. The
            > signal to the brain would be an entire image (a frame). This is
            > unlike a TV screen or computer monitor that builds up an image pixel
            > by pixel. The brain would receive an entire image.

            I still don't think so--I think it just seems so because of the brevity of
            cittakha.na. In fact, I think that most of the time, minute bits of the
            visual field are succeeded by equally minute bits of the other sense fields,
            rapidly assembled after the fact as a seemingly 'holographic' mirage of
            sight, sound, touch and so on. Obviously I can't support this from the
            Abhidhamma (or from the suttas, for that matter), but it is more consistent
            with my (obviously limited) understanding than the 'frame-by-frame' model,
            superior though that is to the idea of a lasting, sensible phenomenon.

            >
            > =====
            > >
            > > > Let's go back to Plato's cave.
            > >
            > > I'm familiar with this and think it is very far removed from
            > Buddhadhamma.
            >
            > =====
            >
            > The way that Plato took the analogy is different from the way that I
            > took the analogy.
            >
            > =====

            I think I'll leave the cave alone--to me this is wonderful philosophy but
            not Buddhadhamma, but I know so little of philosophy that I could, of
            course, be mistaken.

            > >
            > > I think the entire field of vision is already a concept (that is,
            > already
            > > post hoc and constructed of many moments of visual consciouness)--
            > and that
            > > insight into it is conceptual and not liberating.
            > >
            > =====
            >
            > Could you expand on this? I'm not clear on your meaning.
            >
            > =====

            Does the above clarify this?

            > >
            > > > Perhaps we can extend this metaphor even further to liken a
            > Sotapanna
            > > > to one who has had a quick glance at the world outside the cave.
            > They
            > > > are still subject to defilements as the quick glance was not long
            > > > enough to uproot lifetimes of accumulated views. Nevertheless,
            > after
            > > > a quick glance, they are on their way to completely breaking free
            > > > from their chains.
            > >
            > > If I'm right, the sotapanna has to have experienced insight into a
            > > paramattha dhamma, and not a concept (or 'frame').
            > >
            > =====
            >
            > What defines a Sotapanna is that attainment of the magga (path)
            > citta. This citta has nibbana as object. As a result of this
            > attainment, certain defilements are uprooted.
            >
            > =====

            Right--and nibbaana is paramattha, isn't it?

            > >
            > > > Clearly Plato's cave has some Dhamma in it.
            > >
            > > Not clearly at all, to me...
            >
            > =====
            >
            > You may be right if we are talking about "Plato's cave", but if we
            > are talking about "Rob's cave" (same cave analogy, different
            > interpretation) then there is some Dhamma in there :-)

            You're probably right--you did say your take was different from Plato's, I
            think.

            > >
            > > > Here is an interesting ...
            > >
            > > This is all very consistent with theosophism and lots of 'new age'
            > religion,
            > > but not with Buddhdhamma, I think--just my opinion, of course.
            >
            > No argument... and since this is DHAMMA study group (not THEOSOPHISM
            > study group), I won't pursue this further.

            Thanks, Rob--nice chatting with you, as always.

            mike
          • m. nease
            Hi Rob, p.s. Have you ever noticed that one part of your field of vision may seem to be accompanied by pleasant feeling, another by unpleasant feeling and
            Message 5 of 19 , May 1, 2004
              Hi Rob,

              p.s. Have you ever noticed that one part of your field of vision may seem
              to be accompanied by pleasant feeling, another by unpleasant feeling and
              another by neutral feeling? And, of course, other feelings attending other
              sense-impressions seemingly simultaneously...of course, all these could, I
              suppose, be complete sense fields arising and subsiding whole, each with its
              own attendant feeling etc. Just doesn't seem so to me.

              mike

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "robmoult" <rob.moult@...>
              To: <dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:45 AM
              Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT IS NOT A DOT OF LIGHT!!!
            • upasaka@aol.com
              Hi, Mike (and Rob) - In a message dated 5/1/04 2:53:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time, ... ========================== What I suspect is the case is that the
              Message 6 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                Hi, Mike (and Rob) -

                In a message dated 5/1/04 2:53:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
                mlnease@... writes:

                >
                > Hi Rob,
                >
                > p.s. Have you ever noticed that one part of your field of vision may seem
                > to be accompanied by pleasant feeling, another by unpleasant feeling and
                > another by neutral feeling? And, of course, other feelings attending other
                > sense-impressions seemingly simultaneously...of course, all these could, I
                > suppose, be complete sense fields arising and subsiding whole, each with its
                > own attendant feeling etc. Just doesn't seem so to me.
                >
                > mike
                >
                ==========================
                What I suspect is the case is that the differing feelings are in
                response to differing experiences. Specifically, it seems to me that a sight is
                followed up by repetitions involving sa~n~nic carvings-out of patterns from
                within that visual object producing a variety of mind-door objects with differing
                vedanic tastes. Without well developed concentration, mindfulness, and clarity
                of comprehension, most of this detail is missed, and there is the false
                seeming of simultaneity.

                With metta,
                Howard

                /Thus is how ye shall see all this fleeting world: A star at dawn, a bubble
                in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a
                phantom, and a dream./ (From the Diamond Sutra)




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • TGrand458@aol.com
                In a message dated 5/1/2004 3:35:22 AM Pacific Standard Time, rob.moult@jci.com writes: I was refering to a pixel, not a photon. According to the commentary,
                Message 7 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                  In a message dated 5/1/2004 3:35:22 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                  rob.moult@... writes:
                  I was refering to a pixel, not a photon.

                  According to the commentary, the following are the necessary
                  conditions for sense consciousness to arise:
                  - Eye sensitivity (eye has to work, not blind)
                  - Visible object
                  - Light
                  - Attention

                  In other words, photons (light) are necessary for eye consciousness,
                  but they are different from visible object.

                  Metta,
                  Rob M :-)
                  Hi Rob

                  Understand what you mean. That makes sense and I can basically agree with
                  it. However, I will maintain that light is still technically the visible
                  object. I think the commentary is a little wrong.

                  The forms that light bounces off and become perceivable thereby, would be
                  analogous to a mountain side that reflects sounds as an echo. I'm not sure
                  anyone would claim that a mountain side is an "audible object." (To some extent
                  both forms would be supporting factors.)

                  The sun is primarily the "visible object" that we experience. Even fires we
                  may burn or light bulbs we might electrify are derivitives that were primarily
                  fueled by the electro-magnetic energy of the sun. I.E., it took solar energy
                  to grow the trees, to elevate water whereby dams and generators could produce
                  electricity, to support the dinosaurs that who's oil we now convert into
                  energy, etc.

                  When a light bulb is "burning," the visible object is the light emmiting from
                  the filiment. The walls, chairs, tables, etc. are not "themselves" visible.
                  They only echo light into shapes/colors whereby we interpret what those
                  shapes and colors mean.

                  TG


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • robmoult
                  Hi Mike, ... The ... pixel ... brevity of ... of the ... sense fields, ... mirage of ... the ... consistent ... model, ... phenomenon. ... ===== I think that
                  Message 8 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                    Hi Mike,

                    --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "m. nease" <mlnease@z...>
                    wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Imagine that the eye were opened for one billionth of a second.
                    The
                    > > signal to the brain would be an entire image (a frame). This is
                    > > unlike a TV screen or computer monitor that builds up an image
                    pixel
                    > > by pixel. The brain would receive an entire image.
                    >
                    > I still don't think so--I think it just seems so because of the
                    brevity of
                    > cittakha.na. In fact, I think that most of the time, minute bits
                    of the
                    > visual field are succeeded by equally minute bits of the other
                    sense fields,
                    > rapidly assembled after the fact as a seemingly 'holographic'
                    mirage of
                    > sight, sound, touch and so on. Obviously I can't support this from
                    the
                    > Abhidhamma (or from the suttas, for that matter), but it is more
                    consistent
                    > with my (obviously limited) understanding than the 'frame-by-frame'
                    model,
                    > superior though that is to the idea of a lasting, sensible
                    phenomenon.
                    >

                    =====

                    I think that we agree that each eye-door citta process brings in a
                    minute piece of visual data. But what is the nature of this minute
                    piece of visual data? The texts refer to it as "that which presents
                    itself at the eye door".

                    So now the questions arises, "is the eye door the entire field of
                    vision (frame model) or is the eye door a small fraction of the field
                    of vision which is later assembled (by some other underlying process)
                    into an entire field of vision (pixel model)"?

                    My understanding of modern science is that there are distinct rods
                    and cones in the retina, but brain recieves the signals from all
                    these nerves together as a block (one frame, not a pixel). The
                    analysis of the frame into portions comes later (a mental process).

                    In the same vein, when we taste sweet and sour soup, the part of the
                    tongue that "tastes" sweet is separate from the part of the tongue
                    that tastes "sour", but the brain recieves the signals from these two
                    parts of the tongue together. The analysis of the taste into sweet
                    and sour comes later (a mental process).

                    Similarly, the "heat sensing nerves" are distinct from the "cold
                    sensing nerves" in the body, but the brain recieves the signals from
                    both sets of nerves together.

                    Metta,
                    Rob M :-)
                  • robmoult
                    Hi Mike, ... may seem ... feeling and ... attending other ... could, I ... with its ... I see the analysis of the field of vision into segments and reaction to
                    Message 9 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                      Hi Mike,

                      --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "m. nease" <mlnease@z...>
                      wrote:
                      > p.s. Have you ever noticed that one part of your field of vision
                      may seem
                      > to be accompanied by pleasant feeling, another by unpleasant
                      feeling and
                      > another by neutral feeling? And, of course, other feelings
                      attending other
                      > sense-impressions seemingly simultaneously...of course, all these
                      could, I
                      > suppose, be complete sense fields arising and subsiding whole, each
                      with its
                      > own attendant feeling etc. Just doesn't seem so to me.

                      I see the analysis of the field of vision into segments and reaction
                      to those segments as subsequent mental processes to the eye door
                      process.

                      Metta,
                      Rob M :-)
                    • robmoult
                      Hi TG, ... consciousness, ... agree with ... visible ... would be ... not sure ... (To some extent ... fires we ... were primarily ... solar energy ... could
                      Message 10 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                        Hi TG,

                        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, TGrand458@a... wrote:
                        > In a message dated 5/1/2004 3:35:22 AM Pacific Standard Time,
                        > rob.moult@j... writes:
                        > I was refering to a pixel, not a photon.
                        >
                        > According to the commentary, the following are the necessary
                        > conditions for sense consciousness to arise:
                        > - Eye sensitivity (eye has to work, not blind)
                        > - Visible object
                        > - Light
                        > - Attention
                        >
                        > In other words, photons (light) are necessary for eye
                        consciousness,
                        > but they are different from visible object.
                        >
                        > Metta,
                        > Rob M :-)
                        > Hi Rob
                        >
                        > Understand what you mean. That makes sense and I can basically
                        agree with
                        > it. However, I will maintain that light is still technically the
                        visible
                        > object. I think the commentary is a little wrong.
                        >
                        > The forms that light bounces off and become perceivable thereby,
                        would be
                        > analogous to a mountain side that reflects sounds as an echo. I'm
                        not sure
                        > anyone would claim that a mountain side is an "audible object."
                        (To some extent
                        > both forms would be supporting factors.)
                        >
                        > The sun is primarily the "visible object" that we experience. Even
                        fires we
                        > may burn or light bulbs we might electrify are derivitives that
                        were primarily
                        > fueled by the electro-magnetic energy of the sun. I.E., it took
                        solar energy
                        > to grow the trees, to elevate water whereby dams and generators
                        could produce
                        > electricity, to support the dinosaurs that who's oil we now convert
                        into
                        > energy, etc.
                        >
                        > When a light bulb is "burning," the visible object is the light
                        emmiting from
                        > the filiment. The walls, chairs, tables, etc. are not "themselves"
                        visible.
                        > They only echo light into shapes/colors whereby we interpret what
                        those
                        > shapes and colors mean.

                        Everything arises because of multiple conditions. We can say that the
                        conditions that contributed to the arising of the tree include (among
                        others):
                        - sun
                        - rain
                        - soil
                        - seed

                        Imagine that there are three trees grouped together; an oak, a maple
                        and a pine. Though all three trees had the same conditions of sun,
                        rain and soil, it is the seed that makes each tree unique.

                        For eye consciousness to arise, the following conditions are required:
                        - Eye sensitivity (eye has to work, not blind)
                        - Visible object
                        - Light
                        - Attention

                        I see the condition of "light" as a "common conditioning factor"
                        (like sun, rain and soil) and I see "visible object" as a "specific
                        conditioning factor" (like the seed).

                        Metta,
                        Rob M :-)
                      • TGrand458@aol.com
                        In a message dated 5/1/2004 3:25:06 PM Pacific Standard Time, rob.moult@jci.com writes: Everything arises because of multiple conditions. We can say that the
                        Message 11 of 19 , May 1, 2004
                          In a message dated 5/1/2004 3:25:06 PM Pacific Standard Time,
                          rob.moult@... writes:
                          Everything arises because of multiple conditions. We can say that the
                          conditions that contributed to the arising of the tree include (among
                          others):
                          - sun
                          - rain
                          - soil
                          - seed
                          Hi Rob M.

                          I agree and when you take this reasoning to its full conclusion, it can be
                          said that everything in the universe is a supporting condition to some extent or
                          another for everything experienced.

                          The below (bottom) commentarial statement is interesting in that I don't
                          remember a single sutta where the Buddha takes about 4 conditions for sense
                          experience contact. Its always 3 conditions. In at least one sutta, the Buddha
                          talks about "dyads" being responsible for the arising of sensory consciousness.
                          The eye and visible object, the ear and audible object, etc., being the dyads
                          expounded by the Buddha. (Connected Discourses of the Buddha, Pg. 1172)

                          Its seems to me that those compiling the commentaries probably realized that
                          there was an error of not incorporating "light" as a chief factor in visible
                          consciousness. I suspect the error came earlier when it was perhaps assumed
                          that "visible objects" were something other than light. (In the olden days,
                          people more likely thought that vision "reached out" with some sort of "vision
                          rays" to the object.)

                          I believe some commentaries state that smells, tastes, and tangibles actually
                          "touch" the sense bases, while visible objects and audible objects do not.
                          This is total non-sense as far as I'm concerned.

                          Sensory consciousness can only arises when sensory objects/energies contact
                          the sense organs. In actuality, a chair in the distance cannot be seen;
                          rather, it is revealed by light as the light reflects off of it. In terms of our
                          everyday experiences this is probably a near meaningless distinction. In terms
                          of understanding conditional relations this may be very important for some
                          individuals.

                          Commentarial Quote...

                          For eye consciousness to arise, the following conditions are required:
                          - Eye sensitivity (eye has to work, not blind)
                          - Visible object
                          - Light
                          - Attention

                          TG


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • m. nease
                          Hi Rob, ... From: robmoult To: Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:13 PM Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT
                          Message 12 of 19 , May 2, 2004
                            Hi Rob,

                            ----- Original Message -----
                            From: "robmoult" <rob.moult@...>
                            To: <dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:13 PM
                            Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT IS NOT A DOT OF LIGHT!!!



                            > I see the analysis of the field of vision into segments and reaction
                            > to those segments as subsequent mental processes to the eye door
                            > process.

                            Sure--but feeling arises simultaneously with each cittakha.na, right?

                            mike
                          • m. nease
                            Hello Again Rob, ... From: robmoult To: Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:11 PM Subject: Re: [dsg]
                            Message 13 of 19 , May 2, 2004
                              Hello Again Rob,

                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "robmoult" <rob.moult@...>
                              To: <dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 3:11 PM
                              Subject: Re: [dsg] VISIBLE OBJECT IS NOT A DOT OF LIGHT!!!


                              > So now the questions arises, "is the eye door the entire field of
                              > vision (frame model) or is the eye door a small fraction of the field
                              > of vision which is later assembled (by some other underlying process)
                              > into an entire field of vision (pixel model)"?
                              >
                              > My understanding of modern science is that there are distinct rods
                              > and cones in the retina, but brain recieves the signals from all
                              > these nerves together as a block (one frame, not a pixel). The
                              > analysis of the frame into portions comes later (a mental process).
                              >
                              > In the same vein, when we taste sweet and sour soup, the part of the
                              > tongue that "tastes" sweet is separate from the part of the tongue
                              > that tastes "sour", but the brain recieves the signals from these two
                              > parts of the tongue together. The analysis of the taste into sweet
                              > and sour comes later (a mental process).
                              >
                              > Similarly, the "heat sensing nerves" are distinct from the "cold
                              > sensing nerves" in the body, but the brain recieves the signals from
                              > both sets of nerves together.

                              I'll certainly defer to your superior knowledge of neurophysiology. I tend
                              to think of abhidhamma as being a sort of anatomy of a moment of experience,
                              which I take to be quite a different thing from neurophysiology, physics and
                              so on. I know some other contributors also think of modern science as being
                              somehow the same as abhidhamma, but I don't see it that way at all. To me,
                              trying to fit abhidhamma into modern science is a dead end--just my opinion,
                              of course--but I have no interest at all in trying to reconcile the two. If
                              I'm wrong, there may be great virtue in doing this, so best wishes for your
                              efforts.

                              Nice chatting with you as always.

                              mike
                            • Sarah
                              Hi RobM (Mike, TG, Howard & All), Great discussions and thank you for sharing your latest reflections. Your cave and shadow analogy reminder me of Thein
                              Message 14 of 19 , May 3, 2004
                                Hi RobM (Mike, TG, Howard & All),

                                Great discussions and thank you for sharing your latest reflections. Your
                                cave and shadow analogy reminder me of Thein Nyun’s description of the
                                shadows on the cinema screen which he uses in his preface to his
                                translation of the Discourse on Elements (Dhaatu-Kathaa), the 3rd book of
                                the Abhidhamma Pitaka (PTS).
                                .....
                                “The material and mental elements may be compared to the shadows on the
                                cinema screen, which appear and disappear in rapid succession. The
                                mind-consciousness element (of what is conventionally said to be the
                                spectator) takes the actors, actressess, rivers, mountains, etc., as
                                objects, and a drama is built up from them. This is due to a perverted
                                belief that the actors, etc., exist, and the shadows serve as stimuli for
                                imagining them. Similarly the material and mental elements arise and
                                cease in rapid succession and the mind-consciousness element takes men,
                                women, trees, mountains, etc., and a drama of a world of animate and
                                inanimate things is built up from them. This is due to the perverted
                                belief in the existence of a living world of persons and things and the
                                elements serves as stimuli for imagining them.

                                Here the difference from the cinema is that there are no spectators as the
                                mind-consciousness element is also like the shadow on the screen, i.e. it
                                is always arising and ceasing. If the mind-consciousness element is not
                                seen in this manner according to reality it will be believed that it
                                permanently resides in the body and that it is the same mind-consciousness
                                element that 1) seeks and takes objects; 2) is present throughout the day;
                                3) was present yesterday, is present now and will be present tomorrow - in
                                other words, that from birth to death the mind-consciousness element is
                                the same and is conscious of all daily actions, speech and thoughts.”
                                *****
                                Of course we also read about ‘shadows of ultimate things’ in the
                                Abhidammattha Sangaha. From CMA,ch V111, Bodhi transl:
                                .....
                                “All such different things [S: e.g land, mountain, cave, kasina sign etc],
                                though they do not exist in the ultimate sense, become objects of
                                consciousness in the form of shadows of (ultimate) things.

                                They are called concepts (pa~n~nattii) because they are thought of,
                                reckoned, understood, expressed, and made known on account of, in
                                consideration of, with respect to, this or that mode. This kind of
                                concept is so called because it is made known.”
                                *****
                                You and others like TG & Howard have also been discussing the conditions
                                for seeing consciousness including light and I thought of this quote from
                                Summary and Exposition of Topics ch 4 (Abhidammatthavibhaavinii, comy to
                                the text above, PTS):
                                .....
                                “Seeing, beholding directly. But since it is said that ‘one sees visible
                                forms with the eye’ (Vibh 248) is it not the eye-faculty itself that
                                performs the function of seeing, and not consciousness? Not so.
                                Materiality, being blind, has no capacity to see the visible form. And if
                                it were the eye-faculty that saw visible form, then it would also be
                                possible for someone experiencing a consciousness other [than
                                eye-consciousness] to see visible form. Yet if one attributes the
                                function [of seeing] to consciousness, then, since consciousness has no
                                obstacles, one would see concealed visible objects. One can allow the
                                seeing of something concealed when it is placed behind crystal, etc., and
                                there is no obstacle to light, but when it is something concealed by a
                                wall, etc., there is an obstacle to light, and in the absence of this
                                condition consciousness does not arise and eye-consciousness does not
                                apprehend the object. But in the above quotation ‘by the eye’ means ‘by
                                the eye-door which is the means [of seeing]’.”
                                *****
                                Finally, at the risk of over-doing the quotes, I’d like to give this one
                                from Dispeller 228(Sammohavinodanii, PTS) which stresses the conditioned
                                nature of all these elements:
                                .....
                                “Likewise [they should be regarded] as inactive and unoccupied. For it
                                does not occur to the eye and visible-datum and so on: ‘Would that
                                consciousness might arise from our concurrence.’ And they are not active
                                nor do they occupy themselves as door, basis and object for the purpose of
                                arousing consciousness; but rather it is the rule (dhammataa) that
                                eye-consciousness and so on come into being with the concurrence of
                                eye-visible-datum and so on. Therefore they should be regarded as
                                inactive and unoccupied.”
                                *****
                                Metta,

                                Sarah
                                p.s Rob, you may also like to review this post and quotes I wrote before
                                and see if we are more in agreement now:
                                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/message/20043

                                Also see others under ‘visible object’ in U.P.
                                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastudygroup/files/Useful_Posts
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                              • Sarah
                                Hi Howard, ... .... S: My perspective too. I also agreed with Mike s comments on not confusing science to RobM. Time for a break.... Metta, Sarah p.s Mike, TG,
                                Message 15 of 19 , May 3, 2004
                                  Hi Howard,

                                  We're very much on the same page on this one:

                                  --- upasaka@... wrote:
                                  > Phenomenologically, however - that is, in terms of direct
                                  > experience,
                                  > whether or not there is an external world independent of experience, and
                                  >
                                  > whether or not photons are part of it, seeing is not the experience of
                                  > photons, it
                                  > is the experience of visual objects, and phenomenologically, sights are
                                  > not
                                  > "out there" (nor are they "in here") - they just "are", or better, they
                                  > just
                                  > "occur". A photon is not the object of sight but of thought. This is the
                                  >
                                  > distinction that I make. It is my perspective alone - I'm not a dealer
                                  > or pusher. ;-))
                                  ....
                                  S: My perspective too. I also agreed with Mike's comments on not confusing
                                  science to RobM.

                                  Time for a break....

                                  Metta,

                                  Sarah
                                  p.s Mike, TG, KKT - good to see you around:-)
                                  ==================

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