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Re: [dsg] Re: Every Paramattha dhamma can be clearly observed from experience ?

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  • upasaka@aol.com
    Hi, Larry - In a message dated 7/2/04 12:28:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time, LBIDD@webtv.net ... Howard: Okay. ... But this ... Howard: Well, I m not at all
    Message 1 of 33 , Jul 2, 2004
      Hi, Larry -

      In a message dated 7/2/04 12:28:53 AM Eastern Daylight Time, LBIDD@...

      > Howard: "When, for example, we *see* something that we find pleasant,
      > what happens is that visual contact is followed by a mind-door contact
      > with that same visual object that "identifies" it, and that contact
      > produces subtle, pleasant bodily sensations which we associate with the
      > original visual object."
      > Hi Howard,
      > I think abhidhamma would call this consciousness produced rupa.
      But this>
      > seems awfully convoluted to me. We see an image that we like; the liking
      > consciousness produces a pleasant bodily feeling which we also like,
      > plus both liking consciousnesses are accompanied by pleasant mental
      > feeling. Then its gone.

      Well, I'm not at all expert on exactly what the Buddha taught and what
      he did not, but as I understand it, we don't directly "like" a visual object.
      I think that the vedanic response to a visual object is neutral, and thus
      there is no "liking response" directly involved at all. I think that the mind
      must participate first, and depending on that will arise a pleasant bodily
      sensation (the pleasantness being "liking" in rudimentary form), and then full blown
      "liking" in the form of tanha arises in response to the sukkha vedana due to
      the mind having been infected by ignorance.
      Now whether pleasant or unpleasant feelings arise only with body sense
      (touch, pains, itches, vibrations, tinglings etc) I'm not sure. There is at
      least one sutta I recall having seen where the Buddha speaks of the six
      ayatanas in abbreviated form as mind objects, sights, sounds, and sensations, thus
      lumping tactile objects, odors, and tastes under the category of "sensation".
      This lumping together makes good experiential sense to me, with these three
      being far more similar to each other than to mind objects, sights, or sounds. All
      three of them do seem to carry a sense of physical sensation, and perhaps it
      is so that all three of them can directly produce sukkha vedana and dukkha
      vedana, whereas mind objects, sights, and sounds cannot, but only indirectly so.
      Whether this is so or not, however, when mind objects, sights, or sounds are
      experienced and then the mind operates further on them producing sensations, it
      is not smells or tastes that are produced, except perhaps in memory or
      imagination - it is a tactile sensation that is produced. If, for example, a person
      is sexually infatuated with some other person, thinking about her/him won't
      produce actual odors or flavors, but it may produce memories or fantasies of such
      as well as touches etc, and all this thinking may produce bodily reactions of
      a tactile sort, and it is *these* that are directly experienced as sukkha.
      Thus, it seems to me that what can be *directly* apprehended as
      pleasant or unpleasant are tactile sensations, and possibly also smells and tastes,
      and nothing else. But *as the result of mental, visual, or auditory contact*,
      any resulting pleasantness or unpleasantness will directly pertain only to
      mind-produced tactile sensation.

      > Contact is kind of like a magnetic force that brings things together,
      > theoretically. I don't know if we really experience contact.
      > Nina could sort this out better when she gets back.
      > Larry
      With metta,

      /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]
    • Jonothan Abbott
      Dear Tzungkuen I am just going through the posts in my inbox that came in while we were away. I hope you don t mind a late contribution on this thread! ...
      Message 33 of 33 , Jul 17, 2004
        Dear Tzungkuen

        I am just going through the posts in my inbox that came in while we were
        away. I hope you don't mind a late contribution on this thread!

        --- Mr Tzung-Kuen Wen <s4060239@...> wrote: >
        > Dear Dhamma friends
        > Since many members in this group study Abhidhamma, I have a question
        > to ask. Can every paramattha dhamma listed in Abhidhamma texts can be
        > observed by everyone?

        This is a very pertinent question, one that will have a considerable
        bearing on one's idea of the 'practice'.

        > Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Burma is a well-known meditation teacher and
        > very learned in both Pali commentaries and Abhidhamma. Actually, his
        > meditation teaching is completely combined with Abhidhamma.
        > According to him, every paramattha dhammas, every citta and cetasika
        > including the bhavanga-citta, patisandhi-citta should be ¡¥really¡¦
        > observed in meditation. (We only know the terms of Abhidhamma
        > intellectually.) He also teaches yogis to observe the namas and rupas in
        > the past and future existences in order to really understand the law of
        > Paticcasamupada.
        > I would like to know if anyone of you has any thoughts about this
        > question.

        I agree that in general we know the various dhammas only intellectually,
        not directly. However, I do not agree that all these dhammas can or
        should be known directly, by a person wishing to develop the path.

        To think that they should all be known directly would involve an idea of
        focussing on them all in turn at some stage or other. To my understanding
        of the teachings, it is not possible to come to know any dhamma directly
        by choosing to focus on it (I exclude here someone for whom insight has
        been developed to a high degree). Dhammas are not perceivable directly
        except by awareness or insight (the highest level of panna), and this
        means that they cannot be selected to be the object of (intended) insight.
        If this is attempted, then what seems like directly observing a chosen
        dhamma will not in fact be so. True awareness or insight is a high level
        of kusala that arises only by a complex and very occasional set of

        There is no suggestion in the teachings that enlightenment comes only when
        *all* dhammas have been directly known. According to the teachings,
        insight needs to be developed to the point that the fetters are broken
        (the fetters are the various kinds of akusala that bind us to continued
        existence). The overcoming of the fetters is achieved by seeing dhammas
        as they truly are, as anicca/dukkha/anatta, and this is the function of
        insight, but to my understanding this level is achieved without the need
        for *all* dhammas to be directly expereinced. That sort of knowlwedge is
        the province of a Buddha or the great disciples only.

        Of course, intellectual knowledge about all dhammas is useful and is a
        support for the development of understanding. But the arising of insight
        is not a self-directed kind of thinking, and both the time of its arising
        and the dhamma that is its object on any occasion are matters beyond our


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