Re: [dsg] Re: Every Paramattha dhamma can be clearly observed from experience ?
- 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.
> 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.
/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]
- 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 friendsThis is a very pertinent question, one that will have a considerable
> 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?
bearing on one's idea of the 'practice'.
> Ven. Pa-Auk Sayadaw of Burma is a well-known meditation teacher andI agree that in general we know the various dhammas only intellectually,
> 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
> I would like to know if anyone of you has any thoughts about this
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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