Re: [dsg] Sa~n~na
- Hi, Nina (and Scott) -
In a message dated 1/2/06 9:55:14 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> 'You' can remember what you just read here====================
> before, because of saññaa that marks and remembers. You can read, recognize
> letters, finish reading sentences because of saññaa.
> This is possible because all experiences are as it were 'carried on' from
> one citta to the next one.
Would you please go a bit further into this? In a given citta, as I
understand the particular teaching, the sa~n~na takes the object of that citta
as its object. According to Abhidhamma, what cetasikas are involved with the
"carrying on" of all experiences to a citta? It would seem that there have been
infinitely many experiences in "one's" history. Exactly what cetasikas are
involved that constitute this infinite (or at least huge) storage mechanism?
/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]
- Hi Scott,
To recap my understanding of this issue: All kusala consciousness is
accompanied by mental calm and either pleasant or neutral feeling.
However, ordinary people find it hard to know kusala from akusala
(e.g., kindness from affection), and it doesn't help that some
akusala consciousness is accompanied by pleasant or neutral feeling
(that can be easily mistaken for kusala feeling and mental calm).
People with the necessary accumulated wisdom can know the difference.
And that gives them the opportunity to develop kusala calm without
accidentally developing its near enemy.
When they are really, really good at knowing the difference between
kusala and akusala, they can know the difference between
concentrating on an inanimate object (e.g., a kasina) with detachment
and mental calm and concentrating on an inanimate object with
attachment and akusala feeling.
There are no shortcuts: if the necessary wisdom (panna cetasika) has
not been developed then it is useless (or even harmful) to be staring
at a kasina, or concentrating on any meditation object, hoping for,
or imagining (being attached to the idea of), mental calm.
S: > You state that "jhana has a concept as its object." What do you
mean exactly? Again from Abhidhamma in Daily Life:
". . . jhaanacittas do not have as their object, visible object,
sound, or any other sense door impression. Jhaanacittas arise in a
process of cittas experiencing a meditation subject through the mind
Which of the "mind objects" are paramattha dhammas and which are not?
I do need some help here. Citta is a paramattha dhamma. Jhaanacitta
is citta. Jhaanacitta is a paramattha dhamma. Is "meditation subject
through the mind door" a paramattha dhamma? I would guess so (since
I'd guess it would be nama) but I don't know.
Ideally, this is the place to start Dhamma study. It is good if we
can regularly forget about our special interests (jhana, nibbana or
whatever) and start again from the beginning - learning the
difference between concepts and realities (paramattha dhammas and
I'd better not ramble on too long, but to give one example; visible
object is an absolute reality. It is a rupa, and it is the
paramattha dhamma that is experienced by seeing-consciousness (and
later by mind-door consciousness). On the other hand; tables, people
and other things that we think we can see are not rupas - they are
mere concepts. They are ultimately illusory and they are experienced
only by the mind-door consciousness that creates them.
Various kinds of concepts can be suitable objects for jhana, but the
Buddha taught an entirely new and better form of mental development -
vipassana. Vipassana is kusala consciousness, accompanied by insight,
which takes a paramattha dhamma as its object.
<. . .>
S: > In AN IV.170 (Yuganaddha Sutta), four paths are outlined. One is
"insight preceded by tranquility;" two is "tranquility preceded by
insight;" three is tranquility in tandem with insight; and four is a
difficult passage regarding something I don't quite understand
involving "control over the corruptions of insight leading to the path
being born in one." (This latter is beyond me, I'm afraid.) At any
rate, again, jhaana needs accompaniment by insight (vipassana).
I think this sutta is vital for all Dhamma students. The fourth path
is the way of the sukkhavipassaka (one who is freed by vipassana
alone). The third path is the way of the most exceptional of all
beings - the arahant who was released both ways (by jhana and
vipassana). Those arahants have great powers (abhinnas).
The first and second paths, I'm not too sure of. I believe the first
path leads to particularly intense experiences of nibbana (at the
moment of enlightenment) with concentration at the level of the
second jhana or higher. As for the second path, all I know is it
gives an arahant the option of a more "pleasant abiding" than would
have been the case had he not developed jhana.
As you can see, I don't know the details, but I still think this
sutta is important. It plainly verifies the many other indications
throughout the suttas that jhana is not necessary for enlightenment.