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Re: [DhammaStudyGroup] Tales from India - Nimitta & anubyanjana

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  • Jonothan Abbott
    Sarah ... I would be very happy to, but I’m afraid I don’t know much about this area, except that it’s an important aspect of both sila and satipatthana.
    Message 1 of 354 , Nov 2, 2001

      --- Sarah <sarahdhhk@...> wrote:
      > > This is written from my office on Monday morning, which seems another
      > > world altogether from the sights, sounds and smells of just 24 hours
      > ago,
      > > but in the absolute sense is, as we know in theory at least, different
      > > only in terms of the shape-and-form and detail (nimitta and
      > anupayancanna
      > > -- sometimes translated as 'outward appearance and particulars')
      > appearing
      > > through those doorways. The actual experiencing of objects through
      > the
      > > various doorways remains the same in its essential nature throughout,
      > and
      > > it is this essential nature that is the object of the understanding
      > that
      > > we are urged to develop.
      > Would you kindly elaborate on the nimitta and anupayancanna as mentioned
      > above
      > and the distinction between them in this context.

      I would be very happy to, but I’m afraid I don’t know much about this
      area, except that it’s an important aspect of both sila and satipatthana.

      As I understand it, when impressions are received through the sense-doors
      there will inevitably be paying attention with kilesa to the ‘sign’
      (shape-and-form/nimitta) and ‘particulars’ (details/anubya~njana) of those
      sense-impressions. It seems to mean the absence of the guarding of the

      I don’t know any more than this. Further study required, for sure. I am
      hoping Nina will have something to say about it in her writings on the
      trip, since it came up for discussion and Nalanda and again at Patna. In
      the meantime, here are some references to get started with—

      Nyanatiloka’s ‘Buddhist Dictionary’:
      ‘Nimitta’ is defined as ‘mark, sign; image; target, object; cause,
      condition’, with the comment that ‘These meanings are used in, and adapted
      to, many contexts’.
      Several doctrinal usages are discussed, of which #3 is—
      <<'Outward appearance': of one who has sense-control it is said- that "he
      does not seize upon the general appearance” of an object (na nimittaggáhí;
      M. 38, D. 2; …).>>

      There is further discussion under the 4 kinds of morality consisting of
      purification (catupárisuddhi-síla), as follows:
      <<(2) Restraint of the senses (indriya-samvara-síla). "Whenever the monk
      perceives a form with the eye, a sound with the ear, an odour with the
      nose, a taste with the tongue, an impression with the body, an object with
      the mind, *he neither adheres to the appearance [J: nimitta?] as a whole,
      nor to its parts [J: anubyancana?]*. And he strives to ward off that
      through which evil and unwholesome things, greed and sorrow, would arise,
      if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses,
      restrains his senses" (M 38).>>

      Visudhimagga I, 42, 54
      At I, 42, a discussion of ‘Virtue as restraint of sense faculties’:
      <<‘On seeing a visible object with the eye, he apprehends *neither the
      signs nor the particulars* through which, if he left the eye faculty
      unguarded, evil and unprofitable states of covetousness and grief might
      invade him, he enters upon the way of its restraint, he guards the eye
      faculty, he undertakes the restraint of the eye faculty. … [and so on for
      the other sense doors] …’ (M.i, 180) [This] is virtue of restraint of
      the sense faculties.>>

      At I, 54, an explanation of the 2 terms:
      <<”Apprehends neither the signs”: he does not apprehend the sign of woman
      or man, or any sign that is a basis for defilement such as the sign of
      beauty, etc.: he stops at what is merely seen.
      “Nor the particulars”: he does not apprehend any aspect classed as hand,
      foot , smile, laughter, talk, looking ahead, looking aside, etc., which
      has acquired the name ‘particular (anubya~njana)’ because of its
      particularising ( anu anu bya~njanato) defilements, because of its making
      them manifest themselves. He only apprehends what is really there.>>

      Hope this is helpful.


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    • m. nease
      Hi Ken, ... From: Ken O To: Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2004 10:34 PM Subject: [dsg] Ultimate
      Message 354 of 354 , Oct 26, 2004
        Hi Ken,

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Ken O" <ashkenn2k@...>
        To: <dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2004 10:34 PM
        Subject: [dsg] Ultimate Reality

        > Hi All
        > Just a thought that I would like to share.
        > How do we differentiate ultimate reality and conventional reality. I
        > feel the difference is whether we experience it. We can know to feel
        > but we cannot know a concept like a table only through a mind
        > construct. I think I like to say that there is no direct knowing of
        > the object.

        Feeling, if you mean vedanaa, also arises with cittas that take concepts as
        objects, doesn't it?

        > Another question is that is citta really that fast? I was wondering
        > if citta is not fast, how do we see light in a continuous stream
        > without a breakage. It must be fast enough to take it as an object.

        Citta only must to arise and subside more rapidly than does the subsequent
        conceptualization in order to make the conceptualization seem unbroken, I
        think--somewhat like the individual frames of a movie or pixels of a cathode
        ray tube seeming to make an unbroken moving picutre.

        > Thats just my thoughts

        Just mine too--mostly borrowed, actually...

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