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Visuddhimagga Ch XVII, 303 and Tiika, part II.

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Continuation of Visuddhimagga Ch XVII, 303. Text Vis.: Or again, ignorance here as no theory and wrong theory befogs beings as a cataract does the eyes;
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2008
      Continuation of Visuddhimagga Ch XVII, 303.

      Text Vis.: Or again, ignorance here as 'no theory' and 'wrong theory'
      befogs beings as a cataract does the eyes;
      N: �Theory� is here the translation of pa.tipatti, but this is
      usually translated as practice. Also in this context the translation
      of theory is off the mark, since pa.tipatti relates to the
      understanding of the characteristics of realities. P Maung translates
      this as vision. �No theory� can mean failing to see the specific and
      general characteristics of dhammas as they are. Wrong theory is
      seeing them in the wrong way, being on the wrong Path.
      The Tiika remarks that just as through an eye cataract one does not
      see visible object, or sees it wrongly, evenso overcome by ignorance
      one does not see the truths of dukkha etc. or sees them in the wrong
      way, with wrong view.
      The truth of dukkha relates to dukkha in our daily life at this
      moment. Realities such as seeing or visible object arise and then
      fall away immediately and thus they are dukkha.
      Text Vis.: the fool befogged by it involves himself in formations
      that produce further becoming, as a cocoon-spinning caterpillar does
      with the strands of the cocoon;
      N: The Tiika explains: Kamma-formations are like the strands of a
      cocoon that a caterpillor makes himself; they are the cause of
      roaming about in one�s own cycle.
      We are wrapped up in the kamma-formations made by ourselves, and we
      are going around, roaming about from one life to another.
      Text Vis.: consciousness guided by formations establishes itself in
      the destinies, as a prince guided by a minister establishes himself
      on a throne;
      N: The Tiika explains that without the committing of kamma-
      formations, vi~n~naa.na, rebirth-consciousness would not be
      established in planes of existence, even as a prince would not be
      established in his kingdom without being guided by a minister.
      Text Vis.: [death] consciousness conjecturing about the sign of
      rebirth generates mentality-materiality in its various aspects in
      rebirth-linking, as a
      magician does an illusion;
      N: The translator should not translate here vi~n~naa.na as death-
      consciousness, it is the rebirth-consciousness. P. Maung translates:
      < by dwelling on the sign of rebirth, consciousness gives rise to
      various kinds of name-and-form at rebirth>.

      As to the sign of rebirth, this is the object of kamma etc. the Tiika
      The last javana-cittas of the previous life experience as object the
      kamma that will produce rebirth-consciousness, a symbol or sign of
      it, or the future destiny, or another object experienced through one
      of the six doors. The rebirth-consciousness of the next life
      experiences that object. There is a great variety of naama/ruupa
      conditioned by rebirth-consciousness, since there are many kinds of
      rebirth in the different planes of existence, conditioned by kamma.
      The magician creates many kinds of illusions of devas, humans, deer,
      birds etc., and evenso is naama/ruupa conditioned by vi~n~naa.na an
      illusion that is manyfold.

      Text Vis.: the sixfold base planted in mentality-materiality reaches
      growth, increase and fulfilment, as a forest thicket does planted in
      good soil; contact is born from the impingement of the bases, as fire
      is born from the rubbing together of fire sticks; feeling is
      manifested in one touched by contact, as burning is in one touched by
      N: A human does not have the sensebases complete at birth. Kamma
      produces the bodysense at the moment of birth and later on the other
      sensebases develop and reach maturity. Different objects impinge on
      the sensebases and on account of the objects that are experienced,
      kusala cittas and akusala cittas arise that can motivate kamma.
      As to contact that is born from the impingement of the bases, the
      Tiika explains that the sense-bases and the object bases are facing
      each other. This is compared to the firesticks that are rubbing
      together. Phassa is like fire, and feeling conditioned by contact is
      very painful, it is like burning oneself on a fire.
      Text Vis.: craving increases in one who feels, as thirst does in one
      who drinks salt water; one who is parched [with craving] conceives
      longing for the kinds of becoming, as a thirsty man does for drinks;
      N: The Tiika explains that craving is like thirst, it is longing for
      the manifestation of objects. One wishes to experience objects again
      and again.

      Text Vis.: that is his clinging; by clinging he clings to becoming as a
      fish does to the hook through greed for the bait;
      N: The Tiika states that he clings to becoming, because he does not
      know that becoming leads to ruin and misfortune.

      Text Vis.: when there is becoming there is birth, as when there is a
      seed there is a shoot; and death is certain for one who is born, as
      falling down is for a tree that has grown up.

      So this Wheel of Becoming should be known thus 'as to similes' too in
      whichever way is appropriate.
      N: The Tiika repeats that sa�nkhaara is compared to the strands of a
      cocoon woven by a caterpillar and also to the minister who guides the
      prince so that he becomes established in the kingdom. Evenso kamma-
      formations lead to establishment in different existences, in the
      cycle of birth and death.


      We are involved in the cycle of birth and death, just as a
      caterpillar spinning a cocoon. Evenso we cannot escape from this
      involvement so long as there is ignorance of the characteristics of
      realities. We cling to rebirth not knowing that it leads to ruin and
      misfortune. As we read: �death is certain for one who is born, as
      falling down is for a tree that has grown up.� We cling to life but
      we are born to die.

      All these similes can instill a sense of urgency in us. We have no
      time to lose and therefore, we should attend to the characteristics
      of seeing, visible object, and all realities presenting themselves at
      this moment. This is the way to understand them as just naama dhamma
      or just ruupa dhamma, non-self.



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