rolling_boulder wrote:With the cessation of ignorance, comes the cessation of fabrications. Presumably (from your post) this means mental fabrications.
With the cessation of mental fabrications, would there come to pass a cessation of physical fabrications?
It still seems to me that physical fabrications remain unaddressed by a cessation of ignorance and that physical fabrications are as important as mental ones to consciousness.
Also, when ignorance ceases, then consciousness ceases. Does this mean that when ignorance is completely cured, a person would cease to be conscious?
Because of (i) ignorance (avijjā), lack of direct knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, a person engages in volitional actions, wholesome and unwholesome activities of body, speech, and mind; these are (ii) the volitional formations saṅkhārā), in other words, kamma. The volitional formations sustain consciousness from one life to the next and determine where it re-arises; in this way volitional formations condition (iii) consciousness (viññāṇa). Along with consciousness, beginning with the moment of conception, comes (iv) “name-and-form” (nāmarūpa), the sentient organism with its physical form (rūpa) and its sensitive and cognitive capacities (nāma).
The most worrisome part are the links from ignorance to name and form. My inclination is just to say they don't make sense, but I think it's important to say that they don't make sense to me. However we hardly need them because the process we are interested in does not require them. I think ignorance as a problem comes in later after we have contact, but as a cause it probably conditions all the other links directly.
The deluded mind, cloaked in ignorance, projects its own internal constructs outwardly, ascribing them to the object as if they really belonged to it. As a result, what we know as the final object of cognition, what we use as the basis for our values, plans, and actions, is a patchwork product, not the original article. To be sure, the product is not wholly illusion, not sheer fantasy. It takes what is given in immediate experience as its groundwork and raw material, but along with this it includes something else: the embellishments fabricated by the mind.The springs for this process of fabrication, hidden from view, are the latent defilements. The defilements create the embellishments, project them outwardly, and use them as hooks for coming to the surface, where they cause further distortion. To correct the erroneous notions is the task of wisdom, but for wisdom to discharge its work effectively, it needs direct access to the object as it is in itself, uncluttered by the conceptual elaborations. The task of right mindfulness is to clear up the cognitive field. (Bhikkhu Bodhi, 8foldpath)
Samma wrote:Well, you are certainly not alone. DO is a mess to make sense of.
5 Other Interpretations
The description of Dependent Origination given in the previous chapter is that most often found in the scriptures and commentaries. It seeks to explain Dependent Origination in terms of the samsaravatta, the round of rebirth, showing the connections between three lifetimes -- the past, the present and the future.
Those who do not agree with this interpretation, or who would prefer something more immediate, can find alternatives not only in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, where the principle of Dependent Origination is shown occurring in its entirety in one mind moment, but can also interpret the very same words of the Buddha used to support the standard model in a different light, giving a very different picture of the principle of Dependent Origination, one which is supported by teachings and scriptural references from other sources.
The whole reason for studying the Dhamma, the teachings of the Buddha, is to search for a way to transcend suffering and attain peace and happiness. Whether we study physical or mental phenomena, the mind (citta) or its psychological factors (cetasikas), it's only when we make liberation from suffering our ultimate goal that we're on the right path: nothing less. Suffering has a cause and conditions for its existence.
Please clearly understand that when the mind is still, it's in its natural, normal state. As soon as the mind moves, it becomes conditioned (sankhāra). When the mind is attracted to something, it becomes conditioned. When aversion arises, it becomes conditioned. The desire to move here and there arises from conditioning. If our awareness doesn't keep pace with these mental proliferations as they occur, the mind will chase after them and be conditioned by them. Whenever the mind moves, at that moment, it becomes a conventional reality.
So the Buddha taught us to contemplate these wavering conditions of the mind. Whenever the mind moves, it becomes unstable and impermanent (anicca), unsatisfactory (dukkha) and cannot be taken as a self (anattā). These are the three universal characteristics of all conditioned phenomena. The Buddha taught us to observe and contemplate these movements of the mind.
It's likewise with the teaching of dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda): deluded understanding (avijjā) is the cause and condition for the arising of volitional kammic formations (sankhāra); which is the cause and condition for the arising of consciousness (viññāna); which is the cause and condition for the arising of mentality and materiality (nāma-rūpa), and so on, just as we've studied in the scriptures. The Buddha separated each link of the chain to make it easier to study. This is an accurate description of reality, but when this process actually occurs in real life the scholars aren't able to keep up with what's happening. It's like falling from the top of a tree to come crashing down to the ground below. We have no idea how many branches we've passed on the way down. Similarly, when the mind is suddenly hit by a mental impression, if it delights in it, then it flies off into a good mood. It considers it good without being aware of the chain of conditions that led there. The process takes place in accordance with what is outlined in the theory, but simultaneously it goes beyond the limits of that theory.
There's nothing that announces, ''This is delusion. These are volitional kammic formations, and that is consciousness.'' The process doesn't give the scholars a chance to read out the list as it's happening. Although the Buddha analyzed and explained the sequence of mind moments in minute detail, to me it's more like falling out of a tree. As we come crashing down there's no opportunity to estimate how many feet and inches we've fallen. What we do know is that we've hit the ground with a thud and it hurts!
The mind is the same. When it falls for something, what we're aware of is the pain. Where has all this suffering, pain, grief, and despair come from? It didn't come from theory in a book. There isn't anywhere where the details of our suffering are written down. Our pain won't correspond exactly with the theory, but the two travel along the same road. So scholarship alone can't keep pace with the reality. That's why the Buddha taught to cultivate clear knowing for ourselves. Whatever arises, arises in this knowing. When that which knows, knows in accordance with the truth, then the mind and its psychological factors are recognized as not ours. Ultimately all these phenomena are to be discarded and thrown away as if they were rubbish. We shouldn't cling to or give them any meaning.
When days and nights pass by, they're not the only things that pass by. The body constantly decays and falls apart, too. The body decays bit by bit, but we don't realize it. Only after it's decayed a lot — when the hair has gone gray and the teeth fall out — do we realize that it's old. This is knowledge on a crude and really blatant level. But as for the gradual decaying that goes on quietly inside, we aren't aware of it.
As a result, we cling to the body as being us — every single part of it. Its eyes are our eyes, the sights they see are the things we see, the sensation of seeing is something we sense. We don't see these things as elements. Actually, the element of vision and the element of form make contact. The awareness of the contact is the element of consciousness: the mental phenomenon that senses sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and all. This we don't realize, which is why we latch onto everything — eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, intellect — as being us or ours. Then, when the body decays, we feel that we are growing old; when it dies and mental phenomena stop, we feel that we die.
Once you've taken the elements apart, though, there's nothing. These things lose their meaning on their own. They're simply physical and mental elements, without any illness or death. If you don't penetrate into things this way, you stay deluded and blind. For instance, when we chant "jara-dhammamhi" — I am subject to death — that's simply to make us mindful and uncomplacent in the beginning stages of the practice. When you reach the stage of insight meditation, though, there's none of that. All assumptions, all conventional truths get ripped away. They all collapse. When the body is empty of self, what is there to latch onto? Physical elements, mental elements, they're already empty of any self. You have to see this clearly all the way through. Otherwise, they gather together and form a being, both physical and mental, and then you latch onto them as being your self.
Once we see the world as elements, however, there's no death. And once we can see that there's no death, that's when we'll really know. If we still see that we die, that shows that we haven't yet seen the Dhamma. We're still stuck on the outer shell. And when this is the case, what sort of Dhamma can we expect to know? You have to penetrate deeper in, to contemplate, taking things apart.
When Conventional Truths Collapse
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... .html#void