cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SamKR » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:12 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Would actually seeing this in any way reduce greed, aversion or delusion? And if so, how?

daverupa wrote:
SamKR wrote:... such level of highest "resolution" (vs.) trying to understand "arising and passing away" in all kinds of normal experiences.


This last seems to be advised and encouraged, in the suttas. The former is not.

:shrug:

SamKR wrote:Seeing experiences arising and passing at such level of highest "resolution" would make one aware of utter impermanence, suffering and insubstantiality (anatta) of all phenomena. But I doubt if it is possible for any common person and if it is even worthy to invest time on it rather than trying to understand "arising and passing away" in all kinds of normal experiences.

But if one encounters (while meditating or not) rapidly arising experiences (like body sensations) then that is one's normal experience of that moment. If we don't take "billions" literally and consider it as a hyperbole, as Mike suggested, it is possible to observe such rapid arisings on the order of 10's or perhaps even 100's per second even for a common mediator. Such experiences, as observed in Goenka and Mahasi methods, are not unhelpful to reduce greed, aversion, and delusion.
Last edited by SamKR on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:14 pm

Even if the 'billions of mind-moments' idea doesn't have much ontological weight, it may have pragmatic value in the practice of vipassana. When one is analyzing the content of the mind, or analyzing particular sensations, it may be useful to believe there is the potential to discern the content of one's experience with greater acuity than one is currently capable. If one is never satisfied with their acuity of perception, they will endeavor to improve it. Developing such a fineness of perception may deepen insight, or make states of absorption more readily accessible.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:58 pm

Greetings,

kirk5a wrote:According to N.K.G. Mendis in The Abhidhamma in Practice:
The process occurs so rapidly that mindfulness has to be alert and brisk to recognize at least the determining thought moment — the vottapana — so that one can govern the javana thought moments by wholesome volition.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html

Interesting... I wonder if that author would consider your common garden variety satipatthana (dhammanupassana specifically) adequate to the task at hand? I know the Buddha did.

Interesting also that such a reason would be unacceptable to the Sujinites given the audacity involved with volitionally taking ownership of the qualitative nature of cittas... which leads me to wonder what benefit they would see in seeing such infinitesimally small cittas in action?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:23 pm

retrofuturist wrote:... garden variety satipatthana

+

...such a reason would be unacceptable to the Sujinites given the audacity involved with volitionally taking ownership of the qualitative nature of cittas... which leads me to wonder what benefit they would see in seeing such infinitesimally small cittas in action?


I was wondering precisely these two things, the second piece especially given the related cross-post.

:popcorn:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SDC » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:33 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
SDC wrote:Time is a construct built on an interpretation of experience.


I'm not sure, given that time still appears to pass while we are sleeping. But if this is true, then presumably the idea of discrete moments in time is also a construct?


In theory, yes. I would like to emphasize, however, that while I am saying it is a "construct built on an interpretation", I in no way mean to deny that this construct is experienced. It is. And quite fundamentally. In fact time is inseparable from existence - perhaps the most fundamentally interpreted construct. It is because of this idea of the existence of a self in a world by which time has purpose: to keep existence organized - specifically to keep the self orientated, to always KNOW where "I" is and what "I" is doing with regards to the world (among others types of analysis and orientation).



My point in regards to this topic is, that while this construction is experienced and can and should be analyzed, it is - as far as I have come to understand - done in an effort to reduce that construction's validity. Any practice or theory that is either deliberately or inadvertently lending support to this construction should be approached with caution. To say "cittas are in time" (in turn dhamma is IN time) is very bold and perhaps even a bit irresponsible. It gives great power and value to TIME , while - in my opinion - undermines understanding of the fundamental nature of the DHAMMA.

I doubt the commentators see time this way, but it seems they are assuming that time is on the level of dhamma. How can that be possible? Is nibbana in time too? (This last one is rhetorical, and not intended to take the discussion off topic)

This is of course, just my opinion and I apologize for harping on this aspect of the topic.
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:28 am

73. What is time? Strictly speaking, it is a mere concept
which does not exist in an absolute sense. On the
other hand what space is to matter, time is to mind.

Conventionally we speak of past (atãta), present
(paccuppanna), and future (anàgata).
Past is defined as that which has gone beyond its own
state or the moments of genesis, development, and cessation
(attano sabhàvaü uppàdàdikkhaõaü và atãtà atikkantà
atãtà).
Present is that which on account of this and that reason
enters, goes, exists above the moments of genesis etc.
(taü taü kàraõaü pañicca uppàdàdikkhaõaü uddhaü
pannà, gatà, pavattà == paccuppannà).
Future is that which has not yet reached both states
(tadubhayam’ pi na àgatà sampattà).
According to Abhidhamma each consciousness consists
of three phases—uppàda (genesis), ñhiti (development),
and bhaïga (dissolution or cessation). In the view
of some commentators there is no intermediate ñhiti stage
but only the stages of arising and passing away. Each
thought-moment is followed by another. Time is thus the
sine qua non of the succession of mental states. The fundamental
unit of time is the duration of a thought-moment.
Commentators say that the rapidity of these fleeting
thought-moments is such that within the brief duration of
a flash of lightning there may be billions of thoughtmoments.
Matter, which also constantly changes, endures only
for seventeen thought-moments, being the time duration
for one thought-process.
Past is gone. Future has not come. We live only for
one thought-moment and that slips into the irrevocable
past. In one sense there is only the eternal now. In another
sense the so-called present is the transitional stage
from the future to the past.
The Dictionary of Philosophy defines time “as the
general medium in which all events take place in succession
or appear to take place in succession”.
Atthasàlinã states that time is a concept derived from
this or that phenomenon. And it does not exist by nature,
it is merely a concept. (Taü taü upàdàya pa¤¤atto kàlo
nàma. So pan’ esa sabhàvato avijjamànattà pa¤¤attimattako

pAGE 215

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:27 am

Hell all friends.

You have to pay attention to the following statement:

"In that case there is merely a vibration of the bhavanga,
but no genesis of a thought-process."
=======
At times when an object enters the consciousness
there is merely a vibration of the life-continuum. Then the
object is termed ‘very slight’

P239: 242
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 3:57 am

kirk5a wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I often wonder whether even if one could observe such incredible things... so what?

Would actually seeing this in any way reduce greed, aversion or delusion? And if so, how?

According to N.K.G. Mendis in The Abhidhamma in Practice:
The process occurs so rapidly that mindfulness has to be alert and brisk to recognize at least the determining thought moment — the vottapana — so that one can govern the javana thought moments by wholesome volition.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html

Wow, that author is "interesting".

What, IMHO, is most important to learn from the detailed explanation of processes and the rapidity of the rise and fall, is the anattaness of it all. In other words it is supporting the development of right view.
A better author to follow, again in my opinion, would be
http://www.wisdom-books.com/ProductDetail.asp?PID=398
the Burmese who wrote the forward to Dhatukatha of Pali Text Society, the “Discourse on Elements,”


[i]They arise and cease within an exceedingly short period of time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning, which lasts for a microsecond (10^-6 second), the mental elements (cittta & cetasika) arise and cease a trillion (10^12) times. (1,000,000,000,000 times). This is just an estimate.
The subcommentary takes the higher figure of 10^15. Thus the mental elements arise and cease 10^15 x 10^6 = 10^21 times per second. Their extremely short duration is also mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya.
As regards the material energies/elements, since they endure for 17 thought-moments (consciousness). they arise and cease 10^21/17 (app= 58,823,530, 000,000, 000,000) times per second.

But because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of (1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform” and (4) “I can feel”, ........[u]Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions"[/u] (endquote Thein Nyun.........[/i]


You see because of the continuity, and that the rapidity of the rise and fall obscures the fact that elements fall away instantly, there come about such wrong views as the one shown by the book you cited.
It is somewhat surprising to see someone who studies Abhidhamma think that he can control processes. But again this simply shows reveals how deep-seated the view of self is.
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:04 am

Hi Robert
I think you and N.G.K Mendis both are correct.
:)
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:54 am

SDC wrote:I doubt the commentators see time this way, but it seems they are assuming that time is on the level of dhamma. How can that be possible?.

Umm this is a rather unfortunate conclusion as the Commentaries are emphatic that dhammas are NOT on a level with time. Dhammas, elements, khandhas are all that actually exists. However, the elements like cittas arise and pass away in unbroken series. So to discuss and understand this time is a necessary convention. AS Narada says (see the post by SarathW above)
What is time? Strictly speaking, it is a mere concept
which does not exist in an absolute sense. On the
other hand what space is to matter, time is to mind.
Conventionally we speak of past (atãta), present
(paccuppanna), and future (anàgata).
Past is defined as that which has gone beyond its own
state or the moments of genesis, development, and cessation
(attano sabhàvaü uppàdàdikkhaõaü và atãtà atikkantà
atãtà).

pAGE 215
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:21 am

from Nyanaponika page 164
time.PNG
time.PNG (83.49 KiB) Viewed 131 times
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:21 am

robertk wrote:They arise and cease within an exceedingly short period of time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning, which lasts for a microsecond (10^-6 second), the mental elements (cittta & cetasika) arise and cease a trillion (10^12) times. (1,000,000,000,000 times). This is just an estimate.
Just an estimate? Based upon what? What actual, empirical basis is used for making such an "estimate?" A wink of an eye and a flash of lightning (as seen by the eye) do not remotely approach these figures.
    The term lightning flash is used to describe the entire discharge, which takes on the order of 0.2 seconds. But a flash is usually made up of several shorter discharges which last less than a millisecond and which repeat rapidly enough that the eye cannot resolve the multiple events. These individual discharges are called strokes. Sometimes the strokes are separated enough in time for the eye to resolve them, and the lightning appears to flicker. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... g2.html#c2


The subcommentary takes the higher figure of 10^15. Thus the mental elements arise and cease 10^15 x 10^6 = 10^21 times per second. Their extremely short duration is also mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya.
As regards the material energies/elements, since they endure for 17 thought-moments (consciousness). they arise and cease 10^21/17 (app= 58,823,530, 000,000, 000,000) times per second.
Does the AN really support these astronomical, unrealistic, imaginary figures?

But because the functions of the energies give rise to the concepts of continuity, collection and form the ideas arise of (1) the initial effort that has to be exerted when a deed is about to be performed and (2) the care that has to be taken while the deed is being performed to its completion. And this leads to the subsequent ideas (3) “I can perform” and (4) “I can feel”, ........[u]Thus these four imaginary characteristic functions of being have bought about a deep-rooted belief in their existence.But the elements have not the time or span of duration to carry out such functions"[/[/i]u] (endquote Thein Nyun.........[/i]
This cannot be taken seriously.

You see because of the continuity, and that the rapidity of the rise and fall obscures the fact that elements fall away instantly, there come about such wrong views as the one shown by the book you cited.
It is somewhat surprising to see someone who studies Abhidhamma think that he can control processes. But again this simply shows reveals how deep-seated the view of self is.
I wonder what taking these numbers seriously, even as an estimate, reveals.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:23 am

and on page 165
time 2.PNG
time 2.PNG (44.73 KiB) Viewed 130 times


http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books9/Nyana ... tudies.pdf
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:25 am

robertk wrote:from Nyanaponika page 164 . . .
And which book would that be?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:40 am

on page 169 http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
time3.PNG
time3.PNG (32.19 KiB) Viewed 121 times
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:43 am

I would like to see in Ven Nyanaponika's unnamed book, which is a study primarily looking at the actual Abhidhamma Pitaka texts, support for the fantastical numbers we are seeing above.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:46 am

tiltbillings wrote:
robertk wrote:They arise and cease within an exceedingly short period of time. In the wink of an eye or a flash of lightning, which lasts for a microsecond (10^-6 second), the mental elements (cittta & cetasika) arise and cease a trillion (10^12) times. (1,000,000,000,000 times). This is just an estimate.
Just an estimate? Based upon what? What actual, empirical basis is used for making such an "estimate?" A wink of an eye and a flash of lightning (as seen by the eye) do not remotely approach these figures.

That was the first thing I checked as well. 200,000 to 300,000 microseconds for those things. Not confidence inspiring.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:I wonder what taking these numbers seriously, even as an estimate, reveals.

*comic relief break*
The Total Perspective Vortex is allegedly the most horrible torture device to which a sentient being can be subjected.
When you are put into the Vortex you are given just one momentary glimpse of the entire unimaginable infinity of creation, and somewhere in it a tiny little mark, a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot, which says, "You are here."[6]

...since every piece of matter in the Universe is in someway affected by every other piece of matter in the Universe, it is in theory possible to extrapolate the whole of creation - every Galaxy, every sun, every planet, their orbits, their composition, and their economic and social history from, say, one small piece of fairy cake.[8]

Only Zaphod Beeblebrox is reported to have survived the Vortex unscathed (and then to have eaten the small piece of fairy cake). When it showed him the "You Are Here" marker, Zaphod correctly interpreted the Vortex as simply telling him that he was the most important being in the universe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Pers ... ive_Vortex
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:06 am

kirk5a wrote: Not confidence inspiring.
These numbers find no basis in the Sutta Pitaka, nor, that I have seen, in the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The interesting question is, are these numbers a Theravada commentarial invention, or are they taken into the Theravada from other Abhidhamma schools. Either way, this is not the Dhamma at its best.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 12, 2013 7:13 am

kirk5a wrote:*comic relief break*


Image
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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