I will occasionally post passages from Abhidhamma in Daily Life by Nina Van Gorkom, which can be found online if you don't have the book edition. I will do it in a pretty random way, just passages that I want to review personally. Hopefully of interest to others. (I will try to avoid any passages that may spark debates about practice/application etc.)
Please feel free to raise any questions etc. We will be able to ask Nina for clarification if need be.
from Chapter One: The Four Paramattha Dhammas.
There are two kinds of reality: mental phenomena (nama) and physical phenomena (rupa). Nama experiences something; rupa does not experience anything. Seeing is, for example, a type of nama; it experiences visible object. Visible object itself is rupa; it does not experience anything. What we take for self are only nama and rupa which arise and fall away. The 'Visuddhimagga' ('Path of Purity', a commentary) explains (Ch. XVIII, 25):
For this has been said:
- 'As with the assembly of parts.
The word "chariot" is countenanced,
So, When the khandhas are present,
'A being' is said in common usage'
(Kindred Sayings I, 135).
The five khandhas (aggregates) are nothing else but nama and rupa ... So in many hundred suttas there is only mentality-materiality which is illustrated, not a being, not a person. Therefore, just as when the component parts (of a chariot) such as axles, wheels, frame, poles...
are arranged in a certain way, there comes to be the mere conventional term 'chariot', yet in the ultimate sense, when each part is examined, there is no chariot, ...so too,... there comes to be the mere conventional term 'a being', 'a person', yet in the ultimate sense, when each component is examined, there is no being as a basis for the assumption ' I am' or ' I ' ; in the ultimate sense there is only mentality-materiality. The vision of one who sees in this way is called correct vision.(ADL,p.4, quoting visudimaggha)