Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries
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Abhidhamma View : Analysis of Objects
[Presented by Dr.Tep Sastri @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]
CMA V, p.135-136:
There are six kinds of objects, namely, visible form object, sound object, smell object, taste object, tangible object, and mental object. Mental object is sixfold: sensitive matter, subtle matter, consciousness, mental factors, Nibbaana, and concepts.Every consciousness, along with its associated mental factors necessarily takes an object, for consciousness itself essentially consists in the activity of cognizing an object. One is aaramma.na, derived from a root meaning "to delight in". The other is aalambana, derived from an altogether different root meaning "to hang on to". Thus the object is that which consciousness and its concomitants delight in or that which they hang on to. In the Abhidhamma six kinds of objects are recognized, corresponding to the six senses. The first five are all included in the category of materiality. Four of these --visible form, sound, smell, and taste-- are considered to be kinds of derived matter(upaadaa ruupa) that is, secondary material phenomena dependent on the primary elements of matter. The tangible object is identified with the three of the four primary elements themselves: the earth element, or solidity, which is experienced by touch as hardness or softness; the fire element, which is experienced as heat or cold; and the air element, which is experienced as distension or pressure. The fourth primary element, the water element, has the characteristic of cohesion, and this, according to the Abhidhamma, cannot be experienced as a datum of touch but can only be cognized by the mind door.Each of the first five objects can be recognized in any of these ways: (1) through its own respective sense-door process; (2) through a mind-door process; and (3) by the process-freed cittas occurring in the role of rebirth-linking, bhavanga, and death. Mental objects --the objects of the sixth class-- cannot be recognized at all through a sense-door process. They can be cognized only by the cittas of a mind-door process or by the process-freed cittas that occur independent of the sense doors.Six kinds of objects fall into the category of mental object (dhammaarama.na). Sensitive matter(pasaadaruupa) is the sensory receptive substance in the five sense organs; it is fivefold, eye-sensitivity, ear-sensitivity, etc. Subtle matter (sukhumaruupa) includes sixteen species of material phenomena, among them the water element. Citta is also a type of mental object. Though citta experiences object, citta in turn can become an object. It should be noted that a citta in its immediacy cannot become its own object, for the cognizer cannot cognize itself; but a citta in an individual mental continuum can experience earlier cittas in that same continuum as well as the cittas of other beings. The fifty-two cetasikas can also become objects of a mind-door process, as for example, when one becomes aware of one's feelings, volitions, and emotions. Nibbaana becomes the object of cittas occurring in the mental processes of noble individuals, both trainees and Arahants. Concepts --the class of conventional realities, things which do not exist in the ultimate sense-- also fall into the category of mental object.
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