vedana question

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vedana question

Postby Mettabhhavana11 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:20 pm

The Abhidhamma holds that only the sense of touch is accompanied by pain or pleasure, while feelings arising at the other four sense doors are invariably neutral (quoted from Satipatthana pg 171 by Analayo).

The question that comes up is what distinguishes in pleasant or unpleasant feeling tones?

Thank you for any commentary on this.
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Re: vedana question

Postby Sekha » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:39 pm

Mettabhhavana11 wrote:The Abhidhamma holds that only the sense of touch is accompanied by pain or pleasure, while feelings arising at the other four sense doors are invariably neutral (quoted from Satipatthana pg 171 by Analayo).

I am surprised to learn this. Waiting for further comments.
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Re: vedana question

Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:04 pm

Yes, I recently read this too. This idea is that the mind adds pleasant and unpleasant vedana based on sanna (I think), in all of the sense doors but touch. Ven. Analayo points out that the suttas contain numerous references to unpleasant sounds, sights ect. As far as I can tell there is no way to tell in this case if the suttas are referring to unpleasant/pleasant vedana at these sense doors, or if it is in alignment with the abhidhammic analysis.
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Re: vedana question

Postby Mettabhhavana11 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:12 pm

As I know,,sanna,,is generally translated as perception.
Is it ,,,sanna,,recognizing what is pleasant filings or unpleasant? Can sanna be translated as recognition?
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Re: vedana question

Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:32 pm

Sanna is what recognises the features of an object taken by vinnana (consciousness) eg. colour, or recognition, for example naming a a ball "ball". I am not sure whether this includes recognition of vedana or whether vedana itself recognises pleasant or unpleasant.

Analayo pg 204: "Cognition" (sanna) of an object refers to the act of identifying raw sensory data with the help of concepts or labels, such as when one sees a coloured object and "re-cognizes" as yellow, red or white, ect."


Ven. Analayo says on pg. 171 that according to abhidhamma the delight or displeasure in an object of the senses (apart from touch) is due to mental evaluation. Interesting, given that this would seem to place more emphasis on personal disposition in whether one finds certain sounds ect. pleasant or unpleasant.
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Re: vedana question

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:16 pm

As Coyote explains, according to the Abhidhamma the pleasent/unpleasant feeling from physical sense bases other than touch is said to be added later.

This is explained in quite a lot of detail in Chapter III of:
A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammatthasangaha of Acariya Anuruddha, Bhikkhu Bodhi (editor).
Online at: http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hxo ... ng&f=false

Bhikkhu Bodhi notes:
Though it may seem that pleasure and pain also accompany the other four kinds of [physical] sense consciousness [other than touch], the Abhidhamma maintains that the immediate moment of sense consciousness in these cases is necessarily accompanied by neutral feeling. In the javana phase belonging to the same cognitive process ... mental pleasure may arise towards and agreeable sight, sound, smell, taste, mental pain may arise towards a disagreeable sight, etc, ... these, however, are mental feelings rather than physical feelings, and they arise subsequent to the moment of bare sense consciousness. ...


This makes sense ( :tongue:). The colours and shapes that one perceives when viewing an object are not, in themselves, pleasant or unpleasant.

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Re: vedana question

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:23 pm

Coyote wrote:Ven. Analayo says on pg. 171 that according to abhidhamma the delight or displeasure in an object of the senses (apart from touch) is due to mental evaluation. Interesting, given that this would seem to place more emphasis on personal disposition in whether one finds certain sounds ect. pleasant or unpleasant.


This does seem consistent with the way dukkha is described in the suttas, eg here in MN141:

"And what is pain? Whatever is experienced as bodily pain, bodily discomfort, pain or discomfort born of bodily contact, that is called pain.
And what is distress? Whatever is experienced as mental pain, mental discomfort, pain or discomfort born of mental contact, that is called distress."
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Re: vedana question

Postby Bakmoon » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:57 am

This actually makes total sense to me as the sense of touch is biologically different from the others in that there are specific nerve endings for pain, so it would be very sensible that stepping on a nail for example, would lead to dukkha vedana immediatly because the pain isn't just an interpretation, but an actual part of the sensory process itself.
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