retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,Ñāṇa wrote:Ven. Ñāṇananda, Seeing Through: A Guide to Insight Meditation:
The Buddha has compared the aggregate of perception to a mirage. Now if perception is mirage, what is 'rūpa saññā' or a visual percept? That also must be a mirage. What about 'sadda saññā'? What about the auditory percept or what strikes the ear? That too must be a mirage. Though it is not something that one sees with the eye, it has the nature of a mirage. To take as real what is of a mirage-nature, is a delusion. It is something that leads to a delusion. It is an illusion that leads to a delusion. In order to understand deeply this mirage-nature in sensory perception, there is a need for a more refined way of mental attending.
This bolded section seems strongly opposed to the Abhidhamma world-view, where not only are paramattha-dhammas not an illusion, they're deemed to be ultimate realities. Note, it's not their illusory nature that is deemed the ultimate-reality in the Abhidhamma schema, but it is the view of the very existence and reality of the dhammas themselves which is regarded as panna (wisdom) rather than delusion.
Not sure that's quite right when representing the abhidhamma (and commentarial in particular) manner of approaching this issue. Perhaps if you said - "it is the view of the very reality of the conditioned dhammas themselves which is regarded as panna (wisdom) rather than delusion" - that might be a little closer to what abdhidhamma (and commentaries in particular) are saying. Anyway, the point is I guess that afaik there's no place in the abhi/comm that says that dhammas are in fact not conditioned. So, if they're in fact conditioned, then such words as "exist, reality, mirage" etc need to be considered in the context of conditionality.
So, sometimes more positive statements like "reality" seem useful, and sometimes more negative statements like "mirage" seem useful, but none of that defies conditionality and therefore shouldn't be considered in the context of eternalism/nihilism. My own conjecture is that in the commentarial approach more positive statements are used for describing the initial stages of insight, whereas more negative statements are used to describe more advanced stages of insights. In the case of Ven.Nananada, I'm guessing he's on the more advanced stages, hence his preference for more negative statements, but then again his "mirage" statements shouldn't be considered in the context of nihilism, but in the context of conditionality, just like abhi/comm. Otherwise, neither makes much sense.