Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?

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Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 12, 2012 3:42 am

Greetings,

I'm trying to ascertain whether in Classical Theravada, rupa-kalapa is to be understood as noumenon or phenomenon.

I've read various things that seem to regard it as one, the other, or sway interchangeably amongst the two...

This example one talks explicitly about phenomena (though I wonder whether it's a deliberate choice of words, appropriately juxtaposed against noumenon?)...

Nyanatiloka. Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines wrote:Rūpa-kalāpa: 'material group', material unit, designates a combination of several physical phenomena constituting a temporary unity. Thus, for instance, the so-called 'dead matter' forms the most primitive group, consisting only of 8 physical phenomena, called the 'pure 8-fold unit' or 'octad' suddhatthakakalāpa to wit: the 4 elements the solid, fluid, heat, motion; colour, smell, taste, nutriment pathavī, āpo, tejo, vāyo; vanna, gandha, rasa, ojā In Vis.M, and elsewhere, it is also called ojatthamaka-kalāpa 'the octad with nutriment as the 8th factor'.

The simplest form of living matter is the '9-fold vitality unit' or 'life-ennead' jīvita-navaka-kalāpa formed by adding 'vitality' to the octad. Seven decades, or units of ten dasaka-kalāpa are formed by adding to the 9-fold unit one of the following material phenomena: heart physical seat of mind, sex, eye, ear, nose, tongue or body. - See Vis.M XVIII, 4.


Whereas these explanations which veer into the direction of "atoms" sound decidedly like they're referring to underlying noumena...
U Ba Khin wrote:The Buddha taught His disciples that everything that exists at the material level is composed of "Kalapas." Kalapas are material units very much smaller than atoms, which die out immediately after they come into being. Each kalapa is a mass formed of the eight basic constituents of matter, the solid, liquid, calorific and oscillatory, together with color, smell, taste, and nutriment. The first four are called primary qualities, and are predominant in a kalapa. The other four are subsidiaries, dependent upon and springing from the former. A kalapa is the minutest particle in the physical plane — still beyond the range of science today. It is only when the eight basic material constituents unite together that the kalapa is formed. In other words, the momentary collocation of these eight basic elements of behavior makes a man just for that moment, which in Buddhism is known as a kalapa. The life-span of a kalapa is termed a moment, and a trillion such moments are said to elapse during the wink of a man's eye. These kalapas are all in a state of perpetual change or flux.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el231.html

Narada wrote:By akasa, as one of the 28 rupas, is meant not so much the outside space as the intra-atomic space that 'limits' or separates material groups (rupakalapas). Hence in Abhidhamma it is regarded as a 'pariccheda-rupa'. Although akasa is not an objective reality, as it is invariably associated with all material units that arise in four ways, Abhidhamma teaches that it, too, is produced by the same four causes such as Kamma, mind, seasonal changes. and food. Simultaneous with the arising and perishing of the conditioned rupas, akasa rupa also arises and perishes.

Source: http://www.budsas.org/ebud/abhisgho/abhis06.htm

Ashin Janakabhivamsa wrote:1. Cakkhupadasa (Sensitive Part of Eye)

The sensitive part which lies at the centre of the pupil and which enables one to see objects is cakkhu. It is made up of many kalapas or cells which can receive and comprehend various colours, lights, the ruparammana (sense-objects of sight). This cakkhupasada is the prima cause of eye-consciousness (cakkhu vinnana).

2. Sotapasada (Sensitive Part of Ear)

Inside your ear there is sensitive part called sota pasada, which is made up of many kalapas, sensitive to sound. It can receive and interpret sounds and cause sound-consciousness (sota vinnana).

3. Ghanapasada (Sensitive Part of Nose)

Inside your nose there is a special portion of many kalapas which resemble the hoof of a goat. It is sensitive to scent and can produce nose-consciousness (ghana vinnana).

Source: http://www.dhammaweb.net/htmlbook/page.php?page=11&id=8

It would seem to me that a criterion that would distinguish phenomena from noumena as it pertains to rupa-kalapa is the question "Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?" If yes, then it's noumenon, if no, then it's phenomenon.

How does Classical Theravada answer the "Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?" question?

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:20 am

Hi Retro,
I think you'll find different points of view regarding the existence of kalapa within what most perceive as "Classical Theravada" - which is my understanding. I'll see what I can uncover tonight if I have time.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:27 am

Greetings Ben,

Thanks. I'd be especially interested in anything from the ancient Pali commentaries as I don't believe rupa-kalapas make an appearance in the suttas themselves, so therefore the commentaries are likely to be the oldest available source of information on them.

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: Does rupa-kalapa exist even when it's not being experienced?

Postby Alex123 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:45 pm

Hello Retro,

Of course rūpa-kalāpas exist even if not perceived. That is how they still occur for unpercipient beings (asaññasatta). They have vital nonad and material phenomenon produced by "temperature" with exception of sound does occur. Page 257-258 in CMA.

rūpa-kalāpas can be born of consciousness, kamma, nutriment, or temperature. Two of these are mind independent.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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