What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Discussion of Abhidhamma and related Commentaries

Moderator: Mahavihara moderator

What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:54 pm

The four great elements:
-The solid or earth-element
-The liquid or water-element
-The heat or fire-element
-The motion or wind-element

With these categories in mind...

What is a gelatin?

Image

What is a liquid crystal?

Image

And what is a plasma?

Image

One might assume that these three are some manner of "combination" of the four properties, but in what way are they separate properties which are combined, and not something altogether different?

To perhaps be more clear: What would each of the elements be in total purity, in the absence of the rest (a substance of "pure" fire or "pure" liquid)? And what makes the properties of solidity, liquidity, temperature, and kinetic energy more fundamental to the classification of rupa than chemical or atomic composition?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby termite » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:24 am

(Just to be clear, I'm not answering from any "Abhidhammic" insight. :) )

It seems to me that those four "properties" of matter are experiential in nature, rather than theoretical.
:reading:
An old science teacher of mine once described a gelatin as "a liquid dissolved in a solid." A plasma looks an awful lot like fire to me. As for phase-changing materials, one might observe that they are whatever they are when they're whatever they are. :)

Some materials don't have a precise moment when they are either one thing or another. Glass and taffy come to mind as materials which flow more the warmer they are, while being quite stiff when cold. Hard to say when they're liquids or solids. Hit 'em with a hammer and see. :)

All right, I'm leaving now! :focus:
termite
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:36 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:01 am

Correct theories are the underpinnings for accurate descriptions of experience and descriptions of experience themselves have theoretical implications.

If we regard these four elements as the irreducible or fundamental constituents of the experience of rupa, then by what combination are these experiences achieved? Does fire not feel differently than being shocked by a plasma -- such as a lightning bolt or electric current? Don't gelatins feel distinct experientially from both solids and liquids?

Another thing that occurs to me: What about radiation (which includes color and light, but also the kinds of radiation that can burn your skin, like microwaves, and background radiation that permeates the entire universe)? What is radiation?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:22 am

Must be a long quiet night were you are. Within the Abhidhamma the elements are meant to be used to look at one's actual experiences, not describe the "reality" out there.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19305
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:22 am

Eat the gelatin and find out.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:12 pm

The four great elements:
-The solid or earth-element
-The liquid or water-element
-The heat or fire-element
-The motion or wind-element

With these categories in mind...

What is a gelatin?


The Abhidhamma's elemental analysis is concerned with animated rupa, not with external non-animated rupa.

When gelatin is part of the connective tissue in a living creature's body it will consist of material octads etc. in which all the elements are present.

When the being is killed and the gelatin removed, it will be an object of eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness etc. But its elemental composition will not be an abhidhammic concern.

What is a liquid crystal?

And what is a plasma?


Ditto.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:38 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
The four great elements:
-The solid or earth-element
-The liquid or water-element
-The heat or fire-element
-The motion or wind-element

With these categories in mind...

What is a gelatin?


The Abhidhamma's elemental analysis is concerned with animated rupa, not with external non-animated rupa.

When gelatin is part of the connective tissue in a living creature's body it will consist of material octads etc. in which all the elements are present.

When the being is killed and the gelatin removed, it will be an object of eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness etc. But its elemental composition will not be an abhidhammic concern.

What is a liquid crystal?

And what is a plasma?


Ditto.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

What's the difference between an object which is animated or non-animated, and an object which has or lacks the wind property? Does it have something to do with the life property? Technically, anything mentioned here could be stuffed into the digestive system somehow (although trying to eat a plasma ball or LCD screen would probably be a bad idea! :)). And why would external rupa not be important to analyze? Aren't they at least one-fourth of what makes up consciousness, phassa being the contact through sense-gates, through bodily rupas towards external rupas?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:20 pm

Individual wrote:What's the difference between an object which is animated or non-animated, and an object which has or lacks the wind property?


I'm not sure that I understand the question. The wind element can be both internal or external and can be part of animated or non-animated matter.

Does it have something to do with the life property?


If the material life faculty is cut off, then the rupa wouldn't be animated. But the main difference lies in mode of origin. Internal matter may be temperature-generated, mind-generated, kamma-generated or nutriment-generated. External matter is all temperature-generated. That is to say, it arises from material causes only.

And why would external rupa not be important to analyze?


It isn't normally the rupa that serves as the basis for sakkaya-ditthi with respect to matter. At least not in the case of humans. (Tree devatas who deludedly believe themselves to be trees are another story).
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Individual » Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:07 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Individual wrote:What's the difference between an object which is animated or non-animated, and an object which has or lacks the wind property?


I'm not sure that I understand the question. The wind element can be both internal or external and can be part of animated or non-animated matter.

Does it have something to do with the life property?


If the material life faculty is cut off, then the rupa wouldn't be animated. But the main difference lies in mode of origin. Internal matter may be temperature-generated, mind-generated, kamma-generated or nutriment-generated. External matter is all temperature-generated. That is to say, it arises from material causes only.

And why would external rupa not be important to analyze?


It isn't normally the rupa that serves as the basis for sakkaya-ditthi with respect to matter. At least not in the case of humans. (Tree devatas who deludedly believe themselves to be trees are another story).

Thanks. I still don't think I fully understand, but my questions would probably be too numerous to be worth your time.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:05 am

Bhante,
Dhammanando wrote:The Abhidhamma's elemental analysis is concerned with animated rupa, not with external non-animated rupa.

Just to drill down a bit more, is the Abhidhamma's elemental analysis concerned with external animated rupa? My impression is that the nama-rupa of other individuals is not an Abdhidhammic concern, just one's own. I welcome correction if this is not right.
:anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:51 am

Jechbi wrote:Just to drill down a bit more, is the Abhidhamma's elemental analysis concerned with external animated rupa?


Yes, for satipatthana with respect to external dhammas means the dhammas belonging to another being.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:57 am

Dhammanando wrote:Yes, for satipatthana with respect to external dhammas means the dhammas belonging to another being.
Thank you, Bhante. To drill down even a bit more, is this particular application of Abhidhamma relevant to those for whom such dhammas are inaccessible as an object of satipatthana? And if so, would that mean that for many of us, external dhammas are not an Abhidhammic concern for the time being?
:anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:26 am

Jechbi wrote:To drill down even a bit more, is this particular application of Abhidhamma relevant to those for whom such dhammas are inaccessible as an object of satipatthana?


It wouldn't be relevant to their own progress in satipatthana, but could conceivably be relevant in other respects. E.g., if they ever found themselves teaching satipatthana to a jhana-wallah who was accomplished in mind-reading and spent much of his time engaged in it.

And if so, would that mean that for many of us, external dhammas are not an Abhidhammic concern for the time being?


They are an abhidhammic concern, but only as external ayatanas of our own eyes, ears etc.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:39 am

Thank you, Bhante. :anjali:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Slothrop » Wed Jun 17, 2009 2:56 am

In answering Individual's question, I perceive there was a communication breakdown. These are indeed interesting questions from Individual for which I too would like to hear answers. Perhaps there was a retreat into jargon that needs to be bridged further, since some terms have multiple meanings depending on the context, be it Buddhist or Western.
User avatar
Slothrop
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:54 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:12 am

Slothrop wrote:In answering Individual's question, I perceive there was a communication breakdown. ... Perhaps there was a retreat into jargon that needs to be bridged further ...

If that's the case, then the question should be revisited. Can you be more specific with regard to what you perceive was left unanswered?
:thanks:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 17, 2009 3:43 am

Greetings,

As I understand it, the elements refer to sensations that can be experienced within the nama-rupa complex.

They are experiential classifications, and provide benefit in the sense that they offer a classification system for what is felt, so that they can be rightfully known as anicca, anatta and dukkha.

They are not elementary classifications of the type found in a periodic table.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby serg_o » Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:58 am

Hello,

in Abhidhammattha sangaha it's stated that eight rupas are inseparable, AFAIUI that is they occur together:
Colour, odour, taste, sap (50) and the four Essentials
are the eight kinds (51) of material phenomena that are
inseparable; the rest are separable

Comment:
As a rule these eight råpas are bound together.
The four Essentials are inseparable and so are the other
four Derivatives. Hence they are also termed ‘suddhaññhaka’
(‘pure octad’) and ‘ojaññhaka’ (‘with ojà as the
eighth’) The growth of inanimate matter is also due to the
presence of this universal Ojà

Pali text, can't copy correctly from pdf I think due to font, so - Velthius:
Va.n.no, gandho, raso, ojaa, bhuutacatukka~nc’ aati
a.t.thavidham pi avinibbhogaruupa.m; itara.m vinibbhogaruupa.m.


I understand this so: if we see (encounter) something material, say an apple, a piece of coal, body of another person, etc.,
then it has at once some rigidity (earth element), an amount of heat in it (fire element), ..., form and color, smell, taste etc. These properties manifest themselves together.
Not like a Cheshire cat's smile that we encounter a pure "earth element" without form, color, heat in it etc.

So I think gelatin would have some proportion of all four mahabhutas in it.

Best wishes,
Sergey.

P.S. Oh, bhante Dhammanando has already written about octads here:
it will consist of material octads etc. in which all the elements are present.
serg_o
 
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:46 pm
Location: Russia, Zhukovsky

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby Slothrop » Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:56 pm

So since they are experiential and not essential, then the question is not, "What is a gelatin?" but rather, "How is a gelatin experienced?" Is that right?
User avatar
Slothrop
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:54 am

Re: What's a gelatin, liquid crystal, or plasma?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:44 pm

Greetings,

Slothrop wrote:So since they are experiential and not essential, then the question is not, "What is a gelatin?" but rather, "How is a gelatin experienced?" Is that right?


The answer to which would be what venerable Dhammanando stated above... "When gelatin is part of the connective tissue in a living creature's body it will consist of material octads etc. in which all the elements are present."

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Next

Return to Abhidhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests