contemplating the aggregates

Discussion of Satipatthana bhavanā and Vipassana bhavana.

Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:19 pm

alan... wrote:perception: the six senses.


I think it's more than that... it's a kind of "coloring," where a specific character of something would be noticed, and then usually used as identification. What kind of characteristics we notice depends on the sankharas involved.

For example, when we feel drowsy during meditation, the Buddha said to develop the perception of light. When you focus on the "light" with the objects, or is reflecting off them, then the surroundings around you will brighten up quite noticeably.

It's not that the light actually becomes intensified, or is imagined... it's just that the perception changed. Many people seem to take it for granted that their own perceptions are something that would be definitive, when they're actually changeable... most of the time it's beyond their control, if they're not aware of it, or they're not sure how to change it.

consciousness: knowing, the light behind the projector.


I disagree with this metaphor. Consciousness is just a construction out of the sankharas that were involved... it arises only when there is a contact between a sense and its object.

the only thing is i see a consciousness that never changes except when sleeping or dying. however this consciousness has no characteristics that are personal so it is not self. it is no different than a flame, it's certainly an action, but not a personal or permanent one. i have trouble seeing it as constantly changing as it is so impersonal! like a star, it certainly has a beginning and an end, you can't see them for half the day and they twinkle, but for the most part they are always there and yet they are still totally impermanent.

i suppose it goes from very wakeful to sleepy pretty frequently, i just feel like the raw consciousness is almost totally consistent. again though, i in no way am saying it is permanent, just that i have trouble seeing it as a constantly changing thing.


I myself have trouble seeing how the consciousness could be seen as something that never changes...

Just as an experiment, try to be conscious of this thread for the rest of day without it slipping from the mind.

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:28 am

beeblebrox wrote:I myself have trouble seeing how the consciousness could be seen as something that never changes...


Sure, but isn't there a kind of continuity in perpetual change?
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:15 pm

porpoise wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:I myself have trouble seeing how the consciousness could be seen as something that never changes...


Sure, but isn't there a kind of continuity in perpetual change?


Is that something different?

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby SamKR » Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:10 pm

alan... wrote:
SamKR wrote:
polarbuddha101 wrote:Also, I would just like to point out that consciousness doesn't necessarily arise and pass away in discrete units, rather consciousness flows and is sustained by causes and conditions such as the eye, forms, contact and mind. As long as there is eye, forms, contact and mind to experience this then there will be eye-consciousness flowing. It doesn't make consciousness a self, just because a process is sustained as long as the conditions sustaining it are still there doesn't mean that it is permanent or that it has its own independent existence nor does it mean that it won't come to an end, because it most certainly will end as soon as the conditions sustaining it no longer obtain. Similarly with the other forms of consciousness. The idea of discrete units of consciousness is an unfortunate reification of the concept "consciousness" based on a poor conception of time in my opinion but anyway I digress.

Thanks for this point. I do not know in actual whether it is like a flow or discrete. But I cannot see it as a flow, and it is certainly arising and passing away. (Time is an illusion anyway.)


can you explain how you do not see it as a flow and how it is arising and passing away please? this is a concept i'm struggling with.

It is mostly based on intellectual understanding that I cannot see anything in the physical world and the conditioned world of nama-rupa as being continuous. But this may be a topic of discussion in a separate thread.
"Flow", which is perceived as continuous, is a concept and not a reality, and it is a result of mis-perception. Flow (like a river) is still inconstant since in the flow there are actually discrete phenomena arising and passing away. I think, If any of the phenomena were constant even for a second then the final realization of not-self would be impossible.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby reflection » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:01 pm

As I see it, understanding consciousness is impermanent is basically the same as seeing the Dhamma. So not something you can really get intellectually, or can force. Also not something that people will see easily. It may take many years -or lifetimes- of practice. And if we think we know it, we should really question if we really do; not only by brain, but also by heart.

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:54 am

Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:thanks. this question comes from the cushion. i noticed that very deep in meditation my conscious awareness is a constant thing. not in increments, it's like a candle flame, it flickers but does not start and stop.

Keep looking then. I think you were going to re-read Ajahn Brahm's book Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, AKA Happiness Through Meditation.

On page 117 of my edition, in the section on contemplation of mind we have:
Ajahn Brahm wrote:The Nature of Citta

When you sustain superpower mindfulness on the pure citta, the nature of all types of conciousness reveals itself. You see conciousness not as a smoothly flowing process, but as a series of discrete, isolated, events. Conciousness may be compared to a stretch of sand on a beach. Superficially, the sand looks continuous over several hundred metres. But after you investigate is closely, you discover that it is made up of discrete, isolated particles of silicate, with no essential sandiness flowing in the gap between the particles. In the same way, that which we take to be the flow of conciousness is clearly seen to be a series of discrete events, with nothing flowing in between.

He goes on to describe a "fruit salad" analogy...

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:28 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,
alan... wrote:thanks. this question comes from the cushion. i noticed that very deep in meditation my conscious awareness is a constant thing. not in increments, it's like a candle flame, it flickers but does not start and stop.

Keep looking then. I think you were going to re-read Ajahn Brahm's book Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, AKA Happiness Through Meditation.

On page 117 of my edition, in the section on contemplation of mind we have:
Ajahn Brahm wrote:The Nature of Citta

When you sustain superpower mindfulness on the pure citta, the nature of all types of conciousness reveals itself. You see conciousness not as a smoothly flowing process, but as a series of discrete, isolated, events. Conciousness may be compared to a stretch of sand on a beach. Superficially, the sand looks continuous over several hundred metres. But after you investigate is closely, you discover that it is made up of discrete, isolated particles of silicate, with no essential sandiness flowing in the gap between the particles. In the same way, that which we take to be the flow of conciousness is clearly seen to be a series of discrete events, with nothing flowing in between.

He goes on to describe a "fruit salad" analogy...

:anjali:
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interesting. i want to read it again but someone borrowed it and never returned it. it used to be called "happiness through meditation"? thanks for the quote. i understand the concept intellectually, now i just need to work on figuring it out more deeply.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:16 am

Hi Alan,

I think there may have been different titles used when distributed in the US and the rest of the world (along with different spellings, and so on...).

My copy is certainly called "Happiness Through Meditation".

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:14 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,

I think there may have been different titles used when distributed in the US and the rest of the world (along with different spellings, and so on...).

My copy is certainly called "Happiness Through Meditation".

:anjali:
Mike


huh, interesting.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:45 pm

Hi Alan,

Here's the cover of the international version:
http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/books.html
Similarly, the other book, Opening the Door of Your Heart, was marketed in the US as "Who ordered this truckload of dung?".

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:57 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,

Here's the cover of the international version:
http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/books.html
Similarly, the other book, Opening the Door of Your Heart, was marketed in the US as "Who ordered this truckload of dung?".

:anjali:
Mike


lol that's so odd! it almost sounds like what happens when things are translated into different languages but it's all been english.
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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:02 am

Different dialects of English...

In some of his talks AB did discuss how the American publishers got him to change various colloquial expressions in Opening the Door to Your Heart so that they would make sense to an American audience. I don't recall the details but there's quite a lot of terminology that is different. For example things to do with cars (autos) and their bonnets (hoods) and boots (trunks), and whether you use a spanner or a wrench to change the tyres (tires).

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Re: contemplating the aggregates

Postby alan... » Thu Feb 21, 2013 1:02 am

mikenz66 wrote:Different dialects of English...

In some of his talks AB did discuss how the American publishers got him to change various colloquial expressions in Opening the Door to Your Heart so that they would make sense to an American audience. I don't recall the details but there's quite a lot of terminology that is different. For example things to do with cars (autos) and their bonnets (hoods) and boots (trunks), and whether you use a spanner or a wrench to change the tyres (tires).

:anjali:
Mike


weird. like people couldn't figure it out? i have read books written in english 100 years ago and have almost no trouble even though many words are different the context makes it easy to guess what they mean. i guess they want to be certain that not even a single person is possibly put off by it or something that way sales go up!
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