Pali Term: Saññā

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Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:59 am

(an updated discussion of this term, which has been started at E-Sangha)

Hello Pali friends,

Let's start from the suttas.

Nibbedhika sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

defines six kinds of perception corresponding to six doors, and places this process between bare impression (phassa) and designation (vohaara) (this place is shown in the diagram http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm ).

"Yathā yathā na.m sañjānāti, tathā tathā voharati eva.m saññi ahosinti."

"Saññā" as a noun corresponds to the verb "sa~njaanaati" (recognizes).

Phu.t.tho, bhikkhave, vedeti, phu.t.tho ceteti, phu.t.tho sa~njaanaati.

SN 4.68

Phassena phussitvaa vedanaaya vedayati. Sa~n~naaya sa~njaanaati. Cetanaaya cetati. Tena vutta.m phu.t.tho bhikkhave vedeti, phu.t.tho sa~njaanaati, phu.t.tho cetetiiti.

Anudipanipatha Mya: .82

This is often not just a single mental act, but a kind of perceptual attunement, which can be changed in meditative practice:

Nekkhammadhaatu.m, bhikkhave, pa.ticca uppajjati nekkhammasa~n~naa, nekkhammasa~n~na.m pa.ticca uppajjati nekkhammasa"nkappo, nekkhammasa"nkappa.m pa.ticca uppajjati nekkhammacchando, nekkhammacchanda.m pa.ticca uppajjati nekkhammapari.laaho, nekkhammapari.laaha.m pa.ticca uppajjati nekkhammapariyesanaa; nekkhammapariyesana.m, bhikkhave, pariyesamaano sutavaa ariyasaavako tiihi .thaanehi sammaa pa.tipajjati– kaayena, vaacaaya, manasaa.

SN 2.152

Kaamavitakka.m, byaapaadavitakka.m, vihi.msaavitakka.m, kaamasa~n~na.m, byaapaadasa~n~na.m, vihi.msaasa~n~na.m– ime kho, bhikkhave, cha dhamme appahaaya abhabbo pa.thama.m jhaana.m upasampajja viharitu.m

AN 3.428

“Katha.m bhaavitaa ca, bhikkhave, aniccasa~n~naa katha.m bahuliikataa sabba.m kaamaraaga.m pariyaadiyati …pe… sabba.m asmimaana.m samuuhanati? ‘Iti ruupa.m, iti ruupassa samudayo, iti ruupassa attha"ngamo; iti vedanaa… iti sa~n~naa… iti sa"nkhaaraa… iti vi~n~naa.na.m, iti vi~n~naa.nassa samudayo, iti vi~n~naa.nassa attha"ngamo’ti– eva.m bhaavitaa kho, bhikkhave, aniccasa~n~naa eva.m bahuliikataa sabba.m kaamaraaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m ruuparaaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m bhavaraaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m avijja.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m asmimaana.m samuuhanatii”ti.

SN 3.157

In Culasuññata sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/ma ... mn121.html
and Potthapada sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

moving to higher levels of jhana as described as cessation of gross saññā and arising of more refined saññā.

According to Visuddhimagga XIV 130:

sabbaa va sa~njaanana-lakkha.naa, tad ev’etan ti puna sa~njaanana-paccaya-nimitta-kara.na-rasaa daaru-aadiisu tacchakaadayo viya, yathaa-gahita-nimitta-vasena abhinivesakara.na-paccupa.t.thaanaa hatthi-dassaka-andhaa (udaa. 54) viya, yathaa-upa.t.thita-visaya-pada-.t.thaanaa ti.na-purisakesu miga-potakaana.m purisaa ti uppanna-sa~n~naa viyaati.

All (saññā) has the characteristic of recognition (sa~njaanana); its property is the making of a perceptual image (nimitta) that is a condition of noting again, 'this is the very same thing' - as carpenters and so on do with wood, etc.; its manifestation is the producing of conviction by virtue of a perceptual image that has been accordingly learnt - like the blind perceiving the elephant (Ud 68-9); its basis is whatever object that has come near - like the saññā 'people' that arises for young animals in respect of scarecrows.

Abhidharmakosa 54 gives similar definition:

Sa.mj~naa sa.mjaana.m, vi.saya-nimitto-dgra.h.

Sa.mj~na is recognition, the taking up of the perceptual image of the object.

Venerable Ñanamoli Thera writes:

Saññā means simply recognition.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el017.html

Venerable Nyanaponika Thera writes:

"saññā is cognition as well as recognition both being by way of selected marks" ... "perception (saññā=sañjanana) being that kind of elementary cognition (janana) which proceeds by way of taking up, making and remembering (i.e. identifying) marks" ... "In this connection it is noteworthy that "mark" or "signal" is also one of the different meanings of the word saññā itself."


http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhistudy.pdf , chapter4, append. "The omission of memory in the list - On the nature of saññā"

Peter Harvey writes:

In the chapter on "The Saññākkhandha", Boisvert emphasises the role of saññā in helping vedanā lead on to craving. He prefers "recognition" as the translation of saññā as it "tends to imply that the subject imposes certain categories upon the percept in order to classify it" (p.78). Yet while the latter statement is an appropriate one on saññā, "recognition" has the unfortunate connotation that it is always a form of correct knowledge. In English, to say one "recognises" something or someone precludes any error in cognition. Saññā certainly is a form of classificatory, labelling, interpreting activity, but it includes both correct labelling ("recognition") and incorrect labelling (misinterpretation). For this reason, I prefer the more neutral "cognition". The more usual "perception" is certainly too broad, as it covers the combined activity of saññā and viññāṇa, and in any case hardly covers saññā of a mental object.


http://jbe.gold.ac.uk/3/harvey2.html

Luis O. Gomez writes:

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, one still finds the term sa~n~na (sa.mj~naa being taken to mean "consciousness"(42) That the meaning of the term is close to some of the Western philosophical uses of "apperception" is clear from the scholastic literature and from scattered contextual evidence.(43) In the Sn, sa~n~na is the basis for conception and verbal distinctions (874), apperceptions are formed or fashioned (pakappitaa... sa~n~naa) (802), they can be the object of attachment (792, 847), and together with views they are the primary object of grasping (847) . It is also difficult to see how the term sa~n~naa could mean "perception" in the context of the Sn, where the sa~n~naa are found to be formed or fashioned by the mind, and where we are told that dualities arise from the apperception of permanence (886).


http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/gomez.htm

Rupert Gethin on page 41 of his book "The Buddhist Path to Awakening" translates this term as 'noting' and mentions a work by A. Weyman, 'Regarding the translation of the Buddhist technical terms saññā/sa.mjñā, viññā.na/vijñā.na' in 'Malalasekera Commemoration Volume', ed. O.H. de A. Wijesekera, Colombo, 1976, pp. 325-35 .

To consolidate the two aspects of saññā as a perceptual attunement and recognition, I propose the translation "selective recognition". For translation in psychological terms, there is "apperception".
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:22 pm

Greetings,

Dmytro wrote:For translation in psychological terms, there is "apperception".


Yes, that seems like a good likeness to me. I get the impression there's a certain active conceptual component to saññā which may be under-represented if the more standard rendering of 'perception' isn't clearly differentiated from consciousness.

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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:49 am

In Mahaparinibbana sutta Buddha urged to develop seven kinds of 'saññā'

"Yāvakīvañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhū aniccasañña.m bhāvessanti ...pe... anattasañña.m bhāvessanti... asubhasañña.m bhāvessanti... ādīnavasañña.m bhāvessanti... pahānasañña.m bhāvessanti... virāgasañña.m bhāvessanti... nirodhasañña.m bhāvessanti, vuddhiyeva, bhikkhave, bhikkhūna.m pā.tika'nkhā, no parihāni.

In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

1.10. 'I will tell you another seven things ... As long as monks develop the perception of impermanence, of non-self, of impurity, of danger, of overcoming, of dispassion, of cessation, ... they may be expected to prosper and not decline.'

Such or similar sequence also occures in many other suttas. Its application is described by Mahathera Matara Sri Nanarama in the book "Seven Contemplations of Insight"

http://www.pariyatti.com/book.cgi?prod_id=404512
http://www.bps.lk/meditation.asp

How such practice is described in suttas?

There is a sutta devoted to "aniccasa~n~naa":

“Katha.m bhaavitaa ca, bhikkhave, aniccasa~n~naa katha.m bahuliikataa sabba.m kaamaraaga.m pariyaadiyati …pe… sabba.m asmimaana.m samuuhanati? ‘Iti ruupa.m, iti ruupassa samudayo, iti ruupassa attha"ngamo; iti vedanaa… iti sa~n~naa… iti sa"nkhaaraa… iti vi~n~naa.na.m, iti vi~n~naa.nassa samudayo, iti vi~n~naa.nassa attha"ngamo’ti– eva.m bhaavitaa kho, bhikkhave, aniccasa~n~naa eva.m bahuliikataa sabba.m kaamaraaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m ruuparaaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m bhavaraaga.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m avijja.m pariyaadiyati, sabba.m asmimaana.m samuuhanatii”ti.

And in what way, brethren, does does the perceiving of impermanence wear out all sensual lust, all lust for body, all desire for rebirth, wears out all ignorance, tears out all conceit of “I am”?

It is by seeing: “Such is body; such is the arising of body; such is the ceasing of body. Such is feeling; such is the arising of feeling; such is the ceasing of feeling. Such is perception; such is the arising of perception; such is the ceasing of perception. Such are activities; such is the arising of activities; such is the ceasing of activities. Such is consciousness; such is the arising of consciousness; such is the ceasing of consciousness.

Even thus practised and enlarged, brethren, does the perceiving of impermanence wear out all sensual lust, all lust for body, all desire for rebirth, wears out all ignorance, tears out all conceit of “I am”.

SN 3.157

Here one contemplates rise and fall of five aggregates.
Rise (samudayo) and fall (attha"ngamo) in suttas do not mean some kind of constant flickering, but arising and ceasing due to corresponding conditions (paticca samuppada), as described in Nibbedhika and other suttas:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm

In the Aahuneyya-vagga (AN 4.145) the detailed matrix of kinds of practice is given:

Six sense media
X
elements of dependent co-arising (media itself, viññaa.na, phassa, vedanaa, saññaa, sañсetanaa, ta.nhaa, vitakka, vicaara)
X
seven kinds of contemplation:
aniccanupassana, dukkhaanupassana, anattaanupassana, khayaanupassana, viraagaanupassana, nirodhaanupassana, pa.tinissaggaanupassana

So the meditator selects one od the sense media, one of the elements of dependent co-arising, and practices one of the seven kinds of contemplation.

The logic of the sequence of first three contemplations is described, for example, in
Cularahulovada sutta (MN 147) and Nandakovada sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Atthakatha explains the details of the practice. In each of seven contemplations meditator takes a corresponding aspect as a basis of concentration. For example, in the case of 'nirodhasaññaa' he takes the cessation (nirodha) of construction peocesses (sa"nkhaara) as a basis of concentration (aaramma.na), etc.:

Aniccasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti pa~ncanna.m upaadaanakkhandhaana.m udayabbaya~n~nathattapariggaahika.m pa~ncasu khandhesu aniccanti uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Anicce dukkhasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti anicce khandhapa~ncake pa.tipii.lanasa"nkhaatadukkhalakkha.napariggaahika.m dukkhanti uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Dukkhe anattasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti pa.tipii.lana.t.thena dukkhe khandhapa~ncake avasavattanaakaarasa"nkhaata-anattalakkha.napariggaahika.m anattaati uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Pahaanasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti pa~ncavidha.m pahaana.m aaramma.na.m katvaa uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Viraagasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti pa~ncavidhameva viraaga.m aaramma.na.m katvaa uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Nirodhasa~n~na.m bhaavetiiti sa"nkhaaranirodha.m aaramma.na.m katvaa uppajjanakasa~n~na.m bhaaveti. Nibbaana.m aaramma.na.m katvaa uppajjanakasa~n~nantipi vadanti.

Ekanipata-Atthakatha 2.78

In the Nirodha vagga of Bojjhanga Samyutta (SN 5.133) it is described that each kind of selective recognition (saññaa) is developed from first factor of Awakening (bojjha"nga), 'sati', to the seventh, 'upekkhaa'.
Last edited by Dmytro on Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:54 pm

Greetings Retro,

retrofuturist wrote:Yes, that seems like a good likeness to me. I get the impression there's a certain active conceptual component to saññā which may be under-represented if the more standard rendering of 'perception' isn't clearly differentiated from consciousness.


Yes, and that becomes especially prominent in the light of the function of sixth sense door, 'mano'.

I will cover it next, to expound on the subtle interaction between mano, manasi-kara, nimitta, and saññā.

Metta, Dmytro
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:57 am

The process of recognition (saññā) is always selective. As stated above, it depends on what perceptual image (nimitta) the attention gets focused. And recognition depends on perceptual images gained from prior impressions.

The fact that dissonances often happen points to the conclusion that ordinary people have rather sloppy mechanism of coordinating recognition (saññā) with feeling. In the case when they have a strong craving-expectation (tanha), the attention is compulsively focused on corresponding perceptual images (nimitta), and recognition gets severely impaired. A person with attachments doesn't see things as they are.

However thanks to the practice of meditation the mind gets united, and the person learns to control his attention, placing it appropriately. He isn't subservient to his expectations, but meets every moment as it is. That's what I would call true integration of dissonances.


Nibbana sutta states that distinguishing three following kinds of 'saññā' is a key to attaining Nibbana in this very life:

“Ko panaavuso saariputta, hetu ko paccayo, yena midhekacce sattaa di.t.theva dhamme parinibbaayantii”ti? “Idhaavuso aananda, sattaa imaa haanabhaagiyaa sa~n~naati yathaabhuuta.m pajaananti, imaa .thitibhaagiyaa sa~n~naati yathaabhuuta.m pajaananti, imaa visesabhaagiyaa sa~n~naati yathaabhuuta.m pajaananti, imaa nibbedhabhaagiyaa sa~n~naati yathaabhuuta.m pajaananti. Aya.m kho, aavuso aananda, hetu aya.m paccayo, yena midhekacce sattaa di.t.theva dhamme parinibbaayantii”ti.

"And what, friend Sariputta, is the cause, what is the reason, why some beings do become totally unbound in the present life?"

"There's the case, friend Ananda, where beings discern, as it actually is present, that 'This perception has a share in decline;' 'This perception has a share in stability;' 'This perception has a share in distinction;' 'This perception has a share in penetration.' This is the cause, this is the reason, why some beings become totally unbound in the present life."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I think that the article "De-perception' by Thanissaro Bhikkhu is a good practical illustration of the aforementioned sutta.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ption.html
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:06 am

Dmytro wrote:In Mahaparinibbana sutta Buddha urged to develop seven kinds of 'saññā'

"Yāvakīvañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhū aniccasañña.m bhāvessanti ...pe... anattasañña.m bhāvessanti... asubhasañña.m bhāvessanti... ādīnavasañña.m bhāvessanti... pahānasañña.m bhāvessanti... virāgasañña.m bhāvessanti... nirodhasañña.m bhāvessanti, vuddhiyeva, bhikkhave, bhikkhūna.m pā.tika'nkhā, no parihāni.

In Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation:

1.10. 'I will tell you another seven things ... As long as monks develop the perception of impermanence, of non-self, of impurity, of danger, of overcoming, of dispassion, of cessation, ... they may be expected to prosper and not decline.'


The last tetrad of Anapanasati sutta is a shortened version of these selective recognitions (saññā).

As explained in the earliest exegesis, the Anapanasati chapter of Patisambhidamagga:

244. 'He contemplates': how does he contemplate (anupassati) that body [the seven contemplations]? He contemplates it (1) as
impermanent (aniccato anupassati), not as permanent (no niccato); (2) as painful (dukkhato anupassati), not as pleasant (no sukhato);(3) as not self (anattato anupassati), not as self (no attato); (4) he becomes dispassionate (nibbidati), does not delight (no nandati); (5) he causes greed to fade away (virajjati), does not inflame it (no rajjati); (6) he causes cessation (nirodheti), not arising (no samudeti); (7) he relinquishes (patinissajjati), does not grasp (no aadiyati).

(1) When he contemplates as impermanent he abandons perception of permanence (niccasannam pajahati),
(2) when he contemplates as painful he abandons perception of pleasure (sukhasannam pajahati);
(3) when he contemplates as not self he abandons perception-of-self (attasannam pajahati),
(4) when he becomes dispassionate he abandons delight (nandim pajahati),
(5) when his greed fades away he abandons greed (raagam pajahati),
(6) when he causes cessation he abandons arising (samudayam pajahati),
(7) when he relinquishes he abandons grasping (aadaanam pajahati).

Thus he contemplates the body.

http://bps.lk/olib/bp/bp502s.pdf
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:14 am

Sometimes these selective recognitions are understood as referring exclusively to the present experience. While present may be a good place to start the practice, they refer to past, present and future phenomena.

In Alagaduppama sutta Buddha explains the recognition of impersonality (anatta):

"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant (anicca), stressful, subject to change (vipariṇāmadhamma) as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"What do you think, monks — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Sylvester » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:50 am

In addition to those aspects of saññā helpfully summarised by Dmytro, here is another from the Girimananda Sutta. A series of 10 saññā are discussed. Picking the more unusual formulations -

And what is the perception of inconstancy? There is the case where a monk — having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building — reflects thus: 'Form is inconstant, feeling is inconstant, perception is inconstant, fabrications are inconstant, consciousness is inconstant.' Thus he remains focused on inconstancy with regard to the five clinging-aggregates. This, Ananda, is called the perception of inconstancy.

Katamācānanda aniccasaññā:

Idhānanda bhikkhu araññagato vā rukkhamūlagato vā suññāgāragato vā iti paṭisaṃcikkhati: ''rūpaṃ aniccaṃ vedanā aniccā saññā aniccā saṅkhārā aniccā viññāṇaṃ aniccanti''. Iti imesu pañcasupādānakkhandhesu aniccānupassī viharati. Ayaṃ vuccatānanda aniccasaññā.


Instead of the verb sañjānāti which is more commonly used to functionally define saññā, AN 10.60 uses another functional verb paṭisaṃcikkhati. This suggests rumination of some sort. The refrain ānupassī viharati (literally "abides as a contemplator") is of course shared with the well-known satipaṭṭhāna refrains. Ditto for the perception of not-self, drawbacks, dispassion, and cessation.

Moving on to the perception of unattractiveness -

"And what is the perception of unattractiveness? There is the case where a monk ponders this very body — from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin, filled with all sorts of unclean things: 'There is in this body: hair of the head, hair of the body, nails, teeth, skin, muscle, tendons, bones, bone marrow, spleen, heart, liver, membranes, kidneys, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, gall, phlegm, lymph, blood, sweat, fat, tears, oil, saliva, mucus, oil in the joints, urine.' Thus he remains focused on unattractiveness with regard to this very body. This is called the perception of unattractiveness.

Katamācānanda asubhasaññā:

Idhānanda bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ uddhaṃ pādatalā adho kesamatthakā tacapariyantaṃ pūraṃ nānappakārassa asucino paccavekkhati: ''atthi imasmiṃ kāye kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco maṃsaṃ nahāru aṭṭhi aṭṭhimiñjā vakkaṃ hadayaṃ yakanaṃ kilomakaṃ pihakaṃ papphāsaṃ antaṃ antaguṇaṃ udariyaṃ karīsaṃ pittaṃ semhaṃ pubbo lohitaṃ sedo medo assu vasā khelo siṅghānikā lasikā muttanti'' iti imasmiṃ kāye asubhānupassī viharati, ayaṃ vuccatānanda asubhasaññā.


The verb paccavekkhati used to define saññā here looks like a work in imagining (as put by Gombrich) or conceptualisation (as put by Hamilton).

See BB's comments at p.48 of his translation of the AN.

Interestingly, he says -

Of particular interest is the emphasis AN places on the "perceptions" (saññā), meditation subjects the initially involve a fair amount of reflection rather than bare mindful observation.
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:29 am

Hi Sylvester,

Drawing conclusions about the meanings of the Pali words from the English translations, which are necessarily somewhat inaccurate, is largely guesswork.

The verbs paccavekkhati and paṭisaṃcikkhati deserve to be explored on the basis of the Pali glosses, to give them justice. These kinds of reflection have nothing to do with imagining or conceptualisation. Moreover, these verbs don't by themselves define 'saññā' in the passages you quoted.

Unfortunately, the very concept of intentional modification of 'saññā' is hard to comprehend, since it requires a development of samadhi. For example, one who develops 'aloka-saññā' (selective recognition of light) perceives the daylight even at night, as one who develops 'aloka-kasina' (the light-totality).

As for the asubha-saññā:

"It seems that as the Elder (Maha-tissa) was on his way from Cetiyapabbata to Anuradhapura for alms, a certain daughter-in-law of a clan, who had quarreled with her husband and had set out early from Anuradhapura all dressed up and tricked out like a celestial nymph to go to her relatives' home, saw him on the road, and being low-minded, she laughed a loud laugh. (Wondering) "What is that?", the Elder looked up and finding in the bones of her teeth the perception of foulness, he attained arahatship. But her husband who was going after her saw the Elder and asked "Venerable sir, did you by any chance see a woman?" The Elder told him:

"Whether it was a man or a woman
That went by I noticed not;
But only that on this high road
There goes a group of bones."

— The Path of Purification, I, 55

Best wishes,
Dmytro
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Sylvester » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:31 pm

Hi Dmytro

I would not disagree with a contextual analysis in glossing. How would you then gloss paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 10.60? That, IMO, is surely a situation of a usage that is similar with the usage of paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 11.16, where rumination seems to be at work, rather than "recognition". Paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 3.70 also admits of a reading that is more suggestive of rumination/reflection than recognition.

I think the paccavekkhati used in AN 10.60 is purely an exercise in imagination. That "perception" of unattractiveness is repeated in MN 10 under the standard body contemplation -

Puna ca paraṃ bhikkhave bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ uddhaṃ pādatalā adho kesamatthakā tacapariyantaṃ pūraṃ nānappakārassa asucino paccavekkhati: atthi imasmiṃ kāye kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco maṃsaṃ nahāru aṭṭhi aṭṭhimiñjaṃ1 vakkaṃ hadayaṃ yakanaṃ kilomakaṃ pīhakaṃ papphāsaṃ antaṃ antaguṇaṃ udariyaṃ karīsaṃ pittaṃ semhaṃ pubbo lohitaṃ sedo medo assu vasā kheḷo siṅghāṇikā lasikā muttanti.

Seyyathāpi bhikkhave ubhatomukhā mūtoḷī2 pūrā nānāvihitassa dhaññassa-seyyathīdaṃ: sālīnaṃ vīhīnaṃ muggānaṃ māsānaṃ tilānaṃ taṇḍulānaṃ, tamenaṃ cakkhumā puriso muñcitvā paccavekkheyya: ime sālī ime vīhī ime muggā ime māsā ime tilā ime taṇḍulāti, evameva kho bhikkhave bhikkhu imameva kāyaṃ uddhaṃ pādatalā adho kesamatthakā tacapariyantaṃ pūraṃ nānappakārassa asucino paccavekkhati: atthi imasmiṃ kāye kesā lomā nakhā dantā taco maṃsaṃ nahāru aṭṭhi aṭṭhimiñjaṃ vakkaṃ hadayaṃ yakanaṃ kilomakaṃ pīhakaṃ papphāsaṃ antaṃ antaguṇaṃ udariyaṃ karīsaṃ pittaṃ semhaṃ pubbo lohitaṃ sedo medo assu vasā kheḷo siṅghāṇikā lasikā muttanti.


The "perception" in this passage is described by paccavekkhati and its optative paccavekkheyya. It strikes me as odd that the optative verb should be translated as "were to recognise". Why not the simpler translation "were to review"? The action denoted by paccavekkheyya seems to be grain-counting or grain-sorting, rather than recognising the grains per se. I take a more "unexciting" reading that the meditator is not being asked to use psychic vision to probe his innards such as lasikā. I've mentioned previously that MN 10's description of the cemetary contemplations is described by the optative verb passeyya, which suggests a hypothetical sort of sight -

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=4299&start=60#p206096

I'm not sure if the Ven Maha-tissa was not speaking in an allegorical fashion, rather than reporting an event in literal terms.
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:07 am

Hi Sylvester,

Sylvester wrote:I would not disagree with a contextual analysis in glossing. How would you then gloss paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 10.60? That, IMO, is surely a situation of a usage that is similar with the usage of paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 11.16, where rumination seems to be at work, rather than "recognition". Paṭisaṃcikkhati in AN 3.70 also admits of a reading that is more suggestive of rumination/reflection than recognition.


Paṭisaṃcikkhati is indeed similar in meaning to paccavekkhati, "reflects".

Sylvester wrote:I'm not sure if the Ven Maha-tissa was not speaking in an allegorical fashion, rather than reporting an event in literal terms.


The feats of samadhi masters can be hard to believe.
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Sylvester » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:36 am

Hi Dmytro

Indeed. Let not my non-attainments set the bar for the interpretation of Ven Mahatissa's experience.

While I believe that your citations of these perceptual attunements are possible, I suspect they are largely accessible only within a rigorous monastic setting, or more likely only by the "noble ones with developed faculties" - MN 152.11 -16.

For the rest of us, I think the more ruminative types of "perception" are exercises we undertake to ponder and "psyche" ourselves towards the appropriate inclination.
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:54 pm

Contemplation of impermanence refers to selective recognition of rise and fall of five aggregates:

"And in what way, brethren, does does the perceiving of impermanence wear out all sensual lust, all lust for body, all desire for rebirth, wears out all ignorance, tears out all conceit of “I am”?

It is by seeing: “Such is body; such is the arising of body; such is the ceasing of body. Such is feeling; such is the arising of feeling; such is the ceasing of feeling. Such is perception; such is the arising of perception; such is the ceasing of perception. Such are activities; such is the arising of activities; such is the ceasing of activities. Such is consciousness; such is the arising of consciousness; such is the ceasing of consciousness.

Even thus practised and enlarged, brethren, does the perceiving of impermanence wear out all sensual lust, all lust for body, all desire for rebirth, wears out all ignorance, tears out all conceit of “I am”."

SN 3.157

Rise (samudayo) and fall (attha"ngamo) in suttas do not mean some kind of constant flickering, but arising and ceasing due to corresponding conditions (paticca samuppada), as described in Nibbedhika and other suttas:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm

In the Aahuneyya-vagga (AN 4.145) the detailed matrix of kinds of practice is given:

Six sense media
X
elements of dependent co-arising (media itself, viññaa.na, phassa, vedanaa, saññaa, sañсetanaa, ta.nhaa, vitakka, vicaara)
X
seven kinds of contemplation:
aniccanupassana, dukkhaanupassana, anattaanupassana, khayaanupassana, viraagaanupassana, nirodhaanupassana, pa.tinissaggaanupassana

So the meditator selects one od the sense media, one of the elements of dependent co-arising, and practices one of the seven kinds of contemplation.

The logic of the sequence of first three contemplations is described, for example, in
Cularahulovada sutta (MN 147) and Nandakovada sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

how is this to lead to release?


Very good question.

This is described in detail in Chachakka sutta, as a sequence:
aniccasañña (recognition of impermanence), anattasañña (of impersonality), pahānasañña (of abandoning), nibbidasañña (of disgust/disenchantment), virāgasañña (of dispassion), vimutti (release), ñāṇa (knowledge).

The consciousness in the result becomes non-stationed (appatiṭṭha), which leads to the cessation of conditioned arising (paticca-samuppada).
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:59 pm

how exactly do we contemplate?


An excellent question.

I'll quote the Ahuneyyavagga in toto.

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Anguttara Nikaya 7.95-622

Āhuneyyavaggo

Persons worthy of offerings

Translated by E. M. Hare

“Monks, there are these seven persons, worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit. What seven?

Monks, herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and destroying the cankers, he enters and abides in the cankerless mind-emancipation … ; this, monks, is the first person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one who likewise abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and for him the cankers’ ending and life’s ending are at the same time, not one before and one after; this, monks, is the second person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, after an interval becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- antarāparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the third person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, after lessening his period, becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- upahaccaparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the fourth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, without (karmic) residue becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- asankhāraparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the fifth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, with some residue becomes completely cool [Non-returner -- sasankhāraparinibbāyin]; this, monks, is the sixth person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Again, consider one so abiding, seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom, who, destroying the five lower fetters, becomes part of the upward stream, bound for the highest (Akanitฺtฺha); this, monks, is the seventh person worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Verily, monks, these seven persons are worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.”

(Other worthy persons)

“Monks, there are these (other) persons, worthy of offerings, worthy of gifts, worthy of oblations, the world’s peerless field for merit.

Herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

a)
The eye _ shapes _ visual consciousness _ visual contact
The ear _ sounds _ auditory consciousness _ auditory contact
The nose _ odours _ olfactory consciousness _ olfactory contact
The tongue _ tastes _ gustatory consciousness _ gustatory contact
The touch _ tangibles _ tactile consciousness _ tactile contact
The mind _ mental states _ representative cognition _ mental contact

b)
He abides, seeing impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

{ Feelings; Perceptions; Intentions; Cravings; Reflections; Deliberations }

sprung from

{ Visual contact; Auditory contact; Olfactory contact; Gustatory contact; Tactile contact; Mental contact. }

He abides, seeing impermanence … ill … no self … destruction … decay … dispassion … ending … renunciation (each in seven degrees of perfection) in respect of:

The body aggregate;
The feelings aggregate;
The perceptions aggregate;
The syntheses aggregate;
The consciousness aggregate.

(The Burmese MS. M. adds an Uddāna and observes that this chapter consists of 528 suttas. There appear, however, to be 8 x 6 x 10 suttas in respect of the six senses and their derivatives, and 8 x 5 suttas in respect of the five aggregates, therefore 520 in all. So 3,640 different persons, worthy of offerings, are stated. These recur in many places in the Pitฺakas. See Stcherbatsky’s “The Central Conception of Buddhism”.)

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Some phenomena continue for the long time, and it's impossible to observe their impermanence right now.
As explained in Sattathana sutta:

"From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form. From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Which means that the body can arise only with food, and ceases to exist when food is absent.

So direct observation in present moment is applicable mostly to such areas:

“Katha~nca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajaano hoti? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno viditaa vedanaa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Viditaa vitakkaa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Viditaa sa~n~naa uppajjanti, viditaa upa.t.thahanti, viditaa abbhattha.m gacchanti. Eva.m kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sampajaano hoti.

"And how is a monk aware? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is how a monk is aware."

(Sati sutta, SN 5:180)

which is a part of Conditioned Arising, as you can see on the diagram http://dhamma.ru/lib/paticcas.htm

This awareness is possible without any samadhi.

The matter is further complicated by the fact that to make the consciousness non-stationed, you have to encompass, instead of a single feeling in the present, all feelings of the past, present and future, etc.:

In Alagaduppama sutta Buddha explains the recognition of impersonality (anatta):

"What do you think, monks — Is form constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant (anicca), stressful, subject to change (vipariṇāmadhamma) as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"...Is feeling constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Is perception constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"...Are fabrications constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."...

"What do you think, monks — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord." "And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord." "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every form is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Any feeling whatsoever...

"Any perception whatsoever...

"Any fabrications whatsoever...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

To encompass such a wide scope, and to encompass the rise and fall not observable in the present, one needs a sound samadhi.
The samadhi will make possible to get the deep insight during the intense contemplation described in Ahuneyyavagga:

"Monks, herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and destroying the cankers, he enters and abides in the cankerless mind-emancipation …"

The goal is not contemplation per-se, but the disenchantment, and eventual non-stationing of consciousness.

As Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo writes:

"If this doesn't lead to a sense of dispassion and detachment, go on to consider mental phenomena (nama), which are formless: vedana — the experiencing of feelings and moods, likes and dislikes; sañña — labels, names, allusions; sankhara — mental fashionings; and viññana — consciousness."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... html#craft

See also the instructions at:

http://measurelessmind.ca/panna.html

:anjali:
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby Dmytro » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:05 am

Dmytro wrote:"Monks, herein a monk abides seeing the impermanence of the eye, conscious of it, aware of it, at all times, continually, without a break, working it mentally, fathoming it by wisdom; and destroying the cankers, he enters and abides in the cankerless mind-emancipation …"

The goal is not contemplation per-se, but the disenchantment, and eventual non-stationing of consciousness.


In other words, impermanence of rise and fall can be contemplated in the sense of Samadhi-bhavana sutta, on the basis of samadhi:

"And what is the origination of form? ...feeling? ...perception? ...fabrications? What is the origination of consciousness?

"There is the case where one enjoys, welcomes, & remains fastened.

"And what is the disappearance of form? ...feeling? ...perception? ...fabrications? What is the disappearance of consciousness?

"There is the case where one doesn't enjoy, welcome, or remain fastened.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

which can also be formulated in terms of Samadhi sutta:

SN 56.1. Samādhisuttaṃ

Sāvatthinidānaṃ. ‘‘Samādhiṃ, bhikkhave, bhāvetha. Samāhito, bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti.

At Sāvatthi. “Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.

Kiñca yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti? ‘Idaṃ dukkha’nti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti.

And what does he understand as it really is? He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”

Samādhiṃ, bhikkhave, bhāvetha. Samāhito, bhikkhave, bhikkhu yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti’’.

Bhikkhus, develop concentration. A bhikkhu who is concentrated understands things as they really are.

‘‘Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, ‘idaṃ dukkha’nti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti yogo karaṇīyo, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti yogo karaṇīyo’’ti.

Therefore, bhikkhus, an exertion should be made to understand: 'This is suffering.' An exertion should be made to understand: 'This is the origin of suffering.' An exertion should be made to understand: 'This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.'"

:smile:
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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

Postby danieLion » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:51 pm

From William James Ch. in The Principles of Psychology, "CHAPTER XIX.
THE PERCEPTION OF 'THINGS.' "

Section PERCEPTION AND SENSATION COMPARED:

William James wrote:Perception may then be defined, in Mr. Sully's words, as that process by which the mind "supplements a sense-impression by an accompaniment or escort of revived sensations, the whole aggregate of actual and revived sensations being solidified or 'integrated' into the form of a percept, that is, an apparently immediate apprehension or cognition of an object now present in a particular locality or region of space." [Sully, "Outlines", p. 153]


Section: APPERCEPTION
William James wrote:Most of us grow more and more enslaved to the stock conceptions with which we have once become familiar, and less and less capable of assimilating impressions in any but the old ways. Old-fogyism, in short, is the inevitable terminus to which life sweeps us on. Objects which violate our established habits of 'apperception' are simply not taken account of at all; or, if on some occasion we are forced by dint of argument to admit their existence, twenty-four hours later the admission is as if it were not, and every trace of the unassimilable truth has vanished from our thought. Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.


For those interested, James devotes three more chapters to perception in Principles: The Perception of Time, The Perception of Space, The Perception of Reality.

Sources:
Principles (version 1)
Principles (version 2; a little more user friendly IMO)
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