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Pali Term: Saññā - Dhamma Wheel

Pali Term: Saññā

Explore the ancient language of the Tipitaka and Theravāda commentaries

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Pali Term: Saññā

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



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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

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

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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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



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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



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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


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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 , 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


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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

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



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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



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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

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



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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

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



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Re: Pali Term: Saññā

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



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