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Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:30 pm
by A. Bhikkhu
Dear all,
a confusion has arisen while studying the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha and I hope to find some clarification through the help of you. This is the problem:

Some mentality (cittāni; citta) is said to take also other mentality as object. Some mentality (for example some from the wholesome sense-sphere ment.) take also all other 121 types of mentality as object, including the supramundane mentality. As I understood it, mundane (lokiya) mentality as object of this wholesome mentality can be either past, present or future. I am confused about supramundane (lokuttara) mentality now. The object of this supramundane mentality itself is nibbāna, therefore timeless.

But when now, for example, the wholesome sense-sphere mentality takes as object this mentioned supramundane ment., such as the one of the path of non-return or the fruit of arahantship, is this mentality as object of another mentality itself also timeless or do past, present, future apply somehow? I hope this question does not create any consternation. Thank you!

Mettā

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:39 pm
by robertk
dear venerable,
would you be able to quote the section from the text and I or someone will attempt to explain.

robert

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:35 pm
by Volo
A. Bhikkhu wrote: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:30 pm But when now, for example, the wholesome sense-sphere mentality takes as object this mentioned supramundane ment., such as the one of the path of non-return or the fruit of arahantship, is this mentality as object of another mentality itself also timeless or do past, present, future apply somehow? I hope this question does not create any consternation. Thank you!
Well, there is supramundane consciousness, which can take Nibbāna as an object. This consciousness (together with all its cetasikas) is not timeless, it is even also anicca, dukkha, anatta (as any consciousness and any mental factor are). Only its object (namely Nibbana) is timeless, etc.

Therefore when some mundane consciousness takes this supramundane consciousness as an object it doesn't take timeless object. At least "past" would apply (I'm not sure if it's possible to take future supramundane consciousness as an object, but present is not possible. Or when present consciousness is taken as object it is already past).

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:55 pm
by equilibrium
Mundane is conditioned.....therefore subject to time.
Supramundane is unconditioned.....therefore not subject to time.

In terms of "mentality".....the difference is ignorance.....i.e. one is aware their experience is conditioned.....while knowing it's an illusion......which includes "time".

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:33 am
by A. Bhikkhu
Well, there is supramundane consciousness, which can take Nibbāna as an object. This consciousness (together with all its cetasikas) is not timeless, it is even also anicca, dukkha, anatta (as any consciousness and any mental factor are). Only its object (namely Nibbana) is timeless, etc.


That is correct, sure.
Therefore when some mundane consciousness takes this supramundane consciousness as an object it doesn't take timeless object. At least "past" would apply (I'm not sure if it's possible to take future supramundane consciousness as an object, but present is not possible. Or when present consciousness is taken as object it is already past).

Good explanation, you are right I think. Thank you! We can see this also from the fact that inferior nobles cannot discern the mind of superior nobles via abhiññā. Inferior and superior nobles take for path an fruition the same object, (nibbāna), so when the supramundane mind is known as object by mundane consciousness this object of nibbāna must be taken out of consideration as the main characteristic (if any applies), since if not, inferiors would easily be able to know superiors minds. Present would apply surely also, as would be the case with kowing other's minds in the here and now.

May you be always happy!

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:41 am
by A. Bhikkhu
At least "past" would apply (I'm not sure if it's possible to take future supramundane consciousness as an object, but present is not possible. Or when present consciousness is taken as object it is already past).
I think future must perhaps also apply. Think of the predictions from the side of Buddhas about the future attainments of individuals in form arahatship. Wasn't there also a question posed to ā. Sāriputta by the Buddha in re to his praise of Buddhas, past, present future, if it is based on knowing the minds of those? I think the future was taken into consideration in that instance.

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:57 am
by A. Bhikkhu
robertk wrote: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:39 pm dear venerable,
would you be able to quote the section from the text and I or someone will attempt to explain.
"The sense-sphere wholesome (consciousnesses) associated with knowledge, and the wholesome direct-knowledge consciousness consisting in the fifth jhāna, take all objects except the path and fruit of Arahantship. The sense-sphere functionals associated with knowledge, the functional direct-knowledge consciousness, and the determining consciousness can take all kinds of objects." (Bodhi [ed.] A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, p. 140)

The Pāli is this:

Ñāṇasampayuttakāmāvacarakusalāni ceva pañcamajjhānasaṅkhātaṃ abhiññākusalañceti arahattamaggaphalavajjitasabbārammaṇāni. Ñāṇasampayuttakāmāvacarakiriyāni ceva kiriyābhiññāvoṭṭhabbanañceti sabbathāpi sabbārammaṇāni.

Mettā

Re: Timeless objects or not?

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:39 am
by Volo
A. Bhikkhu wrote: Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:41 am I think future must perhaps also apply. Think of the predictions from the side of Buddhas about the future attainments of individuals in form arahatship. Wasn't there also a question posed to ā. Sāriputta by the Buddha in re to his praise of Buddhas, past, present future, if it is based on knowing the minds of those? I think the future was taken into consideration in that instance.
Sounds reasonable.
Present would apply surely also, as would be the case with kowing other's minds in the here and now.
True, for the mind of others it should be possible.