The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

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auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

vipakka
https://suttacentral.net/an3.34/en/sujato wrote:Any deed that emerges from greed—born, sourced, and originated from greed—ripens where that new life-form is born.Yaṃ, bhikkhave, lobhapakataṃ kammaṃ lobhajaṃ lobhanidānaṃ lobhasamudayaṃ, yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati tattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati.
And wherever that deed ripens, its result is experienced—either in the present life, or in the next life, or in some subsequent period.Yattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati tattha tassa kammassa vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti, diṭṭhe vā dhamme upapajja vā apare vā pariyāye.
Ignorant person does kamma regularly and whenever the attabhava becomes into existence there the kamma result is experienced.
https://suttacentral.net/an4.66/en/sujato wrote:Born of greed, born of hate,Rāgajaṃ dosajañcāpi,
born of delusion: the ignorantmohajaṃ cāpaviddasū;
make bad karmaKarontākusalaṃ kammaṃ,
that afflicts and produces pain.savighātaṃ dukhudrayaṃ.
'the attabhava coming into existence' denotes ceto(heart) which starts afflicting.

i quote you,
Lal wrote: Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:43 am3. In the Maha Nidana Sutta (Digha Nikaya 15): “..Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpan’ti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, tadānanda, imināpetaṃ pariyāyena veditabbaṃ, yathā viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṃ. Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, mātukucchismiṃ na okkamissatha, api nu kho nāmarūpaṃ mātukucchismiṃ samuccissathā”ti? “No hetaṃ, bhante”. “Viññāṇañca hi, ānanda, mātukucchismiṃ okkamitvā vokkamissatha, api nu kho nāmarūpaṃ itthattāya abhi­nib­bat­tis­sathā”ti? “No hetaṃ, bhante”.

Translated: “..With consciousness as condition there is mentality-materiality (nāmarūpa). How that is so, Ānanda, should be understood in this way: If consciousness were not to descend into the mother’s womb, would mentality-materiality (nama rūpa) take shape in the womb?” “Certainly not, venerable sir”. “If, the descended consciousness were to depart, would mentality-materiality be generated into this present state of being?” “Certainly not, venerable sir.”

- Here, is it clear that by “a viññana descending to the womb”, the Buddha meant the descend of the manōmaya kaya (gandhabba), not the patisandhi citta. A patisandhi citta cannot come out (depart) of the womb! In #7 below, we will present evidence that viññāna is always accompanied by other four khandhas, including the rupakkhandha (and a gandhabba has all five khandhas).
The Pāli word “Okkanti” is often mistranslated as “rebirth”. But it means the “descend” of an already formed manōmaya kaya (gandhabba). Rebirth happens (and a gandhabba is born) within a thought moment, at the cuit-patisandhi moment; see, “Cuti-Patisandhi – An Abhidhamma Description“.
That is not good pro-gandhabba argument, since the vinnana could be the ceto, which is just afflicted vinnana.

Ekodibhava is about jhana. Attabhava is about sensuous world. Consciousness descending to mothers womb is a process happening in the mothers body where hearts gives in to the sensuality and multitude of forms and thus consciousness being on a fertile ground it grows into a physical body..
Lal wrote: Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:43 am4. In the Kutuhala Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 44.9), Vacca asked the Buddha, “..Yasmiñca pana, bho gotama, samaye imañca kāyaṃ nikkhipati, satto ca aññataraṃ kāyaṃ anupapanno hoti, imassa pana bhavaṃ gotamo kiṃ upādānasmiṃ paññāpetī”ti? OR “..“And, Master Gotama, when a being has given up this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, what does Master Gotama declare to be its fuel on that occasion?”

The Buddha answered, “..Yasmiṃ kho, vaccha, samaye imañca kāyaṃ nikkhipati, satto ca aññataraṃ kāyaṃ anupapanno hoti, tamahaṃ taṇhūpādānaṃ vadāmi“. OR “..“When, Vaccha, a being has given up this body but has not yet been reborn in another body, I declare that it is fueled by craving”.
- Thus when a gandhabba leaves one physical and is not yet reborn in another body, its life is sustained by tanhā (craving), just like a rupi brahma lives by making use of piti (mental happiness) as food. Both gandhabbas and rupi brahmas have very fine bodies (smaller than an atom in modern science; only a few suddhāshtaka). However, some gandhabbas can inhale odors for food and become relatively more dense.
tanha food for sensuous realm(bhava) and piti in case of jhana realm.
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.31/en/sujato wrote: “Sāriputta, do you see that this has come to be?”“Bhūtamidanti, sāriputta, passasī”ti?

“Sir, one truly sees with right wisdom that this has come to be.“Bhūtamidanti, bhante, yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passati.Seeing this, one is practicing for disillusionment, dispassion, and cessation regarding what has come to be.Bhūtamidanti yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya disvā bhūtassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipanno hoti.One truly sees with right wisdom that it originated with that as fuel.Tadāhārasambhavanti yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passati..
That what has come to be is attabhava or ekodibhava and originate with tanha or piti as fuel.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Antarābhava Discussion in Kathāvatthu – Not Relevant to Gandhabba

Antarābhava Was Discussed at the Third Buddhist Council

1. The concept of an antarābhava was discussed and rejected at the Third Buddhist Council. It is documented in the Kathāvatthu section of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.

- Many current Thervadins say that the concept of an antarābhava is associated with gandhabba. They say that since antarābhava was rejected at that Council, the concept of a gandhabba was rejected.
- However, gandhabba was not even mentioned in that discussion at the Third Buddhist Council. I will fully translate and discuss the relevant sections of Kathāvatthu in this post to put this issue to rest.

Antarābhava Discussion in Kathāvatthu

2. There were many “heretical views” that were discussed and emphatically rejected by a group of Arahants at the Third Buddhist Council held in India at the time of Emperor Asoka. Ven. Moggaliputta Tissa recorded those discussions in the Kathāvatthu section of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

- The relevant section is “Antarābhavakathā” (https://suttacentral.net/kv8.2/pli/ms) and an incomplete English translation is there: “Of an Intermediate State”: https://suttacentral.net/kv8.2/en/aung-rhysdavids
- For those who understand the Sinhala Language, a complete Sinhala translation is in the Buddha Jayanthi Tipiṭaka. See, pp. 340-355 of “48.OTAP_KathaVatthu_Prakarana_2-Sinhala” : https://puredhamma.net/wp-content/uploa ... inhala.pdf
- Here, we will translate some key verses, first providing the Pāli text and then a translation (with details as necessary.) Hopefully, anyone will understand what was rejected and what was not rejected (or even discussed.)

Is Antarābhava Within the Three Major Existences?

3. At the very beginning of the Pāli text, we can see that the wrong view about an “antarābhava” or an “intermediate state” was the following.

- Theravadins ask: “Atthi antarābhavoti? or “Is there an intermediate state?”
- The other side (heretics) says “Āmantā” or “Yes.”
- Theravadins ask: “Kāmabhavoti?” or “Is it in the kāma bhava?” and the answer is “Na hevaṃ vattabbe” or “That is not so.”
- Similarly, the heretics say that this “intermediate state” in not in the rūpa bhava or the arūpa bhava.
- However, all existences in this world MUST BE within one of those three major existences: kāma bhava, rūpa bhava, arūpa bhava. Then each of those sub-divide into minor categories. For example, in the kāma bhava, there are human bhava, animal bhava, etc.
- But the heretics say that the “intermediate state” is not in any of the existences.

Is Antarābhava In Between the Three Major Existences?

4. Theravadins ask: “Kāmabhavassa ca rūpabhavassa ca antare atthi antarābhavoti?” or “Does this intermediate state exist in between kāma bhava and rupa bhava”?

- Heretics: No.
- Then the Theravadins declare “Hañci kāmabhavassa ca rūpabhavassa ca antare natthi antarābhavo, no ca vata re vattabbe—“atthi antarābhavo” ti” OR “If you affirm that there is no intermediate state between kāma bhava and rupa bhava, then you cannot maintain your proposition.”
- In the same way, the heretics admit that there is no intermediate state between rupa bhava and arupa bhava, and the Theravadins point out that the heretics’ position is untenable.

Antarābhava In Terms of Yoni, Gati, viññāṇaṭṭhiti, sattāvāsa

5. All living beings in this world belong to those three major types of bhava. Buddha explained all possible existences in this world in many other ways as well.

- All living beings can be categorized according to four types of yoni (modes of birth), gati (according to five major types of samsaric habits), seven types of viññāṇaṭṭhiti (stations of consciousness), and nine types of abodes (sattāvāsa.)
- The first two categories are discussed in the “Mahāsīhanāda Sutta (MN 12)” The seven types of viññāṇaṭṭhiti discussed in the “Sattaviññāṇaṭṭhi Sutta (AN 7.44)” and the nine types of sattāvāsa in the “Sattāvāsa Sutta (AN 9.24)“
- So, Theravadins ask: “Pañcamī sā yoni, chaṭṭhamī sā gati, aṭṭhamī sā viññāṇaṭṭhiti, dasamo so sattāvāsoti?” OR “Are there five types of yoni or six types of gati or eight types of viññāṇaṭṭhiti or ten types of sattāvāsa?”
- Heretics admit that this antarābhava cannot be found under any of those categories.

Does Antarābhava Fall Under Other Possible Categories?

6. There are many other ways of categorization discussed in that section “Antarābhavakathā” referred to in #2 above. However, the English translation there at Sutta Central is not complete.

- For those who understand the Sinhala Language, a complete Sinhala translation is in the Buddha Jayanthi Tipiṭaka per #2 above.
- The point is that antarābhava cannot be found under ANY possible category that a living being can be put into.
- This post would be very long if I translate the whole section. However, let us look at one more important category.

Does a Being in Antarābhava Have Pancakkhandha (Five Aggregates)?

7. Theravadins ask: “kāmabhave/rūpabhave/arūpabhave atthi rūpaṃ vedanā saññā saṅkhārā viññāṇanti?.” OR “Do the five aggregates exist in kāma bhava, rūpa bhava and in arūpa bhava?”

- Heretics: “Āmantā” OR “Yes.” As they agreed, the five aggregates are associated with a living-being in ANY bhava.
- Theravadins ask: “Antarābhave atthi rūpaṃ vedanā saññā saṅkhārā viññāṇanti? OR “Do the five aggregates exist in antarābhava?”
- Heretics: “Na hevaṃ vattabbe..” OR “That cannot be said.”
- Here, the heretics admit that a being in antarābhava cannot be described in terms of the five aggregates!

No Basis for the Claim of an Antarābhava

8. Therefore, it was shown without any doubt that the concept of an antarābhava does not fit into Buddha Dhamma.

- However, there was absolutely no connection made to the concept of gandhabba.
- Anyone can read the Pāli text in “Antarābhavakathā” and see that the word gandhabba is not even mentioned.

Antarābhava Concept of Those Heretics Is Not The Same as Gandhabba

9. If the term gandhabba did not even come up in the discussion on antarābhava at the Third Buddhist Council, why do SOME present-day Theravadins say that the concept of gandhabba was rejected at that Council? The simple answer is that they may not have even read the text in the “Antarābhavakathā” section of the Tipiṭaka!

- I have heard many bhikkhus just repeat what they heard from someone else, that the gandhabba state is a Mahāyāna concept, and it refers to an “intermediate state” or “antarābhava.” They don’t even try to verify that by looking up the Tipiṭaka.
- They may misunderstand that a human “bhava” starts with a human’s birth (as a baby from a mother’s womb) and that it ends when that physical body dies.
- That is a VERY BAD wrong view!
- Let us consider the following evidence against that false belief.

Do “Human Bhava” Last Only 100 Years and “Fly bhava” Last Only Several Days?

10. We know that a “dense body” of a human lasts for about 100 years, and a housefly lives only several days. But that time is only a small fraction of the lifetime of the corresponding gandhabba! Whether it is a human or a housefly, it will be in that existence or bhava (as a human or a fly) for many thousands of years.

- As we know, the Buddha has emphasized strongly that it is VERY DIFFICULT to get a human existence (bhava.) See, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm”: https://puredhamma.net/working-towards- ... in-suttas/
- On the other hand, many rebirth accounts from children worldwide show that they had been born with human bodies only several years previously! See the previous post, “Antarābhava – No Connection to Gandhabba.”
- Those previous births were within the same human bhava. It was the same human gandhabba that led to both those human births.

11. When the dense physical body of a human dies, that is not necessarily the end of the “human bhava.” Unless the kammic energy of that human gandhabba is exhausted, gandhabba will stay alive. It will be pulled into another suitable womb at a later time. In between adjacent “births with human bodies,” human existence continues in the gandhabba state.

- That gandhabba state is NOT an “antarābhava.” It is IN “human bhava.” A human gandhabba is human and has five aggregates. There is a subtle rupa (invisible to us) associated with that gandhabba with a hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) and five pasāda rupa. It can think. It just cannot touch, smell, or taste, but can see and hear. See, “Ghost 1990 Movie – Good Depiction of Gandhabba Concept” posted on Jan 18, 2020 (p. 78): https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1155
- Similarly, when a fly dies, it will stay in that existence as a “fly gandhabba” and get into an egg to form another fly. For a fly, that process will occur an uncountable times before that “fly existence” ends!
- When a fly dies, it will stay as a “fly gandhabba” until it is pulled into an egg to start making another “dense fly body.”

Human (or Animal) Bhava (Existence) Can Last Thousands of Years

12. The four types of yoni (modes of births) mentioned in #5 above are the following: Aṇḍajā (egg born), jalābujā (womb born), saṃsedajā (typically translated as “moisture born” but has a better explanation), and opapātikā (instantaneous birth).

- However, when a transition from one bhava to another (say, from human bhava to an animal bhava) takes place, first only an opapātikā birth occurs where a NEW mental body (manomaya kāya) is generated by kammic energy.
- In many realms — including all 20 Brahma realms — that opapātika birth spans the whole bhava. They are born one time with a subtle (invisible to us) “mental body” (with a trace of matter), and that is all they have.
- However, in the human and animal realms, that “mental body” will get into a womb or an egg (in animals), leading to a physical body’s birth.
- Those are conventionally called births (jāti) within those two bhava. That “mental body” in the human or animal realms is given a special name of gandhabba.
- Those womb-based and egg-based births are two types of “births” mentioned above: aṇḍajā and jalābujā, respectively. In some instances, the chemical composition needed to make the “seed” (for example, an animal’s egg) forms in natural processes, and that is the fourth type of saṃsedajā birth.

13. As mentioned above, Brahmas and Devas do not go through the gandhabba state. They are born instantaneously (opapātika birth) and live for very long times (their whole life in that state.) In fact, Brahmas‘ subtle “bodies” are very similar to the mental bodies (gandhabba state) of humans or animals. See, “Body Types in 31 Realms – Importance of Manomaya Kaya” :https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/role- ... maya-kaya/

- It is mostly in the human and animal realms that first, a subtle manomaya kāya is born instantaneously followed by the arising of dense physical bodies with one one of the other three possibilities.
- We have discussed the birth of a human baby in “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” on Jan 05, 2020 (p. 77)
Many such “births with physical bodies” can take place within a single human bhava.
- Now let us briefly discuss a few associated issues/conventions/terminology.

Sometimes Gandhabba State Referred to as Paṭisandhi Viññāṇa

14. The “descend” of that paṭisandhi viññāṇa to a womb is discussed in several suttas, including “Assalāyana Sutta (MN 93)” where the term “gandhabba” is specifically used: “Jānāma mayaṃ, bho—yathā gabbhassa avakkanti hoti. Idha mātāpitaro ca sannipatitā honti, mātā ca utunī hoti, gandhabbo ca paccupaṭṭhito hoti; evaṃ tiṇṇaṃ sannipātā gabbhassa avakkanti hotī’ti.”

Translated: “We do know that, sir. An embryo is conceived when these three things come together—copulation of the mother and father, the mother is in the fertile part of her menstrual cycle, and the presence of a gandhabba.” This is explained in detail in “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” on Jan 05, 2020 (p. 77)

- But in some other suttas, Such as “Mahānidāna Sutta (DN 15)” the gandhabba is also referred to as paṭisandhi viññāṇa. in some cases. That is because that manomaya kāya is created by the kammic energy associated with a paṭisandhi viññāṇa.
- For details, see “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka” posted on Oct 28, 2018 (p.43)

Other Use of the Name “Gandhabba

15. There are a class of Devas called “gandhabba“; see, “Suddhika Sutta (SN 31.1)” and the following many suttas in SN 31 (Gandhabba Vagga.) There are numerous types of Devas (in lower Deva realms) who intake (abba) odors of various plants and flowers (gandha), and thus that name. “Mahāsamaya Sutta (DN 20)” identifies Dhataraṭṭha, King of the East is identified as “Chief of the Gandhabba Devas.”

- There is also a group of petas with the name “gandhabba.” They inhale "foul odors."
- To add to that, human gandhabbas are sometimes referred to as “tirokuḍḍa” or “tirokuṭṭa” because they can go through walls. See “Tirokuṭṭa Sutta (Kp7).”
- Understanding the Tipiṭaka requires checking for inter-consistencies with a good understanding of underlying concepts and terminology usage.
- The word “right” can mean two different things in “turn right” and “you are right.” Similarly, the word “gandhabba” needs to be understood in the context of a particular situation.
auto
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Intermediate state is the time when you are dead during what you are reborn.
body breaks up->death->rebirth
https://suttacentral.net/mn136/en/sujato wrote:Now, Ānanda, take the case of the person here who killed living creatures … and had wrong view, and who, when their body breaks up, after death, is reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.
Tatrānanda, yvāyaṃ puggalo idha pāṇātipātī adinnādāyī … pe … micchādiṭṭhi, kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maraṇā apāyaṃ duggatiṃ vinipātaṃ nirayaṃ upapajjati,
They must have done a bad deed to be experienced as painful either previously or later, or else at the time of death they undertook wrong view.pubbe vāssa taṃ kataṃ hoti pāpakammaṃ dukkhavedanīyaṃ, pacchā vāssa taṃ kataṃ hoti pāpakammaṃ dukkhavedanīyaṃ, maraṇakāle vāssa hoti micchādiṭṭhi samattā samādinnā.
Kamma doesn't cause rebirth, kamma defines if you have good or bad experience a'la hell or heavenly realm. Trying to escape that pain or succumb to the pleasure causes rebirth in the sensual world if it is through sensual intent(kamacchanda). Or during the time of death there is craving, desire for grasping aggregates, wrong view arises thus rebirth happens.
micchādiṭṭhi
https://suttacentral.net/sn22.154/en/sujato wrote:“When form exists, because of grasping form and insisting on form, wrong view arises.“rūpe kho, bhikkhave, sati, rūpaṃ upādāya, rūpaṃ abhinivissa micchādiṭṭhi uppajjati.
Antarabhava is not referring in this context the orderly fashion between 1 birth and another. But the identity free period of time where the kaya has broken up, past actions will be prompted prolly and one may grasp them and identity view may arise. Thus there is time window where when one can be influenced by others to take better birth.

i think, mind(another body) within body is refuted in Mahayana. Lal, you might be going against big tradition with big names.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Lal, you might be going against big tradition with big names
It seems that you have no idea what you writing about. Was the issue of gandhabba discussed and rejected at the Third Buddhist Council? That is the issue relevant to the above post.

I am sure those "big names" can respond directly to any of my posts if they disagree with what I write and have contrary evidence from the Tipitaka.

If you don't like what I write, just stop reading. I am not trying to convince you of anything.
- Each person needs to decide for him/herself and take what makes sense and leave the rest.
- If there are sensible questions, I have always tried to respond.
auto
Posts: 2002
Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:48 pm
Lal, you might be going against big tradition with big names
It seems that you have no idea what you writing about. Was the issue of gandhabba discussed and rejected at the Third Buddhist Council? That is the issue relevant to the above post.

I am sure those "big names" can respond directly to any of my posts if they disagree with what I write and have contrary evidence from the Tipitaka.

If you don't like what I write, just stop reading. I am not trying to convince you of anything.
- Each person needs to decide for him/herself and take what makes sense and leave the rest.
- If there are sensible questions, I have always tried to respond.
The positions proposed by the heretics, who might also think that the Mara secretly injects semen into arhants, presents the whole idea of antarabhava?

It's a controverted point. Notice they think it is separate state of life: 1 life, intermediate state, 2nd life, intermediate state..
It reminds your own gandhabba theory when human life ends then there is gandhabba coming out of the body as a separate state of life.
https://suttacentral.net/kv8.2/en/aung-rhysdavids wrote:The same argument applies to such cognate terms as “beings who complete existence without,” and again, “with difficulty and striving” (see PTS CS 8.2.9).
Sutta's
The one who is extinguished between one life and the next,
the one who is extinguished upon landing,
the one who is extinguished without extra effort,
the one who is extinguished with extra effort,
and the one who heads upstream,
going to the Akaniṭṭha realm.
Antarāparinibbāyissa, upahaccaparinibbāyissa, asaṅkhāraparinibbāyissa, sasaṅkhāraparinibbāyissa, uddhaṃsotassa akaniṭṭhagāmino—
You seem rejecting antarabhava wholly
Lal wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:12 pm 1. The concept of an antarābhava was discussed and rejected at the Third Buddhist Council.
Then you have to do it with the other things in the list too.

Do you claim that these Suttas what contain these truths were not legitimate anymore after the third council?
Lal
Posts: 533
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba

The question “How do we see?” remains unanswered by science. The short post by the National Eye Institute, “How the Eyes Work”(https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye ... you%20see.) concludes: “These electrical signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Then the brain turns the signals into the images you see.” That does not explain the important part, the EXPERIENCE.

How Do We See?

1. Let us systematically see what happens when we “see” a tree, for example. Please don’t just read through, but stop and think about each point. There is a lot of information condensed in this post (true for most posts, but especially this one).

- Light reflected off of the tree falls on our eyes and forms an image of that tree on the retina in the back of the eye. As you can imagine, that image is tiny. That image is then transmitted to the brain in terms of a chemical/electrical signal.
- How does the brain “see” the tree using that chemical/electrical signal?
- Furthermore, we “see” that tree in great detail: leaves, individual flowers, fruits, etc. How is that possible? The images that land on the back of the eyes are microscopic.
- Someone who has thought a lot about this issue is Jeff Hawkins, who is actively engaged in artificial intelligence (AI). In his book, “On Intelligence,” he discusses current scientific knowledge on vision and other sensory inputs (Ref. 1.)

Jeff Hawkins’s Book “On Intelligence”

2. Starting on p. 55 of his book, Hawkins discusses how the image that falls on the back of the eye is transmitted to the brain: “But let’s take a closer look. Visual information from the outside world is sent to your brain via a million fibers in your optic nerve. .”,

- “You can visualize these inputs as a bundle of electrical wires or a bundle of optical fibers..” he writes, “The inputs to the brain are like those fibers, but they are called axons, and they carry neural signals called “action potentials” or “spikes,” which are partly chemical and partly electrical..”.
- As discussed in that book, visual signals and all sense inputs (sounds, taste, smell, and body touch) to the brain are of the same type. You hear a sound, see the light, and feel pressure, but inside your brain, there isn’t any fundamental difference between these different types of neural signals. An action potential is an action potential.
- Scientists have not been able to figure out how the brain distinguishes those different types of signals. Moreover, they have no idea how the mind “sees the light” or an image of that tree. Same for the other senses.

How Are Electrical/Chemical Signals Sensed or Experienced?

3. To quote more from that book (p. 56): “Your perceptions and knowledge about the world are built from these patterns. There is no light inside your head. It is dark in there. There is no sound entering your brain either; it is quiet inside. In fact, the brain is the only part of your body that has no senses itself. A surgeon could stick a finger into your brain, and you would not feel it. All the information that enters your mind comes in as spatial and temporal patterns on the axons”.

- It is a mystery how those chemical and electrical signals coming to the brain are sensed as vision, sound, taste, smell, and body-touch by the mind.

All Existing Scientific Theories Are Speculations

4. Scientists are trying to solve this puzzle by looking for answers in the brain. They have come to the end of the line here.

- Jeff Hawkins’s book was written in 2004. The video in Ref. 2 (which discusses the brain) was posted in 2006. He and many other scientists have done much work since that time. Yet they have made NO PROGRESS on the key issue of “how those sensory events are EXPERIENCED.”
- There are, of course, many THEORIES on that connection. For example, some have suggested that consciousness (EXPERIENCE) arises in microtubules in nerve cells in the brain; see Ref. 3. However, microtubules are there (even though different in structure) in plants too. But plants, of course, cannot think.
- No matter how much they try, scientists WILL NOT be able to find a way to say that mental phenomena can arise in inert matter.
- Before we discuss Buddha’s description, let us review some relevant findings from recent scientific studies.

Tiny Oak Seed Has the Blueprint for an Oak Tree

5. A tiny oak seed has the blueprint for the huge oak tree. That seed extracts necessary “materials” from the soil and “builds” that tree! Think about how complex that process is, i.e., oak seed giving rise to an oak tree!



- The video does not show the latter stages of growing into a huge oak tree over many years.
- As we can see, all necessary “materials for the tree” are extracted from the soil. The seed only has the blueprint for the tree!

Gandhabba Has the “Blueprint” or the “Master Plan” for a Human Body

6. The growth of a baby inside a womb (and then outside the womb) is not different from a seed growing into a tree.

- The zygote (formed by an egg from mother and sperm from father) is not different from a seed.
- The MAJOR difference is that a human can THINK and a tree cannot.
- The THINKING part in a human comes from the gandhabba! We discussed these details in the posts “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” (https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1140 on Jan 05, 2020) and the subsequent post “Cloning and Gandhabba.”
- Let us discuss another piece of evidence from recent scientific findings.

Vision Is Not Continuous

7. Vision or “seeing” appears to us as continuous. We see people moving around, vehicles moving, animals running around, etc. However, in reality, “seeing” happens due to a series of “snapshots” that our physical eyes take. Those chemical and electrical signals mentioned above come in packets of about 10-millisecond duration.

- As an example, let us take the case of seeing a tree. The eyes send a series of “data packets” (chemical and electrical signals per #2, #3 above) to the brain. It is NOT a continuous stream of data that arrives at the brain via the optic nerve. The signal comes in “packets.” Similar “data packets” come in from the other four physical senses. They are processed (in parallel) by the brain.
- Recent scientific studies show that a human needs at least 10-20 milliseconds (1000 milliseconds = 1 second) to look at the picture to recognize it. Similarly, a “sound packet” of a duration of about 30 milliseconds can be detected and recognized. Thus, it seems that the brain processes sensory data in packets of about 10-30 milliseconds.
- Some of those processing may happen in parallel in different regions in the brain. Further details in “Vision Is a Series of “Snapshots” – Movie Analogy” on Oct 14, 2019: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1125It is essential to read this post if one needs to understand Buddha’s explanation fully.
- However, scientists have no idea how those “data packets” lead to seeing, hearing, etc. (actual sensory experiences)!
- Now we can start discussing Buddha’s explanation.

Sense Experience Happens in the “Mental Body” (Gandhabba)

8. Actual “seeing” (and hearing, smelling, etc.) goes on at the hadaya vatthu located in the gandhabbā or the mental body. This is the key point.

- In the case of “seeing a tree,” the brain processes the data received from the eyes to a level that scientists CANNOT probe. They are reduced (or “broken down”) to the suddhāṭṭhaka level below the elementary particle level reached by scientists. At that stage, that signal can be transmitted with the mental body of the gandhabba to hadaya vatthu. That is where the sensory experience takes place!
- As discussed in #7, the brain takes about 10-30 milliseconds to PROCESS data from each sense door. When we are watching a movie, for example, the brain needs to work non-stop to analyze visual and sound data for the duration of the movie. That strains the brain, so it is impossible to watch more than one movie at a time without ending up with a headache.
- In fact, the brain consumes about 25% of the energy intake for the whole body!
- These are the details that could not have been transmitted in the Tipiṭaka. Furthermore, during the Buddha’s days, essentially nothing was known to other humans regarding the brain. The Buddha could not provide this kind of detail at that time. We will discuss that in the next post.

Science Will Never be Able to Create “Artificial Life” or “Artificial Intelligence”

9. That is also why science will NEVER be able to succeed in AI (Artificial Intelligence.) Note that AI is different from making efficient robots, which are purely mechanical. They don’t have the ability to THINK!

- Note that “artificial insemination” is not creating a new life. There, scientists use DNA from humans (or animals) to create a zygote. That is not any different from a zygote produced in a womb. See, “Cloning and Gandhabba.”
- The bottom line is the following: Without a human gandhabba, sensory experience is not possible. The physical body is just a shell.
- That gandhabba can be created ONLY by kammic energy, based on a previous strong kamma (deed.) The laws of kamma work automatically. It is a natural process, just like an oak seed giving rise to an oak tree.

Difference Between a “Live Human” and a “Dead Body” Is Gandhabba

10. The gandhabbā is like a delicate mesh (or an “energy field”) overlapping the physical body, with the hadaya vatthu located close to the physical heart. That is what gives life to the physical body.

- At the physical body’s death, fine gandhabbā comes out of the physical body like a ghost. It is so fine that we cannot see it. But we all know that a body can be alive one second and become totally inert (like a piece of wood) at death.
- Have you touched a dead body (human or animal)? You can immediately sense the difference between a dead body and a live person/animal by just touching.
- At death, as soon as the gandhabba comes out permanently from that body, the body starts to get cold. The “life force” is no longer there! That life force is the gandhabba or the “mental body”!

Transfer of Data from the Brain to Pasāda Rūpa/Hadaya Vatthu

11. Another key point is that in the fine body of the gandhabbā, there are five “pasāda rūpa” located around the hadaya vatthu: cakkhu, sōta, ghāna, jivhā, and kāya, that correspond to seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touch. Those ‘sensing units” overlap the physical heart, far away from the brain. Scientists will never be able to solve the problem just by analyzing brain processes!

- We have discussed related important concepts in a series of posts starting with "Mind Is Not in the Brain" on Sep 06, 2020: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1260 As I remind you frequently, it takes a real effort to understand these concepts. With this post, we are going back to continue that discussion.
- The brain is like a sophisticated computer that analyzes those chemical and electrical signals discussed above in #2 and #3.
- Those chemical/electrical signals are, in fact, reduced to the suddhāṭṭhaka level per Buddha Dhamma. Suddhāṭṭhaka is the smallest unit of matter in Buddha Dhamma) and are transmitted to the pasāda rūpa located around the hadaya vatthu.
- That transfer of “information” from the brain to pasāda rūpa around the hadaya vatthu happens in the “energy-body” of the gandhabba that overlaps the physical body.

Only a Buddha Can Figure Out the Complex Connection Between Mind and Matter

12. That is what the Buddha taught 2500 years ago. Until scientists accept that mind and matter are two different entities, they will not proceed too far from where they are now.

- The ultimate realities of this world are citta, cetasika, rupa. Thoughts encompass citta and cetasika. They are in a separate category from rupa. Citta and cetasika CANNOT arise out of rupa! Stop and contemplate on that. This is why Abhidhamma is important.
- Someone who has studied Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) may realize that it starts with saṅkhāra (ALL mental) generated due to avijjā. The PS cycle ends with jāti (birth) of an entity with the matter.
- The “connection” between mind and matter is “defiled consciousness” (or viññaṇa), and viññaṇa arises ONLY in a hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) in a gandhabba created ONLY by kammic energy.

13. That is a fascinating account amenable to minds that are not defiled with strong wrong views. That is why it is NECESSARY to live a moral life and be willing to “listen to reason.” As the Buddha warned, not everyone can understand the deep Dhamma. It takes effort and faith (built on one’s own experiences.)

- We will discuss the deep connection between mind and matter in detail in upcoming posts. But the key points can be found in “The Origin of Matter – Suddhāṭṭhaka.” I will post this in a few days since it is important.
- Of course, many details in this post are not available in that form in the Tipiṭaka. In fact, that holds for many of my posts on gandhabba.
- However, those descriptions are fully compatible with the Tipiṭaka. I will discuss that In the post next week.

References

1. Jeff Hawkins, “On Intelligence” (2004).

2. Jeff Hawkins: “How brain science will change computing.”



3. “Can Quantum Physics Explain Consciousness? One Scientist Thinks It Might”: https://www.discovermagazine.com/the-sc ... s-it-might
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

The Origin of Matter – Suddhāṭṭhaka

Introduction

1. Suddhāṭṭhaka is not even mentioned in even many Thēravada Texts. It is discussed in “Bhikkhu_Bodhi-Comprehensive_Manual_of_Abhidhamma,” by Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000); see pp. 246, 253-254.https://www.saraniya.com/books/meditati ... dhamma.pdf However, it does not have a deeper explanation given in this post. The explanation in #7 through #9 was given by Waharaka Thero and cannot be found directly even in the Tipiṭaka. I will discuss that in the next post, “Interpretation of the Tipiṭaka – Gandhabba Example.”

- Please don’t read it unless you have thought about the basic concepts of “san,” gati (pronounced “gathi” as in “Thailand”), āsava, Paṭicca samuppāda, etc. It may not make much sense, and thus it could discourage people from proceeding any further thinking, “this stuff does not make sense.” I have discussed those concepts at this Dhamma Wheel forum.
- On the other hand, for those who understand those concepts, this could help gain more insight.
- As I publish more posts on this issue, the picture will become increasingly apparent. Buddha Dhamma’s value will also become apparent, and that is the best way to cultivate saddhā (faith based on understanding).
- This topic discussed in detail in the “Nāma & Rūpa to Nāmarūpa” subsection of the “Living Dhamma” section at puredhamma.net.

Origin of Matter – Scientific Theory

2. If we accept that all matter has been created somehow, what is the origin of matter?

- Scientists have no clear explanation of this at this point. They say they can calculate the universe’s evolution from a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, but physics cannot explain what happened before the Big Bang.
- Of course, the “Big Bang Theory” has not yet been fully confirmed, even though most scientists believe it.
- Still, some scientists do not believe everything “popped up” all of a sudden in a Big Bang. See, for example, “Endless Universe – Beyond the Big Bang,” by P. J. Steinhardt and N. Turok (2007).
- By the way, English astronomer Fred Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang” to ridicule the concept.

Buddha Dhamma – Universe Evolves

3. The Buddha discouraged people from investigating the universe in detail. However, he has taught that uncountable “planetary systems” like our Solar system exist in the universe. That model will have living beings in existence somewhere in the 31 realms. This has been discussed in detail in a few suttā, especially the Aggañña Sutta (DN 27). I have written an introductory post: “Buddhism and Evolution – Aggañña Sutta (DN 27)“.The following are some key points.

(i). The universe has no traceable beginning, just like for life.
(ii). The universe has “clusters or groups” of stars. Our Solar system is one of 10,000 “star systems” (cakkavāla or planetary systems; chakrawāta in Sinhala). There is an infinite number of such cakkavāla in the universe.
(iii). When a star in the vicinity of our Sun blows up in a few billion years, that blast will destroy 10,000 other star systems in the neighborhood. Such a “star explosion” has a particular name, a supernova, in modern science.
(iv). Such a cluster of 10,000 world-systems blows up from time to time in the universe. Again, scientists observe such supernovae every year.
(v). What science does not know yet is that those destroyed star systems re-form over billions of years.

4. Whatever the model that science eventually clarifies WILL BE consistent with Buddha Dhamma.

- Thus, the universe did not start with a “Big Bang,” as many scientists believe right now. Remember that only 100 or so years ago, scientists thought the universe was in a steady state. Scientific theories change to “fit the existing data.”
- Just 400 years ago, “science” believed in the geocentric model of the universe. That the Earth was at the universe and that the stars were embedded in a celestial sphere far above; see: "Geocentric model": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model
- But pure Buddha Dhamma has not changed since Buddha Gotama taught it 2500 years ago; see, “Historical Background” at puredhamma.net.
- We will slowly go through the Aggañña Sutta because that needs enough background material. I expect this topic will take us several years and many essays to complete.

Suddhāṭṭhaka – The Smallest Unit of Matter

5. Here we will discuss only the origin of the smallest unit of matter, called a “suddhāṭṭhaka.” (sometimes written as suddhāshtaka).

- This unit of matter is a billion times smaller than “an atom” in modern science. One time, not long ago, science believed that an atom was the smallest unit of matter. But they are composites of many “elementary particles.” Even many of those “elementary particles” are shown to have more structure! At present, there is no end in sight to how smaller a “basic unit of matter” can get. Now science is unable to distinguish between “matter” and “energy.”
- For example, a “Higgs boson” is just a packet of energy.
- Matter and energy are essentially the same, related by the famous equation, E (energy) = m (mass) x c2, where c is the light speed. Thus any small unit of matter is indistinguishable from a “packet of energy.” For example, the light we see comes in “packets” called photons. Thus photon belongs to matter in this sense, and therefore everything in this world at the primary level can have the label “matter” or “energy.”
- The distinction between “matter” and “energy” is blurred at this fundamental level.

6. A suddhāṭṭhaka is a “packet of energy” and is THE basic unit of matter. It is much smaller than in energy compared to a light photon that we see. A humongous number of suddhāṭṭhaka would have the energy of a single light photon.

- A suddhāṭṭhaka, being a saṅkhata, is created by the mind. That may be surprising to many of you, but I will provide evidence that it is true as we progress. That is why the Buddha said, “manō pubbaṅgamā dhammā…”, i.e., “everything has a mind as the precursor…”.
- However, almost all of the matter around us was created by this “mental process” a very long time ago. That is the story in the Aggañña Sutta. At present, suddhāṭṭhaka are being created by us (via javana citta), but in very minute quantities.
- Anyone with higher abhiññā powers can create significant matter, like a flower or even larger entities. Matter (at the level of suddhāṭṭhaka) is created by javana citta. And someone with abhiññā powers can maintain a citta vithi with javana citta flowing continuously to generate “significant amounts of matter.” See the end of the post, “Citta Vithi – Processing of Sense Inputs.”https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/essen ... se-inputs/

What is a Suddhāṭṭhaka?- Roles of Avijjā and Taṇhā

7. Suddhāṭṭhaka (“suddha” for “pure” or fundamental” + “aṭṭha” or “eight”) means a unit of matter consisting of eight fundamental entities (usually translated as the “pure octad,” for example, in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book per #1 above)

- Four of these are the four “mahā bhūta“: Pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo. These are indeed the most fundamental units of matter, but they cannot be detected by themselves. It may be hard to believe for many at this stage, but those arise due to our “gati” that I have discussed in several posts; see the introductory post: “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Āsavas).” By the way, removal of “āsava” and “gati” lead to Nibbāna: “The Way to Nibbāna – Removal of Āsavā.” One needs to have an understanding of these concepts to grasp the material in this post.
- The mind first creates the four mahā bhūta with four basic “gati” of humans: “thada gatiya” or “තද ගතිය” (in Sinhala) means the “coarseness,” corresponding to pathavi; a defiled mind is “hard” and “coarse” and correspond to “pathavi” nature.
- The word āpo comes from the tendency to “attach or get attracted to worldly things” (“bandena gatiya” or “බැඳෙන ගතිය” in Sinhala means the “bind together,” which leads to liquidity in science). Tejo comes from “fiery or energetic” (“théjas gati” or “තේජස් ගතිය” in Sinhala), and vāyo refers to “motion” (“salena gatiya” or “සැලෙන ගතිය” in Sinhala). They are all created in javana citta that arise in mind, of course, in minute quantities that cannot be detected. However, those with abhiññā powers can generate large amounts of matter like a flower.

8. Those most fundamental four units (satara mahā bhūta) are supposed to be created by the mind due to avijjā or ignorance. We like to have possession of things made out of these units because we do not comprehend the “unfruitful nature” of such impermanent things.

- Now, the craving for material things leads to four more gati due to taṇhā. Due to our tendency to think highly (“varnanā karanava” in Sinhala), another gati of “vaṇṇa” is created as different manifestations of the four mahā bhūta. Similarly, three more units called gandha, rasa, and oja created due to taṇhā. Those correspond to our desire to be in touch with them and be "fooled" (gandha), keep them close (rassa), and re-generate them ( oja). It will take too much space to explain these in detail, but I hope you get the basic idea.

Suddhāṭṭhaka – Eight Components Do Not Arise Individually

9. Therefore, four basic units of pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo arise due to avijjā, and the other four of vaṇṇa, gandha, rasa, and oja arise due to taṇhā.

- These eight components never arise in isolation and thus are called “avinibbhōga rupa.” They always rise together and all eight are there in any suddhāṭṭhaka. The relative “amounts” of each component can vary, and thus some entities may be dominated by one of the eight. For example, pathavi is dominant in a stone and āpo is dominant in water. Even then, all eight are present to some extent.
- This very fundamental level is called the “bhūta” stage. Bhūta is another name for “ghosts” because of their elusive nature. They can never be detected and can only be “seen” by a Buddha. The Buddha explained this to Mahā Brahma, who thought he knew everything about the world: “Brahma­niman­tanika Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 49)“. I have discussed that part of the sutta in #12 of “Anidassana Viññāṇa – What It Really Means.”
- And a suddhāṭṭhaka can never be divided; thus, they are called “avinibbhōga rupa kalāpa.”

Critical Role of Gati

10. Thus, “gati” leads to “bhūta,” the first phase of rupa that can be seen (only by Buddha). That is the suddhāṭṭhaka stage. That is where mental energy is converted to matter at the very fundamental stage. Just keep that in mind as we proceed.

- It may be hard to believe for many at this stage, but those arise due to our “gati” that I have discussed in many posts. See the introductory post: “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Āsavas).” By the way, removal of “āsava” and “gati” lead to Nibbāna: “The Way to Nibbāna – Removal of Āsavā.” One needs to have an understanding of these concepts to grasp the material in this post.
- More details at “Gati (Habits/Character) Determine Births – Saṃsappanīya Sutta” and “Gati, Bhava, and Jāti.”

Stages of Matter – Bhūta, Mahā Bhūta, Dhātu

11. When enormous numbers of suddhāṭṭhaka fuse, they get to a more condensed state of “mahā bhūta.” The subtle bodies of Brahmā and some gandhabbā are made of mahā bhūta. This level of “solidification” can be compared (in energy) to electromagnetic radiation at the long-wavelength range; thus, we cannot “see” those entities with our eyes.

- Only when vast amounts of mahā bhūta fuse together and become even more condensed that we can see them. At this highly condensed state, the matter is called “dhātu.” Bodies of devas are made of finer dhātu. That is why we cannot see devas, but Brahmā can see them.
- Thus our bodies are made of more dense dhātu that we can see. That is why solid objects are called “pathavi dhātu.” Suddhāṭṭhaka in such solid objects predominantly have pathavi. In liquids, things are bound together and flow together because they mostly have āpo dhātu. Not only fire but also those objects that have an “energetic appearance” have more tejo. And not only the wind but also things that are prone to move have more vāyo.

Other Implications

13. Therefore, we can see that pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo have much deeper meanings than just earth, water, fire, and wind. Why did the ancient Greeks also use the same terms? Hinduism also uses terms like karma (which is the Sanskrit word for kamma), Nirvana (which is the Sanskrit word for Nibbāna), etc.

- There have been three Buddhas in this mahā kappa (i.e., during the existence of our Solar system) before the Buddha Gotama; that is how those terms came to usage before Buddha Gotama. The previous Buddhas’ concepts were transmitted down through successive generations, but the true meanings got lost.
- Human history is much longer than tens of thousands of years, as believed by many today. Whole continents can submerge, wiping out entire populations. That is not considered seriously yet, but there is some evidence: see "Submerged continent": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Submerged_continent
- Anyway, that is a topic to be discussed later when more evidence becomes available. It will be proven that one region that has not changed since the formation of the Earth is Asia encompassing Sri Lanka, India, and China. Archeologists should focus more in that region rather than in Africa. See, “Ancient teeth found in China challenge modern human migration theory.”: Ancient teeth found in China challenge ... ion theory

Three Buddhas Before Buddha Gotama in the Present Eon

14. As I mentioned above, there were three Buddhas before Buddha Gotama. That is how some of the key terms like pathavi, āpo, tejo, vāyo and kamma, and Nibbāna (nirvana) have been in use even before the Buddha Gotama. They had been transmitted down through generations, but of course, their true meanings had been lost.

- Losing the true meanings in the Tipiṭaka happened at least a few times, even during this Buddha Sāsana, within the past 2500 years. The best example is the misinterpretation of san, saṃsāra, anicca, and anatta during just the past hundreds of years; see, “What is “San”? Meaning of
- Sansara (or Samsara)” and “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations.”
- But the Buddha Gotama has said that his Buddha Sāsana will last for 5000 years. We are only halfway through. That is why it is making a comeback now. And this time, it will have staying power due to the presence of the internet. That is one reason why we should all be forever grateful to modern science, much more than for all other technological wonders it has brought about.
Lal
Posts: 533
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Interpretation of the TipiṭakaGandhabba Example

Interpretation of the Tipiṭaka

1. The following issues are both important and relevant.

(I) I need to make sure that I do not distort the teachings of the Buddha. That means I need to provide relevant CRITICAL passages in the Tipiṭaka when I discuss a subject.
(ii) However, some details on deeper aspects are NOT discussed IN DETAIL in the Sutta Piṭaka of the Tipiṭaka. Those details come in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka and the 3 original commentaries in the Tipiṭaka. But still, it requires a jāti Sotapanna like Waharaka Thero to provide detailed explanations.
(iii) Lastly, we are lucky to live in a time where more details, for example, about the brain, are available from modern science. Further supporting evidence on related subjects is now widely available via the internet (an example is rebirth accounts.) A good example is the description of gandhabba (manomaya kāya.)

- Depending on the topic, I have been using one or more of the above three to write posts. Let me explain by discussing my approach to write posts on the gandhabba (manomaya kāya,) where I utilized all three of the above.

Details on the Gandhabba Concept

2. Many details about the manomaya kāya (gandhabba) are not available in the Tipiṭaka.

- Some of those details were in the Sinhala Atthakathā (early commentaries) that have been lost. However, even then, it is doubtful that some details regarding the brain could have been provided. Most of our knowledge about the brain is from modern science within the past 100 years or so.
- The Buddha only mentioned the brain as part of the body’s 32 parts (Pāli word is matthaluṅga.) See “Dvattiṃsākāra”: https://suttacentral.net/kp3/pli/ms I have not seen any details on the functions of the brain in the Tipiṭaka.
- Only when a jāti Sotapanna like Waharaka Thero (who had attained the Sotapanna stage in a previous life) is born, we get to hear significant details.
- Furthermore, not all jāti Sotapannas can provide such details either. One needs to have Paṭisambhidā Ñāṇa to be able to grasp AND explain concepts in detail to others. Therefore, the first layer of details in my posts come from Waharaka Thero’s discourses.
- The second layer is due to two sources: First, such clarifications can be backed by recent scientific findings. Secondly, many rebirth accounts, Near-Death Experiences, Out-of-Body Experiences, etc., are now available to anyone thanks to the internet. Both provide invaluable supporting material to this complex subject. Therefore, the second layer of details comes from those two additional resources.
- As the Buddha advised in the “Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta (MN 139)“, the main task of a bhikkhu (or a lay disciple) is to explain in detail the ideas embedded in the Tipiṭaka without distorting key concepts.

Gandhabba (“Mental Body”) Is Primary, and the Physical Body Is Secondary

3. The role of the manomaya kāya is critical. The physical body is just a shell. It dies in about 100 years. As we discussed in the previous post, the manomaya kāya (gandhabba) may live for thousands of years in the human bhava. See, “Antarābhava Discussion in Kathāvatthu – Not Relevant to Gandhabba.”

- A fly lives only a week or so, but that “fly bhava” (or the existence as a fly) may last many thousands or even millions of years. Therefore, a fly would have the gandhabba or the manomaya kāya during that whole time.
- As we discussed, the specific term gandhabba is used mostly for the manomaya kāya of humans and animals. But living-beings in almost all of the 31 realms are born with a manomaya kāya (asañña realm only has a rupa kāya without the hadaya vatthu or the “seat of the mind.”) Brahmas in 20 realms have only the manomaya kāya.
- Thus, the manomaya kāya (mental body) is primary, and the physical body is secondary.

Importance of the Commentaries

4. The Tipiṭaka was meant to be used with the commentaries. Also, knowledgeable bhikkhus or lay disciples were supposed to explain key concepts in detail. Pāli suttā are NOT supposed to be translated word-by-word. see, “Sutta – Introduction. “

- Most of the early Sinhala commentaries were burned down in the Anurādhapura era; see, “Incorrect Theravada Interpretations – Historical Timeline. “
- Fortunately, three original commentaries provided by the Buddha’s main disciples (Ven. Sariputta, Ven. Kaccayaṃa, etc.) during the Buddha’s time had been included in the Tipiṭaka (in the Khuddhaka Nikāya) and have survived.
- The current revival of pure Dhamma by a few Theros in Sri Lanka is partially due to their perusal of these three commentaries of Paṭisambhidāmagga, Peṭakopadesa, and Nettippakarana.
- Even those three commentaries are somewhat condensed. Waharaka Thero was able to expand on those concepts in detail. He provided the basic model of the manomaya kāya (gandhabba) with hadaya vatthu and five pasāda rupa. The terms hadaya vatthu and pasāda rupa appear only briefly in the Tipiṭaka (mostly in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.) I have expanded that model using current scientific findings on the brain.

Gandhabba Model – Role of the Brain

5. Waharaka Thero provided the basic model where the brain processes incoming information from the eyes, ears, etc., and passing those processed signals to hadaya vatthu via the complex manomaya kāya of the gandhabba.

- Just as the brain is connected to the other parts of the physical body via the nervous system, gandhabba's body has a “ray-like” (or electromagnetic) system that connects essential elements like the brain and hadaya vatthu/pasāda rupa. It can pass information generated in the brain to the hadaya vatthu/pasāda rupa.
- That model is very much consistent with recent findings in science. I have referred to such recent findings in my posts. See, for example, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body,” and the posts referred to there: https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/gandh ... -and-body/

Brain Analyzing “Data Packets”

6. In several recent posts, I have utilized recent scientific findings on the brain to explain our sensory experience. I hope such explanations provide a way to visualize the sensory recognition process easier. Such posts include “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba” and “Vision Is a Series of “Snapshots” – Movie Analogy.”

- Also, consistent evidence has been accumulating in several areas, including rebirth accounts, Near-Death Experiences (NDE), and Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE); see “Evidence for Rebirth,” “Origin of Life” and “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach.”
- Hopefully, both those developments will help more people to understand the teachings of the Buddha.
- In the days of the Buddha, people accepted Buddha’s explanations without such detailed explanations. That society was vastly different from the “materialistic society” of today, where recent scientific and technological advances have given a dominant platform to “materialism.”
- That is why many people have a deeply embedded wrong view that the “physical body” is all there is and that mental aspects (thoughts) arise in the brain.

Scientific Knowledge Is Limited

6. Even a few hundred years ago, science had many issues of conflict with Buddha Dhamma on even the “material world.” Of course, science is far behind in understanding “mental aspects” like consciousness, feelings, perceptions, etc.

- However, science has made much progress, and now several major inconsistencies have been resolved about the universe’s material aspects.
- For example, just 400 years ago, “science” believed in the geocentric model of the universe. That the Earth was at the center of the universe and that the stars were embedded in a celestial sphere far above; see: "Geocentric model" : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocentric_model
- Not only science but all other major religions tried to attune their religions to this model at that time. Most religions still adhere to those concepts; see the same Wikipedia article above.
- But 2500 years ago, the Buddha clearly described our Solar system as a “cakkavāla” or a planetary system. Not only that, but he also said there are uncountable such systems in the universe. He said that it is a waste of time to figure out the details about the universe.
- Here is a video from Carl Sagan to get an idea of how vast our “detectable universe” is:



Scientific Knowledge Is Expanding

7. Through the years, and especially since the beginning of the 20th century, science has “re-discovered” some aspects of the Buddha’s wider world, including the existence of billions of galaxies, EACH OF WHICH contains billions of planetary systems like our Solar system.

- But someone living in the 19th century likely to have ridiculed the idea of innumerable planetary systems (cakkavāla) and could have said, “where is the evidence from science?”. That aspect of Buddha Dhamma was not amenable to “science” at that time.
- Just like that, many aspects of Buddha’s Dhamma are not amenable to science at the current time. But with time, more and more will be shown to be correct as science advances.
- Those issues are discussed in “Buddhism – Consistencies with Science”: https://puredhamma.net/dhamma-and-scien ... h-science/and “Buddhism – Inconsistencies with Science”: https://puredhamma.net/dhamma-and-scien ... h-science/

My Explanations of the Gandhabba Are Consistent With the Tipiṭaka

8. The detailed descriptions that I have provided on the workings of the gandhabba are not in the Tipiṭaka. The Buddha could not have provided such explanations when common people were not aware of the brain’s functions.

- However, those descriptions are fully CONSISTENT with the contents in the Tipiṭaka. Furthermore, they are also consistent with current scientific knowledge.
- Despite their intense efforts, scientists have reached an impasse in explaining how consciousness (and feelings like joy, sadness) can arise in the brain. See the previous post, “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba.” The pure materialistic model of science WILL NOT be able to explain such mental phenomena as consciousness, feelings, perceptions, etc.
- The main point of that previous post was that such mental phenomena CANNOT arise without a mental body (or manomaya kāya or gandhabba.) It is a good idea to review the subsection “Brain and the Gandhabba” to understand the relationship between the brain and gandhabba fully. Other pertinent issues relevant to gandhabba discussed at “Antarābhava and Gandhabba.” This post is the third and final post in that subsection.

Summary

9. Interpretation of the Tipiṭaka requires more than translating suttā word-by-word (which is a very bad way to teach Buddha Dhamma.) One needs to explain concepts in a way that the audience can understand.

- When one COMBINES information from both the Tipiṭaka AND other resources such as modern science, one can better understand certain difficult concepts.
- That statement holds for many posts at this website, but particularly true in the sections “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach” and “Origin of Life.”

10. This post concludes the section on “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach.” The main point of the section was to illustrate that it is the manomaya kāya that is of utmost importance. In human and animal bhava, that manomaya kāya is given a special name gandhabba.

- That manomaya kāya is just a trace of energy, but it can sustain a whole existence. Just as an oak seed has the blueprint for a huge oak tree, that trace of energy is all that is needed to sustain our dense physical bodies. See #5 of “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba.”
- That manomaya kāya for any existence is CREATED by kammic energy produced in ONE’S OWN thoughts (citta.) That is why a sentient being exists ONLY as long as it has CRAVINGS for worldly things (kāma rāga, rupa rāga, arupa rāga). But those lives will only lead to much more suffering than any short-lived “pleasures.”
- In upcoming posts, We will focus on the above bullet. It contains the essence of the Four Noble Truths/Tilakkhana/Paṭicca Samuppāda. Please read #10 repeatedly (and above mentioned posts) and see whether you can make some sense.
- When one gets a bit of traction, one becomes a Sotapanna Anugāmi. After that, it is easier to build-up on that and be able to “see” the world as it really is. That is yathābhūta ñāṇa. It is worth the effort.
auto
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Joined: Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:50 am 3. The role of the manomaya kāya is critical. The physical body is just a shell. It dies in about 100 years. As we discussed in the previous post, the manomaya kāya (gandhabba) may live for thousands of years in the human bhava. See, “Antarābhava Discussion in Kathāvatthu – Not Relevant to Gandhabba.”
physical body is just a shell.. yet without it, no progress is made. In case of internal alchemy generative force is sublimated into vitality and vitality is sublimated into spirit.
Death is because of the generative force is depleted, other words immortality is when it doesn't deplete. Cultivation, laying the foundation is technically reverse aging the body.
Reverse aging is scientifically possible. There have been given noble prizes for discoveries made in that field.
Lal wrote: Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:50 am - That manomaya kāya is just a trace of energy, but it can sustain a whole existence. Just as an oak seed has the blueprint for a huge oak tree, that trace of energy is all that is needed to sustain our dense physical bodies. See #5 of “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba.”
- That manomaya kāya for any existence is CREATED by kammic energy produced in ONE’S OWN thoughts (citta.) That is why a sentient being exists ONLY as long as it has CRAVINGS for worldly things (kāma rāga, rupa rāga, arupa rāga). But those lives will only lead to much more suffering than any short-lived “pleasures.”
- In upcoming posts, We will focus on the above bullet. It contains the essence of the Four Noble Truths/Tilakkhana/Paṭicca Samuppāda. Please read #10 repeatedly (and above mentioned posts) and see whether you can make some sense.
- When one gets a bit of traction, one becomes a Sotapanna Anugāmi. After that, it is easier to build-up on that and be able to “see” the world as it really is. That is yathābhūta ñāṇa. It is worth the effort.
It seem you are replacing attabhava with gandhabba, a lifeform what is formed by kamma in your theories which could be principally different from what is written in Suttas regards to the attabhava. Is it a try to retain originality? a Sinhala True dhamma what is not contaminated by various later possible Sutta modifications?
https://suttacentral.net/an3.34/en/sujato wrote:Any deed that emerges from greed—born, sourced, and originated from greed—ripens where that new life-form is born.Yaṃ, bhikkhave, lobhapakataṃ kammaṃ lobhajaṃ lobhanidānaṃ lobhasamudayaṃ, yatthassa attabhāvo nibbattati tattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati.
And wherever that deed ripens, its result is experienced—either in the present life, or in the next life, or in some subsequent period.Yattha taṃ kammaṃ vipaccati tattha tassa kammassa vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti, diṭṭhe vā dhamme upapajja vā apare vā pariyāye.
Why not come down and admit you are also a fellow seeker not possibly smarter than your peers.. a bit behind, what you type doesn't have much cultivation references. And next you prolly say don't read if you not like.
auto
Posts: 2002
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by auto »

Lal wrote: Thu Dec 17, 2020 1:12 pm
12. The four types of yoni (modes of births) mentioned in #5 above are the following: Aṇḍajā (egg born), jalābujā (womb born), saṃsedajā (typically translated as “moisture born” but has a better explanation), and opapātikā (instantaneous birth).

- However, when a transition from one bhava to another (say, from human bhava to an animal bhava) takes place, first only an opapātikā birth occurs where a NEW mental body (manomaya kāya) is generated by kammic energy.
- In many realms — including all 20 Brahma realms — that opapātika birth spans the whole bhava. They are born one time with a subtle (invisible to us) “mental body” (with a trace of matter), and that is all they have.
- However, in the human and animal realms, that “mental body” will get into a womb or an egg (in animals), leading to a physical body’s birth.
- Those are conventionally called births (jāti) within those two bhava. That “mental body” in the human or animal realms is given a special name of gandhabba.
- Those womb-based and egg-based births are two types of “births” mentioned above: aṇḍajā and jalābujā, respectively. In some instances, the chemical composition needed to make the “seed” (for example, an animal’s egg) forms in natural processes, and that is the fourth type of saṃsedajā birth.

13. As mentioned above, Brahmas and Devas do not go through the gandhabba state. They are born instantaneously (opapātika birth) and live for very long times (their whole life in that state.) In fact, Brahmas‘ subtle “bodies” are very similar to the mental bodies (gandhabba state) of humans or animals. See, “Body Types in 31 Realms – Importance of Manomaya Kaya” :https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/role- ... maya-kaya/

- It is mostly in the human and animal realms that first, a subtle manomaya kāya is born instantaneously followed by the arising of dense physical bodies with one one of the other three possibilities.
- We have discussed the birth of a human baby in “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception” on Jan 05, 2020 (p. 77)
Many such “births with physical bodies” can take place within a single human bhava.
- Now let us briefly discuss a few associated issues/conventions/terminology.
I would like to know what is the source or reasoning behind this claim that there is mental body involved in case of opapatika birth?
Is it that it is logical and convenient since manomaya kaya is generated by kammic energy?
Are these details not discussed in Suttas?

"in human realm "mental body" will get into a womb, leading to a physical birth"

So only on human and animal realm this mental body is called gandhabba, whereas those with opapatika birth will have a whole bhava lasting mental body and it is not called gandhabba. Hmm it is because otherwise when physical body dies then there wouldn't be anything coming out of the body - there wouldn't be body within the body. And the gandhabba what is inside the body is generated by kammic energy, these kammic energy are produced by citta(post Thu Dec 17, 2020), citta are ones own thoughts.
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Today, I will start a series of posts on "Understanding the Terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda." This will be a continuation of the series on ""Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach" started on Aug 02, 2020: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... 19#p576819

Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit

Introduction

1. This subsection is a continuation of the series of posts in “Buddha Dhamma – A Scientific Approach.”

- In this bottom-up analysis, we will get to the fundamentals of Buddha Dhamma. That involves tackling some basic features of Abhidhamma. Thus it will require some effort.
- But it will be a rewarding experience for those who make an effort.
- Buddha Dhamma can be understood via the Four Noble Truths or Tilakkhana or Paṭicca Samuppāda. If one understands any one of those three, one would understand all three.
- Our approach here is to look at the fundamental processes involved in a sensory event. That will provide invaluable insights to Paṭicca Samuppāda.

A Citta Lasts Only a Billionth of a Second

2. What we call a “thought” is the cumulative effect of billions of cittā flowing through a mind. The mind — which processes cittā — is the fastest entity in the world (Ref. 1)

- Furthermore, a single citta does not arise in isolation. A citta ALWAYS arise in a citta vithi (series of cittā), some with 17 cittā; see below. Billions of such citta vithi can flow through a mind in a second. What we “feel” is the cumulative effect of billions of such citta vithi.
- When exposed to a new ārammaṇa (new sensory input), the first series of citta vithi arises without even being aware. We will start experiencing them within a short time, and when we do, we CAN have control over the SUBSEQUENT citta vithi related to those that arose first.
- But if we don’t pay attention, such citta vithi can progress on their own and induce us to speak badly or even do bad things.
- That is why the need to be “mindful.”
- For example, when someone says something nasty, we may automatically respond with bad speech or even bodily actions. Some people are prone to do that more than others. But ANYONE can cultivate mindfulness and be able to have control over one’s speech or actions. Of course, it will take time to cultivate mindfulness. Our analysis here will help understand that process too.

Roles of Arammana and Gati in a Sensory Event

3. To emphasize, we DO NOT have control over how citta vithi first arise due to new sensory input. They arise AUTOMATICALLY based on two things: The particular ārammaṇa (sense object) and one’s habits/character (gati.) Note that “gati” is pronounced “gathi” as in “Thailand.” That is easier to explain with a few simple examples.

- Consider a husband who likes alcohol and his wife, who dislikes alcohol. A friend visits them and brings a bottle of alcohol.
- That bottle of alcohol is the ārammaṇa. When the husband sees it, he feels happy. His wife sees the bottle at the same moment and becomes unhappy. Therefore, that same ārammaṇa induced different types of citta vithi in the husband and the wife’s minds! That means different types of cetasika (mental factors) arise in the citta in those two types of citta vithi.
- Prior experiences of the husband with alcohol are “happy occasions” for the husband. He has a gati to be attracted to alcoholic drinks. On the other hand, his wife cannot even stand the smell of alcohol, and she believes alcohol is bad to drink.
- However, gati can change. At a later time, the husband may give up alcoholic drinks after seeing the bad consequences of drinking. It is also possible that the wife may start associating with a group of friends who drink alcohol and gradually begin to form a liking for alcohol taste.
- See Ref. 2 for details on the critical roles of ārammaṇa and gati.

One Sensory Unit (Citta Vithi) At a Time – But They Flow Incredibly Fast

4. Let us consider that sensory event of “seeing a bottle of alcohol” when a friend brings that bottle. Let us consider the thoughts that flow through the husband’s mind at that time of the visit.

- At the time of seeing the bottle, he is likely to be talking to that friend. It appears that talking, hearing the friend’s words, and seeing the bottle in the friend’s hands all happen simultaneously.
- They may happen at ABOUT the same time. But even just two sensory events CANNOT happen simultaneously (say, hearing the friend say “hello” and seeing the bottle in his hands).
- Hearing his friend say “hello” happens with a citta vithi of 17 cittā. That auditory sensory input comes through the ears. It is a “sotadvāra citta vithi.” The sensation of “hearing” or sota viññāna arises in such a sotadvāra citta vithi.
- Seeing the friend with the bottle happens with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT citta vithi triggered by the visual event coming through the eyes. It is a “cakkhudvāra citta vithi.” The sensation of “seeing” or cakkhu viññāna arises in such a cakkhudvāra citta vithi.

Mind Can Process Numerous Citta Vithi Very Fast

5. A given citta vithi is based on ONE ārammaṇa. Until that series of citta run its course, another citta vithi WILL NOT start.

- In the above example, hearing the sound “hello” was based on one citta vithi. The sight of the friend was with another citta vithi. But since they happened so fast that one would think they happened simultaneously.
- Countless citta-vithi involving ALL SIX senses can flow alternatively in a split-second!
- The mind is capable of “sorting out” different types of ārammaṇa (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) That is why the Buddha said that the mind is the fastest entity in the whole world.
- Because these citta-vithis flow VERY FAST, and the mind can keep up with fast processing, we feel as if they all happen simultaneously! For details, see Ref. 3.

Each “Data Packet” From a Sense Door Analyzed by a Citta Vithi

6. As discussed in Ref. 3, the following sequence of events happens before we experience a sensory input. Consider seeing the bottle of alcohol in the above example. (1) Eyes capture the scene of the friend holding the bottle. That captured frame is of about 10-millisecond duration. (2) That signal is sent to the brain via the optic nerve. (3) Brain processes that “data packet” and transfers to the gandhabba’s “invisible body.” (4) That signal is transferred to the “cakkhu pasāda rupa.” (5) The cakkhu pasāda rupa transfers the signal to the hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind.”)

- We also discussed the above aspects briefly in #7 and #8 of Ref. 4. Now, let us see in a bit more detail what happens when the cakkhu pasāda rupa hits hadaya vatthu and transfers the signal to hadaya vatthu.
- The best way to understand this process is to visualize the hadaya vatthu surrounded by five pasāda rupa. Only one pasāda rupa can “hit” (or make contact) with the hadaya vatthu at any given time.
- Of course, those entities (pasāda rupa and hadaya vatthu) can never be seen, even by the most sensitive instruments. Thus, the following is just an analogy to visualize the process easier.

The “Bell Analogy”

7. Imagine a big metal ball (hadaya vatthu) surrounded by five smaller balls (five pasāda rupa.) When one smaller metal ball hits the big metal ball, that big metal ball will “ring” (vibrate) a certain number of times. For a pañcadvāra citta vithi, that number is ALWAYS 17.

- This is similar to the “ringing” of an old fashioned bell (like the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia) when hit by a metal object.
- In fact, Buddhist temples have bells that were originally designed to convey this idea of a citta vithi: One pulls a rope tied to a small metallic ball inside a metal dome so that the metal ball hits the dome, and that emits a “ringing sound.”
- At the very fundamental level, such a “contact” of a pasāda rupa with hadaya vatthu is the only brief moment of sensory experience! (see Ref. 5.)
- The Pāli word “phassa” represents that “contact.”

Phassa– Contact Between a Pasāda Rupa and Hadaya Vatthu

8. Therefore, that “contact” (phassa) DOES NOT happen, for example, between the physical eyes and a physical object (rupa.) First, the brain processes that picture captured by the eyes and transfers it to the cakkhu pasāda; See Ref. 4. It is only then the cakkhu pasāda transfers that signal to hadaya vatthu by “hitting” the hadaya vatthu (just like the dome of a bell getting hit by a metal ball.)

- This is what is meant by the Pāli term “phassa.” For example, in the Pāli verses, “salāyatana paccayā phasso” and “phassa paccayā vedanā” refer to the “contact of an external sensory input with the mind (hadaya vatthu)” and “that contact leading to experiencing the sensory input.”

Contact (Phassa) by a Pasāda Rupa Makes Hadaya Vatthu Vibrate 17 Times

9. When the hadaya vatthu is “hit” by a given pasāda rupa (i.e., when it transfers the sensory signal to hadaya vatthu,) that leads to 17 vibrations of hadaya vatthu; no more and no less. That is a citta niyāma or a universal law. With each “vibration,” the hadaya vatthu generates a citta.

- That is the origin of a citta vithi with 17 cittā (“thought moments”) in a sensory event involving pañcadvāra or the five physical doors (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body.)
- Note that a pasāda rupa plays a role ONLY in signals coming through the pañcadvāra (five physical senses), i.e., the rule of 17 cittā per citta vithi holds ONLY for pañcadvāra citta vithi.

Manodvāra Citta Vithi Do Not Have the 17-Citta Limit

10. When a dhammā comes to the mind or hadaya vatthu (via the mana indriya in the brain,) there is no pasāda rupa involvement. That signal goes directly to hadaya vatthu. Furthermore, the “17-citta rule” does not apply to manodvāra citta vithi. They can have ANY number of citta, usually more than 10 cittā.

- For example, in jhāna samāpatti, manodvāra citta vithi can run for many hours continuously (as long as one is in that samāpatti.)
- But when in a “regular jhāna,” there could be pañcadvāra citta vithi running between manodvāra (jhānic) citta vithi. That means one could hear external sounds, for example, while in a regular jhāna.
- But when in a jhāna samāpatti, that jhānic citta vithi runs continuously. Pancadvara citta vithi do not get a chance to “interfere.” Thus, when one is in a jhāna samāpatti, one is totally oblivious to what happens around him/her.

Citta Vithi – Building Block of Thoughts

11. It is a good idea to get some familiarity with citta vithi. That will make it easier to understand future discussions and get a deeper insight into Paṭicca Samuppāda. Further details on citta vithi in the post, “Citta Vīthi – Processing of Sense Inputs.” posted on October 2, 2018 (p. 35): https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=510 It would be easier to read at https://puredhamma.net/abhidhamma/essen ... se-inputs/

- Of course, the descriptions of citta vithi is not in the Sutta Piṭaka but the Abhidhamma Piṭaka. The easiest way to review my description above is to consult Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma” (Ref. 6.)
- However, the explanation in #6-#8 is not in Bhikkhu Bodhi’s book. That explanation was based on Waharaka Thero‘s discourses and my own incorporation of current scientific knowledge. I have explained that approach in the recent post “Interpretation of the Tipiṭaka – Gandhabba Example.”

References

1. Buddha said it is hard to find any phenomena in this world that change faster than the mind: “Aṅguttara Nikāya (1.48)“: https://suttacentral.net/an1.41-50

The short sutta says: “Nāhaṃ, bhikkhave, aññaṃ ekadhammampi samanupassāmi yaṃ evaṃ lahuparivattaṃ yathayidaṃ cittaṃ. Yāvañcidaṃ, bhikkhave, upamāpi na sukarā yāva lahuparivattaṃ cittan”ti.”

Translated: “I consider, bhikkhus, that there is no phenomenon that comes and goes so quickly as citta. It is not easy to find an analogy (a simile) to show how quickly citta can change.”

2. “Ārammaṇa Plays a Critical Role in a Sensory Event.” on Oct. 29, 2020: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1260

3. “Vision Is a Series of “Snapshots” – Movie Analogy” on Oct 14, 2019: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1125

4. “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba” on Dec 23, 2020 : https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1290

5. This is the very brief sensory experience that the Buddha explained to Bāhiya Dārucīriya with the verse, “diṭṭhe diṭṭha mattaṃ bhavissati.” It means, “what is seen is seen only for a brief moment.” Mattaṃ is “mātra” in Sinhala or Sanskrit or a “trace of something.” What we feel is the cumulative effect of such a large number of contacts that take place in a short time. Yet, the “real experience” lasts only a billionth of a second! See #16-#18 in “Does any Object (Rupa) Last only 17 Thought Moments?“ I will post that at Dhamma Wheel in a few days.

6. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma.” This downloadable version is from http://www.pariyatti.org: https://www.saraniya.com/books/meditati ... dhamma.pdf The above material is discussed in detail in Chapter IV (p. 149.)
Lal
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Does any Object (Rupa) Last only 17 Thought Moments?

Introduction

1. I have seen the following statement by many when discussing Abhidhamma: “Anything in this world lasts only a brief moment. Then it is re-formed, and the process continues ceaselessly.”

- Here is a direct quote from a couple of sources, one of which is a popular book on Abhidhamma: “..a rupa is very short-lived – it endures only for 17 conscious moments. Whatever object formed is almost instantly gone”. Thus it is a widespread misconception.
- I Googled the following: “Abhidhamma ..a rupa is very short-lived – it endures only for 17 conscious moments.” Here is the search result: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ALe ... CAk&uact=5 As you can see, several links make that statement.

The origin of Confusion

2. “Anything in this world” has a common name in Buddha Dhamma: a saṅkhata.

- A saṅkhata arises due to causes and lasts until those causes are there. Therefore, a saṅkhata has a finite lifetime. That lifetime can range from a split-second (for thought) to billions of years (for a star like our Sun.) Everything in this world is saṅkhata.
- The arising of a saṅkhata is due to Paṭicca Samuppāda. That is the “udaya” (or “arise”) part described in udayavaya ñāṇa.
- A saṅkhata can be STOPPED from arising IF the causes and conditions are removed, i.e., by stopping the Paṭicca Samuppāda process. That is “vaya.”

Stopping of Paṭicca Samuppāda with Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda

3. Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda is the “reverse” of the standard Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process. Which means it is the way to Nibbāna. See, "Anulōma and Patilōma Paticca Samuppāda" posted on Mar 14, 2019: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1050

- In other words, the standard Akusala-Mula Paṭicca Samuppāda process leads to the continuation of the rebirth process. It is also known as the Anulōma Paṭicca Samuppāda. The opposite (or the stopping of the rebirth process via eliminating avijjā) is Patilōma Paṭicca Samuppāda. That is the “destruction” or “vaya” of the process that leads to the arising of all saṅ­khtha (including our future births.)
- Therefore, udayavaya ñāṇa is a deeper concept. It describes, in yet another way, how the rebirth process can be stopped. It is a bit more complicated and we will discuss it later.
- So, why do some people say that any rupa (saṅkhata) has a lifetime of only 17 thought-moments (lasting only a split-second)?

4. It seems that this misinterpretation comes from taking the life of a “hadaya rupa” and applying that to ANY rupa!

- As we discussed in the previous post "Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit", the lifetime of a hadaya rupa or “vibration” of the hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) is 17 thought moments. In Abhidhamma, that vibration is called a hadaya rupa
- First, let us clarify that a saṅkhata (ANY rupa in the external world) may have a lifetime as long as billions of years!

Some Saṅkhata May Have Lifetimes of Billions of Years!

5. Different saṅkhata have different lifetimes. A fly may live for a few days, a human for about 100 years; a building may last hundreds of years, the Earth will last about 4-5 billion more years, etc. However, a saṅkhata will be decaying gradually over time.

- An inert object, like a building, will start slowly decaying. If a building lasts 1000 years, then each day, it will “decay” by a little bit, though the decay will accelerate towards the end.
- From the present time to the final destruction (or until death in the case of a living being), any given saṅkhata will change. If we consider a baby born today, it will first grow to become a young person. Then it will gradually start weakening while becoming an older adult and eventually die one day. Therefore, the critical aspect is not destruction but change. While the baby is growing, the cells in the body will multiply; but more cells will be dying in an older person’s body.

A Saṅkhata Keeps Changing – Not “Appear and Disappear”

6. This constant change is not discernible to us on a real-time basis. A person does not age while we are watching him/her. But we can see the change over several years, especially if they are very young or over the middle age.

Mayflies have a lifetime of the order of a day (after the larval stage), and some live only several hours; here is a short video by the National Geographic channel: "The 24-Hour Life of the Mayfly | Nat Geo Wild":


- Thus there is a HUGE difference in saying that a given material object CHANGES moment-to-moment versus saying that the object is “RECREATED” every 17 thought moments.
- During an Abhidhamma discourse that I listened to, the presenter showed a pen and said that the pen is “destroyed and recreated” EVERY 17 thought moments! By extending that logic, one could say that any entity (say, the Earth) is vanished and “recreated” within 17 thought moments! A complete misunderstanding of the Udayavaya process of a saṅkhata.
- The 17 thought moments’ origin is explained in the previous post “Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit.”
- As explained there, those 17 thought moments (or 17 cittā) arise when the seat of the mind (hadaya vatthu) vibrates 17 times when one of the 5 pasāda rupa transfers a sensory input. Those 17 vibrations make up a “hadaya rupa” in the Abhidhamma language. Note that a “hadaya rupa” is different from “hadaya vatthu.” A hadaya rupa arises every time the hadaya vatthu gets hit by a pasāda rupa in the process of transferring a sensory signal. See “Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit.”

A Hadaya Rupa Has a Life of 17 Thought-Moments

7. So, where does this incorrect statement come from? “.. rupa is very short-lived – it endures only for 17 conscious moments. Whatever object formed is almost instantly gone.”

- The confusion arises when one does not understand the concept of a hadaya rupa. A hadaya rupa is generated in the hadaya vatthu by a sensory event through one of the five physical senses. The lifetime of a hadaya rupa is the time taken to experience that external sense event. That takes 17 thought moments (during which an impression of the external rupa is made in mind by a citta vithi).
- It is WRONG to take this time to be the lifetime of an external object (a saṅkhata).

Huge Difference Between a Rupa (a Saṅkhata) and a Hadaya Rupa

8. Therefore, It is critical to understand the difference between ANY rupa (saṅkhata) and a hadaya rupa that lasts only for a blink of an eye.

- The lifetime of a hadaya rupa is just the time it takes for the mind to be AWARE of any saṅkhata. We experience outside material things (saṅkhata) in our world through our five physical senses. We see with eyes, hear with ears, smell with the nose, taste with the tongue, and touch with our body.
- During the lifetime of a hadaya rupa, our minds only catch a very brief (a thought moments worth) of the seeing, hearing, etc., experience at a time. It is not that the object lives a short time; it is just that we sense it only for a brief moment at a time!
- It is unnecessary to spend time on the concept of a hadaya rupa unless one is deep into Abhidhamma. However, it is good to know about it because one may come across it and may confuse it with a hadaya vatthu.
- The main point is that any object in the world (conventionally called a rupa) is a saṅkhata. Some saṅkhata (like the Earth or a star) have lifetimes of billions of years. That is not to be confused with the hadaya rupa (or a citta vithi) that lasts only 17 thought-moments!
Lal
Posts: 533
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Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Phassa (Contact) – Contact With Pasāda Rupa

Phassa (Contact) comes in the middle of the Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) process. However, PS processes start with “salāyatana paccayā phasso” or “an āyatana making contact.” That contact is between a rupa and one of the six āyatana (cakkhu, sota, gandha, jivhā, kāya, mano.) At the fundamental level, a rupa makes contact with the mind via one of the five pasāda rupa or directly with the mind (hadaya vatthu.)

Importance of Phassa (Contact) in Paṭicca Samuppāda

1. The standard PS cycle starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā.” However, we do not just start generating saṅkhāra. Furthermore, avijjā is not there in a mind all the time. Only when we see, hear, taste, smell, touch, or think about an enticing “thought object” (ārammaṇa) that we start generating saṅkhāra (defiled thoughts) due to avijjā.

- For example, if we eat something tasty, we may generate greedy thoughts (saṅkhāra) of eating more even if we are not hungry. If we see an enemy X, we may generate angry thoughts (saṅkhāra) about that person.
- Do those two “contacts” occur between the food and the tongue/eyes and person X?
- In other words, does the vedanā (feeling) of “good taste” arise in the tongue? Does “seeing of X” happen in the eyes? No.
- Some say those vedanā arise in the brain. But the brain is also made of inert atoms/molecules. Those cannot SENSE anything!
- Only a Buddha can accurately describe the actual sensing process. That “experience” takes place in the mental body (gandhabba.)

Contact (Phassa) Is Between a Rupa and an Āyatana (Pasāda Rupa)

2. When we see person X, for example, that is contact (phassa) between our internal āyatana (eyes or more correctly, cakkhu pasāda rūpa) and external āyatana (person X in this case). That is the process stated in verse, “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhuviññāṇaṃ.” The word “paṭicca” here refers to that contact (phassa).

- Due to that contact, a series of cittā flow in mind. That is a citta vithi. We discussed that in detail in “Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit.” Also, see Ref. 1.
- That leads to a mental phenomenon that we call consciousness (in this case, cakkhu viññāna). When we look at person X, we can instantly identify that person.
- Humans and animals generate such “awareness” or consciousness when seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, or thinking about an external rūpā.

Cakkhāyatana Is Cakkhu Pasāda Rupa

3. Cakkhāyatana is not the eyes. The “seeing” takes place in the mind, and the “seat of the mind” is the hadaya vatthu. The image captured by the eyes gets transmitted to the cakkhu pasāda rupa, which transfers the image to the hadaya vatthu. See the previous post, “Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit.” It is a good idea to review that post.

- All five physical senses (cakkhu, sota, ghāna, jivhā, kāya) work that way. See Ref. 2 for a Tipiṭaka reference.
- Memories and other concepts come to the mind via mana indriya in the brain. Those signals get directly transferred to the hadaya vatthu. We may get to those details in future posts.

What Is Meant by “Cakkhu, bhikkhave, aniccaṃ”?

4. Many suttas state, “Cakkhu, bhikkhave, aniccaṃ.” (and similarly for sota, ghāna, etc.) It should be clear that “cakkhu” does not refer to the physical eyes. The cakkhu pasāda rupa in the gandhabba can last many thousands of years.

- After the human bhava, we get another cakkhu pasāda rupa (with another mental body corresponding to the new bhava).
- However, what kind of bhava we get will NOT be due to our liking/expectations. It will be due to our past kamma and will be dictated by the uppatti PS process; see Ref. 3. That is what is meant by “anicca.”

Vēdanā and Saññā Can Arise Without a Mind

5. There are a couple of “mental factors” (or cetasika) that may arise without a “mind.” Crude versions of vēdanā and saññā can arise even without a mind in “living things” (like plants) in the absence of a mind.

- Vēdanā comes from (“” + “danā”) which means “වීම දැනවීම” in Sinhala. That means to “become aware of something.” When we make contact with an “external āyatana” via our six senses, we become aware of that external rūpā; that is vēdanā. See, “Vedanā (Feelings)” on Nov 06, 2018 (p. 44)
- At the fundamental level, saññā means “recognition” of an object or a person, or a concept, for example. In general, it is the recognition of an “external āyatana” or “external rūpā.” See, “Saññā – What It Really Means” on September 14, 2018 (p. 31).
- Therefore, plants and trees have a crude basic form of vēdanā and saññā. A plant can “feel” when sunlight falls on it (vēdanā), and “recognize” (saññā) that as useful for its survival.

Awareness in Living Things (Plants) and in Living Beings

6. Therefore, plants and trees also seem to be aware of the external world and can even respond in some cases. For example, a plant or a tree can “turn” towards sunlight. Their roots grow towards water sources and away from dry soil. One may ask: “Then how does a plant turn towards sunlight?.”

- Plants are like robots. A moving robot may have sensors that can detect obstacles in the way. That involves vēdanā and saññā in the elementary sense.
- A robot has a built-in computer that can instruct how to go around an obstacle, for example.
- The working of a plant is very similar. A plant seed has necessary “programs” installed in its cells to deal with the external environment. We discussed this in the section on “Origin of Life” starting Jun 29, 2019.

Plants Do Not Generate Saṅkhāra and Viññāṇa

7. Therefore, some “live things” like plants can generate rudimentary versions of vēdanā and saññā. However, a plant CANNOT generate saṅkhārā (thoughts) about those vēdanā and saññā.

- Saṅkhārā arises via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā.” Based on avijjā a mind generates defiled thoughts. Plants do not have minds to have avijjā. Therefore, plants do not generate saṅkhārā and viññāna via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā” and “saṅkhārā paccayā viññāna.”
- Of course, totally inert things like rocks do not have vēdanā and saññā either.

Living Beings Have All Four Nāma Dhammā (Vedanā, Saññā, Saṅkhāra, Viññāṇa)

8. Now, let us go back to the discussion in #1 above. A sensory contact (phassa) leads to some mental activity in a living being. We are happy to encounter “pleasing sights, sounds, etc.” and dislike the opposites.

- As we discussed in #1, if we eat something tasty, we may generate greedy thoughts of eating more even if we are not hungry. If we see an enemy X, we may generate angry thoughts about that person.
- First, in both cases, an idea about enjoying/disliking that contact comes to mind. That is the mano saṅkhāra stage.
- Then we start thinking about enjoying/getting rid of that sensory input. This is the vaci saṅkhāra stage, EVEN IF we are not saying anything out loud. Talking oneself — as well as talking — involves vaci saṅkhāra. In this case, two types of cetasika (vitakka and vicāra) are involved.
- If one really gets “attached” (via like or dislike) to that ārammaṇa, one may take physical actions. Such physical actions are done with kāya saṅkhāra that arise in mind.

Two Types of Viññāṇa

9. In the beginning of a cakkhudvāra citta vithi, we “see” the image. This is the cakkhu viññāṇa. It is a visual sensing experience, and it is a vipaka viññāṇa. These citta DO NOT have javana power to create new kamma. They experience the presence of a rupa (sight, sound, taste, etc.). Thus cakkhu, sota, ghāna, jivhā, and kāya viññāṇa are ALWAYS vipaka viññāṇa.

- If we “attach” to what we saw/ate, etc., we start generating vaci and kāya saṅkhāra. That is when we start acting with avijjā and generate kamma viññāṇa via “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra” and “saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇa.” Such kamma viññāṇa are EXCLUSIVELY mano viññāṇa. The unique aspect here is the presence of javana citta.
- That kamma generation happens with javana citta in the second stage of a citta vithi, as we will discuss. However, mano viññāṇa can be vipaka viññāṇa too (for example, when we recall memories).
- Such javana citta (generating new kamma via kamma viññāṇa) are absent in the citta vithi of Arahants. However, Arahants do experience the vipaka viññāṇa. That is another way to see the difference between kamma viññāṇa and vipaka viññāṇa.
- We will be able to clearly see that there are two types of viññāṇa when we analyze a citta vithi in upcoming posts.

References

1. “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba” on Dec 23, 2020.

2. “Āyatanavibhaṅga” (https://suttacentral.net/vb2/pli/ms) explains a āyatana as follows:

Dvādasāyatanāni— cakkhāyatanaṃ, sotāyatanaṃ, ghānāyatanaṃ, jivhāyatanaṃ, kāyāyatanaṃ, manāyatanaṃ, rūpāyatanaṃ, saddāyatanaṃ, gandhāyatanaṃ, rasāyatanaṃ, phoṭṭhabbāyatanaṃ, dhammāyatanaṃ.

Tattha katamaṃ cakkhāyatanaṃ? Yaṃ cakkhu catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya pasādo attabhāvapariyāpanno anidassano sappaṭigho, yena cakkhunā anidassanena sappaṭighena rūpaṃ sanidassanaṃ sappaṭighaṃ passi vā passati vā passissati vā passe vā, cakkhumpetaṃ cakkhāyatanampetaṃ cakkhudhātupesā cakkhundriyampetaṃ lokopeso dvārāpesā samuddopeso paṇḍarampetaṃ khettampetaṃ vatthumpetaṃ nettampetaṃ nayanampetaṃ orimaṃ tīrampetaṃ suñño gāmopeso. Idaṃ vuccati “cakkhāyatanaṃ”.

- The others are explained similarly.

- In the above verse, “anidassano” means “cannot be seen.” Thus, cakkhāyatana is not the physical eye. It refers to cakkhu pasāda rupa in the mental body (gandhabba) that cannot be seen. As we know, in Out-of-Body Experiences, that gandhabba comes out of the physical body and can see without physical eyes. Details at “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba” on Dec 23, 2020.

3. “Akusala-Mūla Uppatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.” At Dhamma Wheel, Paṭicca Samuppāda explained in many posts. See, "Basic Principles of Buddha Dhamma - Introduction to Paticca Samuppāda" :https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=765 and clarified in subsequent posts there. Especially, "Paticca samuppada vibhanga Sutta (SN 12.2)" on Dec 19, 2018 (https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=795) and "Paticca Samuppāda and Viññāna" on Dec 23, 2018: https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... &start=840
Lal
Posts: 533
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2016 11:39 am

Re: The teachings of Ven. Waharaka Abhayaratanalankara Thero

Post by Lal »

Arising of the Five Aggregates With an Ārammaṇa

Arising of the Five Aggregates (pañcakkhandha) happens with the creation of a “mental image” of a thought-object (“ārammaṇa.”) For example, when we see an object, the mind re-creates its own version of that object. When we taste the food, the mind prepares its own version of that taste. All six sensory inputs work that way. In other words, pañcakkhandha (“Five Aggregates”) are one’s own. This is why different people respond differently to the same sensory event.

- This is a critical post to understand. It may take repeated readings and understanding of previous posts in this series: “Understanding the Terms in Paṭicca Samuppāda”. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Paṭicca Samuppāda (PS) Cycles Start with an Ārammaṇa (Focus of Thoughts)

1. The standard PS cycle starts with “avijjā paccayā saṅkhārā.” However, we do not spontaneously start generating saṅkhāra. We start generating saṅkhāra based on an ārammaṇa (thought object) that we like or dislike.

- Cakkhu vinnana, for example, arises when cakkhu (cakkhu pasada rupa) makes contact (phassa) with the rupa (an image of the object seen). In the suttas, that is stated as, “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhuviññāṇaṃ.” See the previous post, “Phassa (Contact) – Contact With Pasāda Rupa.”
- Different people respond differently to the same sensory input. Furthermore, that response is swift. We have discussed several examples in Ref. 1.
- A new series of thoughts (citta vithi) starts with a new ārammaṇa.

Figuring Out Which Sense Faculty (Pancadvaravajjana Citta)

2. For example, suppose person X is relaxing at his desk during his lunch break. His mind is not focused on any specific task. It is said to be in the “bhavaṅga” state. I have discussed the “bhavaṅga” state in “State of Mind in the Absence of Citta Vithi – Bhavaṅga.” I will post it in a few days.

- Now, an unfriendly co-worker walks into the office. Person X looks up from the desk, sees the unfriendly co-worker. There are two cittas involved here. One is the pancadvaravajjana citta to investigate "which of the five senses causes the disturbance." Then X realized that it is coming through the eye indriya, i.e., it is a cakkhudvāra event giving rise to cakkhu viññāṇa.
- We discussed the basic aspects of a citta vithi in the previous post; see Ref. 2. Up to now, the citta vithi has gone through 5 citta in a citta vithi with 17 citta. "Releasing the mind from the bhavaṅga state" takes 3 cittā. I will discuss that later.
- So, the series of events start with “seeing the unfriendly co-worker.” That is a cakkhu viññāṇa. That happened without X taking the initiative. Any event that happens without taking the initiative is a kamma vipāka. Therefore, that cakkhu viññāṇa is a vipāka viññāṇa. His focus of attention was shifted due to the sight of the co-worker.
- That sight led to the arising of “bad thoughts with anger” in his mind instantaneously. He may then possibly react by saying something bad to the co-worker. That development (response to the cakkhu viññāṇa) happens at the later stage of the same citta vithi!
- First, we discuss what happens with a single citta bringing a new sensory input, i.e., the cakkhudvāra citta giving rise to cakkhu viññāṇa.

Initiation of a Sensory Event Can be at One of Six Senses

3. In the above example, seeing the co-worker started with “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.”

- Our attention abruptly changes when we encounter a new sensory input. That could come via any of the six senses, including the mind by itself.
- For example, we may be doing something, and all of a sudden, thoughts about an old friend may come to mind. That happens via “manañca paṭicca dhamme ca uppajjāti manoviññāṇaṃ.”
- Of course, switching among several different ārammaṇa can happen in rapid succession. When we watch a movie, we see the movie screen and hear the dialogues. They switch so rapidly that we feel that watching and hearing happen simultaneously! We discussed a simple example in #4 of Ref. 2.

Two Possible Meanings of “Paṭicca

4. Going back to our example, seeing the co-worker starts with “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.” Therefore, a cakkhu viññāna arises when a rūpa (the figure of the co-worker) makes contact (paṭicca) with cakkhu pasāda rūpā.

- That cakkhu viññāna arises with a single citta, which is one of the 17 cittā in a citta vithi.
- By the way, “paticca” has TWO possible meanings, depending on the context. In the term “Paṭicca Samuppāda,” it means “getting attached willingly” or “pati” + “icca“ (“pati” means to “bind.”) See Ref. 3.
- However, in the above verse, paticca implies “two entities (that are compatible) making contact.” A rupa does not “make contact” with one of the other four indriya like ears or nose. Similarly, a sound does not “make contact” with the eyes or the nose. The Buddha explained to Vacchagotta that a wick would soak up oil because wick and oil are compatible and will “paticca” (Ref 4.)

The Role of Universal Cetasika

5. A complex process happens in mind during the event of “cakkhuñca paṭicca rūpe ca uppajjāti cakkhu viññāṇaṃ.” That process happens in that single citta which lives only for less than a billionth of a second. Only a Buddha can discern something that can happen that fast. We can verify that to be true only by seeing that it is compatible/consistent with nature.

- That “contact” between “the image of a rupa” and “cakkhu pasāda rupa” is made by the “phassacetasika that arises with that citta.
- Then that “event” is registered in the mind as a sukha, dukkha, or adukkhamasukha vedanā (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral feeling.) The “vedanācetasika is responsible for that.
- Then the mind recognizes the object with the “saññā” cetasika.
- During the SAME citta (where cakkhu viññāṇa arises,) a bit more complex process happens that involves the “cetanācetasika.

How Does Cognition/Recognition (Saññā) Happen In a Single Citta?

6. An unimaginably complex process occurs during that SAME cakkhudvāra citta, which lasts only a billionth of a second.

- The mind needed to compare it with previous experiences to identify that object. For example, recognition of the co-worker in the example discussed in #2 above requires comparing the image just received with one’s previous experiences. Otherwise, how does the mind recognize the person who walked in to be a co-worker and that one has had bad experiences with him in the past?
- That ultra-fast recognition (saññā) happens with the aid of the manasikāra cetasika. To get an idea of what happens when we recognize an object, see the video below (especially starting at 3:30 minutes):



7. At 3:30 minutes, we see a “face” made up of fruits and vegetables. Even though it is not a real human face, it takes us just a split second to realize that it represents a face.

- But as Mr. Beck points out, a computer will never recognize the human face’s representation depicted there.
- At 9:00 minutes, he starts a discussion on identifying a chair. Again, a computer runs into a problem identifying “less obvious” structures that can serve as chairs.
- In both these instances, what the computer is missing is saññā (loosely translated to English as “perception”). Even animals can recognize objects relevant to their survival. For example, a dog can instantly recognize its owners and any other pets living in the house. It can recognize foods that it likes, etc. See “Saññā – What It Really Means” posted on September 14, 2018 (p. 31). Also, see Ref. 5.
- During that same citta, more processes happen to make that recognition possible.

Creation of an Image of the External Object in the Mind by the Cetanā Cetasika

8. For that recognition to occur, another important cetasika of “cetana” comes into play. It CREATES a “cittaja rupa” in mind (a rupa created by the mind) according to one’s gati/anusaya. This is a CRITICAL point that we will discuss in more detail. The “saṅkhārā” aggregate represents this process. For those familiar with Abhidhamma, this is where “mano saṅkhārā” arises AUTOMATICALLY.

- It is the manasikāra cetasika that helps incorporate one’s past experiences, future hopes, etc. (represented by gati/anusaya) and helps the cetana make that “cittaja rupa” or the “mental picture.” It is that “mental picture” that we “see” or “experience.”
- There are two more cetasika that ALWAYS arise with any citta: ekaggatā and jivitindriya. The jivitindriya cetasika keeps the hadaya vatthu alive (with kammic energy). Ekaggata cetasika keeps the mind on that particular ārammaṇa (in this case, a rupa rupa or a sight.)
- The above description is at the heart of all mental phenomena, i.e., creating a “mind-made image.” In the recent post, “How Do We See? – Role of the Gandhabba,” we asked the question, “How do we see?” The answer is in the above description. Please re-read that post, and things will become more clear.

Connection to the Five Aggregates

9. The above description also explains how the five aggregates arise in that single cakkhudvāra citta representing the first instance of “experiencing a visual sensory input.”

- The “rupa aggregate” is represented by the “phassa cetasika.
- Vedanā and saññā cetasika generate the “vedanā aggregate” and the “saññā aggregate.”
- The cetana cetasika plays a key role in generating “saṅkhāra aggregate” with the help of the other six cetasika. This is where the mind CREATES its own version of the sense object, a visual rupa in this case.
- We experience only a “mind-made image” of the external rupa that is out there in the physical world. Thus, the viññāna aggregate arises from the above processes’ overall effect.
- That is how the Five Aggregates arise with ANY sensory input via one of the six senses.

The Arising of the Five Aggregates (Pañcakkhandha) in a Single Citta!

10. That is how the five aggregates arise within that single cakkhudvāra citta. The same process takes place for any ārammaṇa coming through any of the six senses.

- The five aggregates arise due to the cetasika of phassa, vedanā, saññā, and cetana. However, all SEVEN cetasika (phassa, vedanā, saññā, cetana, manasikāra, ekaggatā, and jivitindriya) are essential ingredients of ANY citta.
- Those 7 cetasika arise with all citta and thus are universal (sabba citta sādhāraṇa) cetasika.
- The above process takes place in all types of sensory experiences. The sound we hear is not the “real sound,” but it is “modified” according to one’s gati/anusaya. The same is true for all 6 sensory experiences, including smells, tastes, touches, and concepts (dhammā.)

The Same Person Could be Perceived as Likeable or Unlikeable

11. Suppose two strangers (with opposite political views) watch TV in a bar while having their drinks. A famous politician comes on TV.

- At that moment, one person’s face gets darkened, and angry thoughts arise in him. Simultaneously, the other person’s face brightens up, and pleasant thoughts arise in him.
- How is that possible? It was the same picture that they were looking at.
- The reason is what we discussed above. The “mental image” formed in one person’s mind depicts a “bad person.” On the other hand, the other person’s mind had created a “bad picture” that gave rise to bad thoughts.
- We can think of many examples. I have discussed another example in Ref. 1.

Viññāna Is a Magician!

12. The above description explains why the Buddha called viññāna a “magician” (Ref. 6). What we experience as cakkhu, sota, ghāna, jivhā, kāya, and mano viññāna DO NOT represent reality. It is like looking at the world with tinted glasses. Depending on how strongly-defiled the mind is (i.e., gati/anusaya), the sensory experience is biased.

- This was explained with examples in the posts, “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)” (especially see #4 to #6) and “The Amazing Mind – Critical Role of Nāmagotta (Memories).” It is essential to read all relevant posts and understand these fundamental ideas.
- I will continue the discussion in the next post. Please make sure to read all the relevant posts. Otherwise, future posts will not make sense.
- The mind is an amazing entity. It is unbelievably fast. That is why we are fooled into thinking that there are fruitful things that will please us. However, the reality is different. There is unimaginable suffering hidden in enticing “sense pleasures” or kāma rāga.
- That can be seen not with eyes but with wisdom. That is the yathābhuta ñāṇa, the wisdom to “see” the real nature with wisdom. As we discuss further, that real picture will become clear.

References

1. See #4 through #6 in “Amazingly Fast Time Evolution of a Thought (Citta)” on September 18, 2018 (p. 31).

2. “Citta Vithi – Fundamental Sensory Unit.”

3. “Paṭicca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha” + “Sama+uppāda”

4. In the “Saṃyojana Sutta (SN 44.9)” (https://suttacentral.net/sn12.53/pli/ms) the Buddha explains, “Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, telañca paṭicca vaṭṭiñca paṭicca telappadīpo jhāyeyya” OR “Bhikkhus, an oil lamp burns in dependence on oil and a wick.” In an old fashioned oil- lamp has a wick partially immersed in oil. That oil soaks the wick and gets to the tip of the burning wick, and sustains the flame. Therefore, oil and wick are compatible and will “paticca.” If one puts a metal rod in oil, the oil will not soak the metal, i.e., they are not compatible and thus would not paticca.

5. The above video is also discussed in “Citta – Basis of Our Experience and Actions” Sep 23, 2019:https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.p ... start=1095 It is a good idea to read that post too.

6. “Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta (SN 22.95)“https://suttacentral.net/sn22.95/pli/ms
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