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Where is the Cracker?

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  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • An Interesting Conversation

      on Dependent Origination

      The following is edited from a Dharma talk at National
      University of Singapore Buddhist Society: (Ven:Venerable
      Thubten Chodron, Aud:Audience)

      Where is the Cracker?

      Ven: (Holding a cracker) A cracker appears to be a real
      cracker as there is some "cracker-ness" about it- it seems
      to exists "out there," independent of our Mind. If it really
      exists like that, then when we analyse and search for just
      what the cracker is, we should be able to find it. (The
      cracker is broken and a piece is held up) Is this piece a
      cracker?

      Aud: Yes.

      Ven: (Holding up the other piece) Is this a cracker?

      Aud: Yes.

      Ven: (Crumbles the cracker pieces) What is this now?

      Aud: Crumbs- a mess!

      Ven: There is no cracker now? What happened to the real
      cracker we saw before? If it had some cracker-ness quality
      to it, where is it now? What we have now are the same
      atoms and molecules as before- but we call it crumbs and
      not a cracker!

      If there were some inherent cracker there, we should
      have been able to find it either amongst its parts or
      separate from its parts- but it isn’t anywhere. This means
      there was no inherent cracker to start with.

      Aud: The cracker is the collection of atoms and molecules.
      It is all the parts together!

      Ven: But a collection is just a group of parts. If none of the
      parts by themselves are a cracker, then how can many
      parts together be an independent cracker with some
      cracker-ness quality? If you put many non-butterflies, such
      as grasshoppers together, does that make a butterfly? How
      can a group of non-crackers or crumbs make a real
      cracker?

      Aud: Then there is no cracker at all? What am I eating?

      Ven: What we are searching for is something that is a
      cracker independent of its parts. That real independent
      cracker can’t be found because it doesn’t exists. But a
      dependently-existent cracker is there! What you are eating
      is still a cracker!

      The cracker exists as a group of atoms and molecules put
      together in a certain pattern. Our Mind looks at it and
      conceives it to be a thing and calls it a cracker- it
      becomes a cracker because all of us together have
      conceived it in a similar way and agreed, by the force of
      social convention, to call it a cracker.

      That cracker exists dependent on its causes and
      conditions- the flour, water and baker and so on. It depends
      on our minds conceiving it to be a thing and labelling it
      "cracker." Apart from this dependently-existent cracker,
      there is no other cracker. It is empty of being a cracker
      inherently and independently with some cracker-ness
      quality to it. It exists- but not in the same way it appears
      to us to exist. It appears to be independent when it isn’t.

      Where is the Self?

      Ven: The same is true for our "self"or "I." Remember a
      time when you were very angry. How did "I" appear then?
      It seems very solid- as if there is a real me that someone
      is insulting. That "I" feels real, as if it were independent,
      yet still somewhere inside our body and Mind. We get
      angry in order to defend that "I" that seems so real. If
      that solid, independent "I" exists as it appears to us, we
      should be able to find it, either among our body and
      Mind or separate from them. There is no other place
      such an "I" could be. Let’s see. Are you your body?

      Aud: Yes.

      Ven: Which part of your body are you? Are you your arm?
      Your chest? Your little toe? Your brain? It’s clear that we
      aren’t any of the parts of our body. Let’s try again. Are
      you your Mind?

      Aud: I must be.

      Ven: Which Mind are you? Are you your visual
      consciousness? Your auditory consciousness? Your mental

      consciousness? Are you one particular characteristic?
      If you were your angry self, you would always be angry!

      Aud: "I" am what goes from one life to the next.

      Ven: But what goes from one life to the next is nstantly
      changing. Can you point to one moment of your Mind at
      always has been and always will be you? Are you
      yesterday’s Mind? Today’s Mind? Tomorrow’s Mind?
      Aud: I’m all of them together.

      Ven: But that’s a collection of parts, none of which are "I."
      To say that is "I" is like saying a group of grasshoppers are
      a butterfly. Maybe you’re completely separate from your
      body and Mind. That is, can you take away your body and
      Mind and you ("I") still remain independently? If the "I" is
      separate from the body and Mind, my body and Mind could
      be here and I could be across the room. Is that possible?

      The "I" or self doesn’t exist independently of the body
      and Mind. It is not the body and it is not the Mind. Neither
      is it the body and Mind together. In other words, the solid
      "I" that we felt when we’re angry doesn’t exist at all. This
      is what is meant by selflessness: there is no ultimately

      existent or independent self. That doesn’t mean the "I"
      doesn’t exist at all. What we are negating is its independent
      or inherent existence. There a conventionally existent "I"
      that is angry and that "I" does not exists independently.

      The "I" depends on causes and conditions: the coming
      together of the sperm and egg of our parents, our
      consciousness from a previous life and so on. The "I" also
      depends on the parts which compose it: our body and
      Mind. The "I" also depends on concept and label. That is,
      on the basis of our body and Mind being together, we
      conceive of a person and label it "I." We exist by being
      merely labelled on a suitable basis- our body and Mind.

       

      www.dhammaweb.net/books/Lamp.pdf

      /\

  • realization's Avatar
    599 posts since Nov '10
    • Reminds me of this explanation of "cupness" which I found to be helpful.
      http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/emptiness.html


      What is emptiness then? To understand the philosophical meaning of this term, let's look at a simple solid object, such as a cup. How is a cup empty? We usually say that a cup is empty if it does not contain any liquid or solid. This is the ordinary meaning of emptiness. But, is the cup really empty? A cup empty of liquids or solids is still full of air. To be precise, we must therefore state what the cup is empty of. Can a cup be empty of all substance? A cup in a vacuum does not contain any air, but it still contains space, light, radiation, as well as its own substance. Hence, from a physical point of view, the cup is always full of something. Yet, from the Buddhist point of view, the cup is always empty. The Buddhist understanding of emptiness is different from the physical meaning. The cup being empty means that it is devoid of inherent existence.

      What is meant with non-inherent existence? Is this to say that the cup does not ultimately exist? - Not quite. - The cup exists, but like everything in this world, its existence depends on other phenomena. There is nothing in a cup that is inherent to that specific cup or to cups in general. Properties such as being hollow, spherical, cylindrical, or leak-proof are not intrinsic to cups. Other objects which are not cups have similar properties, as for example vases and glasses. The cup's properties and components are neither cups themselves nor do they imply cupness on their own. The material is not the cup. The shape is not the cup. The function is not the cup. Only all these aspects together make up the cup. Hence, we can say that for an object to be a cup we require a collection of specific conditions to exist. It depends on the combination of function, use, shape, base material, and the cup's other aspects. Only if all these conditions exist simultaneously does the mind impute cupness to the object. If one condition ceases to exist, for instance, if the cup's shape is altered by breaking it, the cup forfeits some or all of its cupness, because the object's function, its shape, as well as the imputation of cupness through perception is disrupted. The cup's existence thus depends on external circumstances. Its physical essence remains elusive.

      Those readers who are familiar with the theory of ideas of the Greek philosopher Plato will notice that this is pretty much the antithesis to Plato's idealism. Plato holds that there is an ideal essence of everything, e.g. cups, tables, houses, humans, and so on. Perhaps we can give Plato some credit by assuming that the essence of cups ultimately exists in the realm of mind. After all, it is the mind that perceives properties of an object and imputes cupness onto one object and tableness onto another. It is the mind that thinks "cup" and "table". Does it follow that the mind is responsible for the existence of these objects? - Apparently, the mind does not perceive cups and tables if there is no visual and tactile sensation. And, there cannot be visual and tactile sensation if there is no physical object. The perception thus depends on the presence of sensations, which in turn relies on the presence of the physical object. This is to say that the cup's essence is not in the mind. It is neither to be found in the physical object. Obviously, its essence is neither physical nor mental. It cannot be found in the world, not in the mind, and certainly not in any heavenly realm, as Plato imagined. We must conclude that the objects of perception have therefore no inherent existence.

      If this is the case for a simple object, such as a cup, then it must also apply to compound things, such as cars, houses, machines, etc. A car, for example, needs a motor, wheels, axles, gears, and many other things to work. Perhaps we should consider the difference between man-made objects, such as cups, and natural phenomena, such as earth, plants, animals, and human beings. One may argue that lack of inherent existence of objects does not imply the same for natural phenomena and beings. In case of a human being, there is a body, a mind, a character, a history of actions, habits, behaviour, and other things we can draw upon to describe a person. We can even divide these characteristics further into more fundamental properties. For example, we can analyse the mind and see that there are sensations, cognition, feelings, ideas. Or, we can analyse the brain and find that there are neurons, axons, synapses, and neurotransmitters. However, none of these constituents describe the essence of the person, the mind, or the brain. Again, the essence remains elusive.

      Edited by realization 18 Mar `11, 7:45PM
  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    10,044 posts since Nov '09
    • The above articles still did not explain clearly how the components (atoms and molecules) come about. May be it is like chicken and egg problem, which one come first. Or it is stated but I don't get it ? What about counciousness ? How it comes about ?

      I think I am asking about第一因the first cause. I think Buddha did say before asking this question is just like a man was shot with a posion arrow but refuse to take out the arrow before he found who shot him. Before he could know the answer, he would be dead.

      Edited by Dawnfirstlight 18 Mar `11, 8:13PM
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • remembered Buddha use 22 years to expound Prajnaparamita, so it's not so easy to understand.  

    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:

      The above articles still did not explain clearly how the components (atoms and molecules) come about. May be it is like chicken and egg problem, which one come first. Or it is stated but I don't get it ? What about counciousness ? How it comes about ?


      oh, u are refering to Abhidhamma rather than Prajnaparamita. i need to find the Abhidhamma link.

  • realization's Avatar
    599 posts since Nov '10
    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:

      The above articles still did not explain clearly how the components (atoms and molecules) come about. May be it is like chicken and egg problem, which one come first. Or it is stated but I don't get it ? What about counciousness ? How it comes about ?

      I think I am asking about第一因the first cause. I think Buddha did say before asking this question is just like a man was shot with a posion arrow but refuse to take out the arrow before he found who shot him. Before he could know the answer, he would be dead.

      If I'm not wrong ... even the atoms and molecules are empty of inherent existence.

      A bit mind-boggling.  How to understand this?

      Edited by realization 18 Mar `11, 8:36PM
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/articles/cosmos1.htm

      link not working and need the below to retrieve 

      http://www.archive.org/index.php

      i also post it in case.

      Author : Boon Kok Ching, 1999

      CONTENTS

      Preface Vandana 1. The Cosmos 2. Matter 3. The Mind 4. The Wheel of Life 5. Abhidhamma in Perspective Epilogue Addendum (Charts 1 to 23) Bibliography

       

      PREFACE

            The purpose of this booklet is to present a simple understanding of Abhidhamma, the higher aspect of Buddhism, and to create an interest among all Buddhists in learning the deeper teaching of the Buddha.

            The first chapter of this booklet tells about the reality of the cosmos.

            The second chapter explains Matters briefly.

            The third chapter mentions about the Mind and how it works.

            The fourth chapter is about Kamma, thought process, rebirth and cycle of birth and death.

           The last chapter gives a perspective of Abhidhamma, The views of the author are expressed in the epilogue.

            The addendum shows 23 charts to illustrate the important aspects of various subjects.

            Narada in his book 'The Buddha and his Teaching' (page 275) said that the Abhidhamma Pitaka is the most important and interesting of the three (i.e. the Tripitaka) containing in it the profound philosophy of the Buddha's teaching in contrast to the simpler discourses in the Sutta Pitaka. Abhidhamma, the higher teaching of the Buddha, expounds the quintessence of his profound teaching.

            Narada also said in the Preface of 'A Manual of Abhidhamma' (page iv) that without a knowledge of the Abhidhamma, one at times find it difficult to understand the real significance of some profound teaching of the Buddha. To develop Insight (vipassana), Abhidhamma is certainly very useful.

            C.P. Narasinghe in his Introduction to the 'Buddha's Explanation of the Universe' said that Abhidhamma is the science of the universe. He also said in page 351 of the said book that it is a mistake to try to interpret the Abhidhamma from the material in the Sutta Pitaka. Although the Sutta philosophy and Abhidhamma philosophy can always be reconciled, it is only possible to interpret Sutta with the help of the Abhidhamma, and it is not possible and often misleading to interpret Abhidhamma with the help of the Sutta.

            Furthermore, in the Forward of the said book, the late Ananda Maitreya Nayaka Thero said that:

           "Without an exact knowledge of Abhidhamma, the higher doctrine, it may be said that one can know nothing of Buddhism as it is."

            Readers are encouraged to study the aforesaid books and also 'Buddha and his Teachings' by Narada.

            It is clear to those who understand Abhidhamma, that Buddhism is highly scientific and by no means superstitious. Indeed it is more scientific than modem science. Thanks to the indescribable wisdom of our great Buddha.

            All are welcome to give constructive suggestions to improve this booklet for the benefit of contemporary and future readers.

            Boon Kok Ching,

            Kuala Lumpur, 1999



      VANDANA

      (Salutation to the Buddha)

      Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa

      Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa

      Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa

      (Honour to Him, the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One.

      Honour to Him, the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One.

      Honour to Him, the Blessed One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One.

            Iti pi so Bhagava Araham

            Samma Sambuddho Vijja

            Carana-Sampano

            Sugato Lokavidu Anuttaro

            Purisa Dhamma-sarathi

            Sattha Deva-manussanam

            Buddho Bhagava ti

           (Such indeed is the Blessed One, exalted, omniscient, endowed with knowledge and virtue. Gone beyond, knower of the worlds. A guide incomparable for the training of individual, Teacher of gods and men, Enlightened and Holy.)


      Edited by sinweiy 18 Mar `11, 8:48PM
  • realization's Avatar
    599 posts since Nov '10
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • Chapter One

      THE COSMOS

            The cosmos is a vast space, unlimited in all directions and timeless i.e. without beginning and end. Any point in space can be the centre of the cosmos and any point of time can be the centre of time. Any length of space is short and any length of time is also short compared to the infinity.

            As the cosmos is unlimited in space, there are unlimited number of universes, of galaxies, of solar systems and planets, of substances and living beings. (See Chart 1).

            In this cosmos, there are six permanent things or ultimate realities (Paramathas). They are the space, units of mind and four basic abstract elements (or matter) viz, units of abstract earth, abstract waters, abstract air and abstract heat. They have no beginning and no end, too. The units of mind and basic elements are permanent in existence due to their inherent forces of continuous repetitions of birth, existence and death. They are so tiny and so abstract, that they cannot be discerned by any human sense organs or scientific instruments. Only the Buddhas can discern them. The four basic abstract elements should not be mistken as the ordinary earth, water, heat and wind. They are energies.

            Everything in this cosmos is subject to the force of birth. existence and death and dependent origination or kamma. The units of mind are no exception.

            The whole cosmos is characterised by this spinning wheel of birth, existence and death affecting the smallest units of abstract elements and mind, atoms, substances, big or small, the planets, stars and the universes.

            All inanimate matters are made of different types of atoms, which are in turn made of the four basic abstract elements. These abstract elementa are not subject to change, but whatever atoms, matters or substances made fmm them (e.g. ordinary earth, watar etc.) are subject to change.

            On the other hand, each animate matter is formed by a unit of mind gathering units of abstract elements within its hold. As a grand result, a planet is formed by the total mental force of all the units of mind in it. Beause of this total force, gravity exists.

            When a unit of mind gathers more units of abstract elements and forms an animate matter, it will find out that it is easier to sustain itself by eating other smaller animate matters instead of gathering and processing units of abstract element by itself. By this experience, it becomes lazy and greedy. When a specie of animate matter or living beings becomes more intelligent and more cunning, a lot of other smaller beings will be killed.

            For the sake of food, there are always battles between the lower and the higher beings. The higher beings eat the lower beings and the lowest beings like the virus in turn attack the higher beings in their own battlefields, i.e. the bodies. (See Chart 2). The battles become extremely fierce when food is scarce. At one time there are more higher beings and at another time, there are more lower beings. (See Chart 3).

            Killing generates bad kamma. The lower beings do not know killing is bad as it is for their survival; their bad kamma is slight. But for an intelligent being, like a human being, knowing killing is inflicting suffering, the action of killing will bring him down to one of the lower levels of existence. After suffering the bad effects, he will come up again to one of the higher levels again. Due to this killing and other defilements, a unit of mind will forever be existing up and down in different levels of existence until one day it dawns on it that killing is bad and that he must work hard in doing good and eradicating all defilements. It then climbs to the summit with purities and wisdom and will not gather or cling to matters, physical or mental. It will stay on the top and will never descend to the lower levels again.

            There will come a time when the total force of all the units of mind on a planet, having accumulated too much defilements, becomes too weak to hold the planet anymore. Under the intense heat from the sun, the planet will then split, disintegrate and disappear and all the matters in it will turn back into units of abstract elements or energies. Other planets will eventually meet with the same fate. Continuing in this manner, the cosmos will become a dark empty space. When this happens, the units of mind and units of abstract elements will be scattering all over in space and will not be discernible.

            A planet will last for about 100,000,000,000,000 years. Our earth has lapsed 2/3 of this period, remaining only 1/3 of the time.

            After a long period of time, units of mind, which have not attained the summit, start gathering abstract elements; and slowly new planets, stars and universes will appear again. However those units of mind, which have climbed to the summit, will remain there forever powerful, transcending space and time. (See Chart 4)

            Unlike the units of mind and units of abstract elements, which are permanent since time without beginning, all substances, big or small, are created by the mind, and therefore subject to change and impermanence

            This is the nature of the cosmos and everything in it.


    • Chapter 2

      MATTER

            As mentioned in previous chapter, the basic abstract elements or smallest matters (maha bhuta) in the cosmos are the following;

      Basic Abstract Elements Characteristics (1) Abstract earth (pathavi) To harden and to soften (2) Abstract water (apo) To flow and to paste (3) Abstract Air (vayo) To expand and to contract (4) Abstract heat (tejo) To heat and to cool

            These abstract elements are permanent in existence and infinite in number. They cannot be destroyed. They have been existing since time without beginning and shall continue to exist in the infinite future. Although their number is infinite, yet no new one can be produced or made.

            These elements are also called units (kriya), because they exist by repetition of beats, about 176,470,000,000 times in a flash of lightning. Each repetition or beat consists of birth, existence which are called the three feature elements. The birth and death of a beat are short, whilst existence is longer. (See Chart 5A). Each beat although very short in time, can be considered standard time, because the length of time of every beat of abstract elements is the same. However, this time is slower than that of the beat of mind by 17 times.

            The four abstract elements can be joined together and form atoms and from different kinds of atoms, substances are made. Atoms are too small to be seen by human eyes. They can only be tested by scientific instruments. Each of the four abstract elements come together and form the smallest atom. In bigger atoms of different sizes, the proportion of one type of abstract element is bigger or smaller compared to other abstract elements. Different types of atoms come together and form different substances such as gold, silver, water, earth and wood etc. No substance can be made without at least one unit from each of the four abstract elements.

           The atoms are not round in shape. They are feather-like as in Chart 5B. Although they can join together, but are never completely mixed up like water and milk, because each unit of abstract element maintains its identity by a tiny cushion of space or sky element (akasa rupa). The sky element within a substance or body is called atmosphere (paricchedaskasa) which maintains the same temperature throughout the three feature elements (birth, existence and death) of an abstract element. The section of the space between the planets and stars is called stratosphere (ajatakasa). In fact these two are one continuously stretching within substances and throughout the cosmos.

            Unlike the four abstract elements, by which they are formed, substances and atoms can be destroyed, either by other matters or by itself through nature or disintegration. They are not permanent. Where there is birth, there must be death. When the substances disintegrate, the abstract elements return to the original basic forms and through time they form some other substances with different proportions.

            Abstract elements have the tendency of merging of the same kind and together they balance evenly. For example, hot and cold air crosses over each other until they both have the same temperature.

            The abstract elements also by nature have five kinds of projective elements (gocaro rupa) viz, colour, sound, smell, taste and touch. When an abstract element is single, its projective elements are too weak and cannot be discerned. But when more elements form into substances, the projective elements become stronger and can be either seen or felt or both.

            In an inanimate matter, there are 13 elements already mentioned, i.e.,

       

      Number

      Abstract elements (maha bhuta) 4 Feature elements (lakkana rupa) 3 Sky element (akasa rupa) 1 Projective elements (gocara rupa) 5   13

            In an animate matter (living being), there are other 15 elements in addition to the foregoing 13. They are:

        Number Reflective (i.e. polish, environmental and reflecting) elements for the 5 projective elements 5 Life elements for heart reflective, 2 sex, evolution and food 5 Motion elements for physical & sound 2 Condition elements for inaction, release & adaptation 3   15

            So altogether there are 28 elements in matter, of which only 8 are discernible by human organs. (See Chart 6).

            The reflective elements are the ones for the function of the five sense organs from the heart to the polish surface to discern the environment outside the body.

            The reflective elements under the control of the mind, produce 121 types of consciousness, which are being reflected to the mind forming mental states (explained in next chapter). There are 89 types of consciousness including 8 for the saints i.e. magga and phala of sotapans, sakadagamis, anagamis and arahants (See Chart 7). As there are 5 types of jhana for each saint, all eight saints have 40 types of jhana. Therefore, altogether there are 121 types of consciousness.

            From Chart 7, one will understand that attachment, ill-will and ignorance are the results of the first 12 consciousness, and that the first 54 consciousness belong to sense sphere (animals, humans and earthbound devas), moral and immoral, whilst the next 27 belong to sublime devas and brahmas and the last 8 belong to the saints.

            Consciousness, produced by reflective elements, do not follow the mind from life to life; but the mental states {kamma) reflected therefrom, follow the mind from one life to the next.

            The life elements are for the functioning of the heart, sex, evolution and food process, i.e. acquiring food for the growth and maintenance of the body. In lower beings, both sex elements (male and female) are active and produce offspring of the same mould. In higher beings, only one sex element is active, while the other, though dormant, acting as a preventive against other units of mind to come and share the same body. However when two similar beings of different active sex elements come into contact, the two different dormant sex elements are not active. The two beings can cooperate and produce offspring of the common mould with an active sex elements come into contact, the two different dormant sex elements are not active. The two beings can cooperate and produce offspring of the common mould with an active sex element and a dormant sex element according to the kamma of the new being.

            The motion elements are the elements for the function of physical motion and sound motion; and the condition elements are the elements for inaction, release and adaptability.

            As mentioned earlier, all together there are 28 elements in matter, most of which are not discernible by human sense organs.

            This is the nature of matter.

            While basic abstract elements, which have never been created, are permanent, all substances and forms, which have been created, are impermanent. The human body is not permanent and subject to change. As such one should not cling to the body.

      - Author      


    • Chapter 3

      THE MIND

            As pointed out in the first chapter, the units of mind have been in existence in the cosmos since time without beginning.

            The mind beats 3, 000, 000, 000, 000 times in a flash of lightning, about 17 times faster than the beats of matter. The time of a beat, although immeasurably fast, is standard and never varies and was therefore normally used by the Buddha. The mind, being very powerful, gathers the abstract matter to form the body, sustain and to build it bigger and stronger. All sentient beings have each a unit of mind. It can at any time be present at any part of the body, but not outside, except for the Buddhas and Arahants. The mind of a Buddha, being absolutely pure, omniscient and omnipotent, can appear anywhere and any time in the cosmos.

            The mind is centred (or based) in the heart. As almost all sense organs are on the head, and when these organs flash signals to the heart at tremendous speed, it gives us wrong impression that the mind is in the brain or centre of the head. (See Chart 8). In fact the brain is only an organ controlling the automatic functions of internal organs and the environment sense organs.

            As mentioned in Chapter 1, the mind exists by repetition of beats. Each beat consists of birth, existence and death. This characteristic can be further analyzed into 17 reflective waves or thought moments to be explained in Chapter 4, The Wheel of Life.

            There is a gap between two beats. This gap is extremely small, even smaller than any points of the time between the beginning and the end of a beat. Yet, it is this gap of time, during which impression of defilements and purities are recorded in the mind. (See Chart 9).

            To form an atom of life, a unit of mind first gathers a unit of abstract heat and then using heat together and process other abstract matters. Then the sky element, projective elements and feature elements quickly settled down in it. If this living being is of a non-parental conception, it develops various animate elements by its own strength of mind, if conception is of higher being, it acquires different elements of animate matters from environment and produces the evolution element, 2 sex elements, heart reflective elements and food element to build its body. (See Chart 10).

            At conception, the evolution current from previous existence comes with kamma and sex elements, both male and female. It founds and casts the physical body. The second step is to construct the food element to build the body organs. The third step is to construct the heart elements, which in turn maintain the same temperature within the body irrespective of the effects through the 5 environment organs. The last step is to construct the three elements of conditions (viz, inaction, release and adaptability) and the two elements of motion (viz. physical and sound) so as to supply the switch-gear to steer the body. (See Chart 11).

            There are 52 mental currents (or mental states) in the mind. The first one is the evolution current derived from previous life. This current produces additional six currents and together they are called the seven common currents, These seven common currents in turn produce 6 supplement currents. All these 13 currents together produce the 17 reflective waves or thought moments, These reflective waves, being influenced by consciousness derived from the sense organs produced the 14 defilements and 25 purities. (See Chart 12& Chart 13)

            The inter-reaction of defilements and purities are indicated in the following manner:

      14 defilements : 25 purities

      Main ones: Nullified By

      Greed          :  Benevolence

      Hatred    :  Loving sympathy

      Ignorance  :  Knowledge

       

            Purifies in the mind tend to move to the centre of the mind, while defilements at the outer part completely cover the mind. When the reflective waves arrive, they cut through and push the layers of the defilements to allow purities to spring to the surface. The clarity of the mind depends on the strength of purities. Once the force of the reflective waves recedes, defilements close the mind completely again. (See Chart 14A).

            There are 7 tissues of defilements covering the mind. The first one is weak and the rest are progressively deeper and stronger. The 6 supplement currents persistently cutting through from the second layer to the seventh layer, thus allowing the mind to have contact with the environment. (See Chart 14B).

            When there are more purities in the mind, further purities can enter the mind in full force, while defilements can enter only with reduced force. On the other hand when the mind has more defilements, further defilements can enter with full force, while purities can only enter with reduced force. Purities and defilements tend to offset each other especially when they are of equal strength. Strong impressions suppress weaker impressions, but when a stronger impression is spent, the growing weak impression will become strong ones. (See Chart 15).

            Intelligence is a liability to the evil doer, because while doing evil, his inner consciousness (mindfulness) is being used. The result will be multiple strength of defilements. In other words, the intention of evil deeds of higher beings is much stronger than that of the lower one. (See Chart 15.6 & Chart 16A)

            Consciousness, a result of supplement currents reacting on reflective waves, creates mental states, which in turn influence consciousness. For example, defilements of attachment, ill will and ignorance originated from first 8 consciousness, 9th & 10th consciousness and 11th & 12th consciousness respectively (see Chart 7) may be reduced or increased by existing mental states in the mind. (See Chart 15).

            The mind forever has at least a little purity, which prevents defilements to destroy the mind completely. As this little purity grows, the lowest lives raise themselves to higher levels. From higher levels some of them may continue to climb to the summit, while others may be distracted once more by ignorance and craving and fall to the lower levels again. (See Chart 16B).

            The mind, in order to gather substance to form the body, is using abstract heat as a tool in the early part of life, but in the later part, heat revolts against it, making it suffer. The body and even the world will decay and disintegrate. The Intelligent beings, trying so hard to build an environment cozy to themselves, eventually find themselves betrayed to destruction.

            All beings, including plant lives, live for themselves and not for human beings or others. For development purpose, it is wrong to extensively destroy plant lives and pollute the environment, because very soon this planet will be unfit for human habitation.

            Each plant, like other beings, also has a unit of mind, which eventually can become a Buddha.

            This is the nature of the mind.

      Edited by sinweiy 18 Mar `11, 8:44PM
    • Chapter 4

      THE WHEEL OF LIFE

            KAMMA

            The world is influenced by five natural orders or laws and kamma is one of them. The others are physical phenomena, organic phenomena, mental phenomena and Dhammic phenomena. (See Chart 17a).

            Physical phenomena concern seasonal changes; organic phenomena concern germinal heredity; mental phenomena concern psychic force and Dhammic phenomena concern the extraordinary occurrences e.g. the phenomena when the Buddha was born, was enlightened and when he passed away.

            Kamma is an extension of the principle of Dependent Origination, and is considered as the cause. Its result is called Vipaka. Together they are called cause and effect.

            The principle of kamma is good begets good; bad begets bad. The time of effect depends on the substance and weight of the action performed; some are immediate; some appear in subsequent life and some are indefinite i.e. delayed to one of the future existence.

            Kamma are of eleven types. In respect of time effective, there are three types viz. immediate, effective subsequent life, and indefinite. (Ineffective one is not counted). In respect of function, there are four types viz. reproductive, supportive, counteractive and destructive, In respect of priority of effect, there are also four types viz. weighty, last thought, habitual and cumulative. (SeeChart 17b).

            Cumulative kamma can be further divided into the following types:

            1. Evil to sense-sphere (Animal, asura, peta or hell)

            2. Good to sense-sphere (Human plane)

            3. Good to realm of forms (Deva planes)

            4. Good to formless realms (Brahma planes)

            The last thought (i.e. reproductive kamma) of an ordinary person usually decides to which plane he is going, but it may be influenced by the supportive, counteractive or destructive kamma.

            Kammic results may also be aided or hindered by (a) birth, (b) time or conditions, (c) personality or appearance and (d) effort.

            Bad kamma can be reduced by right understanding, making firm resolution not to repeat bad actions but do more and more good actions to help one along the path of deliverance. Chart 18 shows a simple illustration of the kammas of a person on the Noble Path. It indicates that from the life of the Noble Path, there are more and more good actions while less and less bad actions are committed.

            In Chart 18, the following presumptions are made:

            It takes 3 life-spans starting from the Noble Path to attain Sotapatti and another 7 life-spans to reach Arahatship.

            Only 10 kammic actions in each of lives 1 - 5 and thereafter each of lives 6 & 7, 8 & 9 and 10 & 11.

            (c) Numerous existences before life 1.

            Kamma is created in Javana moments in the thought process (to be explained later) and stored as a resultant consciousness, which will reappear any time in future to influence future determining moment. Some kammic results appear in same life (e.g. Vipaka 6), some appear in subsequent life (e.g. Vipaka 16), some appear after enlightenment (e.g. bad Vapaka 14) and some never appear (e.g. bad Vipaka 41). However, free will does exist at determining moment, and a person, with right mental training, can mindfully change a bad reaction to a good one. Unfortunately, the following bad kammas will make one suffer in woeful states for a long time before coming back to human life:

            Injuring a Buddha,

            Killing a saint.

            Creating a schism in the Sangha,

            Killing father.

            Killing mother.

            THOUGHT PROCESS

            The mind, awake or asleep, continues to have thoughts. The thought processes are very fast, with millions of thought processes in a minute. The end of a thought conditions the birth of another thought, never ending during the life time of a person and even continuing in another life. Each thought consists of seventeen moments as indicated in the accompanying Chart 19.

            The first and the second thought moments are inactive or sleeping moments, because they exist mostly during sleeping time. The third is the moment when attention is arrested. The fourth to sixth thought moments are active in using the sense organs and the seventh is investigating the signals received. The eighth is the determining consciousness (i.e. deciding to do action good or bad). The ninth to fifteenth thought moments are the working moments as eating, fighting or giving danas (alms) and the sixteenth and seventeenth thought moments are the registering moments i.e. actions registered.

            For example, a person resting at the side of the road, sees an enemy. He scolds the enemy using abusive words, and a fight starts. On hearing the coming of the police, he runs away.

            While resting, the mind of the person is in the first and the second thought moments. On seeing the person, his mind is in the third thought moment. On investigating the person using his six sense organs, his mind is in the fourth to seventh thought moments. When he recognizes his enemy and makes decision for good or bad action, his mind is in the eighth thought moment. When he is scolding, fighting and running, he is in the ninth to fifteenth thought moment. The actions done are stored in the sixteenth and seventeenth thought moments.

            The kamma for the first and the seventh Javana (action) moments are weak. The kamma for all the other Javana moments is indefinite effective, causing a person to wander in Samsara. The last Javana moment is the Reproductive Kamma, producing the next thought. A dying person has only five Javana moments and ten other thought moments.Each thought moment has its birth, existence and death and therefore a person actually lives by thought processes.

            Thought processes will never end until enlightenment. However, one can direct a bad thought to a good one, or a neutral one at Votthapana (free will determining) moment to enable one to break the Cycle of Birth and Death in Samsara (to be explained later).

            The mind or thought process is neither self nor soul, for if it is, one can decide not to get sickness, old age and death.

            Consciousness or thought is not self, because it is not permanent, always changing and its arising always depends on other condition or conditions.

            Sati, one of the disciples of the Buddha, having heard the Jataka stories about the past lives of the Buddha, mistook consciousness as permanent, transmigrating from existence to existence and that was what he understood from the Buddha’s teaching. This was reported to the Buddha. The Buddha called him to repeat what he understood, but he still repeated the same wrong view. Then the Buddha remonstrated with him saying: "To whomever, have you heard me expounding the doctrine in this manner? I have explained consciousness as arising out of conditions; that there is no arising of consciousness without conditions. In spite of that you have already wrongly interpreted my teaching, and attribute that wrong view to me. You have caused the arising of many bad deeds; holding this wrong interpretation of my teaching and committing the wrong deed of talking about it will cause distress and suffering to you for a long time to come."

           REBIRTH

            Rebirth from one life to another can be explained in the accompanying Chart 20, the Eighteen Elements & Rebirth.

            The mind, having been conditioned by past kamma, is activated by external objects, viz. colour, sound, smell, taste, touch and internal mind objects (e.g. A in the chart) through the six sense organs, viz. eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind (i.e. B), arising Feeling or aware consciousness (i.e. C), and then Perception, discriminating good or bad (i.e. D) and producing good and bad kamma as Sankhara or mental states (i.e. E), which are then registered in a receptacle of consciousness (i.e. F). In the chart, B, C, D and F are the four mental aggregates.

            During the lifetime of a person, many good and bad kammas are added to Sankhara or deleted if a person is practising the Noble Eightfold Path. The Sankhara of an ordinary person may contain many of the total 52 types of mental states. This is stored in the receptacle of consciousness.

            At the end of each thought process, all the available mental states in the receptacle of consciousness are reflected with the life force (jivitindriya) to the next thought at the Past Bhavanga level. At death of a person, all the kamma, good and bad, are reflected as mental states through the last Javana moment to the first thought process of the next birth of the same realm of existence or to any of the higher or lower realms dependent on the amount of kamma, the substance or weight of his kamma. If there is no more kamma, particularly clinging, there is no more birth in Samsara and Nibbana is attained.

            Referring to the same chart, note that:

            The line between sense organs (B) and feeling (C) may be called the Samatha Meditation line where external objects are not affecting the alerted mind when the mind is said to be in concentration (jhana).

            The line between feeling (C) and perception (D) may be called the Vipassana Meditation line, when the mind is practicing mindfulness and developing insight (Vipassana).

            The line between perception (D) and Sankhara (E) is the one differentiating an ordinary person from a saint. An ordinary person is having Sankhara with increasing kamma, but a saint is not adding but reducing kamma.

            The thought process in Chart 19 is comparable to the 4 aggregates C, D, E & F in Chart 22.

            THE WHEEL OF LIFE

            The twelve links of Dependent Origination is also termed the wheel of life, because it describes the cycle of birth and death. The wheel of life is an extension of Dependent Origination, which explains cause and effect.

            Referring to Chart 21, the wheel of life is briefly described in the following formula:

      1. Ignorance (Avijja) is the original cause.
      2. Dependent on Ignorance, arises Conditioned Activities (Sankhara).
      3. Dependent on Conditioned Activities, arises Relinking Consciousness (Patisandi-Vinnana).
      4. Dependent on Relinking Consciousness, arises Mind and Matter (Nama-Rupa).
      5. Dependent on Mind and Matter, arises Six Spheres of Senses (Salayatana).
      6. Dependent on Six Spheres of Senses, arises Contact (Phassa).
      7. Dependent on Contact, arises Feeling (Vedana).
      8. Dependent on Feeling, arises Craving (Tanha).
      9. Dependent on Craving, arises Grasping (Upanada).
      10. Dependent on Grasping, arises Action (Kamma Bhava).
      11. Dependent on Action, arises Birth (Jati).
      12. Dependent on Birth, arises Decay and Death (Jara Marana)

            Thus does the entire aggregates of suffering arise.

            It is helpful, if one can read it also in the following manners:

            (A) The complete cessation of Ignorance leads to the cessation of Conditioned Activities and so on.

            (B) The reversed order i.e. the cessation of Decay and Death depends on the cessation of Birth and so on.

            Though ignorance is the original cause, for explanation one can start from any of the twelve links.

            To an ordinary person, this cycle of birth and death has no beginning and no end. It continues until it is broken at the 8th link, Tanha.

            From the same chart, one can notice the following features:

            (1) Three Connections:

            (i) Past causes with present effects (between 2 & 3)

            (ii) Present effects with present causes (between 7 & 8)

            (iii) Present causes with future effects (between 10 & 11)

            (2) Three Rounds:

            Round of defilements: 1, 8 & 9.

            (ii) Round of Kamma: 2 & 10 (part).

            (iii) Round of Results: 3 - 7, 10 (part), 11 & 12

            (3) Two Roots:

            (i) Ignorance: From past to present.

            (ii) Craving: From present to future.

            (4) Twenty Modes:

            (i) Past causes: 1, 2 & 8 - 10=5 modes

            (ii) Present effects: 3 - 7=5 modes

            (iii) Present causes: 8 - 10, 1 & 2=5 modes

            (iv) Future effects: 3 - 7=5 modes

            It is interesting to understand Chart 22, The Comparison of 4 Aggregates, Thought Process and the Wheel of Life. The 4 Aggregates and the Thought Process are same. However, they are not same as the Wheel of Life. As thought process has free view at the 8th moment, the future life of a person can be improved or deteriorated at the 8th link of the Wheel of Life. It takes millions and millions of thought process to complete a wheel of life.

            If the present life is totally conditioned by our past actions, then Kamma is certainly tantamount to fatalism or pre-determination or pre-destination. One will not be free to mould one’s present and future, and life would be purely mechanical not much different from a machine. Such a fatalistic doctrine is not the Buddhist law of Kamma.

            Buddhist are not fatalists. Though a person is conditioned by his past actions, he can exert free will and change a bad thought to a good or a neutral one in the Votthapana moment of a thought process. He can mould his present and future character and destiny. However, to attain Nibbana, he has to walk the noble Eight-fold Path.

            Life is in a state of flux. In the minute form, a unit of mind is constantly spinning with birth, existence and death with the speed of about 3,000,000,000,000 times in a flash of lightning. In gross sense, a living being is going through birth, existence and death in a span of life accordingly to its kind under the influence of kamma. Any period of time, say 100 years for a human being, is short compared to the infinity of time in the cosmos.

            A unit of mind, in the state of neither suffering, nor ignorance nor clinging to materials, is a bright and pure one. It is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. It is Nibbana.

    • Chapter 5

      ABHIDHAMMA IN PERSPECTIVE

            The unit of mind was originally pure (i. e. Nibbana). However, without experience and being attracted by abstract heat , which appears as tiny light, the unit of mind, by craving, gobbled it, found it tasty and then made use of it to acquire the other abstract elements namely abstract earth, abstract water and abstract wind and started to have a body which is the smallest atom. The body was then subject to aging, sickness and death and cycle of birth and death began. This is Samsara, the sea of suffering. The unit of mind is now a defiled mind. The body, the material form and the defiled mind, (viz. sensation, perception, conception and consciousness) are now together to form the five aggregates. (Refer Chart 23)

            Through evolution, the body by stages grows in different forms and sizes. The material form with its 28 innate sub-elements and the defiled mind interact with the sensual organs, through the Eighteen Elements, producing 89 Consciousness and then the 52 good and bad Mental States (or kamma). Whereto after rebirth of a being depends on the quality of kamma.

            Every being has been suffering for uncountable millions of lives. Some beings are able to return to original pure form through own effort, but most depend on the fully enlightened ones, the Buddhas. The Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha’s mission was to enlighten as many beings as possible through the understanding and practice of the Noble Eight-fold Path by different methods depending on the mental quality of each being.

            In the Abhidhamma, the Buddha explains how every thing in the cosmos is formed, and how, by craving with the material forms, one comes to suffer in Samsara. It is only when one knows how one comes, that one is able to understand why one needs the five aggregates to be trained on the return path to Nibbana, the pure unit of mind.

            Abhidhamma also explains the Causal Relations, the most profound part of the Buddha’s teaching, and the stages of purification leading to liberation. While he was reviewing Causal Relation after enlightenment, his body emitted tremendous light reaching all part of the cosmos.

            When the unit of mind, having terrible experience of suffering in Samsara, has returned to its original pure state (Nibbana), it will not crave for anything again.

            With right understanding, right effort and good kamma, one will find Abhidhamma easy and interesting.

            Nibbana is our home. It is possible to return home in this very life if we correctly practise the Noble eight-fold path.

       

      Without an exact knowledge of Abhidhamma,

      the higher doctrine, it may be said that one can

      know nothing of Buddhism as it is.

      - Ananda Maithreya Nayaka Thero.

       

      EPILOGUE

            The following are the views of the author:

            (1) Human life is insignificant and empty

            As time and space is infinite according to Abhidhamma, not the suttas, a human being is like a tiny spot in the cosmos and a human life of hundred years is but a bad dream. Caught by craving, all living beings are composed of the same basic elements and everyone is suffering. Why should we have jealousy, anger, quarrels, fighting, killing and war among us? Beware. Jealousy and anger will lead us to the lowest realm of existence.

            (2) The efficacy of Abhidhamma

            Abhidhamma is scientific and systematic, covering all discourses of the Buddha. It shows what we and our surroundings are, and explains in details the stages of our returning path, the Noble Eightfold Path. It also helps us to understanding the suttas in the true perspective. The Buddha is a teacher in the suttas but in the Abhidhamma, he is the omniscient scientist. Knowing Abhidhamma, one will understand Buddhism as a whole and all Buddha’s teachings as one and definitely will not discriminate different traditions.

            (3) True Teaching of the Buddha

            Some scholars, due to ignorance, dismiss Abhidhamma as a later made-up work. In fact, Abhidhamma is too profound a work to be attributed to anyone other than the Buddha. Even an assembly of all the top modern scientists from various fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, psychology etc. even with the caliber of Einstein as layman, will not be able to come out with this work. It is definitely the work of the omniscient Buddha.

            (4) Not to misinterpret or discredit

            To misinterpret the teaching of the Buddha is a demerit. To discredit Abhidhamma as a falsification is even a greater demerit. Sati, misinterpreting consciousness as transmitting from life to life, received remonstration from the Buddha: `You will cause distress and suffering to yourself for a long time to come’. (M.38). It is hoped that, after reading this booklet, those who misinterpret or discredit Abhidhamma, will straighten their views, learn it seriously and become Abhidhamma teachers.

            (5) Permanent and impermanent

            Most Buddhists know there is non-self, referring to the five aggregates, which is impermanent. But they tend to ignore the unit of mind, Nibbana, which is permanent. Herein lies the missing link in the understanding of the absolute truth of the cosmos in which sentient beings live in all planes of existence.

            (6) Guiding light

            In this modern world, with too many wrong teachings, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the exact knowledge of Abhidhamma as a guiding light on the returning path to Nibbana.

      End


      Akasattha ca bhummattha Deva naga mahiddhika

      Punnan tam anumoditva Ciran rakkhantu loka-sasanam

      (May all beings inhabiting space and earth,
      gods and dragons of mighty power,
      share this merit and may they long protect the dispensation)


      Idam me natinan hotu Sukhita hontu Natayo

      (Let this merit accrue to our relatives and may they be happy)


      Ciran Titthathu Lokasmin Samma Sambuddha Sasanam

      (Long live the Buddha’s Teaching in the world)


       

      BIBLIOGRAPHY

           1. The Buddha’s Explanation of the Universe by C.P. Ranasinghe

           2. A Manual of Abhidhamma by Narada Maha Thera

           3. A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma by Bhikkhu Bodhi

           4. The Buddha and His Teaching by Narada Maha Thera

           5. Dialogues of The Buddha (Mystic Wonders and the Origin of Things) edited by T.W. Rhys Davids

           6. Satipatthana Sutta ( D..22 M.10)

      CHARTS TO BE ADDED

      The Author

           Mr. Boon Kok Ching, FCPA(A), MACPA, aged 74, acquired professional qualification in 1960, started practising as a public accountant and auditor in 1968 and retired in 1994. For religious knowledge, he has read books on Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism (Theravada and Mahayana). Now he is doing research in Abhidhamma and conducting an advanced Dhamma reading class in Buddhist Maha Vihara at 123, Jalan Berhala, 50470 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    • Chart 4
      BIRTH AND DEATH OF UNIVERSES

      1 Control force of units of mind decreases     2 Quantity of units of abstract matters held in control decreases     3 The planets and stars lose their strength to keep together various substances     4 More substances radiate into space     5 The conditions on the planets will become increasingly difficult     6 Harsh climates followed by scarcity of food makes the beings in the universe violent and cruel     7 Increase in cruelty among the beings reduces their strength of evolution of mind     8 Continue to deteriorate. Many beings die and disappear.
      Less beings arrive to settle     9 Lapse of time.
      Beings on this earth reduced to a small number     10 A period of drought with intense heat.
      Rivers dry up and crops fail.
      Most remaining beings die and disappear.     11

      Inter-stellar cloud of water vapor.
      A spell of rain continues for 7 days from drizzling to several feet diameter.
      Floods all over except mountain tops.
      Further remaining beings are killed.

          12

      A second drought and all flood water evaporated.

          13

      Oceans dry up.
      Universe in chaos and stars crumbling.
      Solar systems in a mad dash.

          14

      Earth comes within orbit of 7 suns. No water. Earth burns up.

          15

      All the stars and planets burn up
      The universe in a confused state of darkness and void for a long time.
      Except those escape into non-birth.
      This is hell liquidating suffering.

          16

      Remaining units of abstract matter
      In the basic form of energies begin conception again
      with abstract heat and continue.

          17

      After long lapse. Units of mind with defilement burned up,
      gather strength from purity, build up in physic
      and so the birth of a new universe begin.

          18

      Universes grow, matters decay and die and so on.

      THE CYCLE REPEATS

      Edited by sinweiy 18 Mar `11, 9:02PM
    • Chart 13
      LIST OF MENTAL STATES

      (A) Common Currents:

      (1) Contact (Phasa)

      (2) Feeling (Vedana)

      (3) Perception (Sanna)

      (5) Concentraction (Ekaggata)

      (6) Psychic Life (Jivitindriya)

      (7) Attention (Manasikara)

      (B) Supplement Currents:

      (1) Deliberation (Vitaka)

      (2) Examination (Vicara)

      (3) Determination (Adhimokka)

      (4) Effort (Viriya)

      (5) Pleasure (Piti)

      (6) Consent (Chana)

      (C) Defilements:

      (1) Ignorance (Moha)

      (2) Shamelessness to evil actions (Ahirika)

      (3) Fearlessness to evil actions (Anotappa,

      (4) Restlenness (Uddhacca)

      (5) Greed (Lobha)

      (6) Wrong perception (Ditthi)

      (7) Conceit (Mana)

      (8) Hatred (Dosa)

      (9) Jealousy (Issa)

      (10) Stinginess (Macchariya)

      (11) Remorse (Kukucca)

      (12) Sloth (Thina)

      (13) Torpor (Middha)

      (14) Indecision(Vicikiccha)

      _______

      (D) Purities:

      (1) Confidence (Sadda)

      (2) Mindfulness (Sati)

      (3) Shamefulness to evil actions (Hiri)

      (4) Fearfulness to evil actions (Otappa)

      (5) Loving charity (Alobha)

      (6) Loving sympathy (Adosa)

      (7) Equanimity (Tatramajjhata)

      (8) Tranquility to body action (Kayapassaddhi)

      (9) Tranquility to mental action (Cittapassadhi)

      (10) Lightness of mental properties (Kayalahuta)

      (11) Lightness of the mind (Citta Lahuta)

      (12) Softness of mental properties (Kaya muduta.)

      (13) Softnesss of the mind (citta muduta)

      (14) Fitness of mental properties (Kaya kammannata)

      (I5) Fitness of mind (citta kammannata)

      (16) Proficiency of mental properties (Kaya pagunnata)

      (17) Proficiency of the mind (Citta pagunnata)

      (I8) Physical uprightness (Kayujjukata)

      (19) Mental uprightness (Cittujjukata)

      (20) Correct speech (Samma Vaca)

      (21) Correct industry (Samma Kammanta)

      (22) Correct livelihood (Samma Ajiva)

      (23) Universal compassion (Karuna)

      (24) Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)

      (25) Wisdom (Panna)

       

       

      Edited by sinweiy 18 Mar `11, 9:08PM
  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    10,044 posts since Nov '09
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      Chapter One

      THE COSMOS

            The cosmos is a vast space, unlimited in all directions and timeless i.e. without beginning and end. Any point in space can be the centre of the cosmos and any point of time can be the centre of time. Any length of space is short and any length of time is also short compared to the infinity.

            As the cosmos is unlimited in space, there are unlimited number of universes, of galaxies, of solar systems and planets, of substances and living beings. (See Chart 1).

            In this cosmos, there are six permanent things or ultimate realities (Paramathas). They are the space, units of mind and four basic abstract elements (or matter) viz, units of abstract earth, abstract waters, abstract air and abstract heat. They have no beginning and no end, too. The units of mind and basic elements are permanent in existence due to their inherent forces of continuous repetitions of birth, existence and death. They are so tiny and so abstract, that they cannot be discerned by any human sense organs or scientific instruments. Only the Buddhas can discern them. The four basic abstract elements should not be mistken as the ordinary earth, water, heat and wind. They are energies.

            Everything in this cosmos is subject to the force of birth. existence and death and dependent origination or kamma. The units of mind are no exception.

            The whole cosmos is characterised by this spinning wheel of birth, existence and death affecting the smallest units of abstract elements and mind, atoms, substances, big or small, the planets, stars and the universes.

            All inanimate matters are made of different types of atoms, which are in turn made of the four basic abstract elements. These abstract elementa are not subject to change, but whatever atoms, matters or substances made fmm them (e.g. ordinary earth, watar etc.) are subject to change.

            On the other hand, each animate matter is formed by a unit of mind gathering units of abstract elements within its hold. As a grand result, a planet is formed by the total mental force of all the units of mind in it. Beause of this total force, gravity exists.

            When a unit of mind gathers more units of abstract elements and forms an animate matter, it will find out that it is easier to sustain itself by eating other smaller animate matters instead of gathering and processing units of abstract element by itself. By this experience, it becomes lazy and greedy. When a specie of animate matter or living beings becomes more intelligent and more cunning, a lot of other smaller beings will be killed.

            For the sake of food, there are always battles between the lower and the higher beings. The higher beings eat the lower beings and the lowest beings like the virus in turn attack the higher beings in their own battlefields, i.e. the bodies. (See Chart 2). The battles become extremely fierce when food is scarce. At one time there are more higher beings and at another time, there are more lower beings. (See Chart 3).

            Killing generates bad kamma. The lower beings do not know killing is bad as it is for their survival; their bad kamma is slight. But for an intelligent being, like a human being, knowing killing is inflicting suffering, the action of killing will bring him down to one of the lower levels of existence. After suffering the bad effects, he will come up again to one of the higher levels again. Due to this killing and other defilements, a unit of mind will forever be existing up and down in different levels of existence until one day it dawns on it that killing is bad and that he must work hard in doing good and eradicating all defilements. It then climbs to the summit with purities and wisdom and will not gather or cling to matters, physical or mental. It will stay on the top and will never descend to the lower levels again.

            There will come a time when the total force of all the units of mind on a planet, having accumulated too much defilements, becomes too weak to hold the planet anymore. Under the intense heat from the sun, the planet will then split, disintegrate and disappear and all the matters in it will turn back into units of abstract elements or energies. Other planets will eventually meet with the same fate. Continuing in this manner, the cosmos will become a dark empty space. When this happens, the units of mind and units of abstract elements will be scattering all over in space and will not be discernible.

            A planet will last for about 100,000,000,000,000 years. Our earth has lapsed 2/3 of this period, remaining only 1/3 of the time.

            After a long period of time, units of mind, which have not attained the summit, start gathering abstract elements; and slowly new planets, stars and universes will appear again. However those units of mind, which have climbed to the summit, will remain there forever powerful, transcending space and time. (See Chart 4)

            Unlike the units of mind and units of abstract elements, which are permanent since time without beginning, all substances, big or small, are created by the mind, and therefore subject to change and impermanence

            This is the nature of the cosmos and everything in it.



      Thanks. I think the articles you have posted explained what I was asking. However, I need time to digest them. Though I'm not too concerned about finding the answer as my main aim in this life is to liberate from rebirth but I'm interested to know.

    • Originally posted by realization:

      If I'm not wrong ... even the atoms and molecules are empty of inherent existence.

      A bit mind-boggling.  How to understand this?

      Yeah, a bit mind boggling. I don't want to be the man that Buddha said who refused to take out the poison arrow before he found who shot him. However it is good to understand.

  • geis's Avatar
    391 posts since Jul '09
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:


      Thanks. I think the articles you have posted explained what I was asking. However, I need time to digest them. Though I'm not too concerned about finding the answer as my main aim in this life is to liberate from rebirth but I'm interested to know.


      ya, it's pretty extensive, if u need to explain to others in a short time. i thought explain partially might not be comprehensive enough, so have to give what Buddha explain fully.

      hope someone can retrieve it together with the diagram charts to make it a workable link.

      i also re-reading it, and getting new insights.  eg:- Each plant, like other beings, also has a unit of mind, which eventually can become a Buddha.

      emmm.

      /\

  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    10,044 posts since Nov '09
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      ya, it's pretty extensive, if u need to explain to others in a short time. i thought explain partially might not be comprehensive enough, so have to give what Buddha explain fully.

      hope someone can retrieve it together with the diagram charts to make it a workable link.

      i also re-reading it, and getting new insights.  eg:- Each plant, like other beings, also has a unit of mind, which eventually can become a Buddha.

      emmm.

      /\

      Edited by Dawnfirstlight 19 Mar `11, 8:23PM
  • Moderator
    sinweiy's Avatar
    4,015 posts since Jun '05
    • Originally posted by Dawnfirstlight:

      This is my own interpretation. Plants also have Buddha nature because they are also arised from emptiness and a combination of many components. So, "back to the basics" or "back to their true self" (without the components) is kind of becoming a Buddha. May be it is something like that, hope that I'm not talking nonsense ha ha ha.....


      i understand spirits reside in plants, like their 'house'.  our meat body is also like a "house".

      anyway frm geis's abhidhamma.pdf

      7. Jãvitindriya—
      Jãvita = life; + Indriya = controlling faculty or principle.
      It is called Jãvita because it sustains its co-associates.
      It is called Indriya because it controls its co-associates.
      Although Cetanà determines the activities of all mental
      states, it is Jãvitindriya that infuses life into Cetanà and
      other concomitants.
      Jãvitindriya is twofold—namely, psychic life (Nàma-
      Jãvitindriya) and physical life (Råpa-Jãvitindriya). Mental
      States are vitalized by psychic life, while material phenomena
      are vitalized by physical life.
      As lotuses are sustained by water, an infant is sustained
      by a nurse, so are mental states and material phenomena
      sustained by Jãvitindriya.
      One Råpa-Jãvitindriya lasts for seventeen thoughtmoments.
      Seventeen Nàma-Jãvitindriyas arise and perish
      during the brief life of one Råpa-Jãvitindriya.
      There is a certain kind of Råpa-Jãvitindriya in plant
      life. But, Råpa-Jãvitindriya in men and animals is differentiated
      from that which exists in plants because the former
      is conditioned by past Kamma.

      Both Nàma-Jãvitindriya and Råpa-Jãvitindriya arise
      at the moment of conception. They simultaneously perish
      at the moment of decease. Hence death is regarded as the
      destruction of this Jãvitindriya. Immediately after, due to
      the power of Kamma, another Nàma-Jãvitindriya arises in
      the subsequent birth at the moment of conception. Simultaneous
      with the arising of the one Nàma-Jãvitindriya
      there arise three Råpa-Jãvitindriyas in the case of a human
      being.38
      Just as a boatman depends on the boat and the boat depends
      on the boatman, even so Jãvitindriya depends on mind
      and matter, and mind and matter depend on Jãvitindriya.

       

      56. âhàraja—By âhàra are meant the nutritive
      essence present in physical food and the sap (ojà) contained
      in the material groups born of Kamma, mind, and
      seasonal conditions. The internal ojà, supported by the
      external nutritive essence, produces råpa at the static
      stage which endures for 49 minor thought-instants. Råpas arise when the ojà diffuses the body. Internal sap is alone
      incapable of producing råpa without the aid of external
      nutritive essence.
      Hadaya and 8 Indriya råpas (= eye, ear, nose,
      tongue, body, masculinity, femininity, and vitality) are
      wholly produced by Kamma. Thus jãvitindriya or the life principle
      present in animate beings such as men and animals
      should he differentiated from the inanimate life of
      plants and inorganic substances, as they are not the inevitable
      results of Kamma.
      They do possess a certain kind of life different from
      human beings and animals.

      /\

      Edited by sinweiy 19 Mar `11, 7:10PM
  • Dawnfirstlight's Avatar
    10,044 posts since Nov '09
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      i understand spirits reside in plants, like their 'house'.  our meat body is also like a "house".

      anyway frm geis's abhidhamma.pdf

       

      /\


      Oh I see. Make sense to me.

  • Singapore AFOL's Avatar
    645 posts since Mar '11
  • Wiser's Avatar
    1,237 posts since Jan '11
    • Originally posted by Singapore AFOL:

      What are spirits?


      you know those white colour orbs captured by infra light camera in haunted houses ?

      or Souls in another term

       

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