|Consciousness (vinnana) permeates the entire body, the heart even more than the brain.|
Aspects of Reality in Theravada Buddhism
In regard to the question, “What is ultimate reality?” different schools of philosophy and systems of thought seem to fall into two main divisions.
Some of them say that the ultimate reality is one: They believe in a permanent unity behind all the variety and change of the world. They are the monists, theists, animists, eternalists, traditionalists, fideists, dogmatists, ontologists, realists, idealists, and energists.
All of these schools, though distinct among themselves and even opposed to each other on many points, nevertheless have this in common:
They accept an ultimate reality as an entity in the metaphysical sense, whether that entity be called substance, or soul, or God, or force, or categorical necessity, or whatever other name may yet be invented. They may be said to follow a subjective method, molding reality on concepts.
Hence theirs is mostly a method of conjecture. The other schools say, some of them not very explicitly but still implicitly in their doctrines, that the ultimate reality is plural. More
|Michelangelo was drawing a brain on the right with folds, glands, and other features.|
C. F. Knight
Few people realize to how great an extent our whole lives and thought-processes are dominated by concepts.
The concept is a general notion or idea arising through one or more of the senses, which is then reduced to terms of language after a mental classification.
We are confronted with a phenomenon, and through one or more of the senses it is noticed as an object. The mind receives the sense-impression, proceeds to investigate it, and comes to a decision in regard to it, which may lead to impulsive non-volitional action or to deliberate volitional action.
|The Buddha, son of Central Asia (Gandhara)|
Suppose that in our travels we come upon a mass of water confined by its banks. The senses react to the object. Through visual-consciousness its presence is impressed on the mind. The mind investigates it visually, and if it is flowing, we say it is a river, or if so surrounded by its banks that it cannot flow, we say it is a pond.
Both “river” and “pond” are conceptual expressions to convey our sense impressions and experience, and to differentiate between flowing water and confined water. “River” and “pond” have become concepts of a mass of water under different conditions, and imply a permanently fixed identity of that particular phenomenon.
Even when during drought “the river” no longer flows, the concept “river” still holds good: It is not a “pond” or “waterhole.” But the concept is superficial and has no relation to reality. It is at best delusive, deceptive, unreal, and disappointing in the light and knowledge of reality. More