|The gears of cognition at work (static-img-d.hgcdn.net)|
|(Ken Lee Photography/flickr)|
“Meditators, the ordinary person, unlearned in spiritual knowledge [the ordinary uninstructed worldling], might grow disenchanted, might become detached from, might become freed from this physical body (form) made up of the four great elements. What is the reason?
“It is, meditators, because apparent are the increase and the decrease, the taking up (grasping) and the putting down (discarding) [Note 2], of this physical body made up of the four great elements. For this reason the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, might grow disenchanted, might become detached, might be freed.
“But, meditators, that which is called ‘mind’ or ‘thought’ or ‘consciousness’ [Note 1], indeed, the ordinary person -- in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge -- does not distinguish enough to turn away, enough to become detached, enough to be freed [from clinging that produces rebirth and suffering]. What is the reason?
- The Abhidharma usually treats these three terms (citta, mano, and viññāṇa or mind, thought, and consciousness) as more or less synonymous. They are NOT distinct and separate “things” but refer to quite distinct and non-inter-reducible functions and properties of “mind” as such. To treat them as mere synonyms is, very crudely speaking, like claiming that the words “steam,” “liquid,” and “ice” are mere synonyms. To be sure, they may all refer to forms of water, but it would be plainly and simply wrong to claim that they are therefore merely synonyms.
|Buddha in the clouds, Bentotagama, Sri Lanka|
“Because of that, the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, does not distinguish enough to turn away, enough to lay down, enough to let go.
“Better, meditators, to let the ordinary person in all ways unlearned in spiritual knowledge, it is better to consider [proceed from the assumption] that the self is this physical BODY made up of the four great elements, rather than [thinking that it is] the MIND [the four processes feeling, perception, formations, consciousness]. What is the reason?
“This physical body, meditators, composed of the four great elements [qualities of materiality expressed in many different ways], is seen standing for one rainy season, standing for two rainy seasons ...for three ...four ...five ... ten... 20... 30... 40... 50... standing for 100 or more rainy seasons.
|Golden Buddha altar (Mochilo_MoMo flickr.com)|
“But, meditators, that which is called ‘mind’ or ‘thought’ or ‘consciousness’ that, indeed, by night and by day, as one arises, the other ceases. Just as, meditators, a monkey on a mountainside forest moving itself grasps a branch then releasing that, grasps another then releasing that, grasps another -- even so, that which is called ‘mind’ or ‘thought’ or ‘consciousness,’ that, by night and by day, as one arises, the other ceases.
“Herein, meditators, the noble [i.e., enlightened] disciple, learned in spiritual knowledge, properly and legitimately cognizes [does or makes using the mental faculty] only dependent origination [or co-dependent co-arising] thus:
“‘In the event of the being of this, there is (also) that; from the arising of this, that (also) arises. In the event of the non-being of this, there is (also) not that. From the cessation of this, that (also) ceases.’
“That is to say [in response to the question, ‘What is the reason for the arising of present disappointment or suffering?’ these 12 causal links are discerned]:
- ‘From ignorance as condition, the formative mental functions arise;
- from the formative mental functions as condition, sensory consciousness arises;
- from sensory consciousness as condition, name-and-form arise;
- from name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases arise;
- from the six sense bases as condition, contact arises;
- from contact as condition, sensation arises;
- from sensation as condition, craving arises;
- from craving as condition, clinging arises;
- from clinging as condition, becoming arises;
- from being as condition, birth arises;
- from birth as condition, old age and death, disappointment, grief, lamentation, distress, and all suffering come to be.
- Thus there [simultaneously] comes to be this whole complex of suffering.
|Wise heart (jampatenzing)|
“Having grown weary and having turned away, one detaches; from detachment, one is freed; from being freed, there comes the certainty, ‘Freed.’ One understands, ‘Destroyed is rebirth; the supreme life has been fulfilled; what had to be done has been done; no coming back again to becoming [here and now].’”