|There must be more than this provincial life (Andrew Tavin/community.sparknotes.com).|
- edible food
|I am like totally bored, totally, so let's do something, seriously, before I like kill myself!|
We are what we eat
|Am I a fat cow hamburger? (Sean Norvet)|
|I'm totally a unique individual! Totally!|
"neither a metaphysical 'I'-identity (pure spirit, pure subject, according to the soul-theory of the religions) nor a mere physical process (pure body, pure object, according to scientific materialism), but a nutrimental process and as such it is neither something which is in and by itself, nor something caused by another, but something that is maintaining itself: and all these so-called higher faculties of thinking and feeling are different forms of eating, of maintaining oneself."
1. Edible Food
Simile: A couple, starving in the middle of a desert, eat their infant child to enable them to reach their destination.Just like the husband and wife in the Buddha's simile, humankind ever since it emerged/arrived on this planet has traversed the desert of life where food is our most urgent concern. As in that story, the stilling of human hunger is often heart-rending business -- sometimes for the callous "eater," sometimes for the hapless prey, and always for the sensitive observer.
Often our search for food, we destroy what is commonly dear to us, be it relatives or romantic relationships, friends or the ideals of our youth.
This is only one aspect of life: Life is not all a "desert"; it has a goodly number of oases where we can rest and enjoy ourselves to such an extent that we are likely to forget that we are surrounded by desert, which from time to time encroaches on these tiny oases and buries them. ...
Simile: A cow with its skin torn away, wherever it stands, will be ceaselessly molested and devoured by insects and other creatures in the vicinity.
|If only I had superpowers and a motorcycle.|
The Pali word phassa ("sense-impression") literally means "contact" or "touch." But it is not any physical impact that is meant. It is the mental contact between: our senses, external objects of the senses, and consciousness.
Sense-impression, together with attention (manasikara), is the mind's first and simplest response to the stimuli exercised by the world of material and immaterial (mental) objects.
According to Buddhist psychology, sense-impression is a constituent factor in each and every state of mind, the lowest to the highest, occurring also in dream states and in subliminal states [liminal being that point where we would become self-reflexively aware] of consciousness.
Sense-impression is a basic nutriment. That is, it is a sustaining condition of life. And what is nourished or conditioned by it are feelings/sensations (vedana), which are living off of a multitude of constantly occurring sense-impressions and assimilating them as either pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent.
|1. Disappointment, 2. Craving, 3. Freedom.|
As long as there is craving for sense-impressions, which arises from unguarded feeling (vedana-paccaya tanha), there will be an unlimited supply of that foodstuff/nutriment to be digested by feeling.
- [NOTE: "Feelings" do not refer to emotions. Emotions are formations (saṅkhāras). Feelings are just the basic sensations, whethermundane or supermundane, an awareness that something is perceived as being pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. This may seem a trvial point to emphasize, but people make too big of a deal of "feelings" in discussions of the Five Aggregates as the components of existence without realizing that they are looking in the wrong heap. Emotions are very important in Buddhist psychology, but it is their sensation -- pleasant, unpleasant, neutral -- that is referred to as vedana.]
It is the poignant awareness of that constant bombardment by sense-impressions that induced the Buddha to choose for the sense-impressions the simile of a skinned cow whose raw flesh is the target of swarms of insects and other creatures that cause intensely painful feelings to the animal.
According to the Buddha, any type of feeling (pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral) is bound to cause disappointment and conflict in one who has not yet freed oneself from attachment.
Painful feeling is suffering in itself; pleasant feeling brings suffering through its transience and its unsatisfying and unsatisfactory nature; worldly indifferent feeling produces suffering through the dullness and boredom involved in it. It is sense-impression that is the constant feeder of these feelings/sensations.
A Buddhist monastic Ven. Talaputta in ancient times, yearning to see still more vividly the burning and irritating nature of sense-impressions, was moved to exclaim:
|Even I'm trapped by karma. -WW|
- In the listing of the Five Aggregates of Clinging (form, feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousnesses) the fourth, sankharas, is often translated as "mental formations" then functionally-defined confusingly as "volition." This is very easy to unravel. There are 52 kinds of formations. Two of them -- feelings and perceptions -- are so important that the Buddha gave them separate treatment; the other 50 he lumped together as "formations" and gave the entire group of factors the name "volition" after the chief among them, "volition" (cetana, "intention," which is crucial to understand because it is the determining factor of whether a karma ("action") is wholesome or unwholesome.
- SPECIAL TECHNICAL NOTE: There are actually eight aggregates (groups, heaps), always plural because they are heaps of nearly-but-not-quite identical processes. Form or body is singular because it is comprised of four of these aggregates -- the material qualities of earth, fire, air, and water (which are not things but qualities or characteristics like extension, support, cohesion, temperature, solidity, etc.). The remaining four are sometimes referred to collectively as "mind." There is no identity from one moment to the next in the impersonal process-of-becoming, of dynamic "being," of consciousness, of existence in any world or sphere within samsara. There are only constantly transient states of becoming, snapshots of which can be retroactively viewed and slowly examined in the mind door near the literal heart for the sake of insight to directly see that they are really discrete moments (cittas) and submoments not a compact unity. (See the Abhidharma for details).
- "Good" and "bad" are very easy to define in Buddhism but are rarely defined as if it were obvious to all when, in fact, their definitions are understood by almost no one: "Bad" (akusala, papa, unwholesome, unskillful, harmful) means motivated by greed, hatred, fear, or delusion. "Good" (kusala, means motivated by the large categories of nongreed, nonaversion, nonfear, nondelusion. We often loosely refer to something as "good" because we are not aware of our or other's actual underlying motivations, or because so long as one is not motivated by greed or hate that's "good enough." But delusion is actually the most harmful and most insidious intention/motivation, and fear (a kind of aversion usually lumped under the rubric of "hate" and at other times singled out by the Buddha as its own harmful category) follows a close second.
|Deluded craving is the lynchpin.|
This urge has sent us into the depth of the ocean and into the vastness of space. It has made us the most vicious of predatory animals and also enabled us to reach the lofty heights of a genius [genies, djinn] of creative art and thought.
The restlessness that is at the root of all that lust for activity and of the creative urge is the constant hunger for all Four Nutriments of life and for a variety of them on different levels... More