Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How is life an "illusion"? (video)

SpaceCow, July 29, 2019; DT; TEXT: Dhr. Seven, Sayalay Aloka, Amber Larson, Abhidharma, Path of Purification, sutra commentaries and meditation instructions, Wisdom Quarterly
Stunning Lego creation (Nathan Sawaya/ Herald)
Music: Track 1 Creo's "Dimension," Track 2 "Malediction," Track 3 "Apex." Woah, unbelievable clips you'll want to watch twice #1.

Is life only an illusion -- sometimes a disappointing delusion and sometimes a euphoric one?

The Buddha gave five similes to describe all existence. What is "all existence"? It is not out there but in here, the "Five Groups" that constitute all conditioned existence. The only "world" we apprehend is what we perceive, feel, cognize, and are aware of on some level or other, which is much more than we're usually conscious of at any moment.

Hi, I'm Lego Simpson (Sean Kenney)
Consciousness (awareness) depends on five "heaps" (skandhas) of things. Each is called a "heap" because it is a stack of replaceable components. For this the Buddha gave the simile of a magic trick.

There's feeling. Things have a tone: pleasant, unpleasant, neutral be it sensual (in the body) or supersensual (in the mind). Feeling is only a process. It is composed of many momentary flashes of felt experience. For this the Buddha gave the simile of a water bubble.

There's perception. It is only a process, a series of similar but different moments of perception. For this the Buddha gave the simile of a shimmering mirage.

There are mental formations such as volitions (intentions, impulses, motivated acts of will) in the mind. These fabrications are only a process. For this the Buddha gave the simile of a banana tree trunk, which like an onion has many layers and not core or heartwood.

There's consciousness. It is only a process, not a thing. When looked at very closely, it is a stream of "mind moments" (cittas). They "know" the object in the perceptual field and fall away. Before falling, which happens in a submoment, they pass on their information to the next nearly identical but different moment -- so that it all seems like one constant "knowing" but is actually a series of discrete moments of knowing.

Therefore, what seems static, as when staring at a screen, is actually a flickering. It is not a thing but photons emerging from a light source, arranged in pixels that look like miniscule bricks but are mere points on a grid.

There are the qualities of form, of the body, whether subtle or coarse. The body, this body, any body is composed of matter. Matter has four qualities. This sensual body is a series of minute "particles" (kalapas). They arise, turn, and fall away in a flash, an instant, a fraction of an instant. For this the Buddha gave the simile of a lump of foam moving down a river that when coming looks like something but when examined is not at all what it seemed like.

IronMan meditates by Arvo (Calgary Herald)
This realization and teaching of the Buddha was the basis of the Ancient Greek "atomic theory," the concept that everything was composed of irreducible atoms or bricks. Their theory came out of Buddhist physics and psychology, the lived experience of meditators recorded in the "Ultimate Doctrine" or Abhidharma. It is not a theory in these instructional manuals, which teach how to directly perceive this. These things are personally verifiable.

The upshot is that what seems compact and persisting, substantial, and potentially fulfilling is actually not compact but composite in nature, not substantial but unreal (like a picture of meal compared to a meal), and not satisfying but disappointing. What seem compact is actually empty -- that is to say, not existing apart from its components, not capable of arising independently but utterly dependent on supports (causes and conditions).

(DT) Top 10 Optical Illusions To Blow Your Mind. Seeing is believing, but we can't always believe.

Modern example
When I first see it, it looks real! But when I look closely, it nothing but little blocks.
Creepy Lego creations can get gory.
Imagine a thing of great complexity, with parts, dimension, shadow, and definite structure. You approach it, and all that's there is an endless series of boring, lightweight Lego blocks, tiny "bricks" arranged and functioning in a certain way.

It's not anything at all, at least not anything it seems to be!

It's not nothing. It's something. But what is it if it's not what it appears to be? It surely is not what it appears to be! That is why it is said to be "illusory." It's empty. It's nothing to get hung about but not nothing at all.

Illusion: a Lego car or a Volvo? (
Moreover, the building blocks in the "thing" (say a couple or a car) are disintegrating, not static but falling off and being replaced. Its shape more or less persists for a time. Because each brick gets replaced with a near identical brick (which looks identical but is not the same one), it looks like the same thing over time. But technically it's different. It's not identical but changing.

It's neither the same nor different. How? The shape is more or less retained for a while, but all the blocks are continuously being replaced.

The thing is like a static movie image on a screen. It's not moving much (from the macro point of view), but a movie image is nothing but movement of photons (expressing color and contrast because of varying frequencies and intensities). It's not at all what it seems (when looked at from the micro point of view).

It looks real, yet it's just a painted picture of a thing, static but moving, dead but animated, never alive but headed for the end of the reel at which time it will seem to go out. Out where? Nowhere. It never really was.

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