Word of the Buddha
We were on page 4 last week, the 5 khandhas or groups of existence. On the previous page the Buddha explained about the Noble Truth of Suffering. It is the First Noble Truth. He explained that birth is suffering, decay is suffering and so on. Then at the end of that paragraph there are the words: “In short the Five Groups of Existence are suffering.” This is the all-embracing explanation of the First Noble Truth, the Noble Truth of Suffering.
“In short the Five Groups of Existence are suffering.” The PÈÄi word is upÈdÈnakhandha. That word is now translated as aggregates of clinging or aggregates of grasping. I think that is a better translation for the word ‘upÈdÈnakhandha’ because the PÈÄi word means aggregates that are the objects of clinging. You can cling to things by way of attachment or sometimes by wrong view. Attachment and wrong view are called ‘clinging’ or ‘grasping’. The aggregates which are the objects of these clingings or graspings are called ‘the aggregates of clinging’ or ‘the aggregates of grasping’. They are not just groups of existence, but the groups of grasping or clinging.
“And what, in brief are the Five Groups of Existence (That is the Five Groups of Clinging.)? They are corporeality, feeling, perception, (mental) formations, and consciousness.” They will be explained one by one.
“All corporeal phenomena, whether past, present, or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, all belong to the Group of Corporeality; all feelings belong to the Group of Feeling; all perceptions belong to the Group of Perception; all mental formations belong to the Group of Formations; all consciousness belongs to the Group of Consciousness.” These are the five aggregates or the five khandhas.
Then there are some notes by the author. “These Groups are a fivefold classification in which the Buddha has summed up all the physical and mental phenomena of existence, and in particular, those which appear to the ignorant man as his ego or personality. Hence birth, decay, death, etc., are also included in these five Groups which actually comprise the whole world.” The whole world is actually just these five aggregates. Each thing belongs to one of these groups of existence or one of these aggregates of clinging.
There are five aggregates of clinging. The first one is corporeality or just matter. Matter is one of the five aggregates of clinging. The Buddha said: “All corporeal phenomena, whether past, present or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, all belong to the Group of Corporeality.”
It is important to understand the word ‘group’ or ‘aggregate’. There are 28 types or kinds of material properties. Each one can be called ‘an aggregate of corporeality’. For example there are four great elements - the element of earth, the element of water, the element of fire, the element of wind or air. One element can be called ‘an aggregate’. So, what is the meaning of aggregate here? They are not groups of different material properties, but just one material property. Just one particle can be called ‘an aggregate’. So we must understand by which criteria things are called ‘an aggregate’. It is not difficult to understand because they are given here. Past, present, future - if anything can belong to past, present or future or if anything has a division into past thing, present thing or future thing, that thing can be called ‘an aggregate’ although it may be only one, only one thing. That is because there can be division into past, present and future. The same is true for one’s own or external. That means internal and external. If the thing has the division of internal and external, then it can be called ‘an aggregate’. Some material properties are in us and they are called ‘internal’. ‘Internal’ means ‘in living beings’. ‘External’ really means ‘outside things’ - trees, rocks, the earth and so on. If a thing can be divided into internal and external, then it can be called ‘an aggregate’. Or if it has a division into gross or subtle, then it can be called ‘an aggregate’. The same is true for lofty and low. Some are lofty and some are low. Then there is far or near. ‘Far or near’ really means gross or subtle. That which is far is subtle because it is difficult to see. That which is near is gross because it is not difficult to see, to perceive. So if anything can be divided into past, present or future, or internal and external, or gross or subtle, or lofty or low, or far or near, then it can be called ‘an aggregate’.
Therefore only one feeling can be called ‘an aggregate’. Feeling is one mental factor. That feeling is called ‘an aggregate’. Perception is also one mental factor and it is called ‘an aggregate’. Each and every particle of matter is called ‘an aggregate’ although it is not a group or combination of material properties. It can be just one small particle of one material property, but we can call it ‘an aggregate of matter’. So when we say aggregate of clinging, aggregate of feeling, aggregate of matter and so on, we have to understand this. When we say aggregate of feeling, we do not mean that there are many feelings put together and they are called ‘an aggregate’. Even one feeling can be called ‘an aggregate’ because one feeling can belong to past, present, future and so on.
When the Buddha explained the Five Groups of Existence or the Five Aggregates of Clinging, he always explained in these terms - whether past, present or future, one’s own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near. So the whole world is just these five aggregates. Or in other words when the Buddha analyzed the whole world, both animate and inanimate, he found only these five aggregates. These five aggregates comprise the whole world external as well as internal.
Now the Buddha explains each group in detail. “What, now, is the ‘Group of Corporeality’ (What is matter?)? It is the four primary elements, and corporeality derived from them.” The four primary elements are what we call the four great essentials because they are the ones depending upon which the other material properties arise. “It is the four primary elements, and corporeality derived from them.” According to this passage there are two kinds of matter, the primary ones and the derived ones. Now I am not so happy with the word ‘derived’. What is the meaning of the word ‘derived’? Coming from. The meaning here is that these material properties cannot arise without depending upon the four primary elements. Only when there are the four primary elements, can these elements arise. They are not produced by the four primary elements. They are not deprived from the four primary elements. They are separate and different material properties. But they need the four primary elements in order to arise. So I think it is better to say ‘dependent upon’. They are not compounded from the four great essentials. They are different material properties. There are 28 material properties. Each one is different. 24 are dependent upon these four. ‘Dependent’ is a better word I think. The PÈÄi word is upÈdÈya. In the Commentary it is said: “That kind of matter is that which arises in dependence on, or clinging to, or not letting go, of the four primary elements.” When they arise, they have to cling to the four primary elements. Or they need the four primary elements for them to arise. For example, you need a house to live in. You are not produced by the house. For you to survive you need a house to live in. So instead of ‘derived’ we should say ‘dependent on’ or ‘depending on’. So here it should say ‘corporeality depending on them’.
“And what are the four Primary Elements? They are the Solid Element, the Fluid Element, the Heating Element, the Vibrating (Windy) Element.” The teaching of the four elements is not found in Buddhism only. In the West too there is the teaching of four elements, but I think in Buddhism, especially in Abhidhamma, the teaching of four elements is brought to perfection let us say.
The PÈÄi words for the four great essentials are paÔhavÊ, Èpo, tejo, and vÈyo. Directly translated they are just earth, water, fire and wind. We might be inclined to say that the earth element means the earth. However, it is not necessarily the earth that is meant here. ‘The earth element’ means solidity or in the language of the books it is hardness or softness. The hardness or softness of things is called ‘the earth element’ or ‘solid element’. That is why we can have the earth element in water, or in the wind, or in fire. That is because there is something like hardness or softness there. If you put your hand in water and really pay attention, you feel the hardness or softness, especially softness. So these four elements are everywhere in everything. So by earth element we mean that quality of hardness or softness. The earth element is not necessarily the earth, but in the earth the earth element is more pronounced. In the earth there are the other elements too (fluidity, heat and vibrating or wind element).
“The four Elements (dhÈtu or mahÈ-bh|ta), popularly called Earth, Water, Fire and Wind, are to be understood as the elementary qualities of matter. They are named in PÈÄi, paÔhavÊ dhÈtu, Èpo dhÈtu, tejo dhÈtu, vÈyo dhÈtu, and may be rendered as Inertia, Cohesion, Radiation, and Vibration. All four are present in every material object, though in varying degrees of strength. If, for example, the Earth Element predominates, the material object is called ‘solid’, etc.” One of these can predominate in a certain thing, but all four are present.
“The ‘corporeality derived from (dependent upon) the four primary elements (upÈdÈya r|pa or upÈda r|pa) consists, according to the Abhidhamma, of the following 24 material phenomena and qualities.” These are the 24 material qualities or 24 material properties dependent upon the four primary elements. They are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body. ‘Eye’ does not mean the eyeball, but the sensitivity in the eye. It may be found in the retina. And ‘ear’ does not mean the whole ear, but the inner ear where the vibrations strike and then you know that you hear. Nose, tongue and body are the same. Then there is visible form. That is anything you can see. Then there is sound, odor, taste, masculinity, femininity, vitality. Vitality is something which is in our body which keeps our body from decaying or becoming putrid. It is called ‘vitality’ or sometimes it is translated as ‘vital principle’, or ‘material life’. Its counterpart can be found among the 52 mental properties. There it is also called ‘vital principle’ or ‘psychic life’. Next is physical basis of mind (hadaya vatthu). Physical basis of mind is said to be the heart. The heart is said to be the physical basis of consciousness, many kinds of consciousness. During the time of the Buddha, the teaching of the heart as the basis for consciousness was prevalent. In the Abhidhamma, in the first book of Abhidhamma, it is strange that where all of the material properties are listed, the heart or hadaya vatthu was not mentioned. But in the seventh book of Abhidhamma it is said to be mentioned. The word ‘hadaya vatthu’ or ‘heart’, however, is not used in the seventh book of Abhidhamma. In the PaÔÔhÈna it says: “Depending upon a certain material property consciousness arises.” That certain material property is interpreted to mean the heart by the Commentators. The Buddha did not say that the heart was the basis of consciousness. Buddha said: “A certain material property is the basis for consciousness to arise.” And that material property was interpreted to be the heart by the Commentators and the ancient teachers. Here I think Venerable Nyanatiloka wanted to avoid saying the heart. So he said the physical basis of mind.
Student: What do the words ‘hadaya vatthu’ mean?
Teacher: ‘Vatthu’ means basis. ‘Hadaya’ means heart. It is like in English. Sometimes it means mind. Sometimes you say heart and mean the mind. It is the same in PÈÄi also. Hadaya is heart and vatthu is basis, so heart basis.
Next is gesture and speech. They are called ‘intimations’. By gesture we let other people know something. By speech we let other people know something. Then there is space (cavities of ear, nose, etc.). It is not only that. Space, strictly speaking, is that which delimits the different groups of material properties. Very small particles of material properties are grouped together. There is one group and another group. Between these two groups there is what is called ‘space’. Although they may be touching each other, Abhidhamma teaches us that there is still space. This space is between two groups of matter. Within the group there is no space. They are something like glued together. But between one group and another there is what is called ‘space’. That is what is meant here. There are different kinds of space; space as we know it is also called ‘space’. And then there is the space which is the object of a certain kind of meditation. Space can mean many things. Here in the list of material properties dependent upon the four primary ones the space which is like a buffer between two groups of matter is meant.
Then there are agility of matter, elasticity of matter, adaptability of matter, growth, continuity, decay, change. ‘Change’ really means dissolution, death of matter.
Student: It’s different than decay?
Teacher: Right. It’s different. Decay is jarÈ, getting old. ‘Change’ really means ‘to die’. The last one is nutriment or simply food.
These are the 24 dependent material properties. 24 dependent properties plus the four primary elements gives us 28 material properties. These are what we may call the building blocks of material things, both animate and inanimate. Our bodies are composed of 27 of these material properties because if you are a man you do not have femininity and if you are a woman you do not have masculinity. In a man there are 27 material properties and in a woman there are 27 material properties. Generally speaking there are 28 material properties. Outside things are not composed of all 28. If you want to understand in detail, you will have to pick up a book on Abhidhamma.
Student: Is vitality like what the Chinese call ‘chi (life force)’?
Teacher: Yes, it is something like that. It is that which keeps our bodies from decomposing.
“Bodily impressions (phoÔÔhabba, the tactile) are not especially mentioned among these 24, as they are identical with the Solid, the Heating, and the Vibrating Elements which are cognizable through the sensations of pressure, cold, heat, pain, etc.” In the list there are eye, ear, nose, tongue, body. Right? Then corresponding objects are visible form, sound, odor, taste. There is no touch. Did you notice that? Why is touch not mentioned? Because what we call touch or the tactile is not a separate material property, but the combination of the three primary elements (earth element, fire element, and wind element). Since touch is nothing but the combination of the three primary elements, touch is not mentioned here. But actually we should mention touch here. Although we have touch here, we do not count it because it is not a separate material property. It is just the combination of the three primary elements.
Student: Is color separate from visible form?
Teacher: It is the same. Some people translate it as color. Some translate it as visible form or sight.
Student: The refinements with respect to sight such as hue, contrast, those qualities are all just part of visible form.
Teacher: That’s right. Among the 28 material properties only that one is visible. The others you cannot see with your eyes. You can see with your mind, with your understanding. With your eyes you can only see one of these 28 material properties, that is sight, or color, or visible form.
Let me go into some detail. Actually what we see is not form or shape. We do not see form or shape. What we see is just the combination of material properties. But we are trained to interpret them into shapes or forms. So we think that we see the shape or the form. What we see is not the shape or form but just the visible matter.
Student: Could you say what the characteristics of the other primary elements are? You mentioned hardness and softness for the earth element.
Teacher: Cohesiveness is the second element. It is because of this element that things stick together. That is why even in solid wood or an iron block there is the water element, cohesiveness. ‘Heating element’ just means heat or temperature. It is not necessarily heat as it can be cold also. It is temperature. When the temperature goes down, you call it ‘cold’. When it goes up, you call it ‘heat’. The last one is the vibrating element. The characteristic of that is distendedness or support, like air in a balloon. The air in the balloon can keep it expanded. It is said that we can sit upright because the air element is supporting us. If there were no air element, we would fall down.
“What, now, is the ‘Solid Element (paÔhavÊ dhÈtu)’? The solid element may be one’s own, or it may be external.” ‘One’s own’ means in the living beings. ‘External’ means the outside things. “And what is one’s own solid element?” What is the paÔhavÊ dhÈtu inside us? “Whatever in one’s own person or body there exists of kammically acquired hardness, firmness, such as hairs of the head and body and so on. The 32 or 31 parts of the body are divided into earth element and water element. Now ‘kammically acquired’ - what do you think of that my Abhidhamma students? A knowledge of Abhidhamma can help us here not to misunderstand. The PÈÄi word is translated here as ‘kammically acquired’. Buddha is describing the earth element inside us. The earth element inside us is not born of kamma only. It is born or caused by kamma, consciousness, climate, and food. There are four causes of matter and the earth element is said to be caused by all four causes of matter. Even in our bodies there is the earth element. That earth element does not mean only one earth element; there are many earth elements in our bodies. Some are caused by kamma; some are caused by consciousness; some are caused by climate; some are caused by food. So why say ‘kammically acquired’ here? If it is kammically acquired, the others will be left out. Right? Because in our bodies the earth element or the particles of the earth element are caused by kamma, but they are also caused by citta and so on. If we say ‘kammically acquired’, we mean only those that are caused by kamma. In that case the others are left out and the others would not be called earth element of our own. What do you think of that, ‘kammically acquired’?
Student: I think it is confusing. Is it not to make the distinction between the internal which is that of the living beings, the five khandhas together and then the three other external features of the anatomy?
Teacher: Even in living beings materiality is caused by all four causes, not just by one. The reason I am spending so much time on this is that I want you to know that a knowledge of Abhidhamma is necessary to understand correctly here. The English translation itself is not correct. One must be very careful about this PÈÄi word ‘upÈdinna’, when you are translating PÈÄi into English. The word ‘upÈdinna’ literally means something grasped at, something clung to. And it is made to mean born of kamma or caused by kamma. The PÈÄi word ‘upÈdinna’ means that caused by kamma. However this word is used in many places just to mean living beings, animate things, not just that caused by kamma. So there is the earth element in us and earth element outside. The earth element in us is also called ‘upÈdinna’ here. It is not necessarily caused by kamma, but by kamma, citta, climate and food. So we will have to change ‘kammically acquired’. “Whatever in one’s own person or body there exists of kammically acquired hardness, firmness” - how do we say that? That means in living beings. We could say: “Whatever in one’s own person or body which is living, there exists hardness, firmness” and so on.
Head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin and so on are from the list of 32 or 31 parts of the body meant for meditation. “This is called one’s own solid element. Now, whether it be one’s own solid element, or whether it be the external solid element, they are both merely the solid element.”
“And one should understand, according to reality, and true wisdom: ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego’.” This is the correct view according to the Buddha. ‘This does not belong to me’ - what does it mean? If we say ‘This belongs to me; this is mine.’, what is in our mind? ‘This is mine!’ Lobha (attachment). This is ‘I’. What is in our mind? Conceit. It is called ‘mÈna’ in PÈÄi. It is pride or conceit. This is my ego. This is my self. This is my atman. This is called ‘wrong view’. We tend to respond to things (here material property) by way of attachment, or by way of pride, or by way of wrong view.
Do you know these three things? They are what we call ‘papaÒcas’. Are you familiar with the word ‘papaÒca’? PapaÒca is translated in different ways. PapaÒcas according to ancient Commentaries are expanders of saÑsÈra. So long as there are these three things in our minds our saÑsÈra will be expanded and expanded. These are the three things we have to deal with. When we say ‘This belongs to me; this am I; this is my ego or my self”, then we are getting these three and so our saÑsÈra will be expanded. If we really see through the practice of vipassanÈ meditation that ‘This is not mine. This I am not. This is not my self’, when we see in this way, we are destroying these three expanders of saÑsÈra at every moment of vipassanÈ meditation.
Buddha taught the five aggregates or the material properties not for us to understand physics or the material properties, not just that. He taught us this to have correct view toward these things, in order not to be attached to them, not to have pride with respect to them, and not to have wrong view about them. This is the Buddha’s purpose in teaching us the five aggregates, the material properties and other things. Buddha was not teaching physics or chemistry to us.
“What, now, is the ‘Fluid Element (Èpo dhÈtu)’? The fluid element may be one’s own, or it may be external. And what is one’s own fluid element? Whatever in one’s own person or body there exists that which is living (not ‘kammically acquired’) which is liquidity, or fluidity, such as bile, phlegm, pus, blood” and so on. The remaining are said to of Èpo dhÈtu (water element). “This is called one’s own fluid element. Now, whether it be one’s own fluid element, or whether it be the external fluid element, they are both merely the fluid element.”
“And one should understand, according to reality and true wisdom: ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego’.”
The next one is the heating element. “What, now, is the ‘Heating Element (tejo dhÈtu)’? The heating element may be one’s own, or it may be external. And what is one’s own heating element? Whatever in one’s own person or body, (again) in that which is living (not ‘kammically acquired’), which is heat or hotness, such as that whereby one is heated, consumed, scorched.” It is a little off the mark. The Buddha is describing here four kinds of heating elements or four kinds of tejo dhÈtu. ‘Whereby one is heated’ - actually there is heat in us always, like the temperature of the body. Here ‘whereby one is heated’ means when we have a fever, we feel the heat. We feel the temperature. We may get fever every other day. That kind of temperature is one kind of heating element (tejo dhÈtu). The next one is ‘consumed’. What is ‘consumed’?
Student: The old word for tuberculosis was consumption.
Teacher: The PÈÄi word here means wherever one gets old. Heat makes us old. Wherever we have wrinkles, or gray hair, or broken teeth, we have this tejo dhÈtu. Wherever one is heated, one gets old. ‘Old’ here applies to both living beings and outside things. The last one is scorched or directly translated burned. I think it is the same thing. It is more heat than the first one, ‘whereby one is heated’. Sometimes you have very strong fever. You feel excessive heat. So you may say “Give me ice; give me something to cool me down.” It is more excessive than the first one.
Student: Perhaps like with malaria?
Student: Heat like when a person is angry?
Teacher: No. It has to do with heat in the body. Through anger it is not so hot. Here you may be rolling on the bed, asking someone to give you water to cool you down. It is more excessive heat than the first one. The last one is “that which has been eaten, drink, chewed, or tasted is fully digested.” So this is digestive heat. It is believed that that digestive heat resides in our stomach. Those who have good digestive heat have good digestion. Those who have poor digestive heat have poor digestion. There are four kinds of heat element shown here - whereby one is heated, one gets old, one gets scorched, that which has been eaten fully digested. So ‘that which has been eaten, drunk, chewed, tasted’ - what is ‘tasted’? Is it different from eaten, drink and chewed?
Teacher: Is it?
Student: Taste is like the flavor.
Teacher: No, it must be digested.
Student: When you eat carbohydrates, like bread, you can keep it in the mouth until the saliva works on it. That is different than meat which you chew on, swallow and then is digested in the stomach. One is in the mouth and one is in the stomach.
Teacher: Yes. Actually the PÈÄi word is ‘sÈyita’. That means ‘to lick’. You know when you eat honey, you lick. There are four kinds of eating - biting, drinking, eating and licking. Actually it is not ‘tasting’, but licking. Some food you eat by licking. Anything you “eat, drink, chew, or lick is fully digested” and so on. “This is called one’s own heating element. Now, whether it be one’s own heating element, or whether it be the external heating element, they are both merely the heating element.”
“And one should understand, according to reality and true wisdom - ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego’.”
Then we have the wind element. “The vibrating element may be one’s own, or it may be external. And what is one’s own vibrating element? What in one’s own person or body there exists again in a living being (not ‘kammically acquired’) wind or windiness, such as the upward-going and downward-going winds.” The six kinds of winds are described in this passage. The upward-going wind causes hiccups and belching. The downward-going wind means just going down. Then there are the winds of the stomach. That means the winds outside our bowels or outside the intestines, inside our body, not necessarily in the stomach. Here what is meant is wind inside the body but outside the bowels or intestines. Then there are the winds inside the intestines. Then there are the winds permeating all the limbs, going along the sinews and veins. Then there is in-breathing and out-breathing. In-breathing and out-breathing are taken as one. So there are six kinds of wind here. “This is called one’s own vibrating element. Now, whether it be one’s own vibrating element or whether it be the external vibrating element, they are both merely the vibrating element.”
“And one should understand, according to reality and true wisdom: ‘This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego’.”
“Just as one calls ‘hut’ the circumscribed space which comes to be by means of wood and rushes, reeds and clay, even so we call ‘body’ the circumscribed space that comes to be by means of bones and sinews, flesh and skin.” That is the end of the first aggregate of clinging, the aggregate of corporeality.
Now we come to the aggregate of feeling. How many kinds of feeling are there? “There are three kinds of Feeling: pleasant, unpleasant, and neither pleasant nor unpleasant.” Once a carpenter approached a monk and he asked him how many types of feelings were taught by the Buddha. So the monk said “Three”. Then the carpenter said “No, two”. The monk said that there were three - pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings. The carpenter said “No. The neutral one is so peaceful that it is included in the pleasurable. So there are only two kinds of feelings taught by the Buddha.” And they could not convince each other. The Venerable Œnanda heard their conversation and went and reported it to the Buddha. Buddha said that both were right. He said that he had taught feeling sometimes as two kinds, sometimes as three kinds, sometimes as five kinds, sometimes six, sometimes 18, sometimes 36, sometimes 108. He taught different kinds of feeling. So please note that. There are not just three kinds of feeling. There are many kinds of feeling, but these are the most common ones. So here only three kinds of feeling are given.
When you study Abhidhamma, you have to accept five, not only three. That is because there are types of consciousness accompanied by pleasant mental feeling, pleasant bodily feeling, accompanied by unpleasant mental feeling, unpleasant bodily feeling and accompanied by neutral feeling. So you have to accept five kinds of feeling in that case, but here there are only three.
Sometimes the Buddha said that there is only one feeling and that is dukkha. That is because everything is dukkha. Right? You accept everything is dukkha. “In short all the five aggregates are dukkha.” The Buddha just said that a few moments ago. In brief or in short the five aggregates of clinging are dukkha. According to that pleasure is also dukkha. Everything is dukkha. So there is only one feeling which is dukkha. So there are one feeling, two feelings, three feelings, five feelings, six feelings, 18 feelings, 36 feelings, and 108 feelings. So here there are pleasurable, unpleasurable and neutral feelings.
Next is the group of perception. “What, now, is Perception? There are six classes of perception: perception of forms, sounds, odors, tastes, bodily impressions, and of mental objects.” I think feeling is not so difficult to understand because sometimes you are happy, sometimes you are sad, and sometimes you have pain in the body, sometimes you have pleasant touch. But what is perception? In the Commentaries perception is described as something like making marks in order to recognize our something later when you come across it. That is called ‘perception’. Perception is like when at the first meeting or first seeing of the object, you make notes of it. That making mark is called ‘saÒÒÈ’ in PÈÄi. I don’t know whether perception means that.
Student: That is different than the actual corporeal component of sound, odor and taste.
Teacher: Yes. Perception is mental. There is perception of form and so on. That is why there are six kinds of perception here.
Student: So it would be like an imprint that creates an image.
Teacher: That’s right. So strong perception is a proximate cause for mindfulness. Perception helps mindfulness (sati).
Student: There are two dependent corporeal elements for example the ear and physical sound. Then there is the perception of sound which is different from physical sound.
Teacher: Right. Perception is in your mind. There is the organ of the body and the object. When they come together, when the object comes into the avenue of the organ, there is what we call ‘consciousness’, like hearing consciousness, seeing consciousness. When they come together, there is another factor which is called contact through the converging of these three. Perception is mental. It is conditioned by the object and the organ coming together.
Student: You said that strong perception gives rise to mindfulness. Is that because of attention?
Teacher: Attention is different than perception. Perception is just making mark.
Student: But you said this was a cause for mindfulness.
Teacher: So this is a cause for mindfulness. Strong perception is a cause for mindfulness.
Student: Then what is the cause of perception?
Teacher: Just the object coming into the avenue of the senses.
Student: Can the mental object be perceived?
Teacher: Yes. With regard to mental objects I have something to say. You know this is why you need to know PÈÄi. The PÈÄi word used here is ‘dhamma’ - r|pa saÒÒÈ, sadda saÒÒÈ, gandha saÒÒÈ, rasa saÒÒÈ, phoÔÔhabba saÒÒÈ and dhamma saÒÒÈ. What is dhamma? It is very difficult. It can mean anything or everything. There are six kinds of objects taught in Abhidhamma - visible object, audible, olfactory object. gustatory object, tactile object. The last one is dhamma object. That is translated here as mind object, mental object here. That is not accurate because under the head of dhamma object are included some material properties, and then citta (consciousness) , cetasikas (mental factors), paÒÒatti (concepts), and NibbÈna. They are all collectively called ‘dhamma objects’. That is why I do not think that dhamma objects can be translated into any language. In Burmese we do not translate. We are smart people. We do not translate into Burmese. TAPE ENDS.
SÈdhu! SÈdhu! SÈdhu!