Excellent explanation of Ajahn Paññāvaddho about paticca-samuppada!

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Lucas Oliveira
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Excellent explanation of Ajahn Paññāvaddho about paticca-samuppada!

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:06 pm

Excellent explanation of Ajahn Paññāvaddho about paticca-samuppada!

Due to those subtleties, the factors of Paṭiccasamuppāda are difficult to interpret using conventional language. My understanding of them goes something like this: “avijjā paccaya sankhāra” means avijjā is the fundamental ignorance within oneself, a cloud of delusion which is extremely deep and all-pervasive. Ignorance produces the kamma that leads to all the conditions for birth. Dependent on the existence of those conditions, or sankhāras, viññāṇa arises. Those first three factors—avijjā, sankhāra and viññāṇa—are not dependent on physical human existence. They are most certainly mental states.

The viññāṇa factor in Paṭiccasamuppāda is always referred to as “paṭisandhi viññāṇa.” This is not the normal type of viññāṇa that we refer to as consciousness. Rather, it is the re-linking consciousness that connects one birth to the next. That re-linking consciousness forms the connection between past and future which leads to grasping at the moment of conception. Paṭisandhi viññāṇa is said to be “free of doors,” that is, free of the sense doors.

To understand paṭisandhi viññāṇa you should put aside the word “consciousness,” which can be quite a misleading translation. My understanding of the word viññāṇa in this context is that the prefix “vi,” meaning “divided,” is combined with “ñāṇa,” meaning “knowing.” In other words, “divided knowing.” The one mind splits into two, subject and object, and instead of being pure unlimited knowing, the mind is driven by avijjā plus kamma to discriminate so that it becomes “this” knowing “that.”

A duality is thus established in which the “this” becomes nāma and the “that” becomes rūpa. Thus viññāṇa is the condition for the arising of nāma-rūpa. Although avijjā, sankhāra and viññāṇa are conditioning factors, those factors all arise simultaneous to the split into duality. No time interval is involved. It’s like a railway engine pulling a train: the engine is the cause but none of the cars move independently.

So viññāṇa is a condition for nāma-rūpa to arise. Nāma-rūpa is a difficult factor to interpret. Nāma literally means name; in other words, putting names to things, designating and defining. And rūpa is the form; that is, the thing that we make concrete with the name. When we make forms concrete with names, we divide them out from the whole. Looking at the forest, we see leaves, trees and flowers. We call them leaves, trees and flowers merely to define certain aspects of what we see. But they are only our aspects—they do not exist as such there in the forest. The forest itself is one whole; it is we who differentiate the various aspects.

In reality, our perceptions do not exist as separate entities at all. We separate the forest into various parts so that we can bring some order to our perceptions. This is how nāma-rūpa works. It is the dividing out of certain aspects of our perceptions of nature which accord with the previous sankhāras. In other words, we are defining our world according to our own past tendencies. So we create a world in the present based on data from the past. This loops back to avijjā paccaya sankhāra, with sankhāra being the karmic conditions from the past that determine rebirth.

Uncommon Wisdom - p 213, 214
http://www.forestdhamma.org/ebooks/engl ... Wisdom.pdf

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