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Mind Leads The World

Myanaung U Tin

Vol. IX, No. 4, 1963

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      In the two previous articles "The Vital Link in the Wheel of Life" "Personality-belief must be tackled foremost," it has been indicated, rather stressed, that concentration may be made on the contemplation of consciousness. It is proposed to explain herein why it is desirable to lay an emphasis on this particular contemplation or application of mindfulness.

      In the Samyutta Nikaya 1. 39, the Buddha teaches:

      Now what is that whereby the world is led?

      And what is that whereby it plagues itself?

      And what is that above all other things

      That bringeth everything beneath its Sway?

      Its thoughts are that whereby the world is led,

      And by its thoughts ever plagues itself,

      And thought it is above all other things

      That bringeth everything beneath its sway.

      Cittena niyate loko—the world is led by its thoughts, or literally, mind leads the world.

      In the Dhammapada, the verses 1 and 2 state: Manopubbangama dhamma, mano settha manomaya—all mental states have mind as their forerunner, mind is their chief, mind-made are they.

      Mind proceeds all actions, mental, physical and verbal. At this point, a reference needs to be made to the doctrine of Dependent Origination, Paticca Samuppada.

      Dependent on ignorance (of the four Noble Truths) arise actions (sankhara).

      Dependent on actions arises rebirth-consciousness.

      Dependent on rebirth-consciousness arise mind and body.

      Dependent on mind and body arise six sense-bases.

      Dependent on six-sense-bases arises sense impression.

      Dependent on sense-impression arises feeling.

      Dependent on feeling arises craving,

      Dependent on craving arises clinging.

      Dependent on clinging arise actions (Kamma-bhava or kamma-process).

      Dependent on kamma-process arises Rebirth.

      Dependent on Rebirth arise Ageing and Death (Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair). Thus arises the whole mass of suffering.

      Sankhara of past and kamma-bhava of the present life are synonyms. They mean actions: mental, physical and verbal.

      Rebirth-consciousness, mind and body, sense bases, sense-impression (phassa) and feeling (vedana) are the resultants of the actions in the past, forming the passive side of the present life.

      The meeting of eye and visible object gives rise to eye-consciousness, but it is the conjuction of three factors: eye, visible object and eye-consiousness that produces eye-sense-impression

      The meeting of ear and sound gives rise to ear-consciousness, and the conjunction of the three factors produces ear-sense impression.

      The meeting of nose and odour gives rise to nose-consciousness and the conjunction of the three factors produces nose-sense impression.

      The meeting of tongue and taste gives rise to tongue-consciousness, and the conjunction of the three factors produces tongue-sense impression.

      The meeting of body and tangible object gives rise to body-consciousness, and the conjunction of three factors produces physical sense-impression.

      The meeting of mind-base and mind-object gives rise to mind-conciousness and the conjunction of thac factors produces mental sense-impression.

      Now, in contemplating consciouness in consciousness let us begin by noting the arising and passing away of the moments of consciousness of six kinds. Mind is but a series of fleeting mental states. Consciousness of two or more different kinds cannot possibly arise simultaneously. A moment of consciousness arises singly at one or the other of the sense-bases. By giving bare attention to a moment of consciousness, it arises and passes away, dissociated from any unwholesome or wholesome mental state. If, on the other hand, we recognise any sense-impression, therewith arises feeling.

      Before we proceed further, we ought to refresh our memory of the Buddha's teaching in this regard.

      In contemplating consciousness in consciousncss, a bhikkhu knows the consciousness with lust, as with lust; knows the consciousness without lust, as without lust; knows the consciouness with hate, as with hate; knows the consiousness without hate, as without hate; knows the consciousness with ignorance, as with ignorance; knows the consciousness without ignorance, as without ignorance, and so forth.

      Let us confine ourselves to this much. They are the six roots (hetu), or conditions which through their presence determine the actual moral quality of a volitional state (cetana), and of the consciousness and mental factors associated therewith. In other words, they are the determinants of kamma process (kamma-bhava) which brings about kamma-resultants (uppapatti-bhava). Kamma-bhava is the accumulation of unwholesome and wholesome actions, forming the active side of life. Uppapatti bhava is the passive side of life.

      The Blessed One teaches further: The bhikku lives contemplating origination (arising) in consciousness; contemplating dissolution (passing away) in consciousness; contemplating origination-dissolution in consiousness. His mindfulness is established with the thought, just consciousness exists, to the extent necessary for knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, clinging to nothing in the world.

      Now what is meant by clinging (upadana)? It is developed degree of craving (tanha). (Visuddhi Magga XVII). There are four kinds of upadana: (1) Clinging to sensuous pleasures (kamupdddna), (2) clinging to wrong views (ditthupadana), (3) Clinging to mere rites and rituals (silabbatupadana) (4) Clinging to the Personality-belief (atta-vadupadana). Kamupadana is considered to include also rupupadana (clinging to fine material existence), and arupupadana (clinging to immaterial existence.)

      It may be emphasised here that craving (or clinging) is associated with wrong views. In the article, ''Personality-belief must be tackled foremost," it has been explained that with the attainment of the first stage of holiness, Sotapanna, the three upadanas are eradicated (1) the, Personality belief, (2) Clinging to wrong-view and (3) Clinging to mere rites and rituals. The Sotapanna (Stream-winner) has still craving for sensuous pleasures, fine material existence and immaterial existence. If he must strive hard for the destruction of these cravings, a worldling (puthujana) must strive harder still.

      It has been said above that if we recognise any sense-impression, therewith arises feeling (vedana). Then, it becomes necessary to contemplate feelings in feelings. Herein also, we must note the arising and passing away of feelings. If we succeed in contemplating origination, dissolution origination-dissolution in feelings, craving will not arise. If we fail craving will appear and develop into clinging and kamma-process, resulting in a fresh rebirth, It should be remembered that craving, clinging and kamma-process form the active side of the present life.

      As the Buddha said to Bahiyadaruciriya.

      "In the seeing, there is just the seeing.

      In the hearing, there is just the hearing.

      In the knowing, there is just the knowing."

      In order to comprenend this brief saying, a passage may be quoted: "Since sight is the principal sense of perception as well as of apperception that which is seen is the chief representation of any sense-impression, and dittha (seen) combincd with suta (hcatd) and muta (sensed by means of smell, taste and touch, to which vinnata (apperceived by the mind) is often joined, gives a complete analysis of that which comprises all means of cognition and recognition," (PT.S. Pali English Dictionary-Part IV, P 155)

      Now we ought to understand more clearly why the Buddha taught Bahiya-daruciriya as outlined above, and for that matter, why He exhorts all of us to contemplate consciousness in consciousness.

      The Suttas divide consciousness (citta) according to the sense-bases into six classes: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body consciousness, and mind-cousciousness.

      Tin Abhidhamma distinguishes 89 classes of consciousness. However, on this account there should not be any confusion, because for practical purposes, it will be sufficient to know that a so-called individual or personality is composed of five khandhas or groups of existence:

      (1) Corporeality or body

      (2) Feeling

      (3) Perception

      (4) Mental Formations

      (5) Consciousness.

      Feeling (1) Perception (1) and Mental Formations (50) constitute 52 mental factors (cetasika).

      The Abhidhamrna classification is

      (1) Corporeality (rupa)

      (2) Mind (citta)

      (3) Mental Factors (cetasika)

      It may incidentally be stated that accord ing to Buddhism no distinction is made between mind and consciousness, terms which are used as equivalents for citta, vinnana, mano.

      Consciousness and its factors (mind and mental factors) are always interrelated and interdependent. Consciousness cannot arise and function independently of its factors, nor can the factors arise and function without the consciousness. They arise simultaneously and pass away in the same manner.

      In contemplating consciousness in consciousness, the five groups of existence as mind- objects are bound to appear and disappear. These five groups of existence are the objects of clinging. Then, we must contemplate mind objects in mind objects. "Thus is the arising of corporeality and thus is the disappearance of corporeality. Thus is the arising of feeling, and thus is the disappearance of feeling. Thus is the arising of perception, and thus is the disappearance of perception. Thus is the arising of mental formation and thus is the disappearance of mental formation. Thus is the arising of consciousncss, and thus is the disappearance of consciousness.

      It is hardly necessary to point out that contemplation of consciousness in consciousness does not preclude but, instead, is intimately bound up with other three contemplations. When contemplation is made on one or the other, then it goes by the name of body-contemplation, feeling-contemplation, consciousness-contemplation or mind-objects-contemplation. Be that as it may, no contcmplation is possible without consciousness. Hence the emphasis on consciousness.

      Feeling-contemplation and mind-object contetiplation have been touched. Now we must deal with body-contemplation: Let us confine ourselves to in-breathing and out breathing. As breathing beings (pana), we must breathe. Our existence depends on breathing. It must, therefore, be our basic exercise. The detailed instruction in regard to this particular contemplation are given in the texts. So far as contemplation of consciousness is concerned, it will be sufficient to note in-breathing and out-breathing mentally while we breathe normally, or, in other words, we must be conscious of our in breathing and out-breathing. Alternately in-breathing and out-breathing arise and pass away. This is, so to speak, our resident consciousness.

      But into this one-fathom long body come guests or six kinds, eye-consciousness, ear consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness and mind-consciousness. As a general rule, one or the other comes in uninvited, and goes away unannounced. Our duty is to give bare attention to their appearance aad disappearance. If we entertain any of the guests, and leave alone all of them, we shall not be able to know the true characteristics of existence: impermanence, suffering, and impersonality.

      The Buddha teaches (Dhammapada Verses

      277-8-9):

      "Transient are all compounded things":

      When one discerns this with wisdom, then is one disgusted with Ill. This is the Path to Purity.

      "Sorrowful are all compounded things":

      When one discerns this with wisdom, then is one disgusted with Ill. This is the Path to Purity.

      "Everything that is, is without self:"

      When one discerns this with wisdom, then is one disgusted with Ill. This is the Path to Purity.

      When one discerns the three characteristies of five khandhas with wisdom or sees and knows things as they really are (yathabhuta nana, he gets disgusted with Ill or Suffering caused by having to attend to five khandhas (nibbida nana), and then he is well on the Path to Purity (magga nana).

      While the yogi is contemplating consciousness in consciousness or any other contemplation) he develops his insight into the three characteristics, and that insight is called vipassana nana. He gains an insight into the Sankhara or Sankhata (the Formed or Originated), comprising all phenomena of existence.

      When vipassana nana culminates in magga nana (Knowledge of the Path) Nibbana is realised. Nibbana or asankhata is the unformed or unoriginated. (Udana XVII, 3 and Itivuttaka II.2)

      This magga nana is Lokuttara (Supramundane) as distinguished from lokiya magga nana(mundane). While walking on the Path to Purity, a Yogi has seen origination of mental and physical phenomena. Thereby, he gains release from annihilation-belief. By seeing dissolution, he is liberated from Eternity-belief. His knowledge of origination-dissolution leads to the eradication of Personality-belief. The knowledge of origination and dissolution is lokiyae magga nana. When the yogi sees the end of the physical-mental process, Nibbana is attained—no more origination and dissolution. This knowledge, is lokuttara magga nana.

      Impermanent, Alas: are all compounded things.

      Their nature is to rise and fall.

      When they have risen they cease.

      The bringing of them to the end is Bliss, (Digha Nikaya, II. 198)

      Here Bliss means Nibbana. the summum bonum of Buddhism of Buddha-Dhamma.



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