Consciousness, Kamma, Jhana and all that Jazz, Shakespeare, Munch and Praxis too

"Bhikkhus have you seen a masterpiece of painting?"

    "Yes Lord"

"That masterpiece of art is designed by the mind" "Indeed bhikkhus, the mind is even more artistic than the masterpiece"

these are the sentiments of SN 12.64. What does this mean for one who wants to do away with suffering or its origination, as in the palm stump simile? The “Painter” is about the artistry of mind or its skillfulness, or a master architect of forms? It is only in the 4th foundation of mindfulness or in the 4th jhana, that cessation happens, i.e. ceasing of the artist, or the death of the architect. In other words in these domains, consciousness or the mind stops painting or sculpting. Samsaric consciousness comes to rest.

Forms do not appear, without the aid of the kamma. When forms don’t appear, there is no bumping into. Friction of contact, causes release of sparks, marks, nimittas, identifiers, which lead to a subtle recognition thereby a naming. Remember the Seamstress? Sn 4.2. The naming or designating or denominating is an indicator that kamma has gained entry into picture, in the form of a seamstress. She has snuck in, sticking the needle through, binding the form to the name. Denomination is the one thing that has everything under control S 1.39.

By kamma the world moves, by kamma men live, and by kamma are all beings bound, As by its pin the rolling chariot of wheel (sutta nipata 654). Beings are originated by kamma, kamma is its relative, are sheltered by it, or ruined by it.

-In worldly phenomena, consciousness is the chief, consciousness is the principal, consciousness is the forerunner.

-In transcendental phenomena, however, understanding is the chief, understanding is the principal, understanding is the forerunner. The Arahant has done away with worldly consciousness, s/he resides in the Right knowledge and is thus Rightly liberated, MN 117, operates on the principle of immeasurable. How can we measure that consciousness? The consciousness of Arahant has disappeared from our sight. Trying to do so brings to mind the blind man describing the elephant. It is a bit silly.

It is not one or two suttas that this writing is based on but all the suttas that make sense, that speaks to me of how Buddha taught. It is not based on the teachings of compilers who just did not get the Buddha.

A friend wrote on DW, referring to SĀ 288, the reed simile,

the Sarvastivadin version is difficult because it implies that there are no formless existences because, when you take away form, mind and name plummet in that version.

But why would it surprise anyone? This is exactly what happens in 4th jhana? Samsaric consciousness or underlying tendency is abolished. Curiously in the agama version of the sutta on Reed simile, SĀ 288, there are three reeds not two. A glitch in the memory of a compiler? The Agama version makes more sense, than the double reed version of SN 12.67.

If there is no forming (painting, sculpting), samsaric consciousness collapses. Form, and naming of the form, and consciousness need the support of all. In the Agama version of Reed simile there are 3 reeds, supporting each other.

Have you seen the work of Praxiteles? Consciousness is a better sculptor at sculpting faces with eyes, ears and noses, etc, nay it is far more efficient. Don’t forget that consciousness is a magic trick. It makes the forms that have been painted or sculpted come to life. Desire rushes in, sharp needles are thrust through. In the power of hunger! hunger for the power of lust, some bonds or marriages (between form and name) are made in hell. Where consciousness is samsarically active, stuff representative of life happens, meaning people walk, people talk, people make love and people make war, people fall in love with ice cream. Anything goes, it is a veritable fairy tale in the domain of consciousness, Shakespearean plays are constantly reenacted. Munch is at work, so is Monet. No one takes a holiday in the unguarded mind.

with love

PS for the friends that inspire my admiration! Outflow of metta to all!


Going straight to the the arahant position skips the reality of the practice. This is a symptom of the lack of perspective of the fledgling Buddhism in the west, and also a misinterpretation of the order of the suttas, aspirants more appropriately looking at those addressed to or by Ananda, Rahula, nuns, or the pre-enlightenment discourses. The Munch or Monet mind is of a higher level than normally experienced, so is a state of concentration to be worked for.

"…the meditator must intentionally make use of qualities from which he/she wants to escape, gaining familiarity with them in the course of mastering them to the point where they are naturally stilled. There the transcendent paths and their fruitions take over. This is the sense in which even the path of right practice must eventually be abandoned, but only after it has been brought to the culmination of its development.

Many people have misunderstood this point, believing that the Buddha’s teachings on non-attachment require that one relinquish one’s attachment to the path of practice as quickly as possible. Actually, to make a show of abandoning the path before it is fully developed is to abort the entire practice. As one teacher has put it, a person climbing up to a roof by means of a ladder can let go of the ladder only when safely on the roof.

“Thus we can say that the Dhamma — in terms of doctrine, practice, and attainment — derives from the fully explored implications of one observation: that it is possible to master a skill. This point is reflected not only in the content of the Buddha’s teachings, but also in the way they are expressed. The Buddha used many metaphors, explicit and implicit, citing the skills of craftsmen, artists, and athletes to illustrate his points. The texts abound with explicit similes referring to acrobats, archers, bathmen, butchers, carpenters, farmers, fletchers, herdsmen, musicians, painters, etc., pointing out how their skills correspond either to the way the mind fashions stress and suffering for itself, or to the skills a meditator needs to develop in order to master the path to release. On the implicit level, the passages dealing with meditation are filled with terms derived from music theory. In his younger days as a prince, the Bodhisatta — like other young aristocrats of his time — was undoubtedly a connoisseur of the musical arts, and so was naturally familiar with the theory that lay behind them. Because the terminology of this theory is so pervasive in the teachings he formulated as a Buddha, it will be useful to discuss it here briefly.”—" Thanissaro, “Skillfulness.”