VEN PUÑÑAJI: People are getting interested in the teachings of the Buddha, because Buddha brought this message to the world, that everything happens due to the presence of the necessary conditions, and therefore, the world is not governed by gods and devils, but by this law, and that law is what is called the paṭiccasamuppāda. That paṭiccasamuppāda, if properly understood, all suffering can be brought to an end. That’s what the Buddha pointed out. And what – how is that? He pointed out that – although the existential philosophers taught that we exist, that existence is the most fundamental thing, the Buddha pointed out that existence is a delusion. That’s the wrong concept. We do not really exist. Now, that he understood by freeing the mind of emotions. It is the emotions that make us think that we exist. The emotions are not able to think, and the emotions desire things or hate things. It is only by getting rid of emotions and purifying the mind, freeing the mind, of emotions that the idea of existence will disappear. So he purified the mind, and that is how we talk about the jhānas.
We said, “The jhānas are really levels of mental purity.” They – the first level of mental purity, second level of mental purity, third level of mental purity, fourth level of mental purity, and then we go beyond the fourth level into infinity of space, infinity of perception, infinity of no existence, the infinity of neither perception nor no – no – neither sensation nor no sensation and, ultimately,
[Text displayed: Stopping of Sensation and Feeling (Saññā Vedayita Nirodha)]
he stopped the process of sensation and perception. That means he stopped that activity called ‘mind.’ And when that activity called ‘mind’ is stopped, are you conscious? When that activity called ‘mind’ has stopped, there is no consciousness. You are not aware of anything. Now, from that state, again, he woke up from that state. And when he woke up from that state, he began to understand how the mind begins to work.
[Text displayed: AJJIVĀ = state of no mental activity (complete non-consciousness, “insentience”) ]
So from a state of no mind, he started – the first activity of the mind –
[Graphics displayed starting at 5:57]
– was what is called ‘feeling’ and ‘sensation’ – ‘feeling’ and ‘sensation.’
Sensation means – to understand what sensation is, it is important to understand that – we – we said, “We have eyes, and when light falls on the eye, we begin to see.” What do we see?
What we see is only light, because the eye can see the light, only because this, what we call light, comes in the form of waves, and these waves come in different frequencies. So I’m – it’s very difficult to understand this if you don’t know the meaning of a frequency. So for that – if you know a little about science, you’ll begin to understand that ‘the frequently’ means – it is simply a kind of shaking. And so this, the light, comes in different frequencies, and therefore you begin to see different colours, and this ‘seeing colour’ is what we ‘see.’ And at the same time, we begin to see this colour either as pleasant or it can be unpleasant. Some colours are – look beautiful. Some colours look ugly.
[Graphic at 8:54 summarized: Links 1-4 displayed, 1. Insentience/AVIJJĀ, 2. Mental Constructions of sensory entities visualized/Saṅkhāra, 3. Percepton/Viññāṇa, 4. Constructed Entity and Identity (categorized)/Nāma-Rūpa, graphic has arrows pointing out correspondences between these 4 links and a another chart called “PROCESS OF PERCEPTION” which outlines the five aggregates]
So that is what we call feeling. So the sensation is the colour and the feeling is whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. So that is the first thing that we see. But when we open our eyes, what we see doesn’t look like seeing colours. We are able to see objects. How do we see objects? It is simply – an object is constructed by putting the colours together. When a person draws a picture on a wall or in a paper, that person is only putting colours on the picture. And it is when we look at those colours that we see, in the form of a face or in the form of a tree or maybe in the form of a table or bottle or whatever – we are seeing objects by putting the colours together. It is a construct.
So every object that we see is a construct, a mental construct. So we put the colours together and form a construct. And we not only form a construct, we identify it. We are able to look at the thing and say, “Oh. This is a face.” How do I know that it is a face? Because I have seen faces before. So that object that we see is put into a category of ‘objects that I have seen.’ That is called categorization. It is by categorization that we are able to identify an object.
I can see – look at an object and say, “That is a chair,” or, “That is a clock,” or, “That is a door.” All that is because I am categorizing what I look at. So this identification means we are also giving a name to that. So every object has been given a name to identify that. When we say, “Clock,” that is a name given to that object. When we say, “Table,” we are giving a name to that object. So there is an image and a name. Now, this is what we call ‘nāma’ and ‘rūpa.’
Rūpa means ‘the image,’ and nāma means ‘the name.’ So these are the words that we use: vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa. That ‘viññāṇa’ word is ‘perception,’ but perception means ‘identifying the object.’ That is the meaning of perception. We are not only seeing things, we are also able to identify and say, “This is such and such.” That is the meaning of perception. So we are making use of these things. So it is very important to understand that – now, I use these words that I am just using, but these are not the words used by Rhys Davids, who translated these things. They’re – they used the word – ‘vedanā’ and ‘saññā’ are called ‘feeling’ and ‘perception.’ I am using the words ‘feeling’ and ‘sensation.’ ‘Sensation’ is not the same thing as ‘perception.’ So – you see? And then that word, ‘saṅkhāra,’ they translate as the – some other words.
OTHER VOICES: Volition, volition.
VEN PUÑÑAJI: Volition. Now, that word volition has a different meaning. Now, I call it a ‘construct.’ Construct gives the meaning that it has been constructed by putting the colours together as the mental construct. The word saṅkhāra means ‘construct.’ So only when you put the proper words – that you get the meaning out of it. And so, once you have constructed – and you are then identifying it, and that identification is really the perception. Well, “I would say this is such and such.” That is the perception.
So, once we have perceived, what we have perceived is simply an object which comes in the form of an image and a name, a name for it – an image and a name for it. Then, once that image has been made and the name, we say, “Viññāṇapaccayā nāmarūpaṁ.” Nāma means ‘the name,’ rūpa means ‘that mental image.’
[New graphic at 17:35 summarized: Links 3-7. 3. Perception as before, 4. Constructed Entity and Identity as before, 5. Experiencing Six Sense fields: visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile, and cognitive/Salāyatana, 6. Cognition: becoming conscious of the environment/Phassa, 7. Feelings, pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral/Vedanā with arrows illustrating relations between links and “PROCESS OF PERCEPTION” chart]
Then we talk about nāmarūpapaccayā saḷāyatanaṁ. Now, saḷāyatanaṁ means ‘we are not only looking with our eyes, we are also hearing with our ears and smelling with our nose.’ We are also tasting with our tongue, and we are also touching with our body. This is why you give something to a small child, that child will want to put it in the mouth and touch in various ways – get all the information. So that is why all those things are put together to form on object. So it is not only the eye that we are using.
When I look at this bottle here, I see it as a bottle. But I know that, if I touch the bottle, this is how I’ll feel it. Even if I have never touched it, I still know. When I touched it, I’ll feel it like this. That is because I’m using my memory. I have touched bottles before. So, you see, because we have used – using all the five senses, we put together all that to form an object. That ‘forming an object’ is what is called ‘phassa,’ saḷāyatanapaccayā phasso.
Phassa means ‘the formation of an object.’ Today, the word phassa is translated as ‘contact.’ Phassa is not ‘contact.’ Phassa is ‘the formation of an object.’ The object is formed by making use of all the five senses, not just one sense. So that complete object is formed, that is phassa. Once the object is formed, we are going to make use of the feeling in the object. You may get a pleasant feeling in the object, or you may get an unpleasant feeling in the object. And the moment you get the feeling, you react to that object –
[New graphic at 21:40 summarized: Links 7-10. 7. Feelings as before, 8. Emotional Reaction to Feelings/Tanhā, 9. Personalization of the Subjective experience/Upādāna, 10. Coming into existence imaginary “self” in an imaginary “world”/Bhava, with new arrows illustrating relations between links and new chart called “SAKKĀYA-DIṬṬHI”]
– with a desire or hatred. You see? It’s an emotional reaction to the object. That emotional reaction the Buddha called ‘taṇhā.’ Taṇhā is not ‘craving.’ Today, Rhys Davids used the word ‘craving,’ but taṇhā is not ‘craving.’ Taṇhā is ‘the emotional reaction.’ A craving is wanting something, but here we’re not only wanting. If we dislike something, we don’t want it. We want to get rid of it. So it – therefore, it is not a craving. It is the emotional reaction. Now, the moment the emotional reaction occurs, another interesting thing happens.
You see, we first formed an object ‘out there.’ When the object is ‘there,’ you begin to react to that object emotionally. Then there are ‘two things,’ the ‘object’ and the ‘reaction.’ Earlier, there was no reaction, but now there is a reaction. The moment the reaction comes up, the object is ‘out there,’ the reaction is ‘inside here.’ And what is ‘inside?’ What do we do to ‘what is inside?’ We say, “This reaction is mine. It’s my reaction.” The moment we say, “This reaction is mine,” that is called ‘personalizing the reaction.’ That is the meaning of the word ‘upādāna.’
Rhys Davids used the word ‘grasping’ or ‘clinging.’ This is not grasping nor clinging. It is calling ‘that’ ‘mine.’ That means ‘personalizing.’ So the moment it is personalized, what happens? How can there be ‘something mine,’ if there is no ‘I?’ The moment you say, “This is mine,” you have created the ‘I.’ ‘I’ comes into being.
That ‘I coming into being’ is called ‘bhava.’ The word bhava means ‘coming into existence,’ the “I have come into existence.” Earlier, there was no ‘I’ here. There was only ‘an object.’ The moment a desire or a hatred came, ‘mine’ came, and with the ‘mine,’ came the ‘I.’ Do you – understood? So the ‘I’ comes into being by personalizing. So the moment the ‘I’ has come into being, another question arises.
What did you call the ‘I?’ Where is the ‘I?’ The ‘I’ is only just a concept, but what are you referring to as ‘I?’ There must be an object to call the ‘I,’ to refer to the ‘I.’ What is the object? The ‘I’ has to exist. How can the ‘I’ exist? What is the meaning of ‘existence?’ ‘Existence’ has to be understood.
‘Existence’ means – now, if you say, “This cup exists,” what does it mean? The cup occupies space. It occupies time. To exist is to occupy space and time. So what is the ‘I’ that is occupying space and time? The only ‘I’ that can be occupying spacing and time is ‘the body,’ so the body comes the ‘I’ – body, the thing that is occupying space and time. When the body begins the occupy space and time, you can say the body is so many inches tall, so many – fat, and all kinds of things you can talk about the body. You see? That is, it’s occupying space. The volume of the body, length, breadth, and height, so –
[New graphic at 29:13 summarized: Links 10-12. 10. Coming into existence imaginary “self” in an imaginary “world” as before, 11. Birth (past of the body)/Jāti. 12. Aging (present) and death (future) of the body/Jarā-Marana, with arrows illustrating relations between links and the “SAKKĀYA-DIṬṬHI” chart, at the top reads “MANIFESTATIONS OF DUKKHA[,] Grief (sōka), Lamentation (paridēva), Pain (dukkha), Depression (domanāsa), Exhaustion (upāyāsa)”]
– but occupying time is ‘it has a past, a present, and a future.’ To occupy time is to have a past, a present, and a future. Now, the ‘I’ is not only just ‘I,’ but the ‘I’ is – has been identified as the body. The body has become the ‘I.’ So the body has become ‘the self.’ The body has become the self. So once the body has become the self, it has a past, present, and future. What is the past of the body? Birth.
Birth is the past of the body. What is the future of the body?
Death. Death is the future of the body. And in-between birth and death is what we call ‘aging.’ So, you see, now, you are not only having a body, you are not only having a self, you are also having birth, old age, and death. With the coming of birth, old age, and death, what happens? Grief, lamentation, pain, sorrow, and despair. By creating a self, you have created suffering.
The whole problem is this ‘getting old’ of the body. Now, the self has become the body. So you have created a self and with that self has come suffering. Do you – understood? That is how – the Buddha says this is how this whole mass of suffering has come into being. “Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti.”
So the paṭiccasamuppāda is – is an explanation of how suffering comes to an end, how suffering comes into being, but what the Buddha pointed out was, if he can see this properly, we begin to understand this whole thing has been created by this mental process. Not only the self, the world is also created by this mental process. The whole world and the self and the suffering was created by this mental process, and by understanding this fully, by reflecting on this, ultimately, the thought of ‘world’ and the ‘self’ and the ‘I;’ everything disappears when you fully understood this. So becoming aware of that brings about what is called ‘a paradigm shift,’ a paradigm shift, a different way of thinking, and the different way of thinking is to realize that this is all a mental creation, not a fact.
So the existential philosophers thought, “We are existing,” but actually existence is a delusion. That is, when we have understood properly, we awaken from the dream of existence, and that is what is called nirodhasamāpatti.