The Citta is like plasticine

From some time I have been thinking of the best way to distil the meaning of Luang Poo Tate’s (and the Thai teachers in general) explanation of the mind and what happens to it through meditation. I hope the following does him justice. If not, that is my fault.

The Citta is like plasticine or playdough. A single ball of plasticine can be moulded into many things, a figurine, a house, an aeroplane, a car, all sorts of things. The Citta is moulded into the Nama Khandha. However, just as the plasticine objects are not the plasticine itself, merely expressions of the plasticine, so too the Khandha are but expressions of the Citta.

Through the power of Samadhi, the Khandha can be reduced back to a singularity (a single ball of plasticine). This singularity is, Citta Ekaggata. At this point, the singularity (the ball of plasticine) still contains contaminants; Avijja, Tanha, Kilesa. These contaminants don’t alter the molecular structure of the plasticine, but they do eventually cause the singularity to breakup, at which time the Khandha are re-expressed.

Through the combined power of Samadhi and Panna more subtle types of singularity are able to be formed. These are the singularities that define the stages of Ariya. They are the Magga moments that occur when the Ariya experience the path factors converge on Sammaditthi. The difference between these singularities and that reached by Samadhi alone is that, at each stage of Ariya, some contaminants are expelled from the plasticine (Citta).

When the final singularity happens (Arahant), all contaminants are expelled. However, the unique molecular structure of the plasticine remains unchanged – just as the pure nature of the Citta is unchanged. This uniqueness, by definition, is itself a new singularity. This unchanged, unique nature is Asankhata. Nibbana. Only past Kamma causes little lumps of plasticine to remain but all attachment to these lumps has been destroyed.

This unique singularity, Nibbana, is different to the Samadhi/Panna singularities because they were all Sammuti. They occurred because of conditions, Sila, Samadhi and Panna. The uniqueness of Nibbana is Asankhata. It is beyond conditioning. It is and always will be deathless, void and signless.

But isn’t “singularity” just certain sankhata dhamma, which is inseparable with the idea of plurality? If so, liberation of citta should be also liberation from such dependently arisen concepts as singularity/ plurality.

‘The consciousness that makes no showing
Nor has to do with finiteness,
Claiming no being apart from all:
There it is that water, earth,
Fire and air no footing find,
And likewise the long and short,
Small and big and fair and foul;
There it is that name-and-form
Do without remainder cease.’ ”

Voidness means voidness from all concepts. I think it is important point and this is why negation of self is also wrong view. When mind enters void there is nothing there which could be affirmed or negated.

There are some great similes and descriptions in the suttas that are used to describe the mind (citta). One is that of an elephant (MN 125), found in a forest that is wild and can be tamed if trained rightly. Another is of a master that we cook meals for (SN 47.8). And a really potent description can be found in Thag 19.1. What they all have in common is an emphasis of the mind having a high degree of independence despite an inseparability. It can be trained if we make the right choices and teach it to appreciate what is factually more comfortable for it.

Yep, sounds vaguely aligned with a third-turning point of view. For something completely different, have a look at this second-turning sutta and then compare and contrast with chapter eight which is great fun :joy: :pray:

No. It is, however, part of the problem of using words to describe phenomena that are beyond words.

I like this to see it this way:

The citta is like a huge stretch of water with a sensitive nature. Stretching in all directions. In that all-pervasive sensitive field of water, whirlpools arise, exist cease, and re-arise somewhere else.

Where there is a whirpool arising there is grasping. There arises a personal perspective. If the whirlpool spins rapidly, there arises a very strong impression of seperation, or being a being, a strong sense of individuallity, uniqueness, local, born, dying, me, mine, my self. This decreases when it slows down and disappears when it stops spinning.

No moment the whirlpool is really a being, really seperated from the singularity of the stretch of water, never is it really not a singularity. It never really has that personal unique seperated existence. It is any moment part of the water.

Grasping creates whirlpools. Whirling gives rise to a wrong understanding, or lets say limited. Whirlpools really exist and arise, but due to their spinning around the khandha’s, they do not know and see that they have not really a personal and independend existence from the water. They have never really left the singularity of water (citta). They have never been really seperated from it. That is only their impression.

The citta is never not a singularity. There is also not such a thing as the citta of the worldling, sotapannna—arahatta. Citta is citta.

In jhana one does not experience the singularity of the citta. Jhana cannot reveal this. Jhana very much deals with the 6th sense, the mind-conscious base, but the singularity cannot be known by any vinnana or sense-base, but reveals when the sense-bases cease. When the spinning of the whirlpool stops, it sees it has always been just water. It was never otherwise.

The teachings often align with the perspective of the whirlpools because that is how we understand ourselves: as born, as dying, as unique, as a being, living a personal life, being a human etc.

Now I am dizzy :blush:

Whirlpool Green

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That may be the same problem, since “beyond words” is synonymous with liberation from namarupa*, and desire to describe what cannot be described may be an obstscle for direct realisation of what is beyond words.

On what basis, Samiddhi, do intentions and thoughts arise in a person?”

On the basis of name-and-form, Bhante.”

With entire fading out and cessation, friend, of the six contact-bases, there is something else’ – saying thus, one diversifies non-diversification. ‘With entire fading out and cessation, friend, of the six contact-bases, there is not something else … there both is and is not something else … there neither is nor is not something else’ – saying thus, one diversifies non-diversification. So long, friend, as the six contact-bases continue, so long diversification continues; so long as diversification continues, so long the six contact-bases continue. With entire fading out and cessation of the six contact-bases, ceasing and subsidence of diversification.

A. IV,174 (ii, 161-2)

So as I see it nipapañcia isn’t synonymous with kind of noumenal singularity but with the cessation of dialectic oneness/ plurality. To be consistent with my position I will keep silence since now, papañcia about nipapañcia still is papañcia :slightly_smiling_face: