SuttaCentral

What is a right way to see beauty?

Hello everyone.

I am confused about the perception of beauty, hope someone could help me to understand this topic.

Also how can I understand liberations from MN77?

Having physical form, they see visions.
This is the first liberation.

Not perceiving form internally, they see visions externally.
This is the second liberation.

They’re focused only on beauty.
This is the third liberation.

Or from an10.29?

Perceiving form internally, someone sees visions externally, limited, both pretty and ugly. Mastering them, they perceive: ‘I know and see.’ This is the first dimension of mastery.

Perceiving form internally, someone sees visions externally, limitless, both pretty and ugly. Mastering them, they perceive: ‘I know and see.’ This is the second dimension of mastery.

Not perceiving form internally, someone sees visions externally, limited, both pretty and ugly. Mastering them, they perceive: ‘I know and see.’ This is the third dimension of mastery.

Not perceiving form internally, someone sees visions externally, limitless, both pretty and ugly. Mastering them, they perceive: ‘I know and see.’ This is the fourth dimension of mastery.

Does it mean that I pay attention to the material objects and people that I consider beautiful or ugly? If I intentionally look on beautiful bodies and things and get into details wouldn’t it be possible to grow greed or lust there? Also it seems to contradict with the restriction of the eye, that suggests not to get into details.

There are beautiful people and beautiful objects, what is a right approach towards it? Which doesn’t suppress anything, but also doesn’t grow greed or delusion.
I would appreciate if someone can lead me towards the right view here, and how these liberations are practiced.

7 Likes

This is an alternative path which has not yet been fully explained in the fledgling western tradition:

“Possessed of form, one sees forms. This is the first emancipation.
“Not percipient of form internally, one sees forms externally. This is the
second emancipation.
“One is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third emancipation.” — DN
15
“These are not descriptions of the four jhanas, for they contain no mention of
the jhana factors. Their emphasis is on what one sees, which means that they are
types of meditative visionary experiences. The mere fact that they can lead to the
formless attainments does not make them equivalent to the jhanas. They simply
provide an alternative route to the formless attainments.”—Thanissaro

4 Likes

Hey,

Not sure this seems to be Jhana visions, however it could be somewhat related to the “adornments” that are beautiful things within the mind which are good acts done in the past.

“someone who gives gifts, not for any other reason, but thinking, ‘This is an adornment and requisite for the mind’” - AN7.52

Therefore it looks more like beauty of the qualities rather than objects or people.

1 Like

Hi Vlad. Welcome to the forum! Good to have you here.

I can’t help with the sutta bits, but just a few little thoughts on your questions.

Too late! :wink: Once you’ve got to the stage of considering an object as beautiful or ugly you’re already paying attention.

It depends how you ‘look’. A practical way of using (what we consider to be) beautiful or ugly is to look for the opposite in it. So you see what you think is a beautiful looking person. Well that’s not the whole story, we are only considering a small part of that physical form and we are grasping them with greed or lust already. We are considering them as an object. Our wanting has bent our perception and has blotted out all the other characteristics that are not to our liking. So, we can instead look for the ugly that is mixed up in that physical form with the intent of letting go of our grasping. So maybe there’s a spot on their chin, an unsightly stray hair here or there. If we focus there, then our grasping at physical form has a chance of letting go and equanimity is given a chance to arise. We are given a chance of seeing that person more realistically without our perception being bent by our lust. The person is no longer considered an object for us to own. If this doesn’t work we can always resort to the temporary nature of beauty. In a short while that beautiful person will be old, gray and wrinkly - just like me. :slight_smile:

The same can be done with the ugly, where aversion has already arisen. There’s great beauty somewhere in there if you look hard enough.

3 Likes

Can we get a little more background on what led to you these particular extracts from these particular suttas? I think a little elaboration may help me at least understand what you are truly asking.

Hey Vlada, welcome.

These passages are talking about deep states of meditation, AKA jhanas, from a slightly different perspective. Inside such an attainment, any suffering or unpleasant experience is absent. If we describe that experience from the point of view of feeling then we say it is “pleasant” (which is the normal way the Buddha talked about it). But if we describe the same thing aesthetically then it is “beautiful”. In fact the experience itself is just what it is; these are simply ways of perceiving.

That “beauty” is typically experienced by the meditation as a vision of a pure, bright color or image in meditation.

The term “details” is a little misleading. What it actually means is the specific features of a thing that give rise to a certain response. For example, if you’re passing a cake shop, and you notice that the chocolate cake is fresh, that the icing looks yummy, that it looks rich and delicious. Then your desire to eat will grow! But if you see the same cake, and think, well, that’s not really healthy, then you’re seeing other features, which lead to not wanting to eat it.

So the point here is that experience is rich and has many dimensions. We only see things and respond to them because of our conditioning and desires. But we’re not the victim of those things. We can train ourselves to see things differently.

(Sorry, gotta go know, but is that on the right track?)

6 Likes

Welcome,

Is the question of perception of beautiful from the same sutta?

The practice is too let go of everything. Like seeing something Beautiful as not beautiful. Something ugly as not ugly. A method for meditation. So to see everything as impermanence. For example we all become old. We might look beautiful today, but we will surely become ugly. So to teach the mind not to attach to what will change. To be able to let go. So as to go deeper into meditation states. Seeing Light forms in meditation depending on what the mind is attached towards, or what imagination it has, some light can be beautiful and some can be ugly because they are scary to the mind or they just aren’t so much attractive. Both can be easily let go of at the level of equanimity. Which can stay active while out of meditation. Although Buddha decribed about beautiful and ugly. The truth is that at the moment of meditation there isn’t truly thinking if what your seeing is beautiful or ugly. Its after meditation rememberance of what was experienced can be remembered as beautiful or ugly.

III. The Mind

In using the mind as a frame of reference, there are three aspects to deal with:

  1. The mind inside.
  2. The mind outside.
  3. The mind in and of itself.

‘The mind inside’ refers to a state exclusively in the heart unrelated to any outer preoccupations. ‘The mind outside’ refers to its interaction with such outer preoccupations as sights, sounds, etc. ‘The mind in and of itself’ refers to the act of singling out any aspect of the mind as it appears, whether inside or out.

As for the modes of the mind inside, there are three —

  1. Rāga-citta: a mental state infused with desire or passion.
  2. Dosa-citta: a sense of inner irritation and displeasure.
  3. Moha-citta: a cloudy, murky, or confused state of mind, in which it is unable to consider anything; in short, delusion.

The mind outside is divided into the same three aspects — states of passion, irritation and delusion — but these are said to be ‘outside’ because once any of these aspects arises, it tends to go out and latch onto an outer preoccupation that simply serves to further aggravate the original state of passion, irritation, or delusion. The mind then doesn’t clearly or truly understand its objects. Its knowledge goes off in various directions, away from the truth: seeing beauty, for instance, in things that aren’t beautiful, constancy in things that are inconstant, pleasure in things that are painful, and self in things that are not-self.

All of these things are aspects of the mind outside.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/lee/frames.html

2 Likes

A few excerpts I find very useful. Clearly there is the element of beauty and the element of unattractive, so there is no use denying the presence of beauty. The key seems to be that the unattractive feature is most relevant to gaining freedom from the danger of following those beautiful features. Bearing in mind AN 14.11 below, it is safe the say the unattractive is more fundamental and seemingly more worthy of attention.

I hope these help. :slightly_smiling_face:

Take the case of the person who doesn’t have a blemish and does understand it. You can expect that they won’t focus on the feature of beauty, and because of that, lust won’t infect their mind.
-MN 5

Mendicants, I do not see a single thing that gives rise to sensual desire, or, when it has arisen, makes it increase and grow like the feature of beauty. When you attend improperly to the feature of beauty, sensual desire arises, and once arisen it increases and grows.”
-AN 1.11

And what, bhikkhus, is the nutriment for the arising of unarisen sensual desire and for the increase and expansion of arisen sensual desire? There is, bhikkhus, the sign of the beautiful: frequently giving careless attention to it is the nutriment for the arising of unarisen sensual desire and for the increase and expansion of arisen sensual desire.

And what, bhikkhus, is the denourishment that prevents unarisen sensual desire from arising and arisen sensual desire from increasing and expanding? There is, bhikkhus, the sign of foulness: frequently giving careful attention to it is the denourishment that prevents unarisen sensual desire from arising and arisen sensual desire from increasing and expanding.
-SN 46.51

Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
Not the various things in the world;
Thought and lust are a man’s sensuality,
The various things just stand there in the world;
But the wise get rid of desire therein.”
-AN 6.63

Non-recitation is the stain of the hymns;
the stain of houses is lack of upkeep;
the stain of beauty is laziness,
heedlessness is the stain of a guard.
-AN 8.15

Mendicants, there are these seven elements. What seven? The element of light, the element of beauty, the element of the dimension of infinite space, the element of the dimension of infinite consciousness, the element of the dimension of nothingness, the element of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, and the element of the cessation of perception and feeling. These are the seven elements.”

When he said this, one of the mendicants asked the Buddha, “Sir, due to what does each of these elements appear?”

“Mendicant, … The element of beauty appears due to the element of ugliness.
-AN 14.11

For those who live contemplating foulness in the body, the tendency to lust with regard to the element of beauty is abandoned.
-Iti 85

When you pursue meditation on the feature of ugliness, revulsion at the feature of beauty becomes stabilized. This is its outcome.
-AN 5.30

Perceiving impermanence as permanence,
suffering as happiness,
not-self as self,
and ugliness as beauty—
sentient beings are ruined by wrong view,
deranged, out of their mind.
-AN 4.49

Oh, when will I be devoted to absorption,
rejecting entirely the signs of beauty,
splitting apart desire for sensual stimulation,
like an elephant that wanders free of ties? When will it be?
-Thag 19.1

Due to improper attention, I was racked by desire for pleasures of the senses. I was restless in the past, lacking control over my mind.

Overcome by corruptions, pursuing perceptions of the beautiful, I gained no peace of mind. Under the sway of lustful thoughts,
-Thig 5.3

1 Like

and

Vlada, I can only share my limited understanding:

What is considered beautiful and attractive is relative, it changes and evolves. When we reflect on the human history and different cultures, we can see the changes of ideals and perception of physical and mental beauty.

The Buddha guided people from attachment to coarse towards more subtle forms and states, and to understanding it and letting go. He guided progressively and skilfully from physical beauty and sensual happiness, to happiness and peace of ethical behaviour and meditation, to peaceful states of mind and to full understanding and freedom from mental impurities.

MN1

The Buddhist cosmological model of planes of existence described in MN 77 and DN 15, reflects the states of consciousness that are of progressively more subtle and sublime beauty. In that, the Beautiful Devas are at 20th level, 3 below the plane of Anagāmis.

The Buddha typically guided people from one level of happiness (sukha) to another and to understanding it at each stage and letting go, until peace and clarity which is beyond such states.

SN 36.31

So I think we can investigate beauty in a similar way. When we cultivate Mudita (Appreciative joy/happiness), we can observe, reflect on and appreciate the beauty of material forms from rock crystals, to plants, to animal and human forms and whole planet Earth, to mental beauty of intellectual works, to ethical behaviour and higher spiritual attainments, without getting attached - by recognizing their attraction and drawbacks in a similar way to happiness, and so also progress naturally towards equanimity, and to higher understanding and freedom.

2 Likes

Here is some commentary from the book “Treatise on Perfection of Wisdom”/ Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra
Note that Vimoksa is liberation (from 8 liberation), and Abhibhu is mastery (from 8 sphere of mastery), and Krtsna is sanskrit word for kasina.

III. Vimokṣa, Abhibhu and Kṛtsna according to the Abhidharma

These technical procedures aimed at complete detachment from the things of the threefold world are fully studied by the Abhidharma of the Sarvastivādins and related texts: Jñānaprasthāna, T 1544, k. 18, p. 1013 seq.; Saṃgītiparyāya,T 1536, k. 18–20, p. 443a26– 446a18, 447a25–452c11; Saṃyuktābhidharmasāra, T 1552, k. 7, p. 96b–929a; Abhidharmāmṛta, T 1553, k. 2, p. 976117–b16 (reconstruction by Sastri, p. 103–107);Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 84–85, p. 434b15– 442b14; Kośa, VIII, p. 203–218; Nyāyānusāra, T 1562, k. 80, p. 771b–775a; Abhidhamadīpa, p. 429–432; Satyasiddhiśāstra, T 1646, k. 12–13, p. 5339a16–340b16,346b14–c22; Abhidharmasamuccahaya (of the Vijñānavādins), T 1605, k. 7, p. 680c23–691a22 (reconstructed by Pradhan, p. 95–96).

Here is a summary of the Abhidharma scholasticism.

In general, the vimokṣas are the gateway into the abhibus, which in turn are the gateway into the kṛtsnas. The vimokṣas are ‘complete emancipation’ (vimokṣamātra) from the object. The abhibhus exert a twofold mastery (abhibhavana) over the object, entailing the view of the object as one wishes it (yatheṣṭam adhimokṣaḥ) and the absence of the negative emotion provoked by the object (kleśānutpatti). The kṛtsnas embrace the object without a gap and in its totality (nirantarakṛtsnaspharaṇa). All are derived from the dhyānas and the samāpattis.

A. Vimokṣas 1–3, eight abhibhus and kṛtsnas 1–8.

  1. In nature they are the five skandhas and they have as object the visibles of kāmadhātu.

  2. Vimokṣas 1–2 and abhibhus 1–4 are contemplations of the horrible (aśubhabhāvana), i.e., of the decomposing corpse, and are practiced in the 1st and 2nd dhyānas. When practiced in the first, they counteract attachment to color (varṇarāga) of kāmadhātu; when practiced in the second, they counteract attachment to color of the first dhyāna.

  3. In vimokṣaṣ 1 and abhibhus 1–2, the ascetic still has the notion of inner visibles, those of his own body; in vimokṣa 2 and abhibhus 3–4, he no longer has them. But in all cases, he contemplates unpleasant outer visibles (amanojñā), less numerous (parītta) in abhibhus 1 and 3, numerous (mahodgata or paramāna) in abhibhus 2 and 4.

  4. Vimokṣa 3, abhibhus 5–8 and kṛtsnas 1–8 are contemplations on the beautiful (śubhabhāvana) and are practiced exclusively in the 4th dhyāna. No longer having the notion of inner visibles, the ascetic contemplates the outer pleasant visibles (manojñā) of kāmadhātu: in vimokṣa 3, the beautiful (śubha) in general, which he actualizes (kāyena sākādātkaroti); in abhibhus 5–8 and kṛtsnas 5–8, the four pure colors (blue, yellow, red and white); in kṛtsnas 1–4, the four great elements (earth, water, fire and wind).
    Preliminary note to liberations, masteries and totalities

2. The first two vimokṣas

The yogin has not destroyed inner and outer visibles: he has not suppressed the notion of both [his own] inner and outer visibles (rūpasaṃjñā) and he sees these visibles with a feeling of horror (aśubhacitta):[3] this is the first vimokṣa.

The yogin has destroyed the inner visibles and suppressed the notion of inner visibles (adhyātmaṃ rūpasaṃjñā), but he has not destroyed outer visibles nor suppressed the notion of outer visibles (bahirdhā rūpasaṃjñā) and it is with a feeling of horror that he sees outer visibles: this is the second vimokṣa.

These two vimokṣas both contemplate the horrible (aśubha): the first contemplates inner as well as outer visibles; the second does not see inner visibles and sees only outer visibles. Why is that?

Beings (sattva) have two kinds of behavior (pratipad):[4] sensualism (tṛṣṇācarita) and rationalism (dṛṣṭicarita). The sensualists (tṛṣṇābahula) are attached to happiness (sukharakta) and are bound (baddha) by outer fetters (bāhyasaṃyojana). The rationalists (dṛṣṭibahula) are strongly attached to the view of the individual (satkāyadṛṣṭi), etc., and are bound by inner fetters (adhyātmasaṃyojana). This is why the sensualists [usefully] contemplate the horrors of outer visibles (bāhyarūpāśubha), whereas the rationalists [usefully] contemplate the horrors (aśubha) and corruption (vikāra) of their own body.

Furthermore, at the beginning of the practice, the yogin’s mind lacks sharpness (asūkṣṃa) and at the start it is difficult for him to fix his mind on a single point [viz, outer visibles]. That is why he disciplines his mind and tames it by gradual practice (kramābhyāsa) consisting of the [simultaneous] consideration of both outer and inner visibles. Then he can destroy the notion of inner visibles and see only outer visibles

Question. – If the yogin no longer has the notion of inner visbles, why can he see outer visibles?

Answer. – This is a matter of a subjective method (adhimuktimārga)[5] and not an objective method (bhūtamārga). The yogin thinks about his future corpse burned by the fire (vidagdhaka), devoured by insects (vikhāditaka), buried in the ground and completely decomposed. Or, if he considers it at present, he analyzes this body down to the subtle atoms (paramāṇu), all non-existent. This is how ‘he sees outer visibles, not having the notion of inner visibles’.

Question. – In the [first] two abhibhvāyatanas, the yogin sees inner and outer visibles; in the [last] six abhibhvÂatanas he see only outer outer visibles. In the first vimokṣa, he sees inner and outer visibles; in the second vimokṣa, he sees only outer visibles. Why does he destroy only the concept of inner visibles and not destroy the outer visibles?

Answer. – When the yogin sees with his eyes this body marked with the marks of death (maraṇanimitta), he grasps the future characteristics of death; as for the actual body, in it he sees, to a lesser degree, the disappearance (nirodhalakṣaṇa) of the outer four great elements (mahābhūta). Therefore, since [215 b ] it is difficult for him to see that they do not exist, the [Sūtra] does not speak of the destruction of the visibles. Besides, at the time when the yogin will have transcended the form realm (rūpadhātu),[6] he will no longer see outer visibles.

3. The third vimokṣa

“He actualizes the pleasant vimokṣa” (śubhaṃ, vimokṣaṃ kāyena sākṣātkaroti). – This is a pleasant meditation in regard to unpleasant things (aśubheṣu śubhabhāvanā), as is said about the eight abhibhāyatanas.

The first eight kṛtsnāyatanas contemplate, in the pure state (śuddha),:[7] 1) earth (pṛthivī), 2) water (ap), 3) fire (tejas), 4) wind (vāyu), and also 5) blue (nīla), 6) yellow (pīta), 7) red (lohita), 8) white (avadāta).

The [fifth] sees visibles as blue (rūpāṇi nīlāni) like the blue lotus flower (nīlotpalapuṣpa), like the kin-tsing-chan,[8] like the flax flower (umakapuṣpa) or like fine Benares muslin (saṃpannaṃ vā vārāṇaseyaṃ vastram). It is the same for the visions of yellow (pīta), red (lohita) and white (avadāta), each according to its respective color. The entire thing is called ‘the pleasant vimokṣa’.

Question. – If all of that is the pleasant vimokṣa, it should not be necessary to speak of the kṛtsnāyatanas [under the pain of repeating oneself].

Answer. – The vimokṣas are the initial practice (prathamacaryā); the abhibhvāyatanas are the intermediate practice (madhyamacaryā) and the kṛtsnāyatanas are the long-standing practice.[9]

The meditation of the horrible (aśubhabhāvatana) is of two types: i) unpleasant (aśubha); ii) pleasant (śubha). The [first] two vimokṣas and the [first] four abhibhvāyatanas are of the unpleasant type. One vimokṣa, [i.e., the third], the [last] four abhibhvāyatanas and the [first] eight kṛtsnāyatanas are of the pleasant type.

Question. – When the yogin takes as pleasant (śubha) that which is unpleasant (aśubha), he is making a mistake (viparyāsa).[10] Then why is the meditation that he practices in the course of the pleasant vimokṣa not erroneous?

Answer. – The error is in seeing wrongly as pleasant a woman’s beauty which is unpleasant, but the meditation practiced during the pleasant vimokṣa is not a mistake due to the extension (viśālatva) of all true blue color, [etc].

Moreover, in order to tame the mind (cittadamanārtham), the pleasant meditation presupposes a lengthy practice of the meditation on the horrible (aśubhabhāvana) and on mental revulsion (cittanirveda): this is why practicing the pleasant meditation is not a mistake and there is no desire (lobha) in it.[11]

Moreover, the yogin begins by contemplating the horrors of the body and fixes his mind on all the inner and outer horrors in bodily things. Then he feels revulsion (nirveda): [his negative emotions], lust (rāga), hatred (dveśa) and stupidity (moha) decrease; he becomes frightened and understands: “I do not possess these characteristics as a person at all: it is the body that is like that. Then why am I attached to it?”

He concentrates his mind and really meditates so as not to commit mistakes. As soon as his mind becomes disciplined and gentle, he avoids thinking of the horrors of the body, such as skin (tvac), flesh (māṃsa), blood (lohita) and marrow (asthimajjan): for him there are only white bones (śvetāsthika) and he fixes his mind on the skeleton (kaṅkāla). If his mind wanders outward, he concentrates and gathers it back. Concentrating his mind deeply, he sees the diffused light of the white bones (śvetāsthika) like a conch-shell (śaṅkha),[12] like shells (kapardaka), lighting up inner and outer things. This is the gateway of the pleasant vimokṣa.
Class 5: The eight liberations (vimokṣa)

And so on. If you think this is helpful and pointing to the right direction, the rest of the explanation is on the link provided. It would be too long if I copy everything here

1 Like

Please, @paul1 , where did this quote come from?

Hi knotty36,

Here you go: Appendix Three: Jhāna & Right Concentration | Right Mindfulness: Memory & Ardency on the Buddhist Path

2 Likes

By comparing these two suttas it is evident the ‘beautiful’ is included in the realm of form, and is instrumental in the contrast between form and space:

"Monk, the property of light is discerned in dependence on darkness. The property of beauty is discerned in dependence on the unattractive. The property of the dimension of the infinitude of space is discerned in dependence on form. "—SN 14.11

"But steered by the Tathagata — worthy and rightly self-awakened — the person to be tamed fans out in eight directions.

"Possessed of form, he/she sees forms. This is the first direction.

"Not percipient of form internally, he/she sees forms externally. This is the second direction.

"He/she is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third direction.

“With the complete transcending of perceptions of [physical] form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, [perceiving,] ‘Infinite space,’ he/she enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is the fourth direction.”—MN 137

Therefore the ‘beautiful’ literally means higher physical beauty of form such as nature, art, music.

The practitioner may remain contemplating at the stage of equanimity or the beautiful and not progress to infinite space, although they have developed the ability not to be attached to that perception. The beautiful is the highest form of non- ill will:

“he remains equanimous, alert, & mindful. Or he may enter & remain in the beautiful liberation. I tell you, monks, awareness-release through good will has the beautiful as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release.”—SN 46.54

1 Like

A beautiful sutta. SN46:54 - thank you.
And there is another translation to this Mettāsahagatasutta at SC:

“The apex of the heart’s release by love is the beautiful, I say, for a mendicant who has not penetrated to a higher freedom.
Subhaparamāhaṁ, bhikkhave, mettācetovimuttiṁ vadāmi, idhapaññassa bhikkhuno uttarivimuttiṁ appaṭivijjhato.”

But karuna, muditā and upekkhā are also highest forms of non-ill will (avyāpāda, freedom from the fetter of ill-will)

Hi Manu,

To make the context of the sutta more clear I included a larger excerpt, but the only portion relevant to this topic is that of the “element of beauty”. The Pali word for element is dhātu, and seems to be best understood as a property. It is clear in many suttas that such properties can be surmounted (by what is more fundamental), but I don’t think that should imply that properties disappear or aren’t real. In terms of the element of beauty - in the case of the ordinary person, the person striving for freedom from suffering - it can be undermined by the danger and unattractive. Not “eliminated”, but seen with wisdom to undermine desire and lust, i.e. not be enamored by it as a fundamental property of things in the world that would fetter and keep one bound, because ultimately the result of being taken by beauty towards sense desire is always continued wandering on (samsara). So fundamentally it is unattractive.

Hope that helps.

:+1: Glad it was helpful.

That is how I read it at least. There are certainly different interpretations.

But especially with practices such as asubha (unattractive), there seems to some prevailing ideas that unattractive pictures of the body should be used to “get rid of lust”, but that doesn’t seem to be the whole picture. Yes, you do want to reduce lust, but through understanding it rightly. Fundamentally speaking, wrong attention to that sign of beauty will increase sense desire, so it will be helpful to remember that the body is made up of all sorts of unappealing aspects, i.e. right attention to what is unattractive. Beauty is not destroyed in the process of realizing this (the Buddha still described devas as beautiful), but it is a question of seeing that the unattractive aspect takes much away from the beautiful and the possibility of it being gratifying. As a result, desire and lust become more difficult to maintain.

" Space" is considered an element in the sixfold classification of elements in some suttas (MN 112, 115, 140). In that sense it is both a primary element and spatial dimension, and as a meditation subject forms a transition between form and the immaterial.

"The space element has the characteristic of delimiting matter. Its function is to indicate the boundaries of matter. It is manifested as the confines of matter; or its manifestation consists in being untouched (by the 4 great elements), and in holes and apertures. Its proximate cause is the matter delimited. It is on account of the space element that one can say of material things delimited that ‘this is above. below, around that’ " (Vis.M. XIV, 63).

“when we understand the importance of space, space in the heart, space in our day just to relax and be and get space in our schedule when we realize that doing nothing is important so you schedule that in. Doing nothing time every day “space”. Then we can understand just how important space is in your spiritual world, in your life, so please give yourself space. Value space, cherish space, then you will have a wonderful life.”—Brahm

1 Like

Space is the conditioned element which seems to most approximate nibbana, and some early Buddhist schools regarded it as an unconditioned element, but not in Theravada. The reason is the Buddha spoke of nibbana as ‘the unconditioned element,’ meaning it is an element, but the opposite of the other elements, like the relationship between form and space as described above, and this itself is a profitable meditation subject on nibbana. That is we well know the conditioned elements, but what is the opposite of that? A threshold knowledge of what nibbana is should be built up by regularly attempting to penetrate this koan. This foil (contrast) to conditioned experience is a necessary mechanism to open the path (SN 14.11), like opening a door. This is a case of using conditioned phenomena skillfully.

It’s not recommended developing any verbal knowledge, rather follow the experiential path as described here. In Buddhism ‘element’ means irreducible, and further reinforcing the superficial is not profitable:

“The over-riding power of name could only be nullified by the process of ‘attending-by-way-of-matrix’ (yoniso manasikaara ) in order to understand the very structure of sense-experience. By comprehending the phenomenon of sense-contact for what it is, the imaginary world of ‘things’ will cease to obsess the mind.”

Note to SN 1.61—Nananda:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanananda/wheel183.html#fn-19

Function of foil:

1 Like

Alright. I’ll go with element = dhātu = irreducible.