AKB, Ch. 1, V. 28: Space, consciousness, defining nature of the material dhatus

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PeterC
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AKB, Ch. 1, V. 28: Space, consciousness, defining nature of the material dhatus

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While we’re waiting for someone to explain the Naivasamjnanasamjnayatanopagas and how it fits into Vasubhandu’s theory, we will continue with a very interesting section on the fungibility of space and consciousness.
28a-b. Cavities are called the space element; it is, one says, light and darkness.
The question raised in the commentary is whether the space element is the same as the unconditioned dharma of space; and whether all consciousness is the consciousness element.
(Commentary) The cavity of the door, the window etc. is the external space element; the cavity of the mouth, the nose etc., is the internal space element.
…the void of the space element is light or darkness – that is to say, a certain type of color of matter … being by its nature light or darkness, the void will be day or night.
If I understand correctly, the space element is defined by the absence of perceptible matter. I don’t think – and correct me if I’m wrong – that what is being defined here is two different kinds of space element, it’s all space, it just appears in two different ways.
28c. The consciousness element is an impure consciousness.
Impure in this context means not part of the path of liberation, productive of karma.
(Commentary) Why is it not called pure? Because these six dhatus are:
28d. The support of arising.
I’m not sure we’ve had a definition given of ‘arising’ yet. I checked in the earlier notes but didn’t find one. But the meaning is well-understood, and the commentary goes on to explain that arising is of the mind of living sentient beings; and that pure dharmas are opposed to arising. So far, so good. But then the commentary has this conclusion:
Thus the five sense consciousnesses, which are always impure, and the mental consciousness when it is impure, give us the consciousness element.
So the pure mental consciousness, meaning the third and fourth noble truths (I think?), is not part of the consciousness element.

It feels at this point that the text is tying up some loose ends. We now get to why so much time has been spent on analysing and categorizing rupadhatu:
29a-b. Only rupadhatu is visible (out of the eighteen dhatus)
29b-c. The ten dhatus which are exclusively material are capable of being struck.
There are three forms of striking enumerated in the commentary. The first is the common meaning of physical contact. The second is contact with an organ, for instance, the eye, with its sphere of action. The third kind is the striking of the mind with its object.

The commentary then explains the difference between the sphere of action and the object of a sense organ. The discussion at this point is quite long, but it seems to be fairly intuitive. The sphere of action is the full extent of what the organ can perceive, and the object it perceives is within that field.

Since the next section gets into the moral value of the dhatus, this seems like a good place to stop for now.
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Grigoris
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 28: Space, consciousness, defining nature of the material dhatus

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I am just going to jump in here and tell you that I am reading both the AKB and your posts.

Slowly, but surely. :smile:

Keep up the good work! :twothumbsup:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 28: Space, consciousness, defining nature of the material dhatus

Post by Queequeg »

Me, too. Have a full plate lately, but I'm keeping up!
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta
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PeterC
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Re: AKB, Ch. 1, V. 28: Space, consciousness, defining nature of the material dhatus

Post by PeterC »

Grigoris wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:13 pm I am just going to jump in here and tell you that I am reading both the AKB and your posts.

Slowly, but surely. :smile:

Keep up the good work! :twothumbsup:
:twothumbsup:

There will be a written test at the end of this for all...
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