(This is the appendix B of the book
"The Essentials of Insight Meditation Practice–A Pragmatic Approach to
Vipassana" by Ven. Sayadaw Sujiva 这是舍弃我禅师著《Mahasi毗
between “concept” and “ultimate realities,” because it is the direction which
he will have to lead his mind—from concepts to realities.
ideas thought out and conceived by the mind. They are built upon the ultimate
realities. Concepts are only conventionally and subjectively true.
other hand, are those phenomena which can be directly perceived (thus ultimate)
without going through the process of conceptual thinking, reasoning or
imagination. These are truths not depending on conventional definitions.
Ultimate realities, however, do not
necessarily only mean the Absolute Reality which refers only to the unchanging,
unconditioned state—“Nibbana. ”
realities are still a reality and we cannot really do away with them altogether,
we will have to put them aside for periods of time during our meditation to
allow us to really see and realise things as they really are.
philosophising, scheming, planning or fantasising. It is obvious that when one
does it with lots of assumptions, preconceptions, ideas or hallucinations, then
one cannot be, at the same time, experiencing nature directly. One has to put away all these before any insight can arise.
more subtle in that one is not actively “thinking” or at least one is not
conscious of it. These concepts are formed so habitually and are deeply embedded
in the mind. These can also be part and parcel of the mental processes influenced by kamma and the results of kamma.
Although one cannot abandon these altogether, it is still necessary to transcend
these for periods of time (by means of highly concentrated bare mindfulness) to
allow insight to arise.
syllables or sounds that arise and pass away consecutively.
word does not exist, only the arising and passing away of sound, a vibrating
form; materiality in nature.
made up of many “notes” of sound. These are words based upon the play of sound
when we try to communicate our ideas and experiences with another. Now it is
also visual as it has been put into writing.
real if they refer directly to real phenomena that can be directly experienced.
Unreal concepts are those that cannot refer directly to realities. They refer to
other concepts and ideas which by themselves do not really exist.
further concepts build up and can be the combination of real and unreal
concepts. Example: The word “mind” is a real concept as it refers to mental phenomena that
can be directly experienced without conceptualization.
that cannot be directly experienced without conceptualization. Some words may
have both—eg patient
who may refer to a sick person (unreal) or a tolerant mental state
(real concepts) as labels to help us recognise realities. Words and labels
should not be grasped at in meditation. One should instead try to understand
what is meant to be experienced.
two-dimensional and three dimensional world.
screen, the picture is made up of electron lights shooting at a great speed from
the tube within. They arise and pass too fast for one to really know what is
actually happening. What the mind grasps (too slowly) is a general
play of colours which form shapes and so
give us ideas. They occur so fast that they seem to occur at the same time.
Concepts (Disa Paññatti)
corresponding to directions, relationship of one thing to another eg east, west,
right, left, above, below, inwards, outwards, sideways, upwards, and
upon ideas concerning the recurrent and consecutive occurrence of material and
mental phenomena. Materially, they involve light and darkness (as in day or
night), physical state of body (as in old and young) and so on.
activities and functions such as sleeping time, working time, and so on.
general timetable or routine to guide our practice, we need not follow it
blindly. Adjustments can be made if it is unsuitable. In groups, sometimes one’s
own welfare has to be sacrificed if benefit is meant for the welfare of
collections of things, eg a class, a race, a car, a city, group interviews,
group meditation etc.
refer to open spaces—such as well, cave, hole and window.
such as the learner’s sign and
mirror image of tranquillity meditation. Many hallucinations and imageries also
come under this category.
as “I,” “you,” “he,” “she,” “person,” “dog” or “deva” are actually sets of
ever-changing mental and material processes. These concepts of being, should be
used as convenience in communication but when grasped upon as real,
ultimate and absolute, one cannot help
but fall into conflict and sooner or later fall to ruin.
concept is of utmost importance to Vipassana meditation but upon the realization
that “All dhammas are not-self,” one ought not to think “I” am walking but just
be mindful eg the process of walking. Some may philosophize as they
watch. This will, on the other hand, fall
into another set of concepts.
concepts such as of happiness, suffering, life and so on but we will not be
dealing with them at the present. In order to have a better picture of the
process of conceptualization, it would be helpful to explain the thought
defined as a series of consciousness arising in an order that makes up what we
“see,” “hear” and “think.” These thought processes arise from the life
continuum, a flow of consciousness in a deep sleep state following stimuli from
an internal or external object.
“door” the object arises:
processes that arise at the ear door.
processes that arise at the tongue door.
processes that arise at the mind door.
“sense-door adverting thought
processes” whilst the
last is called “the
mind-door adverting thought processes.”
passive phase consisting of resultant consciousness (mental results of kamma)
which receives its object (eg at eye door—the eye object ie colours) followed by
a functional determining consciousness that determines an active phase
which may be wholesome (good kamma) or
unwholesome (evil kamma).
processes, the different types of mind-door processes arise building ideas and
so on upon the object. These latter parts constitute conceptualization. For
example, in the case of the eye-door process, a typical order will be:
bhavanga—when the life continuum stops.
five sense-door apprehending—when the mind turns to receive the sense
The receiving of the sense
pc 五门转向——心转向去接受感官所缘、接受 感官所缘。
v Five sense consciousness—eg seeing
consciousness (goes to receive the nature of object)
st investigating consciousness (goes to bring out the
nature of object)
determining consciousness (determines course of action that
M mind door
the life continuum, a flow of consciousness when in deep sleep. It is the
result of previous kamma and is
responsible for maintaining the individual’s existence and a condition for latent defilements to arise and kammic
results to manifest. It is also regarded as the minddoor.
mind-door processes, such as:
which is a carry over of the object from the sense doors
where the various eye objects are amassed into formation eg of shape concepts
through the meaning or idea processes (atthaghanavithi).
be given mentally. This is through the naming process (namaghanavithi).
into more abstract ideas especially when associated with other sense doors and
ideas. But from here we may say that to note “seeing” without thinking would cut
off a lot of concepts. It would also help to disregard the shape and
forms as far as possible.
amassing of sound forms
help to disregard the “words” if we are to arrive at the Vipassana object
what is smelt, tasted or touched should also be disregarded.
quickly that they make what is complex seem solid and as a whole.
Four Kinds of Apparent Solidity (Ghana
and cease so fast one after another that it seems as if they are one continuous
made up of so many characteristics or phenomena finely knitted by complex
conditionings that they seem like one whole piece.
types of consciousness” each with their own specific functions eg seeing, hearing
etc, which are very subtle and difficult to see. Hence one may mistake it for
one working unit.
different objects that seem to appear together in one picture—giving rise to shapes, forms,
hallucinations arise. These hallucinations arises in ascending
eg one thinks one’s own shadow as belonging to someone else.
perceptions, one develops wrong thoughts and reasoning, eg if one does not hear
well, one may misunderstand other’s intentions and implications.
hallucination of thoughts, one may grasp at wrong views with regard to life such
as holding firmly to the wrong view that the world is permanent, perfectly happy
and belonging to an everlasting self.
break through all these concepts even for a while, to penetrate into realities,
our mindfulness has to be:
stone is left unturned,
clearly the nature of the object.
Dhamma) the Abhidhamma classifies them into four main categories:
mental and material processes to be realised by the meditator as impermanent,
unsatisfactory and non-self.
the beginner. For example, it is not possible to note the Jhanic (absorption)
and Lokuttara (supramundane) consciousness for they do not arise in the
meditator. Neutral feelings are also noted by more experienced meditators as these feelings are more subtle and need
sharper and stronger mindfulness.
not able to note without concepts because they have long been associated with
them. So, to facilitate such situations, the beginners note using real concepts
to help direct their mind to these realities. These are labels that will have to
be increased when they are able to mindfully notice more phenomena. But
Vipassana is not mere labelling or reciting, so one must not cling to them
blindly. At times, it may be better to do without them. With progress, there
will be so many of these phenomena
arising and passing away at a great speed. Then, labelling must be abandoned or
it will be an obstacle.
being must be abandoned if one is to have any Vipassana insight at all. It is
obvious that by being mindful of mind and matter, one will not find any being
there at all, no matter how hard one tries. In the course of one’s progress,
when realities can be noted fairly well, one will have to abandon other
concepts, like those of form, directions, shape, space and time. There are even
finer concepts of happiness and reality which you will find out in due time. For
walking meditation with the form of their legs still in their mind.
phases of steps like “lifting,” “stepping,” the meditators direct it to the
various experiences. When they can experience clearly the movement, tension,
pulling, heat and cold and so on, the form of legs will soon be abandoned. With increased mindfulness of the realities
and their behaviour, even the labels will have to be abandoned. When
concentration becomes deep, the meditators may even forget the time, direction
or where they are for those moments.
the abdomen and other experiences labelled as “rising” and “falling.”
“pushing” movements and other experiences like pressure, hardness and so on, one
may lose a sense of its directions and so noting it as it behaves rather than as
“rising” or “falling.” Here one may use another more suitable label or put it aside altogether.
very clear and slow, more notings of “rising, rising, rising, rising…” will help
the mind note moment to moment. If it can be perceived to be changing very fast
from one moment after another, then, it will be difficult to put labels on the movement.
their mindfulness by trying to experience moment to moment as many of these
realities as they arise and pass away. To help the meditators see clearly, they
are often asked to describe in their experience in their own words and make thorough reports. Technical terms like
“Dukkha” are definitely to be avoided.
Frequent usage may indicate that one’s mind is still involved with theoretical thinking and
here. The abandoning of concepts would mean the disorientation of the
conventional perception of the “person” and the “world” outside him. If one is
not careful the mind may in a few cases lead to further disorientation and disorganisation. It is essential to
understand that the presence of mindfulness and the understanding that the
conceptual and conventional world, though not real in the ultimate sense, is
built upon reality and has to be accepted and lived in.
to use the words “I” and “you” because they think that it will arouse the idea of self.
This is impractical!