Map of the Mind (Talk 2 of 4)By Zoketsu Norman Fischer | Jun 09, 2004
Location: Samish Island
In topics: Buddhist Psychology, Emotion
MAP OF THE MIND(unabridged transcription by Ruth Ozeki)
This is a description written by Lucretius,, the Roman philosopher, describing a newborn baby.
“Like a sailor cast forth from the fierce waves, the baby lies naked on the ground, without speech, in need of every sort of life-sustaining help when first nature casts it forth with birth contractions from its mother’s womb into the shores of light. And it fills the whole place with mournful weeping, as is right for someone for whom such troubles remain in life.”
So, this seems about right. [Laughter] I think we all enter this world completely helpless and dismayed. It’s a beautiful phrase of Lucretius’, “Cast onto the shores of light.” Which is true. We’re born into this glaring light all of a sudden. We’ve never experienced light. And it must be quite a shock, you know. Imagine the shock of experiencing light for the first time, never having experienced light before, or having any idea of light. Imagine that.
Still, I think it must be that the experience of light is also beautiful, ineffably beautiful. Once the initial pain and shock die down, I’m sure that a baby finds the light and the objects seen in the light as absolutely fascinating. Babies, as you probably have observed, are endlessly fascinated just by the fact of light and objects in the light, starting with their own hands and feet. Thanks to light the visual world, so various and magnificent, appears to our eyes. It’s not the things that appear to our eyes, it’s the light dying on the things that appear to our eyes. I think we romantically imagine that before birth a baby is in a state of bliss, there’s no sense of separation or exile. You’re in a situation in which all needs are automatically and instantaneously met. So that there might not be any sense of need and relief. Certainly there’s no sense of self and other, there’s no sense of now or then. Although this probably isn’t really true. Probably the fetus has problems, too. Otherwise why are they kicking, you know?
But anyway, when we’re born, we’re born in a state of complete and utter pathetic dependency. We can’t do a thing for ourselves. So therefore we can all conclude that if we’re alive now, it must be that someone, or some ones, have, for no apparent reason other than either love or some kind of basic sense of human decency, in other words due to absolutely no reciprocal activity on our part—we didn’t do a thing to make it happen—somehow if we’re alive, somebody or somebodies, took care of us. No matter how pathetic a job they did, they must have done a relatively good job, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And it takes a lot just to get through twenty-four hours with a newborn baby, as anybody who has tried it knows.
So in other words, what I’m saying is to be alive is to have been gratuitously supported. And when we stand, when we walk, when we sit down, when we lie down on the earth, we are also gratuitously supported by the earth, otherwise we would fall through into endless space. And really you could see a human life as something really…imagine this: that we all literally rise up out of the earth, and we manifest the earth’s virtue for a while, and then we go back to the earth. And really the earth, just like our being in the womb, takes care of all our needs, exactly as much as is necessary and proper for us in this lifetime.
So really although on the one hand we have this experience of the shock and horror of entering a world of separation, actually we never really do leave the womb. We go from one womb to another, even though we certainly do feel helpless, and we cry out in our neediness because we’re human, and crying out is our job and our destiny. And the world answers our cry. Invariably.
Of course, we don’t understand this, or believe it, or trust that it’s so. So naturally we’re afraid. I think being human also is to have a deep and constant anxiety for our wellbeing. We feel this when we’re born, and as I say, I’m sure that even before we’re born already we’re feeling it in some way.
In Buddhist understanding, birth, even conception itself, already has a lot of confusion behind it. In the twelvefold chain of causation, it begins with a kind of primordial confusion: a stirring of disturbance somehow even before we exist, caused by an erroneous sense of separation, as if there were real things, separate from one another, and in the darkness, they somehow sensed one another, and it made them deeply nervous. That’s the beginning of our life, according to Buddhism. And according to this stirring of nervousness through misunderstanding, there’s a deep underlying gesture that takes place in consciousness, and with that gesture, a world is constellated, senses come to be, and the object of the senses; and then as soon as that happens, immediately a desire to close the gap between sense and object, to achieve the kind of oneness again. And then out of this desire to close the gap that never really existed, we’re conceived and born onto the shores of light.
And then, as we all know, after that there’s plenty of emotions, lots of thought, lots of trouble, after that. But every emotion, every thought, every story we tell ourselves sources back; its real root is in this fundamental human stirring of the heart. So that’s why I’m encouraging you as strongly as I can to ask yourself in every moment, on every breath, “what am I really feeling now?” “What’s my deep experience now?” And again, don’t try to answer this question. You can see that the source of this question is way deeper than anything that you can think about or speculate about. So don’t waste time trying to deal with this question on the level of thinking or even on the level of emotion. Just use the question to come as close as you can to the flow of your human feeling. To become as intimate as you can come to the flow of your human feeling, to the ever-changing tragedies, joys, sorrows of our human life. And I think this might be the best way to conceive of our practice, as a kind of revolution, a ripening and deepening of our human feeling.
What actually is emotion? In Buddhist psychology, which is what we’re talking about this week, it’s a curious fact that there is no term that corresponds to what we think of as emotion. Because Buddhist psychology is always only interested in delineating the simplest possible elements of experience. And so there is no concept that corresponds to emotion because emotion is not a simple experience. It’s a complex of various kinds of experiences put together. I think that’s what we mean when we say emotion. It’s a complex that involves, first of all, this fundamental human feeling that I’ve been talking about: this feeling of deep separation from the world; and the desire to unite with the world, which at the same time constellates its opposite, which is “protect me from this big scary world.” And those two feelings come up together.
So emotion certainly involves that fundamental human feeling, and then based on the foundation of that fundamental human feeling, there’s a tremendous edifice constructed, which is made up of thought, sensation and action, built on that foundation. Emotion—what we call emotion and what we experience as emotion—also involves a deep involvement with its object. So that when you are overcome with love or hatred for example, that love or hatred is inextricably bound up with the object of that love or hatred. You can’t imagine how you could separate the love or the hatred from that which one loves or hates.
Also, what we call emotion involves the past, involves our whole history of what has happened to us from the past, and the way that we’ve reacted in large and very small ways to all that has happened to us in the past. So because of all this, my emotion is a complex structure in my life that is absolutely unique to me. Just as your emotion is unique to you, and very complicated, and has many, many aspects to it. And so this is what our lives are, a kind of maelstrom of storms and calms and waves and tidal waves and typhoons of various emotions and thoughts, through which we create the world that we live in. We create this world, each of us uniquely, living in a world produced by this endless complex current of emotion and thought, which are completely bound up together.
But the feeling on which this is based, the foundation at the bottom of all this, is not unique to me and not unique to you. The foundation is deeply, deeply human. So when we feel our human feeling, the foundation of our unique human emotions, we connect to each other. In other words, we feel, when we really can feel that deeply, then we know in the very feeling, that we are feeling what everyone feels. And through that feeling, not only are we connected with each other, because you see how deep the root of feeling goes, it’s actually the feeling of the whole world, of being, constituted as a world.
So then, I think practice is the effort that we make, through our zazen and through bringing the inspiration and feeling for life from zazen to our everyday moment to moment consciousness, to give us enough stability and awareness and courage to be able to feel our human feeling intimately. In other words, to feel not just our anger, our hatred, our love, our grief, our compassion, but the real foundations of anger, hatred, greed, love and so on. So to practice is to feel deeply with the world, and through the path of our true human feeling we return to belonging and to loving.
That sounds good, but the reason we don’t want to do it is because it’s not that easy. The path to belonging and loving goes through lots of sorrow and suffering. In a way, although it’s not really true, it might seem easier to us to feel my grief, instead of the grief, to feel my love instead of the love, because it seems so immense. I can barely feel my own grief, and I’m supposed to feel the grief of the universe? I can barely feel my own love, and I’m supposed to feel the love of the universe? And basically we don’t believe that we’re large enough to really feel the grief and the love and so on. I think somehow intuitively we feel like that feeling would break us apart if we ever let ourselves feel it. So it’s very natural and very reflexive for us to glance away and we find lots of good reasons, and lots of distracting things to occupy our attention, all coming from this real fear that we have of feeling what there is to be felt.
But as Lucretius mentions we’re born on the shores of light, and I think it’s our human job to be that big. So we have to walk the path of tears, and we have to recognize how radically dependent we are on everything. So our path is the path of vulnerability. And the path of appreciation. And also the path of fearlessness.
So John gave me a note yesterday. “Can you tell us which text you’re using to talk about Abhidharma? Can you tell us some historical context of Abhidharma and explain something about how Abhidharma fits into Mahayana Buddhism?” [Laughter] John gave me this little note, you know?
Did you know that John is my next-door neighbor? Whom I never see because we’re both too busy. So he flies a thousand miles so we can hang out together. He goes through all this. Isn’t it nice? Thank you for coming. Old family friend. Next door neighbor, but we have to go through this…it’s kind of ridiculous. [Laughter]
Anyway, so those are good questions, and I think that actually it would be good to address them. So for those of you who are interested, the text that I’m using (although I’m barely using it) but the text that I’m using is a big fat book, called “Meditation on Emptiness,” which has been translated and compiled by Jeffery Hopkins, and it was published by Wisdom Press, about twenty or so years ago. And it is a late Tibetan scholastic version of the Abhidharma, from the standpoint of Madhyamika philosophy, which is considered in most of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism to be the fundamental philosophical standpoint. It’s also the fundamental philosophical standpoint of Zen, too. It’s the philosophy of emptiness, which includes also the emptiness of emptiness. I’ve been really referring to this text, which is five or six hundred pages long…I’ve been just talking about ten or fifteen pages of it, because a lot of the text is very boring, to me anyway. Tibetan logic stuff, especially the Galupa school, is very big on the logic and the need for long study on the logic of emptiness, and at least half the text is about that, and I’ve skipped that part.
So that’s the text I’m reading, and so if you decide to buy that book and try to read it….good luck. [Laughter]
So, a little background of Abhidharma. How is it that there is Abhidharma? Well, the earliest evidence that we have of the Buddha’s own teaching is in the Pali Canon, which is not precisely the words of the Buddha’s teaching. It was, as you know, written down several hundred years after the Buddha’s death. Probably it has very close relationship to what the Buddha taught, but filtered through many minds and hearts over the generations. But anyway, from the evidence of the Pali teaching, the Buddha was fairly flexible and practical in his teaching. My sense of the Buddha’s career is that he had a real love for people and a real grasp of people’s problems and where they were at. He also, I think, was very clear about liberation and the territory of liberation. So he knew where he was trying to guide people. But he also knew that certain ways he could guide them there were not going to work, so he tried to figure out the best way of guiding people in general, and the individual in particular situations in the dharma. And because of this, his teaching was quite various and not entirely consistent in all its details. There is a consistency—I don’t think the Buddha in any important ways violates his own teachings in the sutras—but when you look at it really closely you see some inconsistencies and some gaps.
So what I’m saying is given that, pretty much most of what’s significant in Abhidharma is already in the early sutras. There’s nothing really important, I think, that’s added. But as is true in all these traditions, later on, very intelligent people who’ve studied the original teachings very clearly become disturbed by the gaps and inconsistencies, and they’re in the business of defending the tradition, and explaining it, and so there’s usually a time of scholasticism. You have it in Christianity and Judaism and Islam. All religions have that, where there’s a whole group of people who are then trying to systematize the teachings. And that’s what Abhidharma is, a kind of Buddhist scholasticism, in effect. Systematizing and trying to make complete and airtight the early teachings of the Buddha that are more situational and impressionistic.
And I won’t, because I can’t remember them, anyway…usually when you introduce Abhidharma there’s a whole list of titles, back in history, the First Text and the Second Text and so on. Already in early, early Buddhism we have these texts that are the foundations, the Abhidharma texts, and then various compendia of those early texts, and then a plethora of texts after that.
So as we all know, now the Mahayana part. Mahayana Buddhism, as we all know, all Mahayana Buddhist schools have their source in the emptiness teachings, and the emptiness teachings are the basis of compassion. Since emptiness teachings tell us over and over again that all our notions of separate really existing things don’t hold water—there are no separate really existing things although we deeply believe this, it’s not so—because of that, reality in effect is compassion, because since there are not all these separately existing things, reality is connection, reality is love, reality is flow, reality is constant exchange. That is the nature of reality, so you can see how compassion and emptiness are absolutely bound up with each other. There’s no deep compassion without an understanding of emptiness, and there’s no real sense of emptiness without compassion. So from this standpoint, the fundamental Mahayana standpoint, much fun is poked at the earnest Abhidharmists, who seem so focused on these various mental states and categories and so on, as if these things really existed.
Still, every Mahayana school, without exception, including the Madhyamika schools of Tibetan Buddhism, have their own versions of the Abhidharma, pretty much taking the early versions and then making some slight modifications. And all the great Mahayana pundits were experts in Abhidharma, and all Mahayana philosophy from Madhyamika to Yogachara, and all the variations of those schools, all source back and discuss Abhidharma.
As I said in the beginning, the fact that all things are fundamentally empty doesn’t mean that we then lazily ignore distinctions. It’s quite the opposite. In fact, that’s considered one of the crucial misunderstandings of emptiness, to get lazy and think, oh, well then, everything’s whatever. Everything’s empty so whatever. That’s a kind of fundamental and understandably dangerous misunderstanding of emptiness…[laughter]..that is common, commonplace, and so often warned against. So the fact that all things are empty of any separate reality doesn’t mean that we ignore distinctions. It means, actually, the opposite, that we are now in a position to really appreciate, to really marvel at, and really make use of the variety of the world and the articulation and the tremendous, almost unbelievable variety, both within the human realm, and also within the nonhuman realm.
So, Abhidharma is famous for being, as I am saying, really boring and hard to read, and it’s hard to find a recommended text that is readable. But I know there are Abhidharma books by Nyanaponika Thera, who was a contemporary. I mean he’s passed away some years, but he’s a twentieth century European Buddhist and practitioner and Theravadin monk who I think wrote a book called “Abhidharma Studies,” which is a good book. Then his disciple, Bhikkhu Bodhi, who’s a contemporary and still living in Sri Lanka, a Jewish guy from Brooklyn, naturally…[laughter]…also writes fairly lucidly and from a contemporary point of view on Abhidharma, and he’s got a book which I think also has the word Abhidharma in the title, which I haven’t read, but I know his other writing and he’s quite sound. We had a mutual friend, Bhikkhu Bodhi and I, and I might have mentioned once before that I feel very close to him because he had the same stomach ailment that I have. So I once sent him a packet of my magic psyllium seed hulls that I always take, and said, “This will fix you up, Bhikkhu Bodhi.” I don’t know if it did or not, but he sent me a nice thank you note back.
Anyway, I think those two authors are very sound, although even in the case of them, you don’t find too much humor…[laughter]….which I think always helps in the case of Abhidharma.
There is also a book, a small book, written years ago by Trungpa, who does have a good sense of humor and does write in a way that is very engaging, called “Glimpses of Abhidhamma,” or “Glimpses of Abhidharma,” which is a really good book. I read it a long time ago. However as I recall, it says almost nothing about Abhidharma. [Laughter] But you can read it and tell me.
Anyway, okay, I did my duty. I gave a little background and some relevant text. So now we have to get back to work. Enough fooling around. Get back to work. [Laughter] Okay
Back to the map. Back to the categories. You remember yesterday, possibly, we left off with…we had distinguished existent from nonexistent things. And we had established that in the category of existence there are three great divisions, three great categories: rupa, being “form” or the objective element within the world; jñana, being “consciousness.” And then there was this very funny one called viprayukta-samskara, “non-associated compositional factors.” Those are the three kind of existent things, and we spoke about rupa, and the eleven kinds of rupa. And now we’re going to speak about jñana, or consciousness.
Okay, there are two great divisions within the sphere of consciousness, and you can imagine, many subdivisions. So the two divisions are chitta, and chaitasika. Chitta means “mind” or basic cognitive awareness, fundamental awareness, without any thing to be aware of, or shape of it, just the awareness itself, the fundamental cognitive awareness itself is chitta.
And chaitasika are mental factors that shape or alter that chitta. So maybe one metaphor that might help is if you imagine chitta as a bed sheet, spread out. Chitta is a bed sheet, and if you spread a bed sheet out, there are always—there’s no ideally pure spread out bed sheet, there are always some lumps and some places where it’s light and shadow. And then imagine a bed sheet that’s really rumpled up, right? So chaitasika are the rumples in the bed sheet. And chitta is the bed sheet. And, like I said, there will never be a bed sheet, except in some ideal world, that would not have some rumples in it. And then there are some bed sheets that are gnarled up and twisted up into a small thing like this…[Norman makes twisted up bed sheet sound…laughter]
So, this is chitta and chaitasika. So, chitta…There’s six kinds of chitta. And this is really…we would not kind of think of this, you know? Six kinds of chitta. And the six kinds of chitta are the five senses plus mind. As a sixth. So there’s eye consciousness, ear consciousness, and so forth. Now the five senses we already saw, are listed under the category of rupa. So the eye….actually they had a very interesting sense that the eye was not the organ of sight, but that there was a subtle rupa as a coating on the top of the eye, and similarly with the other senses, which was the actual organ of sight or sound, hearing and so on. That’s a physical thing. But then, when the eye functions, it creates a consciousness, which is not a physical thing. So eye consciousness, ear consciousness and so on, up to mind consciousness, the object of which is thought or emotion.
So it’s as if chitta is like five rivers, or six rivers, that flow together to give us what looks to us like one ocean of awareness of the world. But it’s actually six different rivers. And when you think about it, you know, and look very closely at your experience, the world of sight is so different from the world of sound. And the world of sound is completely different from the world of taste. You know? It’s almost like three different universes. To see something and to taste something, the intimate experience of these things is quite different. But all together, these six rivers flow to creating a world. So there’s six kinds of chitta.
And then, chaitasika …there’s 51 kinds of mental factors. [Norman breathes heavily, as though running a marathon…laughter] And, like I said, there’s no sheet without some lumps in it. Any sheet is always crumpled up in some way, and if you look at a sheet closely when it’s crumpled up, you see that it makes different colors and different shapes…what makes the sheet actually appear at all is how it’s bent in some slight or great way. Why? Because whenever consciousness appears in some shape in this world, there’s always some experience that rumples the sheets. There’s no case in which there’s no experience, there’s no pure consciousness apart from experience. And experience has its effects on consciousness. So even, as I was saying, when we’re born, there’s already a lot of water under the bridge. Already a lot has happened in consciousness, even before birth
But this chaitasika is the important thing. I mean, I had to describe all the rest of it to get us to this point. This is the realm we practice in, the realm of mental factors. And here’s the realm where we try to be aware of, and practice with, our human feelings. Because without practice, we can be, to some great extent, victims of our experience. We can be quite crumpled up and bunched up by what happens to us.
Not to say we all have to be Buddhist, otherwise we’re sunk, because people have all sorts of ways of practicing in their lives, and we need some sense of ethical, moral, religious cultivation, because without that, the world is difficult. We can be completely messed up and victimized by what happens to us. So practice is the realm of coming to a greater understanding and a greater intimacy with what are the mental factors and how we can work with them toward happiness and toward the good. In other words, maybe we can take the crumples and rumples in the sheets and learn how to make use of them. Learn where they are and what they’re like and how to smooth them and make them…more happy. We have to take the sheet that’s there and work with that. And that’s what our understanding of the chaitasika can help us with.
So that’s why it’s really important; despite the empty nature of all phenomena, here we are with all these rumples. Yes, they’re empty, but still, we feel them. So in order for us to come to a fundamental appreciation of emptiness, first we have to smooth the sheets out. We have to work with mind, so it’s important to discern the mental factors, and to know what it is that we could think, feel, do, that would make more rumples. And what it is that we could think, feel and do, that would make smoother sailing on that sheet. So that’s what we have to talk about. The 51 chaitasika.
But first, we can’t forget about the famous viprayukta-samskara. We must first elucidate the viprayukta-samskara. Non-associated compositional factors. Now why are they called “non-associated”? Because they are non-associated with rupa or jñana. In other words, these are factors that are not rupa. They are not mind, not physical, and they’re also not in the realm of consciousness.
So that’s the non-associated part. And then the other part is “compositional” factors. This word, samskara is translated here as compositional. It’s the same word as the fourth skanda. You know when we chant the Heart Sutra, form, feeling, perceptions, formations—sometimes the word is translated as “impulses,” sometimes you could translate it as “volitions” “intentions” “desires.” So compositional factors in the human realm take that shape.
So this is a deep thought in Buddhism: compositional factors, whether in the human realm or in the wider scope than the human realm. And basically what you could say a compositional factor is, is a disturbance of the peace. That is what a compositional factor is. A disturbance of the peace. In other words, taking a world that is fundamentally quiet and absolutely perfect, needing nothing, and disturbing the peace. Trying to make something out of it. That’s what compositional factors are. You understand? It’s like taking, let’s say, in the case of the sheet….maybe I’m getting in trouble by using this metaphor, but anyway…the case of the sheet, grabbing hold of it and crumpling it up when it’s perfectly fine the way it is. Taking a unified, quiet world and making something out of it. Disturbing the peace.
So there’s good news and there’s bad news here. The bad news is that you’re disturbing the peace. The world was perfectly alright. In other words, your life is perfectly fine, you don’t need to ever do anything, you’re just fine, and why would you disturb things by doing anything? Thinking, or feeling anything.
I remember last time our son was home, he’s an artist and he was sitting at the front table making water colors of the ocean. So he said to me…which I thought was one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard about the proposition of making art… he said to me, “As soon as I put one mark on the paper, I have a problem.” [Laughter] “And then the rest of the picture is my effort to work out that problem.”
So it’s like that. As soon as we get up from our chair, we have a problem. And then we have to walk across the room and do something to solve that problem.
So the bad news is, we’ve made a problem. The good news is that without that problem, there’s no painting of the ocean. There’s no life. The good news is that by virtue of the compositional factors, the world becomes a challenge, a field of beauty, a field of love and compassion.
So the viprayukta-samskaras are the non-associated compositional factors that put together the world.
Now this is really fascinating. The next thing is, what are the two great divisions in the non-associated compositional factors? There are two divisions. One of the divisions only has one member in it, and the other one has twenty-three. [Laughter] But the two divisions are…you won’t believe this. This will…are you ready for this? This is amazing. To me, anyway. The two categories of viprayukta-samskara are: Number one, the person. The person! And number two, non-person compositional factors.
So what does that mean? What are they trying…what do these Buddhists mean by this? To say that there’s a non-associated compositional factor in the world called “the person”…!
You know, being a person is such a convincing experience, don’t you agree? [Laughter] One is immensely convinced by this. And it’s right to be convinced by it because being a person is a compositional factor in the world. The problem is that we think that it is an associated compositional…we project on to rupa and jñana this personhood. Do you understand? But it’s not actually appropriately projected on to rupa and jñana. It is a deep thought of the world. Think about that. The fact that you experience being a person is a deep thought of the world, that is not fundamentally, inherently associated with your mind and body.
So being a person seems to be a compositional factor of the world, a necessary factor of the world, which takes place through the agency of our lives. A necessary shape of the world, that flows through our living. So again, it’s good news and bad news.
The bad news is that it’s not that easy to be a person. Being a person means the world is other than ourselves, and the world is pretty big, and intimidating, and then there’s all these other people. And all the problems. Even the ones that we love are problematic, you know? [Laughter] And if they weren’t around, then we would be problematic to ourselves, you know? As we are anyway. [Laughter] So there’s a lot of bad news in being a person. There’s a lot of bad news there. We’re in exile. Being a person is, by definition, being in a state of exile in the world.
But again the good news is that for the world to be put together as a world, as a field of compassion, a field of challenge and creativity, it needs us to be persons. And it needs each of us to be the person that we uniquely are. I mean, think about it. Each person who is now and ever was, is a unique expression of the sum total of all that’s happened in the world. It requires that you have been born, and that you realize your unique life. So that is our job, as practitioners, to clarify through our deep study of the flow of our human feelings, as I’m stressing this week, what it really means to be a person. And what it really means to express and be the person that we are. To be that person, to clarify that person, and to express that life in this world is a non-associated compositional factor of the world. To me, that’s astonishing. Astonishing.
And then there’s the non-person compositional factors. What might those be? Well, these are other things in the world, which are not form and are not consciousness, that are required for the world to be put together. And in this category, as I said, there are 23 things, and among them are things like duration…duration, you know? I mean duration isn’t consciousness, and it’s not thing. But without duration how can there be, you know, things like that? Duration. Life. Birth. Aging. Language. Continuity. Order. Time. Aggregation. And it’s so interesting to think of being a person as being a thing like that. You know? Only it’s us. We’re a thing like that.
Anyway, I don’t know about this list, and I’m not sure that this list even makes any sense; and this category of viprayukta-samskara is one in which there’s lots of controversy, and different systems look at it differently. But the point here is not whether the list is really real or whether it all makes sense. I think one could think about it and complain in various ways, but the point is that the Abhidharma’s thinkers noted that there are factors that cohere a world. Forces, energies, whatever you want to call them, that are neither part of matter nor consciousness. And that in their efforts to map reality in a total and inclusive way, they needed to account for these factors. And they couldn’t leave them out. So more or less whatever they found that didn’t fit anywhere else, you know, well, they said it must be a viprayukta-samskara, and the lists of those are different.
So, I guess tomorrow…51 chaittasikas. In the meantime, between now and then, please continue this practice of returning to intimacy, with attentiveness to your feeling. Whenever you are thinking something, whenever you are feeling an emotion, let that be a cue to you to return to this question: What’s my deep feeling? What’s my experience now? See if you can tell. Have the actual insight and experience that all you’re thinking and all you’re feeling has a root deeper than you know, in the humanness; and that at this place, whether it’s sorrow or grief or just kind of crazy fantasy, you do meet everything; and that in that meeting, you do taste liberation. So this is a bunch of very distinguished and experienced practitioners, and I think it’s not unrealistic to ask you to do this. Or to think that through this effort you can actually see something that you’ve never seen before. Thank you very much.
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