Thursday, January 31, 2008

Third set of sense basis

This is the third set of the twelve sense bases.

lus is body so this is the body sense basis (kaya-ayatana.)

reg bya is touch so this is the touch sense basis (sprastavya-ayatana.)

yid is here mental organ so this is the mind sense basis (mana-ayatana.)

chos is here mental object so this is the mental object basis (dharma-ayatana.)

Some might wonder why it is so important to find and label various parts of the mental experience? It is really how a systems analyst works, in politics, software, organizations and so on. By finding out each logical part and how it all works together, the big picture emerges. In this case the answers are to be found later, and Abhidharma-Samuccaya will point out time after time: there's really nothing self-existent in the mental world. It is rather parts who work together, and each part is dependent on another part or parts.

We will see this next as Abhidharma-Samuccaya explains why there are exactly five skandhas, no more and no less.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Second Set of Sense Bases

As mentioned before, the words should be familiar, and if not, then just look through the recent blog entries where they are mentioned.

སྣ། sna is nose so this is the nose sense basis (ghrana-ayatana.)

དྲི། dri is odor so this is the odor sense basis (gandha-ayatana.)

ལྕེ། lce is tongue so this is the tongue sense basis (jihva-ayatana.)

རོ། ro is taste so this is the taste sense basis (rasa-ayatana.)

Now, Abhidharma-Samuccaya later describes what a sense basis really is. But it's good to know it already, instead of waiting for the hundredth or so blog posting before we reach that section.

The meaning of a sense basis (ayatana) is that it signifies a door in which the consciousness appears. If you look at the two pairs above, the nose sense basis and he odor sense basis are doors by which the the olfactory consciousness operates. Similarly, the tongue and taste sense bases operate as doors for the taste consciousness to operate.

Monday, January 28, 2008

First Four Sense Bases

As a lot of words we have gone through before, we will take four sense spheres at a time. If unsure, just go back in time in this blog and you will find the words described. Or those who have already read the earlier postings, this is a good time to see if you could recognize the words used in a somewhat different context!

mig is eye so the first is the eye sense base (caksur-ayatana.)

gzugs is form so the second is the form sense base (rupa-ayatana.)

rna ba is is ear so the third is the ear sense base (srotr-ayatana.)

sgra is sound so the fourth is the sound sense base (shabd-ayatana.)

I think you are already seeing a pattern, eye and form, ear and sound. Abhidharma-Samuccaya has more about this all then later.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Twelve Sense Bases

Next, Abhidharma-Samuccaya lists how many sense bases (or spheres as this is sometimes translated) there are, as well as each one.

skye mched is sense basis, sphere, ayatana in Sanskrit. We will get a better understanding of this after we have listed each one.

rnams is a plural ending, so this means that we are dealing with multiple spheres.

ni is an emphasis particle, it means that the right side will emphasize the left, i.e. how many are there.

bcu is ten. gnyis is two. bcu gnyis is twelve. If you now know bcu as ten, and the first nine numbers, you should now be able to count from one to nineteen.

te is the semi-final particle, it indicates that we will indeed list the twelve spheres or sense bases now. We will do three at a time, or so, as they will sound familiar.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mental Elements

Ok, we are down to the last three elements, and as mentioned before, the elements and various interactions will be explained later in Abhidharma-Samuccaya.

yid is mind (Sanskrit manas), or also you could say the mental organ or mental faculty, so yid kyi khams is the mind element or the mental organ element (mano-dhatu.) I think here the mental organ translation is better, as it reflects one of the six sense systems, where actually the mental organ is one of those.

chos, Sanskrit dharma, has many meanings, here it is related to mental objects, so chos kyi khams is mental object element (dharma-dhatu.)

yid kyi rnam par shes pa'i khams is then the mental consciousness element (mano-vijnana-dhatu.) As this is the ending of the long listing of the eighteen elements, the last word ends with an 'so construct.

The interesting observations here is that the mental senses are grouped into a triad of elements, where each one is needed for mental parts to be formed.

Next, we will start looking at spheres!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Body Elements

Ok, six more elements to go! lus is body (Sanskrit kaya), kyi is the genitive particle that binds right to left and khams is element. So this is the body element (kaya-dhatu.)

reg bya is touch or tangibility, the 'i is again the genitive particle, binding this to khams, so this is the tangibility element (sprastavya-dhatu).

lus is (as earlier) body, rnam par shes pa is consciousness, so this all is the body consciousness element (kaya-vijnana-dhatu.)

Later Abhidharma-Samuccaya will have a definition what touch really is, so that will be interesting.

I think you have grasped the Sanskrit also by now, so now you could show your talent and know what for example kaya-vijnana-dhatu really is, based on knowing each of these three separate words!

Next, a somewhat surprising set of elements.

Monday, January 14, 2008

How to Purify Elements - Offer Flowers

In case someone wonders how to get elements purified, here's one approach. Lotsawa House just announced a great translation of Teachings on the Offering of Flowers by Jikme Tenpe Nyima.

me tog is flower. rnams is the plural ending, so this is flowers.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Taste Elements


Next are the three elements associated with the taste sensation. lce is tongue, so lce'i khams is the tongue element (jihvad-dhatu.)

ro is taste, so ro'i khams is the taste element (rasa-dhatu.)

As we know that lce is tongue, then lce'i rnam par shes pa'i khams is the tongue consciousness element (jihva-vijnana-dhatu.)

This leads to an interesting observation. One of the main topics in this Abhidharma-Samuccaya is to show that there are really no self-existent things, such as a a self-existent taste universal. There are three factors involving, of which the tongue consciousness element is as important. It really means that there's nothing self-existent about what taste bad and what taste good. In real life this is easy to show, just check out how one dish is considered icky for someone, but a great delicacy for someone else.

It also means that there's really no limit to what someone could do concerning getting to a state where everything taste as bliss.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Collected Works of Third Karmapa available

Due to the kindness of Tsadra foundation, the collected works of the third Karmapa are available. See rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/3rd_Karmapa . This is the whole collection in PDF format. Most likely you need to install the Nitartha Sambhota font to read it.

Anyway, we are entering the golden age of material available on Internet, even whole collections of important teachers. We just need more translations now.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Nose Odor Olfactory Consciousness

Next is a triad related to smelling. sna is nose, the 'i is a genitive particle that binds khams, element to the nose, so we have the nose element (in Sanskrit ghrana-dhatu.)

dri is smell, or odor, so this is the odor element (gandha-dhatu.)

sna'i rnam par shes pa is the olfactory consciousness, so with khams this is the olfactory consciousness element (ghrana-vijnana-dhatu.)

Isn't this an interesting way to learn Tibetan words about various body parts and senses?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Ear Audio Auditory Consciousness

And now to my favorite triad of elements. rna ba is ear, the 'i is the genitive particle that binds khams, element, to rna ba. So this is the ear element (srotra-dhatu.)

sgra is sound, and you should recognize the genitive particle now, as a well as khams, so this is the sound element (shabda-dhatu.)

rna ba'i rnam par shes pa is auditory consciousness so this is the auditory consciousness element (srotra-vijnana-dhatu).

Does the pattern start to look familiar? We will go through the five + one more sense when dealing with the eighteen elements.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Form and Visual Consciousness Elements

Actually the elements have groupings of three parts, as we will notice next. gzhugs here is form, so gzhugs gi khams is form element, rupadhatu. This is in the context of visual form and not 'matter.' dang then binds to the next listing.

mig is eye or visual and rnam par shes pa is consciousness (Sanskrit vijnana.) Remember this word as it will show up multiple times when listing the elements. Thus, mig gi rnam par shes pa is visual consciousness (caksurvijnanadhatu.)

The 'i is a genitive particle binding khams, element to the left side, so this is the visual consciousness element.

We had before mig gi khams, eye element. Thus you could see that these elements have a grouping of a physical entity (eye) that is registering something (form) and is using a consciousness (visual consciousness), all together. In other words, all three have to work together for a form to be realized as visually seen.

We will go through the next elements in combinations of three.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

mig gi khams - Eye Element

Let's start slowly and just take one or more elements in the beginning, and then later go through more elements.

མིག mig means eye (caksur.) གི gi is a genitive particle which binds the right to the left.་ཁམས། khams is element (dhatu.) So this is the eye element, caksurdhatu in Sanskrit.

Theདང། dang here is again a conjuctive particle; as we will list 18 elements, this particle is used in the listing.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

khams bco brgyad - Eighteen Elements

The next lists how many elements are there, and after this all the elements are listed.

khams is element, rnams is the plural ending, so khams rnams is elements.

ni is an emphatic particle, so it's emphasizing the right side with the left.

bco brgyad is eighteen. de is another particle, the semi-final particle, this will tie together this statement with the listing of the eighteen elements.

So that's what we will do next, as the individual elements will introduce a lot of practical nouns that is good to learn in Tibetan!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Five Aggregates Listed

We will take a longer section of Abhidharma-Samuccaya, but it's very easy to follow along, and we have gone through the five skandhas before. Also, the text later will describe all kinds of interesting things about the skandas so we will not miss anything by just listing them here just now, as in the text. So:

gzugs kyi phung po is the form aggregate or form skandha. The dang at the end is a particle, a conjunctive particle. It is for example used after each entry in a list, as in this case. You could translate this with and, or use a comma, or anything similar indicating a listing (even an bullet point if that makes sense.)

tshor ba'i phung po is skandha of feelings, or skandha of sensations. Again the dang is used for the listing purposes, or something will follow.

'du shes kyi phung po is aggregate/skandha of perceptions.


'du byed kyi phung po is aggregate of formations, or sometimes also translated as the aggregate of conditioning factors. Don't worry, later in Abhidharma-Samuccaya these skandhas and their interactions will be precisely defined.

Finally we have rnam par shes pa'i phung po, skandha of consciousness. Note the ending of this part, po'o. This is a proper sentence ending, the last vowel is doubled.

Next we will go through the elements!