cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

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cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Robert: in a split second literally billions of different votthapanna cittas , none the same, have arisen and passed away>which ones were free? (If you want to discuss that we can move to a different thread).



kirksa: Robert, have you ever observed, say, just 10 of those supposed billions of votthapanna cittas which arise in that split second for yourself? "He doesn't seem to grasp" you say. Well, do you actually grasp it? You keep repeating this billions idea, I'm curious whether you personally have actually observed anything which would even point in the general direction of exhibiting the possibility of demonstrating the validity of that notion. I'd like to know, so I can get a little glimpse too of this supposed important truth. I don't see anything remotely like that going on. Maybe someone can clue me in here.
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:32 pm

From Bodhi's tranlsation of the Abhidhammathasangaha

Bhikkhu Bodhi
The life-span of a citta is termed, in the
Abhidhamma, a mind-moment (cittakkhana). This is a
temporal unit of such brief duration that, according
to the commentators, in the time that it takes for
lightning to flash or the eyes to blink, billions of
mind-moments can elapse. ....Within the
breadth of a mind-moment, a citta arises, performs its
momentary function, and then dissolves, conditioning
the next citta in immediate succession. Thus, through
the sequence of mind-moments, the flow of
consciousness continues uninterrupted like the waters
in a stream.” [page 156 of CMA]
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby robertk » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:36 pm

In the Book of Causation (Nidaanavagga) VII The Great Subchapter 61, the Commentary by Buddhaghosa - see below- gives the figure of hundred thousand kotis of cittas arising and ceasing in a fingersnap.
This is to help people who, reading the sutta, might imagine that one citta last a whole day or a whole night.

Obviously, even without any insight, one can see while, say watching TV, sound objects and visible objects and thinking rapidly alternate, and so there are different cittas arising that then immediately cease. In fact it is so fast that I have read some Buddhists wonder if it is the same citta seeing and hearing (and even thinking??)at the same time!



(1) Uninstructed (1) p. 595 Samyutta Nikaya Vol 1 (translated by Bodhi)
"
But that which is called 'mind' and 'mentality' and consciousness'
arises as one thing and ceases as another by day and by night. Just
as a monkey roaming through a forest grabs hold of one branch, lets
that go and grabs another, then lets that go and grabs still
another, so too that which is called 'mind' and 'mentality'
and 'consciousness' arises as one thing and ceases as another by day
and by night. [note 157]
"
[note 157: Spk: 'By day and by night (rattiyaa ca divasassa ca):
This is a genitive in the locative sense, i.e., during the night and
during the day. Arises as one thing and ceases as another (annadeva
uppajjati, anna.m nirujjhati): The meaning is that (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the day is other than (the mind) that
arises and ceases during the night. The statement should not be
taken to mean that one thing arises and some thing altogether
different, which had not arisen, ceases. "Day and night" is said by
way of continuity, taking a continuity of lesser duration than the
previous one (i.e. the one stated for the body). But one citta is
not able to endure for a whole day or a whole night. Even in the
time of a fingersnap many hundred thousand kotis of cittas arise and
cease (1 koti=10 million).
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 09, 2013 1:48 pm

Billions? Says who?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:57 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Billions? Says who?


Whomever is responsible for the Saratthappakasini, Buddhaghosa & some earlier scholastics.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4307&start=80#p157393

As discussed in The Buddhist theory of self-cognition by Zhihua Yao, this sort of thing is probably based on early discussions about what sort of omniscience the Buddha actually had, and how it could be so. This led into discussions of mind knowing itself & mind knowing X many things at time index Y vs. time-index Z, and so on, and was in part fueled by debates with others.

What a mess, and unnecessary besides, imo.
Last edited by daverupa on Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:08 pm

daverupa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Billions? Says who?


Whomever is responsible for the Saratthappakasini, Buddhaghosa & some earlier scholastics.

viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4307&start=80#p157393
But not the Abhidhamma Pitaka texts that I have seen, though I certainly have not read them all, so I could be quite wrong.

A billion is a very, very large number. One billionth of a second is to one second as one second is to 31.7 years. These numbers in the later Abhidhamma are like the glorious exaggerations of numbers and things in the Mahayana sutras. I think it is an Indian thing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:17 pm

tiltbillings wrote:I think it is an Indian thing.


I agree, though others here think it is quite literal and precisely accurate, and the next post discusses how there is no source beyond the bald statement.

To my mind, it's the sort of thing that's uselessly discussed in detail and with vigor, as it has no bearing on the gradual path. "Like a monkey swinging from branch to branch" is a perfectly serviceable level of detail.

:shrug:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:20 pm

mmph. Never mind billions, can someone please explain how one might notice just ONE of these votthapana cittas? Maybe we could start there and work our way up to noticing that there is more than one in a split second.
Santirana-citta is succeeded by votthapana-citta (determining-consciousness). Votthapana is another function of citta; the votthapana-citta determines the object in the sense-door process.

http://www.budsas.org/ebud/nina-abhidha ... bhi-13.htm
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:25 pm

daverupa wrote:To my mind, it's the sort of thing that's uselessly discussed in detail and with vigor, as it has no bearing on the gradual path. "Like a monkey swinging from branch to branch" is a perfectly serviceable level of detail.

That's how I feel as well, and it's an image that corresponds well with observation.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby pulga » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:26 pm

I read once that the Abhidhamma texts themselves are really pretty cryptic. We depend upon their commentaries to make sense of them.
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:19 pm

kirk5a wrote:mmph. Never mind billions, can someone please explain how one might notice just ONE of these votthapana cittas? Maybe we could start there and work our way up to noticing that there is more than one in a split second.

Dozens per second isn't hard to notice, in my experience. Just pay attention...

With sufficient calm and mindfulness, conciousness arising at only one sense door at a time also seems quite plausible. This, of course, is only the case if one is using a practice that is following the rise and fall of phenomena, rather than an absorbed-concentration type practice.

:anjali:
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:30 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:mmph. Never mind billions, can someone please explain how one might notice just ONE of these votthapana cittas? Maybe we could start there and work our way up to noticing that there is more than one in a split second.

Dozens per second isn't hard to notice, in my experience. Just pay attention...

With sufficient calm and mindfulness, conciousness arising at only one sense door at a time also seems quite plausible. This, of course, is only the case if one is using a practice that is following the rise and fall of phenomena, rather than an absorbed-concentration type practice.

Can you explain in some way what distinguishes a votthapana citta? And so you're saying it's not hard to notice at least 24 "cittas per second" .... these are mental events, which you can actually make out a couple dozen happening per second?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:46 pm

kirk5a wrote:Can you explain in some way what distinguishes a votthapana citta? And so you're saying it's not hard to notice at least 24 "cittas per second" .... these are mental events, which you can actually make out a couple dozen happening per second?

I'm not worried about technical descriptions like votthapana citta. I'm simply saying that with some practise it's not hard to see the various sense-door objects rising and falling with some rapidity. As I said, what people see it may depend on how they practice. A practice of focussing on the breath in order to become absorbed probably won't be as effective for this purpose as focussing on continuously noticing what is arising, or doing Goenka-style body scanning.

I really don't see how noticing objects reasonably rapidly could be controversial. I don't think my practice is anything special.

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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby kirk5a » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:58 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Can you explain in some way what distinguishes a votthapana citta? And so you're saying it's not hard to notice at least 24 "cittas per second" .... these are mental events, which you can actually make out a couple dozen happening per second?

I'm not worried about technical descriptions like votthapana citta. I'm simply saying that with some practise it's not hard to see the various sense-door objects rising and falling with some rapidity. As I said, what people see it may depend on how they practice. A practice of focussing on the breath in order to become absorbed probably won't be as effective for this purpose as focussing on continuously noticing what is arising, or doing Goenka-style body scanning.

I really don't see how noticing objects reasonably rapidly could be controversial. I don't think my practice is anything special.

Ok but I'm still trying to understand a couple dozen [what, exactly] are happening per second? Are you referring to the stream of little micro-pinpricks of sensation happening around the body?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby Babadhari » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:07 pm

kirk5a wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Can you explain in some way what distinguishes a votthapana citta? And so you're saying it's not hard to notice at least 24 "cittas per second" .... these are mental events, which you can actually make out a couple dozen happening per second?

I'm not worried about technical descriptions like votthapana citta. I'm simply saying that with some practise it's not hard to see the various sense-door objects rising and falling with some rapidity. As I said, what people see it may depend on how they practice. A practice of focussing on the breath in order to become absorbed probably won't be as effective for this purpose as focussing on continuously noticing what is arising, or doing Goenka-style body scanning.

I really don't see how noticing objects reasonably rapidly could be controversial. I don't think my practice is anything special.

Ok but I'm still trying to understand a couple dozen [what, exactly] are happening per second? Are you referring to the stream of little micro-pinpricks of sensation happening around the body?



or is it more like a series of movie-like frames rapidly arising and passing away in a visual-like sense?
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:34 pm

kitztack wrote:
kirk5a wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I really don't see how noticing objects reasonably rapidly could be controversial. I don't think my practice is anything special.

Ok but I'm still trying to understand a couple dozen [what, exactly] are happening per second? Are you referring to the stream of little micro-pinpricks of sensation happening around the body?

or is it more like a series of movie-like frames rapidly arising and passing away in a visual-like sense?

All of the above. And there can be some of the causal sequences described in the suttas and Abhidhamma (contact, feeling, perception, proliferation...).

The point is that, with my limited experience, it seems to me that the Abhidhamma models do have some sound observational basis at their core. As for "billions", I'm not qualified to comment. As others have suggested, that may be just hyperbole...

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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby Mr Man » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:20 pm

Hi Mike, So you can perceive perception arising as distinct from feeling and feeling distinct from contact?
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:41 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike, So you can perceive perception arising as distinct from feeling and feeling distinct from contact?

I think that's sometimes the case under retreat conditions. Of course, it could be complete delusion, but it's something that many people I talk to manage to notice, so I don't see it as a big deal. If it's not possible to make such analyses experientially, I don't see why there would be so much in the Suttas and Abdhidhamma about it.
"And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness? There is the case where feelings are known to the monk as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Perceptions are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. Thoughts are known to him as they arise, known as they persist, known as they subside. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby Babadhari » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:53 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi Mike, So you can perceive perception arising as distinct from feeling and feeling distinct from contact?


it's losing your mind in the best way possible :jumping:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: cittas arise and pass away billions per instant

Postby BlackBird » Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:57 pm

I've got this vision of Carl Sagan sitting there saying 'Billions and billions of cittas' 'Billions and billions of mind-moments'!

Sorry :embarassed:
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