The meeting of the three is contact

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Sam Vara
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:07 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:34 pm

One can argue that the rainbow does not exist without you looking at it, attention seem to be necessary for knowing whether things exist or does not exist.

Apart from semantics, i was trying to understand the significance of contact, or why the Buddha chose a certain way of deconstructing our experience as opposite to other possible ways.
I think the significance of describing contact in this way is precisely that: to show how it is dependent upon a type of consciousness, which in turn is dependent on our material bodies and things "out there". It's to argue against the existence of an eternal ibdependent "experiencer" which records whatever impacts it.

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DooDoot
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by DooDoot » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:33 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:17 pm
"attention" (mind consciousness) not eye consciousness. What is contact?
My impression is "contact" means a distinct sense impression or sensory impact where consciousness "cognises" or "knows" that sense impression distinctly. For example, while I a writing this post, all kinds of sounds, close & distant, are connecting with or drifting in & out of my ear but they are not all distinct sense impressions therefore they are probably all not contacts. It is only those sounds that strike my ear to a degree that I notice them distinctly that it is contact.

As for "attention", this sounds like a continuous consciousness of a sense object sustained by some type of intention. The word for "attention" is "manasikara", which appears connected to "thought" or "thinking" rather than "consciousness" ("viññāṇa"; vi + jñā), which appears to be direct experience. "Viññāṇa: sounds like one of those "nana" Pali words that means direct knowledge or direct experience, often translated as "wisdom".
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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pegembara
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by pegembara » Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:58 am

Contact is a necessary condition for there to be an experience of the world of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, feelings, thoughts etc. Because of its transcience, 'consciousness-vinnana' is essentially digital one-zeroes rather than constant.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Bundokji
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Bundokji » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:35 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:33 pm
My impression is "contact" means a distinct sense impression or sensory impact where consciousness "cognises" or "knows" that sense impression distinctly. For example, while I a writing this post, all kinds of sounds, close & distant, are connecting with or drifting in & out of my ear but they are not all distinct sense impressions therefore they are probably all not contacts. It is only those sounds that strike my ear to a degree that I notice them distinctly that it is contact.

As for "attention", this sounds like a continuous consciousness of a sense object sustained by some type of intention. The word for "attention" is "manasikara", which appears connected to "thought" or "thinking" rather than "consciousness" ("viññāṇa"; vi + jñā), which appears to be direct experience. "Viññāṇa: sounds like one of those "nana" Pali words that means direct knowledge or direct experience, often translated as "wisdom".
Thank you DD :anjali:

Would it be accurate to say that the act of contrasting or dividing which is necessary for thinking begins at contact?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Bundokji » Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:04 am

pegembara wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 7:58 am
Contact is a necessary condition for there to be an experience of the world of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touch, feelings, thoughts etc. Because of its transcience, 'consciousness-vinnana' is essentially digital one-zeroes rather than constant.
One way to divide the human experience in the world is through the ability to recollect the experience in the future. For example, if i am sitting with you and other people at the same table, but i am only talking to you while the rest of the group are talking to each other, their voices would be audible to me or within the periphery of my experience, but i cant comprehend it because i am talking to you, and therefore, i am unable to recollect it.

The ability to recollect seems to be associated with discerning what might be influencing us which should enhance our ability to control and take responsibility of our choices. If you take the idea of subliminal messages for example, it is difficult to say if we saw it or heard it, but it is said to be influencing future behavior and choices..

Does the western idea of the unconscious mind has any parallels with Buddhism?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Jeff_ » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:19 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:04 am
The ability to recollect seems to be associated with discerning what might be influencing us which should enhance our ability to control and take responsibility of our choices.
In the Nagara Sutta (The Fortress - AN 7:63), the Buddha identifies this ability to recollect as mindfulness:
“Just as the royal frontier fortress has a gatekeeper—wise, competent, intelligent—to keep out those he doesn’t know and to let in those he does, for the protection of those within and to ward off those without; in the same way a disciple of the noble ones is mindful, endowed with excellent proficiency in mindfulness, remembering & able to call to mind even things that were done & said long ago. With mindfulness as his gatekeeper, the disciple of the noble ones abandons what is unskillful, develops what is skillful, abandons what is blameworthy, develops what is blameless, and looks after himself with purity. With this sixth true quality is he endowed.

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DooDoot
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by DooDoot » Fri Aug 23, 2019 11:51 am

Bundokji wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:35 am
Would it be accurate to say that the act of contrasting or dividing which is necessary for thinking begins at contact?
The suttas, particularly MN 43, say consciousness & perception are cojoined; thus contact will include perception. My view is contrasting or dividing is 'perception'.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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acinteyyo
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by acinteyyo » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:10 am

Hi Bundokji,
Bundokji wrote:Why the Buddha did not say: the meeting of the two is contact?
It is probably misleading to assume that contact (phassa) is to be understood as "contact between these three things".
The sentence "The meeting of the three is contact" wouldn't make much sense if it were to be understood as meaning "The meeting of the three is the meeting between the three."
Instead it points out that "The meeting (saṅgati) of the three constitutes contact (phassa)".
With the "meeting" or "getting together" of eye & forms and the corresponding eye-consciousness contact (phassa) comes about.
If we accept to understand the words of the Buddha this way, it leads us to the question...
Bundokji wrote:What is contact?
contact (phassa) as a link of dependent origination involves ignorance (avijjā), craving (tanhā) and clinging (upādāna) and therefore comes in the wake of personality-view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) and I-making, my-making, i.e. appropriation. Contact (phassa) therefore is more likely to be understood as the "meeting of subject and object" or in other words the "arising of subjectivity and objectification with reference to the world" (loka).

This is why the Buddha did not say, the meeting of the two is contact, because the mere coming together of eye and forms is not a sufficient condition for the "arising of subjectivity and objectification with reference to the world". There with the meeting of the three the (my) point of view of me looking at the world, the separation into "I am here, there is the world" comes about and there is contact (phassa).

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:23 pm

I still don't get it. Consciousness arises in dependence upon a duality (eye and form), but then another duality ( of self and other) is somehow created by contact? This doesn't make sense.

And there is still no simple and practical explanation of what phassa actually is. How is phassa different from vinnana, practically speaking?
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confusedlayman
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by confusedlayman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:54 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:49 pm
Nicolas wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:36 pm
If you are asleep but your eyes are open, there appears to be no eye-consciousness there, yet light can hit the eye.
That would make the third necessary condition "attention" which is mind consciousness, not eye consciousness.
if u cognise something (car in ur parking) through eye door its eye consciousness. if u close ur eyes and cognise it through mind imagination, then its mind consciousness. it is eye consciousness because it need eye to enter light and form inverted image behind retina. without eye, no eye consciousness.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by confusedlayman » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:56 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:33 pm
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 3:17 pm
"attention" (mind consciousness) not eye consciousness. What is contact?
My impression is "contact" means a distinct sense impression or sensory impact where consciousness "cognises" or "knows" that sense impression distinctly. For example, while I a writing this post, all kinds of sounds, close & distant, are connecting with or drifting in & out of my ear but they are not all distinct sense impressions therefore they are probably all not contacts. It is only those sounds that strike my ear to a degree that I notice them distinctly that it is contact.

As for "attention", this sounds like a continuous consciousness of a sense object sustained by some type of intention. The word for "attention" is "manasikara", which appears connected to "thought" or "thinking" rather than "consciousness" ("viññāṇa"; vi + jñā), which appears to be direct experience. "Viññāṇa: sounds like one of those "nana" Pali words that means direct knowledge or direct experience, often translated as "wisdom".
good and informative
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

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acinteyyo
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by acinteyyo » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:20 pm

Hi Dinsdale,
Dinsdale wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 3:23 pm
I still don't get it. Consciousness arises in dependence upon a duality (eye and form)[...]
Eye-consciousness does arise in dependence of the eye and forms, but for eye-consciousness to appear there must also be a corresponding engagement. (see MN28)
Dinsdale wrote:..., but then another duality ( of self and other) is somehow created by contact? This doesn't make sense. And there is still no simple and practical explanation of what phassa actually is.
Wrong views like personality-view (sakkāya-ditthi) and the belief in a self (attavāda) originate from ignorance (avijjā). It's not contact (phassa) that creates a subject-object duality. This is a bit difficult to convey in words. Try to think about contact as some kind of "zone", maybe better like a "formation" where a subject-object duality becomes increasingly fabricated and apparent.
Dinsdale wrote:How is phassa different from vinnana, practically speaking?
I'll give it a try, but that's merely an attempt to answer your question as directly as I can from my point of view.
SN35.93 wrote:"Contacted, one feels. Contacted, one intends. Contacted, one perceives.
MN38 wrote:Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

"Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.
Contact and consciousness are closely connected. Practically speaking I would describe consciousness as the knowing of the respective phenomena from which it originates (e.g. eye-consciousness is the knowing of seeing forms via the eye-faculty) and contact as the coming together of sense-faculty the respective sense-object and the corresponding consciousness "touching (a) being" (i.e. "contacted one feels, contacted one intends, contacted one perceives", the sutta here doesn't say "contacted there is feeling, intention, perception" it says "contacted one feels, one intends, one perceives", which I interpret as a continuously rising fabrication of appearance of subjectivity on experience", for a lack of a better term ).

Please be forgiving if I haven't been able to express myself clear enough.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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anthbrown84
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by anthbrown84 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:10 am

Hello, here is an analogy that will really make this easier to understand

The working is is like a camera lense
Eye conciousness is like the light required to take the photo
Colour and Form is colour and form

CONTACT IS THE PHOTO TAKEN when all three meet


When eye meets form eye conciousness arises

So.. this arising eye conciousness arises from the conciousness potential that we have stored up (this is stored up because the 2nd link of dependent origination occurs?) it's what people call conciousness in the grander sense

That link us floating around as such, waiting for one of the internal sense bases to meet a corresponding external Base, arising as eye conciousness...

So for the eye Base, the eye is in good working order, the light in the room turns on and there is a form. Because the 2nd link has arisen and we have conciousness potential stored up, this potential manifest as eye conciousness

Then if at that point that the three have arisen, we could take a screen shot of exactly what we saw, that screen shot of the eye Base would be contact.

I hope this helps?
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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Bundokji
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by Bundokji » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:42 pm

anthbrown84 wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:10 am
Hello, here is an analogy that will really make this easier to understand

The working is is like a camera lense
Eye conciousness is like the light required to take the photo
Colour and Form is colour and form

CONTACT IS THE PHOTO TAKEN when all three meet


When eye meets form eye conciousness arises

So.. this arising eye conciousness arises from the conciousness potential that we have stored up (this is stored up because the 2nd link of dependent origination occurs?) it's what people call conciousness in the grander sense

That link us floating around as such, waiting for one of the internal sense bases to meet a corresponding external Base, arising as eye conciousness...

So for the eye Base, the eye is in good working order, the light in the room turns on and there is a form. Because the 2nd link has arisen and we have conciousness potential stored up, this potential manifest as eye conciousness

Then if at that point that the three have arisen, we could take a screen shot of exactly what we saw, that screen shot of the eye Base would be contact.

I hope this helps?
Thanks anthbrown84

I think eye consciousness refers to certain type of cognition (colors). What the six sense media have in common is that they differ in the first noun (eye, ear, nose ...etc), but all have the same function (cognition). The Buddha said we call it consciousness because it cognizes. What is also interesting is that the mind itself has consciousness (cognition of the intellect), so the mind and consciousness are two different things.

If have six different types of cognition. The question becomes: what connects them (or how they are connected)? Is there a consciousness separate from the six types of consciousness? according to Buddhism, there isn't. If we say they are connected by the mind (name), then the question becomes: what cognizes the mind? If we say the mind cognizes itself, then we confirm the existence of a self. The eye cognizes color, the ear cognizes sounds but there is something that cognizes both. What it is also interesting is that the process of confirmation transcends the individual. The fact that me and you are able to communicate and revisit this conversation implies that there is something unchanging and that what constitutes consciousness or the mind is not limited by our organic material.

The analogy of taking a photo and storing it is an interesting one, but it is based on materialism. Other interpretations of contact would be: a biased view? or knowing through negating? or filtration of sensory input?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

sunnat
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Re: The meeting of the three is contact

Post by sunnat » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:24 am

A chat to a monk led me to this understanding. Contact leads to a pleasant unpleasant or neutral feeling. The habit then is to react with craving or ignorance. The habit is to take the arising of ignorance as a signal to inquire and the correct response is to investigate the experience of having ignorance arising, iow to observe it rising, staying and passing, insight. As a result, with the passing of ignorance, the question is answered.

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