A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

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zan
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A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:15 pm

I love everything about the Abhidhamma and commentaries that I have learned for the most part.

However one thing seems difficult:

How does one go about one's life after one has learned to see billions of separate mind moments rising and falling every few seconds?

It seems that the illusion of continuity of consciousness is what allows us to function and not be distracted by the incredibly huge number of tiny things that are actually happening. We filter this process out in order to be able to pay attention to things.

Is it optional? For example, could one who can see the ultimate nature of consciousness as detailed above choose whether to see things as completely broken up or choose to see them as a flowing, continuous experience at will?

Or perhaps it is conditional? For example one sees things as they really are, as detailed above, when concentrated and specifically attempting to see them this way and whenever this specific effort of concentration wears off or is directed in some other manner it will no longer appear this way?

Further, who sees these things? Is it a specific training to see this way that is deliberate and only those who choose to will? Rather like the supernormal powers that are optional? Or is it that all Buddhists who practice insight meditation with enough effort will eventually start seeing a billion mind moments rise and fall while they watch a single flash of lightning?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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SDC
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby SDC » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:08 am

With the stricter guidelines of the Classical Theravada forum you may want to consider asking this sort of question in General Theravada.

From the guidelines here:

Posts that contain personal opinions and conjecture, points of view arrived at from meditative experiences, conversations with devas, blind faith in the supreme veracity of one's own teacher's point of view etc. are all regarded as off-topic, and as such, will be subject to moderator review and/or removal.

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:23 am

SDC wrote:With the stricter guidelines of the Classical Theravada forum you may want to consider asking this sort of question in General Theravada.

From the guidelines here:

Posts that contain personal opinions and conjecture, points of view arrived at from meditative experiences, conversations with devas, blind faith in the supreme veracity of one's own teacher's point of view etc. are all regarded as off-topic, and as such, will be subject to moderator review and/or removal.


Is my question against the guidelines? Apologies if so. I want an orthodox explanation of this particular aspect of the dhamma. How should I word it better to be within the guidelines?

Essentially I want to know the Abhidhamma/commentary explanation as to how and/or why one would start seeing a billion mind moments in a flash of lightning and whether or not this is optional. I see now where my OP accidentally contains some personal conjecture but I assure you my question is strictly orthodox and I am searching for an orthodox answer.

Do you think I would have better luck editing this OP to be within the guidelines or posting it as is in General Theravada? My concern is that I will get posts that are not orthodox and therefore do not actually answer the question.
Last edited by zan on Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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SDC
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby SDC » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:29 am

Your post is fine but it may be difficult for members to answer these questions in accordance with the guidelines. So you may get fewer responses.

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:33 am

SDC wrote:Your post is fine but it may be difficult for members to answer these questions in accordance with the guidelines. So you may get fewer responses.


Oh okay. So in your opinion is there an explanation that can be found in the classical literature? Or is this one of those things where no one really knows where it came from? Bhikkhu Nanamoli said roughly this about the origin of the bhavanga and other such Abhidhamma concepts in a note from chapter IV of his translation of the Visuddhimagga. Nonetheless I assumed there must be some explanation as to how it actually takes place. Perhaps I am wrong?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby SDC » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:45 am

Strange as it may seem, I've not read a page of the Abhidhamma so I would not venture a guess of whether or not such answers could be found there. I suppose it is possible. Leave the post here for a few days and if you do not get any responses you could cross-post it in GTD to see if there is perhaps something outside the Abhidhamma that might provide some clarification.

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Virg02
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby Virg02 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:12 am

Even an Arahant is not aware of the 1 billion plus cittas in the blink of the eye. We are rarely ever aware of any of them with sati as they arise, and when we are it is of a nimitta of the object of the citta. Citta and cetasika still arise and experience their objects, but that does not mean we are aware of the lakhana at that moment. An Arahant is not aware all of the time, they simply have kiriya cittas arising, because they are free, you see.

Virgo

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robertk
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby robertk » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:13 am

it is all exactly like now. Sense door processes, and mindoor processes, taking realities or concepts as object, interspersed with bhavanga cittas.

all that is different is an increase in understanding : understanding of what is real and what is concept, and understanding of the 3 marks.

the flashes of actual vipassana insight are very short, and so I hear, during those moments the world is upturned and the mindoor is "seen" . But still it is only like now - just that sudden clarity is starting to eliminate the idea of permanence and self view.

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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:46 pm

robertk wrote:it is all exactly like now. Sense door processes, and mindoor processes, taking realities or concepts as object, interspersed with bhavanga cittas.

all that is different is an increase in understanding : understanding of what is real and what is concept, and understanding of the 3 marks.

the flashes of actual vipassana insight are very short, and so I hear, during those moments the world is upturned and the mindoor is "seen" . But still it is only like now - just that sudden clarity is starting to eliminate the idea of permanence and self view.


Okay so insight doesn't take the form of a total shift in how our processing works but rather of understanding through inference after the fact? For example, one would experience seeing and then for a moment see the mind door and then realize how cognition actually takes place afterward? So the process is one of after the fact knowledge that takes place during during normal perceptual experience, rather than dramatically altered perception?

So the insight knowledge of fear, for example, is not a result of a change in fundamental perception but rather the result of knowledge gained through inference? If so, this is probably why the Visuddhimagga specifically points out that the knowledge of terror is not actually a state of fear which it almost definitely would be if the meditator were experiencing dramatically altered perception:

32. But does the knowledge of appearance as terror [itself] fear or does it not
fear? It does not fear. For it is simply the mere judgment that past formations have
ceased, present ones are ceasing, and future ones will cease. Just as a man with
eyes looking at three charcoal pits at a city gate is not himself afraid, since he
only forms the mere judgment that all who fall into them will suffer no little
pain;—or just as when a man with eyes looks at three spikes set in a row, an
acacia spike, an iron spike, and a gold spike, he is not himself afraid, since he
only forms the mere judgment that all who fall on these spikes will suffer no
little pain;—so too the knowledge of appearance as terror does not itself fear; it
only forms the mere judgment that in the three kinds of becoming, which resemble
the three charcoal pits and the three spikes, past formations have ceased, present
ones are ceasing, and future ones will cease.
33. But it is called “appearance as terror” only because formations in all kinds
of becoming, generation, destiny, station, or abode are fearful in being bound for
destruction and so they appear only as a terror.


-Visuddhimagga chapter XI paragraph 32-33

Instead, since the meditator is only experiencing inferred knowledge through experience he is not actually in a state of terror.
Last edited by zan on Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:53 pm

Virg02 wrote:Even an Arahant is not aware of the 1 billion plus cittas in the blink of the eye. We are rarely ever aware of any of them with sati as they arise, and when we are it is of a nimitta of the object of the citta. Citta and cetasika still arise and experience their objects, but that does not mean we are aware of the lakhana at that moment. An Arahant is not aware all of the time, they simply have kiriya cittas arising, because they are free, you see.

Virgo




Okay, please forgive this clumsy analogy:

So it is a bit like how we infer that light moves at such an extremely fast speed, yet it is completely impossible that we would ever actually be able to see this happen. Likewise, we infer that a billion mind moments take place in a flash of lightning, yet we could never actually see this take place. Is this correct?
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:02 pm

SDC wrote:Strange as it may seem, I've not read a page of the Abhidhamma so I would not venture a guess of whether or not such answers could be found there. I suppose it is possible. Leave the post here for a few days and if you do not get any responses you could cross-post it in GTD to see if there is perhaps something outside the Abhidhamma that might provide some clarification.


Thank you.
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

R1111
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby R1111 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:27 pm

zan wrote:How does one go about one's life after one has learned to see billions of separate mind moments rising and falling every few seconds?

As usual, one should exert oneself in training and keep poundering the Teachings and keep removing doubt and integrating the acquired wisdom.
If one is very well established in the view then the attainment of Stream Entry should be within one's "exertion reach" and one will attain Insight quickly.

zan wrote:For example, could one who can see the ultimate nature of consciousness as detailed above choose whether to see things as completely broken up or choose to see them as a flowing, continuous experience at will?

I cant speak for Arahants but its harder than you make it seem to keep such strong wisdom and not grasp what the senses present at all times. However establishing mindfulness (Sati) is seeing reality in terms of ultimate nature of consciousness and Dhammas,looking at the 3Cs, its something that takes effort on one's part but it also becomes progressively habitual until wisdom completely replaces delusion. Nibbana is seeing completely clearly, Parinibbana is same but with remaining mental volition.

zan wrote:Further, who sees these things?

The owner of the Kamma sees it.

zan wrote:Is it a specific training to see this way that is deliberate and only those who choose to will?

Yes i think so, Insight meditation is the training and takes effort.

zan wrote: Or is it that all Buddhists who practice insight meditation with enough effort will eventually start seeing a billion mind moments rise and fall while they watch a single flash of lightning?

This type of cognizing and discernment comes with from a good grasp of doctorine and sucessive personal Insight realizations.

In the end tho the knowledge and wisdom of the realization has to be constantly contemplated so that the views integrate and progressively manifest in one's behavior. Behavior is the last thing to change. When view is purified one is essentially dealing with ignorance.
Insight Meditation Instruction text: http://www.sirimangalo.org/text/how-to-meditate/
Mahasi Method Video Instruction by Ven. Yuttadhammo: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... B03E12F5A1
Breath Meditation by Ven. Ajahn Sona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdSalC1 ... z-yk5V_zQ-
Dhammapada Audio List https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... JVtWyHKLjI <3

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Virg02
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby Virg02 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:13 pm

zan wrote:
So it is a bit like how we infer that light moves at such an extremely fast speed, yet it is completely impossible that we would ever actually be able to see this happen. Likewise, we infer that a billion mind moments take place in a flash of lightning, yet we could never actually see this take place. Is this correct?

Yes, I think this analogy is correct.

Virg02

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robertk
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby robertk » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:22 pm

Instead, since the meditator is only experiencing inferred knowledge through experience he is not actually in a state of terror.

right, the actual experience can only come with pleasant or neutral feeling, never with any dosa or angst.
It is really deep wisdom that is directly understanding the extraordinary impermanence and unsatisfactoriness of the khandhas/samsara/"life"

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robertk
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby robertk » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:32 pm

Okay so insight doesn't take the form of a total shift in how our processing works but rather of understanding through inference after the fact? For example, one would experience seeing and then for a moment see the mind door and then realize how cognition actually takes place afterward? So the process is one of after the fact knowledge that takes place during during normal perceptual experience, rather than dramatically altered perception
?

basically yes. in normal daily life the minddoor is in a sense hidden by the sense doors.

But during the brief moments of vipassana nana the minddoor is clearly seen- namaruparicheddanana - and so the distinction between mind and matter becomes clear.

It must be more than one process that is discerned but still it happens so fast and then life is back to normal, with the minddoor again hidden: but the insight was vivid, it is not forgotten, so I heard. It supports what one learned from the texts and so a virtuous circle builds, leading to further direct insight later and so on..

R1111
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby R1111 » Sat Mar 18, 2017 4:43 pm

Even after realization of the Path for a Sotapanna there is still work to be done, because of conditioning there are so many automatized reactions to familiar perceptions, likes and dislikes so it will require all of his effort, wholehearted and heedful exertion in the practise to get rid of delusion completely.

For him it is easier a way tho, because he cant help becoming mindful relatively often and thinks about Dhamma, Buddha, Sangha and reflects on his own behavior in light of the Teachings. This is how he spends majority of his time, and abides in these thoughts for the most part. Constantly poundering his realizations and the Dhamma.

Further being unable to ignore the 3Cs completely, he can no longer just indulge in things, he will become mindful periodically albeit occasionally. Even when clinging to what is dear and becoming heedless, there is a stronger sense of conscientiousness rooted in realization of the truth, it's painful and unpleasant sensation. So he realizes occasionally that he is only indulging out of ignorance of the Dhamma and weakened discernment faculty, knowing it as painful and envisioning the fruit of being Appamada.
Insight Meditation Instruction text: http://www.sirimangalo.org/text/how-to-meditate/
Mahasi Method Video Instruction by Ven. Yuttadhammo: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... B03E12F5A1
Breath Meditation by Ven. Ajahn Sona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdSalC1 ... z-yk5V_zQ-
Dhammapada Audio List https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... JVtWyHKLjI <3

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:39 pm

Virg02 wrote:
zan wrote:
So it is a bit like how we infer that light moves at such an extremely fast speed, yet it is completely impossible that we would ever actually be able to see this happen. Likewise, we infer that a billion mind moments take place in a flash of lightning, yet we could never actually see this take place. Is this correct?

Yes, I think this analogy is correct.

Virg02


Okay thank you so much! This clears it up and is very helpful!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:

zan
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Re: A billion mind moments in the blink of an eye

Postby zan » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:43 pm

robertk wrote:
Okay so insight doesn't take the form of a total shift in how our processing works but rather of understanding through inference after the fact? For example, one would experience seeing and then for a moment see the mind door and then realize how cognition actually takes place afterward? So the process is one of after the fact knowledge that takes place during during normal perceptual experience, rather than dramatically altered perception
?

basically yes. in normal daily life the minddoor is in a sense hidden by the sense doors.

But during the brief moments of vipassana nana the minddoor is clearly seen- namaruparicheddanana - and so the distinction between mind and matter becomes clear.

It must be more than one process that is discerned but still it happens so fast and then life is back to normal, with the minddoor again hidden: but the insight was vivid, it is not forgotten, so I heard. It supports what one learned from the texts and so a virtuous circle builds, leading to further direct insight later and so on..


Okay thank you very much! This sounds a lot more reasonable than the incorrect understanding I was forming!
I don't have much knowledge of the Dhamma, I'm just a beginner. Keep that in mind before you take anything I say too seriously :tongue:


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