On page 362 the translators have this:
I can find nothing even remotely similar to this in the original translation which is supposed to be a closer translation to the Venerable's original syntax.Before one reaches this stage of insight knowledge, one will be deluded with regard to these points. For example when one goes to raise one's arm one believes that the arm one means to raise already exists.
Regardless of how the translation process took place, what does it mean?
Here is my explanation:
The Abhidhamma and commentaries state that rupa (matter) is a paramattha dhamma ("ultimate reality" or "actually existing"). One's arm is rupa and the Abhidhammattha Sangaha states that the rupa that a person is made of will continue to flow uninterruptedly from the time of rebirth-linking consciousness until death (at death it becomes temperature born matter in the form of a corpse until it turns to dust). Therefore, in some sense, one's arm is a paramattha dhamma and exists so long as one is alive (of course assuming one has not lost the arm somehow).
the translators must be referencing the conceptual "arm" which, being a concept, does not exist and what one is actually referencing is rapidly arising and falling rupa, and no such thing as an "arm" actually exists, only the paramattha dhammas that one conceptualizes as an "arm", and can see only as visible form, and touch as matter, exist. So they are correct in implying that there is no "arm" in this sense.
On a side note, from this, it would seem that, with a different understanding, wording and context, one could correctly believe that there is rapidly arising and falling, continuous rupa in the location where one would typically have an "arm". This matter can be seen by oneself and others as visible form and touched as matter, despite that fact that it is inconstant and not self, rupa does exist in the location of the "arm" in the form of continuously rising and falling matter and is paramattha dhamma. The matter flows on uninteruptedly from the time of rebirth linking consciousness until death so there would be no time while one is alive that it could rightly said that there is absolutely no matter where one perceives the conceptual arm (unless of course one had lost the arm somehow).
Or could it be that they simply meant that, since the rupa dhammas of the "arm" are constantly rising and falling, the "arm" that will be raised when one considers it is not the same as the one that will eventually be raised since it will have risen and fallen many times in the time between the consideration and action?
Can anyone clarify? Does this sound like an accurate explanation of the translators words?
1.) Abhidhamma Sangaha paragraph 2: "The things contained in the abhidhamma, spoken of therein, are altogether fourfold from the standpoint of ultimate reality: consciousness, mental factors, matter and Nibbana."
2.) Abhidhammattha Sangaha, paragraph 24: "Thus the continuity of material groups produced in four ways-namely, kamma-born from the time of rebirth-linking, consciousness born from the second moment of consciousness, temperature-born from the time of the stage of presence, nutriment-born from the time of the diffusion of nutritive essence-uninterruptedly flows on in the sense sphere till the end of life, like the flame of a lamp or the stream of a river."
Abhidhammattha Sangaha paragraph 25: "But at the time of death, kamma-born material phenomena no longer arise starting with the stage of presence of the seventeenth consciousness preceding the death consciousness. Kamma-born material phenomena that arose earlier occur till the death-moment and then cease. Following that, the consciousness-born and nutriment-born material phenomena come to cessation. Thereafter, a continuity of material qualities produced by temperature persists in the form of a corpse."
3.)Vipassana Treatise Vol 1 pages 210-211(original translation of Manual of Insight) " Hence, the nature of the thing seen is only the form
or visible object"
"In this regard, if it is said that
there are females and males with whom contact is made, although
they might not have been seen, the phenomena contacted in reality
is not female or male, etc. It is only the "matter" that is touched
(phoṭṭhabba-rūpa) just like the visible object which is seen."
4.)Manual of Insight page 96 "Therefore, in order for there to be seeing, there must e eye-sensitivity, and there must be visible forms that really exist, are realities that genuinely exist, are personally experienced, and are ultimate reality."
5.)A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 26 "For example "being", and "man, and "woman" are...an assemblage of impermanent factors, of mental and physical processes. Thus by examining the conventional realities with wisdom, we eventually arrive at the objective actualities that lie behind our conceptual constructs. It is these objective actualities-the dhammas, which maintain their intrinsic natures independently of the mind's constructive functions-that form the ultimate realities of the abhidhamma. ...ultimate realities exist as the concrete essences of things... Only by means of wise or thorough attention to things (yoniso manasikara) can one see beyond the concepts and take the ultimate realities as one's object of knowledge. Thus paramattha is described as that which belongs to the domain of ultimate or supreme knowledge."