legolas wrote:Hi, D.F
I actually had a bet with myself that the sutta with Bahiya would be introduced. This sutta does not mention non-conceptuality. I can look at something and understand through reasoned thought processes that one of the events taking place is "just seeing", there is no need for mental gymnastics to induce some sort of trance state. If I choose to be aware of "just seeing" I can begin to investigate that process according to my inclination e.g notself, impermanent, causally arisen etc.
The other suttas mentioned have no content in them that justifies a non-conceptual approach. I do not deny that the nibbana experience is beyond conceptual understanding, however you cannot take the "result" as the path - this is a course taken by our Buddhist brothers in the other tradition. One question that revolves around semantics- would you relate the word concept with perception? As I understand it, a perception cannot take place in isolation and has to involve at least a modicum of conceptual thought.
Your statement above about understanding "not-self" through reasoned thought processes justifies the existence of commentaries, because the suttas are sometimes not precise enough. Actual insight is NOT a reasoned thought process, otherwise we all have become arahants like Bahyia already. It's totally another matter to understand not-self through reasoning than actually understand "in the seeing just the seen" right at the moment seeing is taking place. If sati and sampajana are not there at the moment eye consciousness meets the object through the eye organ, moha is automatically arising and taking seeing as "I see", as it's just the nature of moha. Any reasoning that comes afterwards is mere reasoning, unless that reasoning process becomes object of sati and sampajana it-self - in that case, there can be insight into the not-self nature of that very thought process.
Yeah... there seems to be a difference in our understanding of concepts here. Let's take a moment and make a distinction between concept and reality.
Take the example of the sutta I mentioned in my last post. According to the Buddha,
Tathagata = concept why : because there's no way we can actually experience the Tathagata
Five aggregates (materiality, feeling, perception, mental fabrication, consciousness)= reality. Why ? Because these can be actually experienced.
In the same way, can we directly experience the 32 parts of the body as such ? Can we experience the eye, the ear, the tongue, the skin without the thought process that gives them a name ?
No, what we can experienced is only hardness, softness, heat, cold etc....
Do the exercise and see for your self ! This truth is not in the commentaries, it's in your body and mind.
Even hardness, softness, heat, cold .... are only names because the reality of each element can not be experienced without the others' and just constantly passes away as soon as it arises.
As to answer your question whether I relate concept with perception. Well, concept is the result of the perception process. Because the process happens extremely fast, we assume that as soon as our eyes meet an object, it knows what the object is. Actually it is not so. Our eyes first see color, shape comes next and association comes up in the mind process to make sense of what we see. This can be experienced by practitioner. When sati has momentum, this perception process is still happening normally, but at the same time panna arises and understands the whole process as just process, not self. So panna is about the nature of the perception process, and not about the object of that perception - which is a concept made up by that process.
Of course, there's different levels of insights. The deeper it goes, the stronger the chracteristics of anicca, dukkha, anatta is felt, and the more unreal the objects seem to be...
I hope I have been more clear now, any comment is welcome !