You've clearly got a different take on some key terminology to me, so it makes sense for you to define this yourself, I think. For what it's worth, your saññā seems more similar to my nama-rupa (i.e. name and form, or as Sylvester called it elsewhere, naming and form).
But which vortex do you refer to? The point at paṭighasamphassa
(bare/initial sensory contact, which afflicts even Arahants) or adhivacanasamphassa
(designation contact, which Arahants continue to use as as part of naming) or the sequel paññapeti
(which Arahants continue to do as part of the sphere of wisdom/paññāvacara
so necessary to communicate the reality of suffering)?
Your questions always hurt my head Sylvester.
I don't think I mean any of those, because I understand phassa in accordance with Nanavira Thera's description of it. I'd source the definition for you now, but the site in question is blocked at my present location.
Given that the mutual reinforcement of the experience of nama-rupa (the naming of forms of the naming of forms of the naming of forms...) is occasionally depicted in sutta depictions of paticcasamuppada, I think that's adequate vortex enough without necessitating any kind of 1:1 mapping to any of those three low-level phenomena you mention... none of which I'm particularly familiar with.
The reason why I cited those "low level phenomena" is because they play a central role in both Ven Nanavira's and Ven Nanananda's interpretation of contact/phassa
respectively. Both venerables rely on DN 15 in their exegeses based on their understanding of the functions of paṭighasamphassa
in relation to contact and the post awakening consciousness of the Arahant. Both rightly reject the Abhidhammic and Commentarial limitation placed on paṭighasamphassa (see Hamilton cited earlier).
However, was Ven Nanananda justified in relying on the Kalahavivada Sutta, Sn 873 (at - http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 20#p101001
) to suggest that the transcendance of rūpa
described therein is some "supramundane" state that defines an Arahant 24/7? (Nibbana Sermon 11 - http://www.beyondthenet.net/calm/nibbana11.htm
). One could write reams of grammatical and doctrinal analyses about saññānidānā
being the cause of papañcasaṅkhā
. Were one to take the DN 15 analysis, yes, adhivacanasamphassa
mediated through perception can lead to papañca
, but it is also clear from DN 15 that the same adhivacanasamphassa
can also lead away from papañca
(the sphere of wisdom).
Part of the huge confusion surrounding Early Buddhist causation thinking is the non-recognition that "cause" is usually understood to mean "necessary condition", instead of "sufficient condition". What reason has Ven Nanananda offered that the "hi
" in Sn 873 should be read as a sufficient condition? This error is as good as saying that the feeling nidana
is a sufficient cause of craving, thereby negating the promise of the suttas that sense restraint is effective.
I think another way to approach the Buddha's reply in Sn 873 above is to consider the more probable situation that He was not describing an Arahant's consciousness 24/7, but a special post-Awakening samādhi
that has as its perception "Bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ, bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ
" mentioned in AN 10.7. Ven Nanananda mentions this in Sermon 5. See that sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
for a listing of states which are not perceived therein. This is not a 24/7 attainment, judging from Ven Sāriputta's report.
One would have thought that if papañca
of "substance" and the "existence/non-existence" dichotomy, in addition to conceptualisation of "self", DN 15 would not have failed to mention it. Yet, DN 15 is not only glaring in its silence, but instead, lauds the right kind of conceptualisation. DN 15 is uncompromising in its insistence on the absolute mutual dependance of nāma
on one another to enable paññatti
of the other. When either leg is missing, consciousness cannot arise.
The whole point about DN 15 damning papañca
but not other forms of conceptualisation/paññatti
lies in this little bit here from the section on the delineations of self. I've set out both BB's and Ven T's translations. Note the underlined words -
In what ways, Ānanda, does one describing self describe it? Describing self as having material form and as limited, one describes it thus: ‘My self has material form and is limited.’ Or describing self as having material form and as infinite, one describes it thus: ‘My self has material form and is infinite.’ Or describing self as immaterial and limited, one describes it thus: ‘My self is immaterial and limited.’ Or describing self as immaterial and infinite, one describes it thus: ‘My self is immaterial and infinite.’
“Therein, Ānanda, one who describes self as having material form and as limited either describes such a self (as existing only) in the present or he describes such a self (as existing) there in the future, or he thinks: ‘That which is not thus, I will convert towards the state of being thus.’ This being so, it can aptly be said that a settled view (of self) as having material form and as limited underlies this. [per BB]
To what extent, Ananda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.'
"Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him. [per Ven T]
Kittāvatā ca ānanda attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti: rūpiṃ vā hi ānanda parittaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti 'rūpī me paritto attāti'ti, rūpiṃ vā hi ānanda anantaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti 'rūpī me ananto attā'ti, 'arūpiṃ vā hi ānanda parittaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti 'arūpī me paritto attā'ti, arūpiṃ vā hi ānanda anantaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti 'arūpī me ananto attā'ti.
24. "Tatrānanda yo so rūpiṃ parittaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti1, etarahi vā so rūpiṃ parittaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti. Tattha bhāviṃ vā so rūpiṃ parittaṃ attānaṃ paññapento paññapeti. Atathaṃ vā pana santaṃ tathattāya upakappessāmī ti iti vā panassa hoti. Evaṃ santaṃ kho ānanda rūpiṃ parittattānudiṭṭhi anusetīti iccālaṃ vacanāya.
It's obvious what the problem is. There is nothing wrong per se
with contact or perception or any of the other Aggregates. Both Arahants and worldlings make contacts, namely paṭighasamphassa
. The root of the problem is disclosed by the verb anuseti
, which immediately should make it clear that the problem is not the contact, but the accompanying anusaya
. I would be happy to see evidence to the contrary, but don't the suttas discuss diṭṭhanusaya
(the latent tendency to views) in referential frames of "self"?
I'm happy to report that the Dharmaguptaka parallel to DN 15 preserved in the Chinese has the same treatment as the Pali regarding papañca
, ie it limits the discussion to descriptions/delineations of "self". It brought tears of relief to discover that the Chinese parallel escaped any intrusion of the later concept of prapañca
, despite being translated at a time when Mahayana was well established in China.