You are currently viewing Aññamañña Paccaya – Condition of Correspondence

Aññamañña Paccaya – Condition of Correspondence

Wherever two (or more) phenomena possess similar characteristics, a correspondence between these two phenomena can be seen. And whatever is known about one of them, may hold true also about the other. That is, any point of contact between two things known, may permit a certain exploration of things unknown, for him who comprehends this Paṭṭhāna condition.

It is because of this condition of correspondence19, that a person may make deductions regarding things which appear to be of quite different natures. Thus, if we would seek to grasp or comprehend anything unknown, we might start, by finding a relation or correspondence with things we know about. For example, seeking to comprehend ‘what is matter’, we could make a start by defining it for instance in terms of the instruments that cognise or recognise the matter. That is, we may learn to grasp ‘what is earth’, by defining it for example, through what we perceive with the eye, calling it form, or perhaps even colour; or through the sense of touch, calling it hard or soft, or rough, or heavy. And in a similar manner, we could try to grasp ‘what is mind’. That is, by relating it, for example to not-mind…Defining it for instance as that, which knows material-phenomena (i.e. material things), or that which thinks of, or comprehends phenomena (i.e. things). And this is actually a very fundamental method of how things are generally known. In fact, even knowing something as simple as, ‘what is fast’ may actually only be achieved, by relating it to something slower, or we can in reality know what is large only by relating it to something smaller.

These may as a starting ground, show already the fundamental nature of this condition.

Then we will, in our treatment of the subsequent Paṭṭhāna conditions, usually start with by considering about the nature of the four elements in relation to whatever Paṭṭhāna condition is concerned.

In relation to this Paṭṭhāna condition of correspondence, the first analogy we find is, that the characteristics of the four elements within the body, somehow correspond to the characteristics of these four properties of matter on the larger scale of phenomena in nature. The flesh and bones within the body, somewhat correspond to the earth and stones without in nature. The flow of the blood within, somewhat corresponds to the flow of the rivers without. An element of wind can be witnessed both without as within and so it is with an element of warmth.

And understanding things thus, we see that the comprehension of each sphere supports the comprehension of the other sphere.

But this is by far not the limit of this condition in relation to the four elements. In fact, if we can find some point of reference between any thing or experience to any of these elements, actually almost anything may become comprehensible using this condition of correspondence or analogy.

Thus, seeing some relation between even the mind and any of the elements, we may have some chance of comprehending for example this very subtle and most difficult to comprehend element.

Along such line, the mind, precisely due to being subtle, can be understood to have this quality in common with the air element. But then, we have previously divided the mind into emotions, mental processes and ideas. Each of which can be seen to possess certain qualities related to the elements. Thus one may see a relation between emotions and the element of water. In that, emotions are to a fair degree only reflections of sense-impressions (which may be understood to be aspects of the earth element) unified in one singular element. Mental processes on the other hand, are quite different. For example, they possess a certain forward movement, which is a characteristic of the wind element. While ideas, again are different, in that they possess a certain quality of lastingness, which is a quality of the earth element.

And following these tracks one may extends one’s understanding both of the elements and the subject of correspondence, almost ad infinitum.

Then, we had in the first part of the book, as the subject subsequent to the four elements, what we called the life-element. And there too, we should try to see, where we can find some prove for this condition of correspondence.

So we may observe, that there exists a certain correspondence between the life in the plants of nature and the life that animates us human beings.

We observe a tiny seed, growing gradually to a tender plant, into a fully grown tree, which with time yet perishes; and realise that this sequence of growth and decay too exists in the animal and human kingdom.

Even further than that, comprehending the sequence from a fertilised ovum to a fully mature human being, we might realise something about the evolution of physical forms in general, and perhaps even make certain deductions as to where they might be heading to. A fertilised ovum may appear hardly different from a drop of blood or even turbid water. But it gradually develops to a condition quite akin to certain forms of vegetation. Then it evolves into an almost fish-like creature. Further it becomes more and more mammalian shaped. And finally a baby of human features exits a mother’s womb, to grow further still until its peak of development is reached. There we have two sequences of development. And what we know about one of them gives us a clue about the other.

Yet still other life phenomena can be translated back and forth using this condition of correspondence. So may the human body serve as a comprehending device to gain some better understanding about, as one example ‘larger bodies’, such as a ‘body of a society’. Which will be a very important clue also to get the most out of many of the Paṭṭhāna conditions to follow.

For instance, one might perceive a certain correspondence between the stomach of the body, and the working class of a society. The stomach’s duty being to ‘harvest’ nutriment from the matter produced by nature, just as the duty of the farmer and field worker is to ‘harvest’ food from the field or from nature in general. A method of correlation which will serve to understand anything one might seek to know about the larger body of society. Anything known about the physical body one should try to find some correspondence in the larger body of concern. So investigating further, we might find, that, as there are organs which produce hormones for the refinement and pleasure of the whole body, so there are householders, whose work is to transform the coarse materials of a bare natural life into varieties of things for enjoyment and trade. Then there are organs and body parts which protect the body from dangers; either within, from viruses and harmful bacteria, or from without, from things that threaten the body as a whole; just as there exists a police force or army in every country. These in turn, are ruled over by the king or ruler of the state, as the lesser part of the brain rules over the, for the most part, unconscious processes of the body. Finally, there is the greater part of the brain, which gives meaning to the experience of the entity as a whole. And this then corresponds to the priest or philosopher, whose duty is to give meaning to life.

Leaving the world of matter behind, we might consider the mind by itself. There we may as a start, correlate the alternations of the manifest and latent periods of a mental process, as given in the first part of the book, with the alternations of waking and sleeping within the full course of a 24 hour day. Both of which in turn could then give us some clues in regards to the condition of the mind after a period of manifest life. That is, after death.

Alternatively or additionally, we may then also relate the condition of consciousness or the manner and content of thinking, to the various planes of existence and the beings that are said to exist therein. Which I have already covered in the post on the ”Planes of Existence‘. So that I will not go further into it now.

Finally, we have as a last category of the mind, ideas or concepts. Thinking of these in relation to this Paṭṭhāna condition, we may find, that there are ideas which correspond to reality and there are ideas which do not correspond to reality. And it is he who possesses ideas which correspond to reality whom people call a wise person. While he who possesses only ideas which do not correspond to reality, will sooner or later be known as a fool.


And from this whole treatment given above, it might become clear, that the Paṭṭhāna may indeed provide a key for comprehending the entirety of existence.

Then we might consider the mind by itself. For example, we may correlate the interplay of the manifest and latent periods of a mental process, as given in the first part of the book, with the alternations of waking and sleeping within the full course of a day. Both of which in turn could give us some clues in regards to the condition of the mind after a period of manifest life. Alternatively or additionally, we may then also relate the condition of consciousness or the manner and content of thinking to the various planes of existence and the beings that are said to exist therein. But this point I have already covered in the post on the ‘Planes of Existence‘. So that I will not go


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