Concepts

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CONCEPTS & HIGHER TRUTHS

A concept is a synthesis of information arrived at through mental processing.

Through processing the objects of the 5 senses, man evolves concepts in regard to the world in which he finds himself…These concepts once anchored in him (lit. ‘taken in’- tadarammana) will bind him to that particular sphere of existence.

Desirous of going higher, attempting to attain higher spheres of consciousness (Jhānas), man requires more “All-encompassing” (“All” in a relative sense) -concepts, that allow for a broader vision of things.¹

Of those who become accomplished in experiences of a higher nature and a broader vision, some seek initiation into the higher secrets of the ultimate nature of the world and the path to its transcendence.


 ¹Ideas like 'loving kindness for all beings', 'all-encompassing compassion' and 'unconditional goodness' or 'totalities' like the kasinas (f.ex. fire-kasina for those who have much kamma along the line of fire-worship, earth for those who could evoke all-encompassing perceptions of earth (mother earth etc.), colours like white, which could produce all-encompassing perceptions of purity; or yellow...reminding of gold and thus divine-splendour, etc.)...were in ancient times the more commonly used. Yet, in modern times, were on the one hand side inspiring ideas are much more widespread and on the other hand psychological knowledge is at least to some degree common good,...a more comprehensible set of conditions in regards to understanding the meaning of mental development and the prerequisite for attempting to understand higher Dhamma ideas may be, that a person at least occasionally is feeling himself at one with his higher ideals, plus that he has a general habit of contemplating inspiring topics.

Making Concepts real

An acquired concept, that the mind has taken in on faith, without any further reflection, just adds to the “life stuff”. Yet sooner or later that will raise its head and thus become an object of mind-door adverting. If that mind-door adverting mind rejects that object as irrelevant or uninteresting, especially if repeatedly, it will arise less and less frequent at the mind-door and after some time will be out of reach of awareness altogether.

When the mind is taking up the concept, …thinking about it, …on the one hand, it will build up the higher faculties (5 indriyas), while on the other hand it will develop supportive kamma and thus condition a more frequent arising of the concept at the mind-door.

When the mind wants to comprehend the truthfulness of that concept, that is, if it wants to truly comprehend the concept, it has to break down that concept into more fundamental ideas until a level is reached, where some relation can be found with it.

Building up thus a relation with that concept, it starts to be taken in (tadārammaṇa) and thus slowly will condition the workings of consciousness itself. That is, it will condition, how and what kind of things consciousness perceives (cognises) in the first place.

This becomes very important, when considering about meditation, because in order to have even interest in meditation, you will have to learn to look at the world in quite a new way.

Then, in order to gain experiences in meditation, you will have to find an entrance into an altogether new world…and from there on acquire altogether new concepts related to that new world. These will help you to coordinate within that world, staying in it for longer periods of time. The more elaborate the concept, the longer you can hold the particular thing in your awareness, without being distracted.


Concepts and knowledge

Concepts become a faculty of Knowledge. Knowledge in turn can be subdivided into worldly knowledge and philosophical/ religious knowledge.

Worldly Knowledge, if entirely disconnected from any philosophical or religious conception, will only bind a person to the world. Yet, being bound to the human world until a certain stage of development must not necessarily be thought of as disadvantageous. Those concepts which the higher faculties (of exertion, wisdom, mindfulness), as well as the organism as a whole have learned to respond towards, will delineate the spectrum in which kamma making takes place.

Yet, as man evolves, ready made concepts become more and more numerous and man acquiring them, finds it oftentimes impossible to make his faculties and organism respond to each of them.

To the degree he fails, his organism will yield again more influence over his mind and consciousness. And thus a person will be forced to take on a more rudimentary form of existence of reacting to sense-impressions in accordance with prior kamma (thus mental processes will run primarily only until a rudimentary classification of received impressions, where after the mind just falls back into the life-continuum).

When people start to take up meditation or any form of activity directed at harmonising their mind with their body, this will usually be an important result thereof, that they again become more capable of longer mental processes and of making their organism and their higher faculties respond to acquired concepts.

CONCEPTS REGARDING THE 5 SENSORY WORLD

  • I’m a monk (Name-Concept)
  • A monk should do such and such type of things, should learn such and such type of things (Meaning-Concept)
  • Such and such person is a superior person, such and such person is an inferior person….that person is dangerous, that person is my friend…
  • Such and such are my duties, such and such things are optional
  • If I do this, I will get that result (breaking a rule, some person might reprimand me.., doing such and such, I may get more freedom)

CONCEPTS REGARDING THE FINE MATERIAL SPHERE OR MEDITATION IN GENERAL

  • 5 sensory existence/ experience is suffering
  • There are things higher than 5 sensory things
  • Peace and harmony are superior to fighting and conflict….
  • Having pleasant feeling in the body, anger or negativity is not likely to arise
  • If the mind is collected, no desire for other (worldly) things will arise
  • Sustainment of mind on the breath (or on any pleasant sensation), can counteract doubts and confusions
  • Too repeated application of mind without getting any good results, may cause doubt to arise Pushing a little in meditation energy can be produced. Pushing too much, energy may quickly dissipate
  • Repeated experiences of lightness and uprightness of the body may change a person into an optimistic good character
  • More Buddhist conceptions would be ideas like: an Arahat is ever vigorous, an Arahat is ever collected, ever upright…etc.
  • Or for Non-buddhists concepts that could cause similar results would be perhaps something like…’god is unity’, ‘god is all understanding, balance etc.’or something like- ‘god is unchanging’ (…which would lead a person to aspire for continuity and sustainment in meditation)¹

¹ In olden days, where there existed little of psychological knowledge in the way we know it ...religious practice usually had to start with symbols representing a god or something of a higher nature, but in modern days, were psychological knowledge is quite wide spread, it makes much more sense, to start off attempts at jhanas with a psychological understanding


CONCEPTS REGARDING ULTIMATE THINGS

  • All physical matter is composed of particles
  • The mind can be distinguished into various mental factors
  • There is a definite sequence regarding mental phenomena
  • There are various planes of existence, and they relate to the various states of consciousness or ways consciousness can function

We are trying to make real concepts related to the fine-material (and immaterial) realm in order to transcend 5 sensory existence…we are trying to make real concepts of an ultimate nature (related to arupa-realm?), in order to transcend the reality of the fine-material world.

MEASURE OF GOOD CONCEPTS

  • The success in any endeavour in any of those spheres of existence, depends (a) on acquiring good quality concepts and (b) skillfully making them a reality
  • A good concept (from a worldly perspective, from the perspective of consciousness) is one, that helps a person to skillfully develop his latent faculties into powers
  • Good concepts in regard to the 5 sensory world, are those, which allow us to prosper and find peace and happiness in the 5 sensory world
  • Good concepts in regard to the fine material world, are those which help us to find peace and happiness within ourselves
  • Good concepts regarding things of an ultimate nature are those, which help to explain All and everything
  • From a spiritual perspective, a good concept is any one, that basing itself on the law of cause and effect, helps a person to move beyond worldliness
  • A bad concept is one, which serves no useful purpose whatsoever

When one’s experiences in life start to align with one’s conceptual understanding of things, they begin to become real.

Thus, gaining life-experiences and processing them by means of a suitable concept can make any such concept a non-conceptual reality. That is, the concept will start to develop into an emotion and with further development it will become a faculty.

…Conceptualising thus, consciousness starts establishing itself on a certain plane and will not easily fall wherever the wind blows it…it will become more conditioned by the concepts than by the events of life…hence the importance of acquiring good concepts.

The more all-encompassing ones conceptions of higher things are, the less one will have to do things in the outer world (/the lower world) in order to fix ones kamma.


What is true, depends on ones own level of development…if you live in a world of appearances and you can know nothing more than the appearance of things…then it will be better for you to consider the world a flat disk around which sun and moon revolve, because that is the world that presents itself to you…and looking at it in this manner, you can learn many things, and many connections become clear to you, which otherwise would be obscure for you and difficult to make sense of.

Learning in this way, turning your sense perceptions into knowledge…with time, you will find you will require less and less ‘sparks’ of sense perception from without. Slowly a fire gets kindled within, that keeps going by itself without easily dying out. You require less and less a sun that daily raises on your horizon…as you yourself become more and more sun-like… Now the light that is within, starts illuminating the worldly forms without. And more and more it is the earth, that starts revolving around you, a true sun. As the fire of that knowledge becomes more and more refined,..it becomes ever more capable of embracing infinity itself.

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