Sometimes people studying Buddhism, especially in relation to the vipassanā schools, end up with some conclusion that there is no continuity in mental and material phenomena…So here we want to give some food for thought related to continuity.
In matter of the most rudimentary form, one may think how at times one thing pretty much bumps into another thing and how then both of those ‘things’, will continue to move in usually opposite directions, until the force of the impact is exhausted.
Then, as there evolve elaborate entities of organic matter, complex mechanisms are set up to produce various impacts that bring about such forces in the first place, while then also keeping them going for longer periods of time.
Thus the organic entity can continue to exist for much longer a time than any of those material forces that support its existence. Further than that, in the realm of the mind, the mind can set up mechanisms, which support its continuity. At first less directly through animating the organic matter even when there is no outside stimulus present, while further on maintaining its own continuity by making the senses seek out sense impressions which may act as mental nutriment. Thus allowing the mental life to continue to persist for longer a period of time. And when some path becomes available through some realization of kamma, certain patterns in the workings of consciousness may continue to persist for much longer a period of time then the continuity of the body or the mind.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. paul

    The illusion of continuity in regard to impermanence is an established concept in the Vism. (XXI 3.)

    1. Bhi.D.

      It has been some time since I looked into the Visuddhimagga, but I wrote this article precisely to come to grips and to some degree challenge, some of the ideas contained in the Visuddhimagga and in modern Vipassanā practice. As far as I remember, in the Visuddhimagga we get this list of insights, (laid down with dogmatic authority) that a meditator will have to go through…some of which relate to realising that what one before took to be permanent, that it is impermanent, and so on. But it is talked about entirely in psychological terms (as far as I remember), and with dogmatic rigidity. My own explorations of the mind yielded so far a different picture of the practice and of things in general. With this article I wanted to share some insights that stand at odds with some of the traditional teachings. But I’m still learning. Also, I don’t have time at the moment to read over the entire chapter of the Visuddhimagga, but if you think what was written there satisfactorily refutes what I have written here, could you please quote the relevant passage? As I said I am also still learning.

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