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Ever Mind – Abhidhamma Considerations regarding the Mind

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Bhavanga (that wherein one’s existence is rooted), includes, so we believe, also blind (unconscious) emotions…wandering thoughts and dreams. All those we take to be the vibrating bhavanga …which have to be arrested in order that any active mental process can happen.

(the model might not contain anything exactly corresponding to the modern idea of an emotion…Theravada Buddhism talking only about mind and matter, not things that in modern times we would perhaps consider to be in between them)

The citta vīthi in this consideration means all mental acts of producing new kamma (and the preparation for that)…thus of progressing in life….which is the taking in of new data from the 5 senses and processing it, thinking about it and retaining it in memory or the adverting of the mind to its own contents, which is what we call introspection, processing it and equally retaining it. These are perhaps more what is meant with the citta vīthi model than a blind emotional reaction towards an object, which is not as such kammically changing much in the continuity of life.

The stronger the inner ‘life-stuff’ (bhavanga) is vibrating, the stronger will also be the attractive force (electro-magnetic energy), that is drawing further ‘life-stuff’ from outside towards a person (life-experiences, dramas,..etc.).

The first phase of meditation, is to arrest the bhavanga (life-stuff). Only after that the higher life of active mental processing can happen.

Again, when the bhavanga has been arrested and active processing begins, …(a person actively using his senses and mind), …he may do so, either in a way, that will again stimulate his life-stuff into greater activity (using his powers unwisely) (thus closing himself again from further learning …by emphasising lower things…f.ex. emphasising outer objects, rather than inner attitudes)…. or he may do so in a way that emphasises the higher aspects of things and thus conditions further reflection and activity on the mental plane…which in turn will be a primary supporting cause for the attainment of higher things such as samadhi and the direct knowledges.

If wandering thoughts become stronger, ones ‘life-stuff’ (bhavanga) may be thought of to vibrate at a higher rate,..and through the interaction with matter grows also in attractive power (the friction develops a kind of electro-magnetic force, which attracts corresponding material from the outer cosmos i.e. the environment)…(all this relates to vibrating bhavanga …not to the executing of present kamma)

During the kamma producing Javana phase, ones ‘life-stuff’ (bhavanga) can be modified (for good or bad)…

A person who through having come into contact with the Dhamma (through the 5 sense-faculties)…starts changing his lifestyle and meditate (this relating to the active Javana phase)…may be said to have entered upon the Parikamma (preparatory) phase of meditative (and Dhamma-) development…

As he develops more wholesome kamma related to meditation and Dhamma accumulates,…(through the kamma producing Javana phase),…his ‘life-stuff’ starts changing to accord with his desire for mental development …slowly he enters the phase of Anuloma (conformity)…When he starts gaining proficiency in his meditation (repeatedly gaining good meditative experiences, generally being able to calm his mind, experiences of meditation signs (nimittas))…he may be thought of having entered upon the phase of Gotrabhu (attaining to maturity)…Further development will bring him to the Appanā-phase of spiritual contemplation (which means, his mind properly enters upon a chosen spiritual topic and deeply contemplates upon it). With that, the mind is changing lineage, from the condition of a person with ordinary life-stuff, to that of a pure and sublime being.

It is in these phases, that the aspirant both learns the Dhamma (in this case any religious or spiritual teachings) as well as learns to apply it. This application of the Dhamma is where the active Javana phase modifies the ‘life-continuum’/ ‘life-stuff’, which is what will ultimately lead the aspirant towards change of linage.*

Therefore the Dhamma-practice, that a person is working with (through the active Javana phase), will only be able to effect the life-continuum of that person, if it has relations with the content of that persons life-continuum…Such relations will be seen through personal interests as well as personal issues.

*either towards becoming a more spiritual person (for lack of better designation) that is aiming high but not altogether towards transcendence, or a person aiming directly at transcendence of anything conditioned

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