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Nissaya Paccaya – Condition of Foundations

In life, all things build up on some foundation. Everything somewhat stands on something. And this is what defines this condition.

In matters of the four elements, this condition is symbolically represented by the element of earth. But in more concrete terms, at least three of the elements may be seen to act as a foundation for something else. The element of earth, of course acts as a foundation for all living things thriving thereon. But then also does the element of water act as a foundation for the various creatures of the sea. While the element of air is to some degree the foundation for the creatures of the air, such as birds and flying insects. And it too is the foundation for the clouds, the rain and the thunder. The fire element on the other hand, stands rather for the destruction of those foundations.

In matters of life phenomena, has what gradually will become a human being, as its first foundation, the womb of a mother. And as it grows, will the foundation usually shift with each major stage of growth to a more appropriate basis. So will during childhood, the home, family life and basic education be the foundation upon which the child grows. Further on in life, will very often the larger scale of the society of the growing adult, be the base and foundation for his life and occupations. Providing the opportunities that his life offers, and thus becoming the foundation for the workings of his mind and consciousness and for the condition of his body.

Further, will some societies provide a foundation for religion, some of which might, further still, provide a foundation for religious training. But then, religious training means training of the mind and of character. And thus, new, but now rather internal foundations will have to be considered.

As a ‘being’ so to say, stands on outside foundations, so does the ‘mentation’ of a meditator stand on the foundation of internal processes. And so will the mind’s processes, at the very least in the human world, be dependent upon the internal processes of the body. That is, the activities of the bodily organs.

Relation between Body and Mind
This diagram shows, how specific parts of the body act as a foundation for various immaterial factors such as emotions, mental processes as well as life related processes. Resultant mind states (what in modern terms are called ’emotions’), wholesome or unwholesome, for simplification purpose, arise in dependence of the heart base (although now we might consider them to arise in dependence of the endocrine glands), while intellection arises in dependence of the brain.

But then is the mind itself also somewhat acting as a foundation for the mind’s processes. Little mental processing can arise upon an in-stable foundation of agitation and emotional reactions. Only when they have become at least temporarily arrested will the mind be able to receive new impressions. The mere stock of received impressions will then in turn become the foundation for the activity of thought. Sustainment of thought is the foundation for the formulation of concepts. And formulated concepts are the foundation for the more lasting forms of intention. These in turn will be the internal foundation for the workings of consciousness and thus for the experiences that a being will have.

But this consciousness also is dependent on some form of external foundation. So is each plane wherein conscious existence is possible, made up of some particular form of matter, which acts as a foundation for the beings in that plane. For beings in the sense-sphere world, the main material is solid matter of different gradations of solidity. And thus, for the average human being, solid matter is what makes consciousness arise. For the beings in the fine-material realm the main material will be a more subtle and malleable form of matter, as can be experienced also by the developed meditator. While the beings in the immaterial realm live solely in a world of mind and ideas.

Through meditation and refinement of one’s being, consciousness may be modified to an awareness of these different spheres of existence. And to the degree consciousness can be aware of these other spheres of existence, the respective sphere becomes the foundation for the working of consciousness.

As an example, may a person in the human realm bring about a condition akin to the fine-material sphere within himself by working with the mind on the physical matter of the body. When successful, his consciousness may be able to take as a foundation not only the subtle matter that arises within the thus refined body, but may also be able to extend far beyond that.

Relation between Body, Mind and Planes of Existence
This diagram completing the previous one, shows the relations of the various planes of existence to the various material and immaterial factors. Thus extending the Condition of Foundations to encompass the entirety of existence.

Note: What has been shown in the post on ‘Improving Nature to Transcend Suffering Cycles‘, naturally falls under this condition

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