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Practical Application of the Patthana Conditions

The Paṭṭhāna, in traditional Buddhist countries often thought of as the quintessence of the Buddha’s wisdom, is on the other hand amongst Buddhists of the non-traditional type more often rather thought of as a bizarre curiosity of later human scholasticism. Be that as it may, in here I want to offer some food for thought, or food for meditation practice, as to how the Paṭṭhāna may be used intelligently, no matter how it originated. Explanations of the Paṭṭhāna conditions may be found under the Category (in the menu) ‘Patthana’ of this website, or under the summary blog of the Paṭṭhāna conditions or in my book to be found on the download page.

Thus, as an example it may happen, that while meditating, as you calm down, you realise “the topic” of your consciousness, be it that you have some aversion towards someone or something, or be it that you are so satisfied with your state of being, or be it anything else. Both, in order to maintain your experience for longer, as well as in order to gain some wisdom from this your experience, you somewhat have to learn to think about your experience. Thinking requires words to think about. So, if you can think of any words that are somewhat summarising what you are experiencing, you can make a start in thinking about the matter. Of course, you may make it a point to regularly read some part of a scripture before meditating and then think about your experience in relation to the scripture. But there is also another way, and one may well try this other way too, especially if one seeks to pursue a meditation path perhaps for the whole of ones life (and possibly even beyond). Thus you would memorise some system of knowledge, as in our case the Abhidhamma. And realising “the topic” of your consciousness, you give a word to it. Now, once you got used to them, the Paṭṭhāna conditions may offer themselves quite well for many topics of consciousness. Hence, you would take your aversion towards someone or something to be synonymous with the Paṭṭhāna condition of Repulsion, or you would take your satisfaction with your state of being as being an instance of the Paṭṭhāna condition of ‘Being’. And having one of these then as a heading to meditate about, you meditate, observing your body and mind. This will of course especially be useful when your “topic of consciousness” lasts for some prolonged period of time, such as many days, weeks or months. Meditatively then observing your body and mind, you try to see whether you can find some relation between the theoretical knowledge on mind and matter contained in the main blog, with what you are experiencing now. And whatever words you find to describe to yourself what you are experiencing, you try to direct the understanding of their meaning to the realisation of your “topic of consciousness” headed under your chosen Paṭṭhāna condition. Gradually you will learn to understand the seemingly infinite “topics” of your consciousness as relating to rather limited universal human topics. The comprehension of which shall make you slowly but progressively a realised master of the human condition.

For some more elaborate example of how the above is done, you may want to read the blog ‘Attraction and Unity.

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