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Samanantara Paccaya – Condition of Sequences

A sequence is a chain of things or events, following one after another. Thus, the crux of this condition is to describe, that there is a certain progression as to how material and mental phenomena naturally follow one another.

Expressed in matters of the four elements, is the sequence condition, being a forward movement, primarily an aspect of the wind element. But, being a forward movement along definite lines, it may be thought of as the wind element guided by the earth element. Yet, thinking of all the elements in relation to this condition, at the very least for demonstrating the method, one may also order them as a sequence; for example from the coarsest to the subtlest (or the reverse). In such consideration earth will be the beginning of the sequence, followed by water, fire, and as the last element, the element of air.

But, it probably will be slightly more spectacular, to try, whether we can not find a sequence related to the four elements in the nature surrounding us without.

One such sequence we can find in the circulation of earth’s water resources, that is, what makes up our experiences of the weather. Thus, the waters of the oceans and lakes become evaporated by the fire of the sun, slowly merging with the element of air. Following the air’s tendency to move upwards, it gathers in the sky, until its own nature gathers in strength again, making it fall to the earth once again. There it suffuses the earth until that element can’t contain any more of it. Flowing over the earth, it again returns to the oceans and the lakes, to sooner or later start a new sequence alike in kind. That is, so to say, a circular sequence.

Life processes, for example within the body, too occur in sequences; as has been shown before. There we have shown as a possible beginning of the sequence, the intake of food (what we termed nature-born matter and what we consider to be made up of the four elements); which slowly gets broken down, to become nutriment for the body; which in its turn strengthens the life-element of the body, and through that also all the various internal organs; to yet, ultimately diminish in strength, until the remainder, perhaps at best, serves as a base for the beginning of a similar sequence.

But then there are also various sequences related to life-phenomena on a slightly grander scale. Thus one finds a natural sequence of the stages of life. A baby is born, gradually develops into a youth, ripens to maturity, to slowly decline to the person of age, heading to the end of the sequence in life, which is death. Anyone will understand that the sequence could never run otherwise.

Along a very similar line, may actually the formula of dependent origination (or Chain of Becoming) also be said to be a special form of this condition.

Then we may find another great sequence in the grander-scale life of the rise and fall of nations or civilisations. There we find, that ‘civilised’ human life may be said to start somewhere with small villages, which gradually grow into towns, further into states, until the civilisation reaches its peak in a prosperous nation. But, being of the selfsame nature as all other life-phenomena, its sequence is marked by a decline after its peak has been reached, following a course which will ultimately end in death and destruction.

Yet, as a nation prospers and thrives, it brings forth more and more manifestations of the mind.

On the scale of the individual mind, I have shown already the natural sequence in regards to the manifestation of mental phenomena in the main blog. Of this I will put here once more a diagram for illustration.

Thus we find the natural sequence in regards to mental processing, is the sequence of: a latent mind (or bhavanga) (a), gradually increasing in life and thus vibrating (b), being followed by sense-sphere processing (c) and at last, mental processing of higher things (d+e). Each phase being a condition of greater refinement and development compared to the previous one.

It should be noted, that while life-phenomena, as the stages of life, previously mentioned or physically related sequences as eating, digestion, increase of energy, decline of energy and excretion; follow a sequence condition which is marked by growth and decline, mental phenomena, when considered independent from life phenomena do not follow that pattern.

If we then follow further that track of mental phenomena, we will find, that, as the mind, or consciousness changes with each stage of development; becoming vaster and more encompassing; there unfolds also a scheme of a sequence or hierarchy of existence, in which different conditions of “existing” follow one another in an ascending order or ascending sequence. I have tried to depict that already in the part on the ‘Planes of Existence‘.

At last we might give a consideration also to the nature of ideas. There we find, that what we usually call reasoning or logic, is actually a capacity to order ideas in a manner of a natural sequence; that is, idea A is followed by an idea B, idea C and then concluded by an idea D. He who would put an idea X directly after an idea A, without expounding any bridging ideas between the two, or he who would put an idea C before an idea A, will usually be perceived as being irrational. And for him who lacks reason and a capacity for rational thinking, it is not to be expected that he will attain to true knowledge or things pertaining to enlightenment.

Beyond the above can an example of this condition on a grander scale be found in the blog on ‘The Mental Process in Human Development’ and I have given various other examples in my book. From those together with the above statements, it should be clear, how useful the understanding of this condition can be to unriddle uncountable mysteries of life.

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