The Pali Line

The Third Lesson

Tini Nama Kim? What is Three?

What three Concepts, when seen to the Root with Penetrating Knowledge, and understood to the broadest limits, such that their repellant nature is seen as it really is and one has released them in their entirety, can bring one to the Uttermost Freedom of Detachment?


The 3 Vedanas — The 3 Sensations


Pleasant Sensation — Sukha - n
Unpleasant Sensation — Dukkha - n
Not-Unpleasant-but-Not-Pleasant Sensation — Adukkha-m-Asukha

The sensesations are also numbered in other ways and the scheme of three sensations should not be ridgidly held onto. The Three Sensations become eighteen when applied to the six senses; when the eighteen are considered from the point of view of whether or not they are connected to the intent to experience pleasure or to let go of the world, they become thirty-six; when the thirty-six are applied to the past, future and present they become one-hundred-and eight.

Sensation occurs to an already formed, conscious, individual being with intact sense organs.

Sensation is the manner in which a sense experience is felt. It is not 'sense experience' itself, which is in this system known as 'sense-consciousness'.

The sort of sensation experienced is a consequence of the intent with which an identified-with predecessor act (sankhara = own-making) of mind, speech or body was performed.

Identifying with an act of mind, speech or body
one intends to create pleasure for the self
or pain for another
or one intends to end kamma.

The individual inherits the consequences of his actions
in the form of identified-with sense experiences producing pleasant sensations ['I see pleasant sights'],
unpleasant sensations
or sensations which are neither pleasant nor unpleasant.

The sense object comes into the range
of a viable organ of sense
together with consciousness.

This is what is called contact.

Upon contact, kamma gets opportunity to mold the character of the sensation arising as a result. Stated another way, the identification with the intent that originated the arising experience injects self-identification in a result that mirrors that intent — the intent to produce pain, results in the experience of pain (unpleasant sensation); the intent to produce pleasure results in the experience of pleasure (pleasant sensation); the intent to end kamma has no result in sensation.

It is the reaction to sensation (via liking and disliking) that is what is called Taṇhā, hunger/thirst: desire to re-create (re-experience), desire to get away from.

The point between the arising of sensation and the formation of desire is the beginning of a new cycle and it is also here that the new cycle can be averted.

Fully understanding (having penetrating knowledge of) the arising, sustenance, ending and way to the ending of sensation with regard to each of the six senses is the equivalent of knowing and seeing Nibbana, the goal. It is not yet having attained the goal.

The jhana or mental state, or 'trance' or 'knowing' called 'the perception of the ending of sensation' was invented by Gotama and is considered higher and more sublime than the state called 'neither-perceiving-nor-non-perceiving' previously to Gotama considered the highest mental state achievable — It is considered the highest mental state achievable, but this too is not yet the goal.

Having reached the state where one is able to see the arising and passing away of sensations, to attain the goal it is necessary to note that this mental state has been 'own-made' construced by one's self, carries with it self-identification and is therefore subject to ending. Letting it go and perceiving that having let it go is a state of ultimate freedom and is the goal one has been seeking is Nibbana.



Miscellaneous Odd Bit of Information: The Origin of 108 as a holy number, and the number of beads in the Buddhist Mala (Not a practice of the original followers of Gotama, some schools of Buddhism use these necklaces made of Sandalwood or Rosewood or Crystal or other materials [including human bones carved into miniature skulls] in counting the breaths and mantra repetition, and divination.)

The Three Sensations X The Six Senses = 18

Downbound to the world and Connected to Giving Up = 18 X 2 = 36

Past, Future, and Present (always end up in the present) = 36 X 3 = 108

Practicing Divination via devices is looked down upon by the Pali. This practice, which takes a long time to perfect, is done by developing a "story" for each bead, beginning with its root meaning (e.g., Past Pleasant Sight Downbound to the World = bead # 1). At such a time as a question is asked of one, one is able to enter the realm of the answer by becoming absorbed in the bead-story that relates most closely to the question.




SN 4.36.22

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