A few more comments on the week

His holiness spoke of the lifeforce within us all, referred to as Jivitindriya and he described it as “the water sustains the lotus flower”. He spoke heavily about cultivating Bodicitta and one thought that arose from the dialogue was a very helpful mantra and form of koan:

Do not reflect ON experience, use reflection as an act of experience.

This Jivitindriya makes the mind “alive” as a lifeforce provides warmth and consciousness and contributes to elements of Bodicitta aiding the practitioner to distinguish between wholesome/meritorious and unwholesome/unmeritorious activity. This comes from the Abhidamma apparently and arises in the practitioner as he/she studies the Abhidamma. The question that arises for me is how such ethical and deep awareness of citta (Pali for mind or consciousness – I’ve heard both translations), its qualities that give it sustenance, and the arising of wholesome/unwholesome categorization contribute to the healthy development of mind and does the failure of development from this domain result in an unhealthy mind or some form of psychopathology?

The discussion that spontaneously generated these ideas came from HHDL commenting on the 7 qualities of initial sensory and subsequent conceptual awareness of an experienced object.

1. Contact

2. Feeling

3. Perception (Sanna) – Making a mark like a Carpenter would on a piece of wood

4. volition (cetana)

5. One-pointedness – The seed of samadhi (where awareness of the object begins)

6. Life

7. Attention (manasikara)

HHDL was asked whether these 7 qualities arise all together instantaneously, he commented that he believed they arise simultaneously, but are more likely to arise in a brief sequence. He continued by explaining this is the process by which the mind is made unlike the previous mind, steering the mind toward an object only. There are 6 further qualities of citta that occur after examining takes place.

Two that were mentioned were Vitakka or “thinking of” the object in which the object is “striked by persistent and deliberate pushing”, then Vicara or “examining” takes place which was described as a “constant rubbing or exploring” of the object.

Lastly, it is Sati which is the remembering or “not forgetting” or losing the object – remembering in the moment as a Guard post for stopping unwholesome thoughts from getting into consciousness.

So..it appears to me in my own translation that if retrospective forms of memory help one develop the mind to move through proper steps of sensation, perception, and categorization of object, then the current working memory will aid in directing that attention in a deliberate wholesome direction that is free of distraction and/or unnecessary mental factors and further directed towards the ultimate nature/awareness of the object with prospective forms of memory.