Reply To: A confusion related to attaining the fourth path in a pure abode:


There are many things people do not understand.
– I am not sure how much of the following can be understood by each person. But this a good “teachable moment.”

Does anyone know how we HEAR a sound with ears?

1. Think about what happens when you hear someone say your name from a few feet away.
– When that person speaks, a “sound wave” propagates through the air. It is similar to a “wave” that you see when a stone is dropped in a lake, propagating out.
– As that wave propagates, the wave dies down and beyond a certain distance, that sound cannot be heard.
– When that “pressure wave” reaches your ears, your eardrums vibrate and those vibrations are picked up by nerves and transmitted to the brain. The brain processes that “information” and passes it over to the sota pasada rupa.

2. Now, we can record that speech and re-broadcast even over long distances. That is how we hear radio stations broadcasting from miles away.
– That “sound wave” was n NOT propagated through the air. It propagates as an electromagnetic wave. It could be even sent over space where there is no air (broadcasts from the Moon).

3. In both those cases, what really matters is how our BRAINS process those sound waves received by the ears, and then the hadaya vatthu (seat of the mind) HEARS IT with the help of the sota pasada rupa.
– That is where the MAGIC takes place! How does the brain convert the vibrations of the eardrum (caused by a pressure wave) to a signal that can be HEARD by the MIND?
– That is a 100% kammic phenomenon (meaning it is totally under Nature’s control). We have NO IDEA what happens there. We just KNOW that it happens. The Buddha DID NOT explain that MECHANISM!

4. The “sensing of the sound” happens AT THE hadaya vatthu (with the help of the sota pasada rupa).
– The original sound can get from point A to point B as a pressure wave (in the air in ordinary situations), as an electromagnetic wave (even through empty space in the case of a broadcast).
– A mechanism somewhat related to the latter case may be in effect for “direct communication” between two Brahmas (or from a Brahma to the Buddha or someone with iddhi powers).

This is really a fascinating subject. In particular, think about how we “see”. There is no “light” in the brain or anywhere else inside the body. Yet, we PERCEIVE light and SEE a tree, house, person, etc.
– That “magic” happens at the hadaya vatthu, in this case with the help of the cakkhu pasada rupa.

However, I don’t what to spend too much time on this subject.
– I just wanted to convey that there are many things in the world that we DO NOT fully understand.
– As the Buddha said, it is enough to understand how future suffering arises.
– On the other hand, it is reasonable to spend some time to illustrate the soundness of Buddha Dhamma. When we combine what he had taught with modern science, we can get a much better idea about our world than even scientists specialized in their fields.
– That is why I write posts like “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body
– My hope is that it will help cultivate real sadda (faith) in Buddha Dhamma.
– But such details are not necessary to comprehend the Noble Truths. Still, they may be helpful for some people.