Reply To: Post on “Namagotta, Bhava, Kamma Bīja, and Mano Loka (Mind Plane)”


Lang wrote: “The Bāhiya Sutta says something like: “seeing is just a trace of seeing, hearing is just a trace of hearing, …” (“diṭṭhe diṭṭhamattaṃ bhavissati, sute sutamattaṃ bhavissati, …”

  • That statement is a bit deeper.

What I wrote, ”The apple that you saw is NOT the same as the apple itself. It is just an image of the apple captured by your eyes” is just a (initial) part of that deeper statement to Bahiya.

  • Mine is a simpler statement. But you can get the idea if you think about how we see an object in more detail. The light must bring an image of the object (say, a person) to our eyes. That does not happen “in one shot,” like taking a picture with a camera. Within a split second, the eyes capture several images (from different parts of the person). The brain processes all that information and sends those to the hadaya vatthu in several “data packets.” It is the mind that “puts together” all those different frames and makes a “unified picture of a person X.”
  • The “image of X” that arises in the mind is a “mind construction.” 
  • In addition to “making a coherent picture of a person,” the mind also adds to that “picture” our pre-existing biases of X.
  • The point is that what we experience is BASED ON the physical body of X. But what we experience is purely a mental construct. It has built-in sanna (recognition, not only as a person but also as a friend or foe) and vedana (somanassa/domanassa/neutral).

 We can make a rough connection to the verse in the Bahiya as follows:

  • Our biases (seeing X as a friend, foe, etc.) are based on the defilements in our minds. That itself originates from the idea of “I am seeing X.” 
  • But, in reality, it is only a “seeing event” that happens with a series of “snapshots.” (There is no “seer” in the ultimate sense, which is what Bahiya understood and instantly attained Arahanthood!) Each snapshot goes to the past before the next one arrives. It is the mind that “puts together all such events that are already in the past” and presents a “picture of X” as a rupakkhandha (aggregate of several snapshots AND also taking into account our past experiences with X). Amazingly, the mind can do all that in a split second.
  • The discussion in #1 and #2 of the following post could be helpful: “Ārammaṇa Plays a Critical Role in a Sensory Event.”


Regarding the “data system analogy” of Lang: 

It is a simple analogy that cannot be taken too literally. 

  • The data must be “stored” in a physical device, I guess. In that sense, it involves a device in the physical world. That is why analogies are not perfect, especially when we try to imagine a “mental process.” But Lang’s description of retrieval is a good idea.
  • The “storage of namagotta” as the three mental aggregates (in vinnana dhatu) does not have a perfect analogy in the rupa loka.
  • Also, note that only rupas (above the suddhatthaka stage) are in the “rupa loka.” Namagotta and dhammā (with energies below the suddhatthaka stage) are in vinnana dhatu or “nama loka.” See #4 through #6 in “Rupa and Rupakkhandha, Nāma and Nāmagotta” We cannot analyze the characteristics of vinnana dhatu or “nama loka” with terminology/examples in rupa loka.”
  • This is a complex subject. It is not necessary to understand it to attain Nibbana. I discussed it because many ask, “Where are memories stored?” OR “How can kamma bring their vipaka? Where are those kammic energies stored?” etc. Buddha Dhamma is the ultimate science. Modern science is far behind.


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