Reply To: Perceiving the sensual world


Thank you, Yash and Gad!

1. I listened to most of the discourse. It is good. In particular, after around the 1-hour mark, Thero’s discussion of the “origins of the sensual pleasures” is excellent. As he explains it is made up by the mind. That is what I called “distorted saññā” in my recent posts.

  • He discusses how “distorted saññā” arises. For example, the actual origin of a “taste” is a chemical signal that the brain receives. That signal is taken as a “pleasurable” by the mind. Based on that, the mind attaches with raga, dosa, and moha, and generates a “defiled saññā.”


2. The critical point here is that the receptiors in a pig’s tongue are wired differently compared to a human’s. 

  • Thus, while a a piece of rotten meat will taste great for a pig, it tastes yucky/disgusting for a human.
  • In the same way, rotten meat or feces will smell bad for a pig, but a human finds that smell repulsive.
  • It is just a matter of how sensory receptors are wired differently in a pig versus a human.


3. The second critical point is: That “wiring” is done by kammic energy.

  • The “wiring” matches the “gati” of each sentient being.
  • I will discuss that in upcoming posts.


4. Therefore, that discussion will help you understand my recent posts discussing “distorted saññā” and “defiled saññā.”


5. There is nothing intrinsically “tasty” or “disgusting” in a piece of rotten meat or anything else! 

  • The same holds for all sensory inputs. A given object that looks desirable to one species may appear repulsive to another species. We don’t find grass to have any appeal, but a lush patch of grass looks appealing to cows. Even among humans, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” as the commonly used saying goes.
  • How “distorted saññā” gives rise to “mind-made vedanā” may be hard to believe but that is the truth discovered by the Buddha.


6. Types of vedanā (including “mind-made vedanā”) are discussed in many posts : For example, “Does Bodily Pain Arise Only Due to Kamma Vipāka?” and “Vēdanā and Samphassa-Jā-Vēdanā – More Than Just Feelings.”


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