memory


LBIDD@...
 

Hi Fabrizio,

Here is something I found in "The Buddhist Path to Awakening" by R.M.L.
Gethin:

p.41: "Clearly when we talk of 'memory' and 'remembering' in the context
of Buddhist psychology we are dealing with quite subtle questions. From
the point of view of Abhidhamma analysis it is apparent that many of
one's so called 'memories' are simply conceptions or ideas based on a
particular perspective of what occurred in the past. In short, they are
misconceptions, the product of sa~n~naa associated with unskilful
consciousness. The point is that as far as Abhidhamma is concerned our
'remembering' fails to reflect properly the way things truly are. This
point is not particularly hard to appreciate, even conventional wisdom
tells me that if I am brooding on some wrong done to me, my view of the
world is likely to be coloured as a result.

"What is important about sati/smrti in Buddhist thought is that it is
seen as a particular kind of 'remembering'--when developed it
'remembers', as it were, properly. The Abhidharmadipa's explanation of
the faculty of smrti as aviparitabhilapana or 'unperverted designating'
would seem to be an allusion to the four viparyasas or 'perversions'.
Rather interestingly the Nettippakara.na states:

"One who dwells watching body with regard to body abandons the
perversion [that sees] the beautiful in the ugly ... One who dwells
watching feeling with regard to feelings abandons the perversion [that
sees] happiness in suffering ... One who dwells watching mind with
regard to mind abandons the perversion [that sees] the permanent in the
impermanent ... One who dwells watching dhamma with regard to dhammas
abandons the perversion [that sees] the self in what is not-self."

"The point is clear, I think, in the Milindapanha account. Because sati
'remembers', it knows the full variety of dhammas, skilful and
unskilful, and so on; because sati 'remembers' it knows how things stand
in relation to one another; it, as it were, opens up one's view. In this
way it tends towards a seeing of things that reflects what the
Abhidhamma considers to be the way things truly are. This is the reason
why sati/smrti is so intimately bound up with wisdom in the texts..."

p.43: "Looked at in this way the difference between the Theravadin and
Sarvastivadin conception of sati/smrti becomes rather finely balanced.
For the Sarvastivadins a lack of proper remembering of the object of the
mind is not conceived of as an absolute absence of smrti, but rather as
smrti in a weak and attenuated form such that it cannot operate as it
should, and is even perhaps 'perverted'' in some way. In this they
preserve a straightforward understanding of the ancient canonical notion
of 'wrong mindfulness' (miccha-sati/mitya-smrti), which the Theravadin
Abhidhamma chose to understand as the absence of sati (As 250)." [As =
Atthasaalinii]

Larry

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