Zoom jottings 32

Sarah Procter Abbott


Da Zhuang asked what the difference is between "citta" and "soul".

Ajahn Sujin: The best thing is to understand what is now. Begin to understand what is clear now. Is there anything now?

DZ: Many things like seeing, visible object, hearing and sound.

AS: All around, but no understanding, is that right? For example, seeing now, but no understanding of seeing which sees now. Can the tree see? Can the table see? Seeing is that which experiences and knows the object seen only. The object appears because of seeing. Is seeing real? Does it arise? If it doesn't arise, can there be that which is seen?

There are two different realities, one which arises to experience an object and one which doesn't experience anything. There is seeing and hearing all through life from birth to death. If there were no seeing or hearing could we say there is "I" now? What we call life are just different kinds of experience from moment to moment. If there was no experiencing, there would be no life at all now. Life is whatever appears at each moment. Each one is conditioned, not arising at anyone's will. 

Only at the moment of seeing is there seeing. Only at the moment of hearing is there hearing and sound experienced, never to return, only arising once in saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death). So life is that which can experience and that which cannot experience. In life there are different moments of experience until the end of life, but that's not the end of realities arising.

Citta is that which experiences whatever appears. In the absolute truth, there is no one at all, just conditioned realities arising  from moment to moment, life to life. What is left is only shape and form, taken for a permanent thing because of the rapidity of the arising and falling away. What are taken for people and things are just different realities arising and falling away.

"Theravadin - Is the concept of soul (puggala) derived from the corporeal
qualities (rupas)?

- Yes.

T: But has a soul also any or all of these qualities?

P: Nay, that cannot truly be said....

T: Or is the concept of soul derived from feeling, from perception, from
mental coefficients, from consciousness?

P: Yes (to each aggregate in succession).

T: Is any mental aggregate impermanent, conditioned? Does it happen
through a cause? Is it liable to perish, to pass away, to become
passionless, to cease, to change?

P: Yes.

T: But has soul also any of these qualities?

P: Nay, that cannot truly be said....."

Kathāvatthu (Points of Controversy) 1:111 "Derivatives" (Translated by Schwe Zau Aung & Mrs Rhys Davids)