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seeking the path

sion ‘observation by consciousness’ is misleading also in another way: it suggests a certain agency on the part of consciousness. But in fact, ‘to be observed by consciousness’ means simply ‘to be actually present in a selfrevealing manner’. ‘Consciousness of…’ must always be understood as ‘the actual presence of…’.) Accordingly, we shall call the single complex experience we have just described sheer reflexion. In unreflexive experiences an object appears: in sheer reflexion a system of fields appears, one7 pair of adjacent levels at a time, each field being my nature or self down to that level. (This sheer reflexive mode of experience can be developed by practice. A simple way of attaining it is to ask oneself ‘what am I doing?’: it will be found that one is already conscious of the answer.) Thus what is revealed in sheer reflexion is self-structure; and this structure is only mal-observed when it is observed at all, that is to say, with attempted detachment. In that case reflexion is no longer sheer but compromised, and what it reveals is a hypostatized ego (for it is an attempt, necessarily unsuccessful, to cognize an unchanging field, to approach it as an object proper). (It was indicated in the essay and above that reflexive consciousness of a sort must always be present in some degree, however small; but we must also note that reflexive consciousness is by no means always self-observation as such.) Since tacit (or self-) consciousness is always involved as a structural necessity of experience-of-an-object, and sheer reflexion involves the explicit appearance of that structure within the unity of a single experience-of-anobject, the certainty inherent in sheer reflexion is the certainty that is tacit consciousness and it is at the same time the certainty of the present existence of tacit consciousness and of the other structural features of experience-ofan-object. And the certainty that is tacit consciousness is the certainty of the present existence of my experience-of-an-object.

appendix v We have said (appendix ii) that craving always exists in the least unpleasant mode that is available; that intention, by refusing to admit the possibility of any alternative, preserves the present world down to the lowest level of generality at which craving, the gradient of feeling, is favourable. In other words, our world remains unchanged at any level until such time as the gradient of feeling there changes sign from positive to negative—that is to say until that field ceases to be pleasant—when intention withdraws its 7.  [Remainder of this sentence is crossed out in pencil.]


Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...