seeking the path
this noble eightfold path…’ (Sa¬åyatana Saµyutta, xv,1) [The expressions ‘old action’, purå~akamma, (as used in this Sutta) and ‘ripening of action’, kammavipåka, do not appear to mean at all the same thing, and should not be confused. The latter is one of the four acinteyyåni or ‘untheorizables’. (Cf. Aπguttara, IV,viii,7)]
appendix vii It might be asked how the choice is made which particular one of a multitude (probably not unlimited) of possible fields shall actually replace the present field when the world changes at any level. An attempt to answer this question throws some light on the peculiar nature of tacit self-consciousness. A field, we already know, is what remains unchanged when its subordinate fields change. We know, too, that a field, when it changes, is replaced by any one of a multitude of new fields, each of which is the exact contrary of the original field (and this implies the unchanging background of a more general field). But we remarked (in appendix iii) that a field-change can only occur at the intersection of two fields. A field-change, then, should be understood as a kind of radical change of direction defined by (or defining) a more general field. Thus it appears that at the moment of change the old field is the new field and that the only change is one of direction. This might suggest that we ought to say that a field is always the field that would supplant it were it to change at that instant. But this brings us back to the starting point—which field is it that would at that moment supplant the original one? It is precisely this that is not evident. If I reflect on a visual pattern, a leafy bush, for example, I discover that I am perceiving one particular feature, a leaf, and that there is a surrounding zone that appears as ‘not fully perceived’—perceived, that is to say, in less detail. I notice, however, that this surrounding zone, though not fully detailed, is not totally undifferentiated but is crystallized into a number of ‘half-perceived’ details, a mass of individual leaves or bunches of leaves. Finally, if I reflect carefully, there is sometimes to be noticed, just before my attention actually switches, one particular ‘half-perceived’ leaf (which in retrospect may be found not always to have been the nearest to the centre) that is more clearly perceived than the rest; and this leaf turns out to be the one that eventually became the new centre of attention. But I am not absolutely certain beforehand that this particular leaf is the predestined one, or even that my attention is on the point of switching (indeed this situation may arise and subside again without any switch of attention). (In more
Published on Jun 26, 2013
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...