causally connected momentary dhammas

POSTCARD#371: Bangkok: A couple of weeks ago I wrote a very long post about the dentist. This post will be as short as possible. It’s like this, I went back for the follow-up appointment and started to think about aspects of No Self and the Paticca-samuppada Dependent Origination. That’ll come after this.

So anyway I went back to see the lady dentist on Tuesday 26 May and after five minutes of inserting needles to numb the nerves, a lower jaw extraction happened; so easy! Then prolonged drilling in the bone of my jaw to situate an anchor for a dental implant (in the x-ray it looked like a rawlplug in a masonry wall).

It was painless, amazing – yes my head was jerked around a bit, and there was the dentist adjusting her tools to get a hold of the tooth, to get maximum clench, grasp, grip so that it wouldn’t slip, then steady pulling to extract the tooth, with dental assistant behind me, arms around my head and holding, while pressing down hard on the lower jaw. Then one, two, three: ‘pop’ and it was out.

The painless aspect of it was breathtaking, especially as the lady dentist quietly told me what was going to happen next; drilling a hole in the jaw bone for the implant. It took about 30 minutes to get it finished – all without any person to feel the pain. An example of the Buddhist selflessness (anatta). There was no Self to whom this was happening – I could hear all the sounds of drilling inside my head… and there was nobody there to hold out against the sustained pain, It wasn’t happening to me. I felt like laughing out loud.

A note about the flow of changes to do with normal cognition: All dhammas (“phenomena”) arise in dependence upon other dhammas: “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist”. As a dhamma vanishes, it gives rise to a new dhamma which appears immediately afterwards. In this way, there is an uninterrupted flow of causally connected momentary dhammas. In this flowing continuum, there is no enduring Self since everything Is dependently originated.

Changes take place in the context of this momentary arising and falling away of dhammas. In the first list below, we see transitional stages that lead to Suffering. In the second list we can see how the problem can be solved; the step by step cessation of the preceding stage leads to the end of suffering

The Standard Description Of Dependent Origination

By Ajahn Bramavamso (click on this link for the whole essay)

From delusion as condition, volitional formations [come to be]; from volitional formations as condition, consciousness; from consciousness as condition, name-and-form; from name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; from the six sense bases as condition, contact; from contact as condition, feeling; from feeling as condition craving; from craving as condition, clinging; from clinging as condition, existence; from existence as condition, birth; from birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.

But from the remainderless fading away and cessation of delusion comes cessation of volitional formations; from the cessation of volitional formations, cessation of consciousness; from the cessation of consciousness, cessation of name-and-form; from the cessation of name-and form, cessation of the six sense bases; from the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact; from cessation of contact, cessation of feeling; from the cessation of feeling, cessation of craving; from the cessation of craving, cessation of clinging; from the cessation of clinging, cessation of existence; from the cessation of existence, cessation of birth; from the cessation birth, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.

(SN 12, 1)

(dhamma = an aspect of the mind that captures the quality of an object, and that has the ability to colour the mind)


3 thoughts on “causally connected momentary dhammas

  1. Good to know your treatment was painless Tiramit.. So pleased to know all is ok…
    I guess you could say the Earth right now is going through her suffering, Dark night of the Soul… I so hope we take the high road, route canal … leaving behind the pain, hatred and violence… So on a knife edge right now especially in the USA…
    We see the rise and fall of many things…. All part of the process… Yin and Yang …
    I so hope your treatment was a success and no after affects my friend..
    Good to see another post just as I am here again…
    Take care… Stay Blessed ❤ 🙂

    • Hi Sue and thanks for your well-wishing, no after effects I went back after 10 days to have the stiches removed and she told me we have to wait 4 months before continuing, to be sure the artificial bone has bonded with the real bone. It sounds slightly horrific but I was just so happy to be in that room again with the dentist and the staff, I could only feel joy at the discovery of letting go completely.
      Strange how things are so much on the surface right now. Young people protesting police treatment of black people, so much energy after being in ‘house arrest’ for three months. Things are as they are, it’s completely right that it happened the way it did although it all seems very dark. And yes there’s the high road, route canal, and the low road and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye…
      Thanks Sue for expanding on everything in ways I wouldn’t have thought of, being so caught up in the Thai way, which is like the Japanese, if that helps you understand, it doesn’t glorify action or the ego. You’re so completely right of course and when I think of the conflict in USA right now, I feel pain and anger I haven’t felt in years.
      Thanks too for the opportunity to talk about it all.

      • Just glad to to read you are OK Tiramit.. And yes we have to understand ALL is Energy.. All of it… And what has been suppressed for centuries is now surfacing… All emotions, of Race, Segregation, Slavery, along with Collective Grief… All being released in a huge melting pot of emotions which will keep bubbling away until we transcend through it….
        Your own pain and anger like many more… All of it coming up to the surface…. We just have to honour it, as we let it go…. And hold if we can no judgement.. Just know ALL is as it should be… Hard, I know…. I sit in meditation and send out love, unity and peace… Its amazing how a collective group can help bring calm…. just like how a few can create havoc..
        Its what we focus upon is what we create and attract…..
        Which when you look at the Media, tells you exactly what they are attracting… It certainly isn’t kindness or peace..
        Take care and Stay Blessed 🙂

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.