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"who has not attained, who is aspiring after, the unsurpassable goal", has to know, inter alia, earth, water, fire, air, each for what it is, both as external and as part of himself 1-must know "unity" (ekattam) for what it is; must indulge in no conceits of fancy (m a mañ ñ i) about it or them, and must so regard them that of him it may one day be said by the wise: pariññātam tassa!" he knows

it thoroughly."

To this point we shall return. That the elements are considered under the aspect of their tangibility involves for the Buddhist the further inquiry into the sensitive agency by which they affect him as tangibles, and so into the problem of sensation and sense-perception in general. On this subject the Dhamma-sangani yields a positive and valuable contribution to our knowledge of the history of psychology in India in the fourth century B.C. It may contain no matter additional to that which is reproduced in Hardy's Manual of Budhism (pp. 399-404, 419-23). But Hardy drew directly from relatively modern sources, and though it is interesting to see how far and how faithfully the original tradition has been kept intact in these exegetical works, we turn gladly to the stronger attractions of the first academic formulation of a theory of sense which ancient India has hitherto preserved for us. There is no such analysis of sensation-full, sober, positive, so far as it goes-put forward in any Indian book of an equally early date. The preBuddhistic Upanishads (and those, too, of later date) yield only poetic adumbrations, sporadic aphorisms on the work of the senses. The Nyaya doctrine of pratyaksha or perception, the Jaina Sutras, the elaboration of the Vedânta and Sankhya doctrines are, of course, of far later date. It may not, therefore, be uncalled for if I digress at some length on the Buddhist position in this matter and look for parallel theories in the West rather than in India itself.

1 M. i, pp. 185 et seq.; pp. 421 et seq.

The theory of action and reaction between the five special 1 senses and their several objects is given in pp. 172–90 and 197-200 of my translation. It may be summarized as follows:

A. The Senses.

First, a general statement relating each sense in turn (a) to the four elements, i.e. to " Nature ", (b) to the individual organism, and affirming its invisibility and its power of impact. Secondly, an analysis of the sensory process, in each case, into

(a) A personal agency or apparatus capable of reacting to an impact not itself;

(b) An impingeing "form ", or form producing a reaction of one specific kind;

(c) Impact between (a) and (b), with reference to the time-dimension 2;

(d) Resultant modification of the mental continuum, viz. in the first place, contact (of a specific sort); then hedonistic result, or intellectual result, or, presumably both. The modification is twice stated in each case, emphasis being laid on the mutual impact, first as causing the modification, then as constituting the object of attention in the modified consciousness of the person affected.

B. The Sense-objects.

First, a general statement, relating each kind of senseobject in turn to nature, describing some of the typical varieties, and affirming its invisibility, except in the case of visual objects, and its power of producing impact.4


1 They are called "special" in modern psychology to distinguish them from organic, general, or systemic sense, which works without specially adapted peripheral organs.

2 Not as in any way constructing space-percepts, but as pertinent to the question of karma and rebirth.

3 This insistence on the invisibility of all the senses, as well as on that of all sense-objects except sights or visual forms, is to me only explicable on the ground that rūp a m recurring in each question and each answer, and signifying, whatever else

Secondly, an analysis of the sensory process in each case as under A, but, as it were, from the side of the sense-object, thus:

(a) A mode of form or sense-object, capable of producing impact on a special apparatus of the individual organism; (b) The impact of that apparatus;

(c) The reaction or complementary impact of the senseobject;

(d) Resultant modification of the mental continuum, viz. in the first place contact (of a specific sort); then hedonistic result, or intellectual result, or, presumably, both. The modification is twice stated, in each case emphasis being laid on the mutual impact, first as causing the modification, then as constituting the object of attention in the modified consciousness thus affected.

If we, for purposes of comparison, consult Greek views on sense-perception before Aristotle-say, down to 350 B.C.we shall find nothing to equal this for sobriety, consistency, and thoroughness. The surviving fragments of Empedoklean writings on the subject read beside it like airy fancies; nor do the intact utterances of Plato bring us anything more scientific. Very possibly in Demokritus we might have found its match, had we more of him than a few quotations. And there is reason to surmise as much, or even more, in the case of Alkmæon.

Let me not, however, be understood to be reading into the Buddhist theory more than is actually there. In its sober, analytical prose, it is no less archaic, naïve, and inadequate as explanation than any pre-Aristotelian theory of the Greeks. The comment of Dr. Siebeck on Empedokles applies equally it meant, in popular idiom, things seen, it was necessary, in philosophic usage, to indicate that the term, though referring to sense, did not, with one exception, connote things seen. Thus, even solid and fiery objects were, qua tangibles, not visible. They were not visible to the k a y o, or skin-sensibility. They spelt visible only to the eye.

See n. 1 to § 617.

to it: 1 "It sufficed him to have indicated the possibility of the external world penetrating the sense-organs, as though this were tantamount to an explanation of sensation. The whole working out of his theory is an attempt to translate in terms of a detailed and consecutive physiological process the primitive, naïve view of cognition." Theory of this calibre was, in Greece, divided between impact between impact (Alkmæon, Empedokles, with respect to sight, Demokritus, Plato, who, to impact, adds a commingling of sense and object) and access (efflux and pore theory of Empedokles) as the essential part of the process. The Buddhist explanation confines itself to impact. But neither East nor West, with the possible exception of Alkmæon, had yet gripped the notion of a conducting medium. In Aristotle all is changed. "Eidôla " which collide, and "aporrho" which penetrate, have been thrown aside for an examination into "metaxu ". And we find the point of view similarly shifted in Buddhaghosa's time, though how long before him this advance had been made we do not know. Because of the eye and the visible shape, eye-consciousness arises; the collision (sangati) of the three is contact (phasso, or, as we should say, sensation).3 So the early Sutta. According to the commentator, the eye itself (and each sense-organ) does not touch the object; it is phasso that touches it, quá ārammaṇam, that is, mental object. Hence phasso appears as pure psychic medium or process, working psycho-physically through the active sense-organ. Nor was there, in the earlier thought of East and West, any clear dualistic distinction drawn between mind and matter, between physical (and physiological) motion or stimulus on the one hand, and consequent or concomitant mental modification on the other, in an act of sense-perception.

1 Geschichte der Psychologie, i, 107.

2 Acccss comes later into prominence with the development of the "Door-theory". See following section.

3 M. i, 111.

4 Sum. V. i, 124.

The Greek explanations are what would now be called materialistic. The Buddhist description may be interpreted either way. It is true that in the Milinda-pañho, written some three or four centuries later than our Manual, the action and reaction of sense and sense-object are compared in realistic metaphor to the clash of two cymbals and the butting of two goats. But, being metaphorical, this account brings us really no further. The West, while it retained the phraseology characterizing the earlier theory of sense, ceased to imply any direct physical impact or contact when speaking of being "struck" by sights, sounds, or ideas. How far, and how early, was this also the case in the East?

The Buddhist theory, with an unconscious parallelism, discerned, in the word for a material sensation : "touch," or "contact", a psychical complement getting at and transforming the external object, making it a mental presentation. If dhamma are conceived, as in the Manual, as actual or potential states of consciousness, and rupa m is conceived as a species of d h a m m a, it follows that both the rūpam, which is " external" and comes into contact with the rupam which is "of the self", and also this latter rūpa m are regarded in the light of the two mental factors necessary to constitute the third factor, viz. an act of sensory consciousness, actual or potential.

Such may have been the psychological aspect adumbrated, groped after not to go further in the Dhamma-sangani itself. That the traditional interpretation of this impacttheory grew psychological with the progress of culture in the schools of Buddhism seems to be indicated by such a comment in the Atthasālinī as: "strikes (impinges) on form is a term for the eye (i.e. the visual sense) being receptive of the object of consciousness." 2 This seems to be a clear attempt to resolve

1 Milindapañho, p. 60. SBE., vol. xxxv, pp. 92, 93. Cf. below, p. 5, n. 1.

2 Asl. 309. Cakkhum arammanam sampaṭiccha yama nam eva rūpamhi paṭihaññati nāma.

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