Page images
PDF
EPUB

And yet the divergence between the two conclusions, widely removed though they are by time and space, is not so sharp as at first appears. The modern thinker, while he finds it more honest not to suppress the fact that all psychologists, not excepting Hume, do, implicitly or explicitly, assume the conception of a mind' or conscious subject, is careful to 'extrude' metaphysical dogma. That everything mental is referred to a Self or Subject is, for him, a psychological conception which may be kept as free from the metaphysical conception of a soul, mind-atom, or mind-stuff as is that of the individual organism in biology. In much the same way the Buddhists were content to adopt the term attabhavo (self-hood or personality -for which Buddhaghosa half apologizes1)-ajjhattikam (belonging to the self, subjective2) and the like, as well as to speak of cittam, mano and viññāṇam where we might say 'mind.' It is true that by the two former terms they meant the totality of the five skandhas, that is to say, both mind and body, but this is not the case with the three last named. And if there was one thing which moved the Master to quit his wonted serenity and wield the lash of scorn and upbraiding, and his followers to use emphatic repudiation, it was just the reading into this convenient generalization of mind or personality that 'metaphysical conception of a soul, mind-atom, or mindstuff,' which is put aside by the modern psychologist.

And I believe that the jealous way in which the Buddhists guarded their doctrine in this matter arose, not from the wish to assimilate mind to matter, or the whole personality to a machine, but from the too great danger that lay in the unchecked use of atta, a hankāra, attabhāvo, even as a mere psychological datum, in that it afforded a foothold to the prevailing animism. They

3

2 Ibid., p. 207, n. 1.

1 See below, p. 175, n. 1. 3 Svayam (this one) is nearly always substituted for atta as a nominative, the latter term usually appearing in oblique cases.

were as Protestants in regard to the crucifix. They remembered with Ste. Beuve: 'La sauvagerie est toujours là à deux pas, et, dès qu'on lâche pied, elle recommence.'

What, then, was their view of mind, as merely phenomenal, in relation to the rupa-skandha or non-mental part of the human individual? We have considered their doctrine of external phenomena impingeing on and modifying the internal or personal rupam by way of sense. Have we any clue to their theory of the propagation of the modifications, alleged in their statement1 to take place in relation to those factors of personality which were arupino, and not derived from material elements-the elements (d hatu's), namely, or skandhas of feeling, perception, syntheses and intellect? How did they regard that process of co-ordination by which, taking sensuous experience as the more obvious starting-point in mental experience, sensations are classed and made to cohere into groups or percepts, and are revived as memories, and are further co-ordinated into concepts or abstract ideas? And finally, and at back of all this, who feels, or attends, or wills?

[ocr errors]

Now the Dhamma-Sangani does not place questions of this kind in the mouth of the catechist. In so far as it is psychological (not psycho-physical or ethical), it is so strictly phenomenological, that its treatment is restricted to the analysis of certain broadly defined states of mind, felt or inferred to have arisen in consequence of certain other mental states as conditions. There is no reference anywhere to a subjective factor' or agent who has the cittam or thought, with all its associated factors of attention, feeling, conception and volition. Even in the case of Jhana, where it is dealing with more active modes. of regulated attention, involving a maximum of constructive thought with a minimum of receptive sense, the agent, as conscious subject, is kept in the background. The inflexion of the verb alone implies a given personal agent, and the

1 See answers in §§ 600, 604, etc.

2 Bhāveti, viharati (cultivates, abides); p. 43 et seq.

Commentary even feels it incumbent to point him out. It is this psychologizing without a psyche that impressed me from the first, and seemed to bring the work, for all its remoteness in other respects, nearer to our own Experiential school of and since Locke, than anything we find in Greek traditions.

It is true that each of the four formless skandhas is defined or described, and this is done in connexion with the very first question of the book. But the answers are given, not in terms of respective function or of mutual relation, but of either synonyms, or of modes or constituent parts. For instance, feeling (vedana) is resolved into three modes,1 perception (s a ññā) is taken as practically self-evident and not really described at all, the syntheses (sankhārā) are resolved into modes or factors, intellect ( viñ ñā ņam ) is described by synonyms.

2

Again, whereas the skandhas are enumerated in the order in which, I believe, they are unvaryingly met with, there is nothing, in text or Commentary, from which we can infer that this order corresponds to any theory of genetic procedure in an act of cognition. In other words, we are not shown that feeling calls up perception, or that the sankhāras are a necessary link in the evolution of perception into conception or reasoning. If we can infer

1 See pp. 3-9, 27-29.

2 It is on the other hand described with some fulness in

the Cy. See my note s.v.

3 Cf. the argument by Dr. Neumann, 'Buddhistische Anthologie,' xxiii, xxiv. If I have rendered sankhara by 'syntheses,' it is not because I see any coincidence between the Buddhist notion and the Kantian Synthesis der Wahrnehmungen. Still less am I persuaded that Unterscheidungen is a virtually equivalent term. Like the 'confections" of Professor Rhys Davids and the Gestaltungen' of Professor Oldenberg, I use syntheses simply as, more or less, an etymological equivalent, and wait for more light. I may here add that I have used intellection and cognition interchangeably as comprehending the whole process of knowing, or coming to know.

6

[ocr errors]

anything in the nature of causal succession at all, it is such that the order of the skandhas as enumerated is upset. Thus, taking the first answer (and that is typical for the whole of Book I. when new ground is broken into): a certain sense-impression evokes, through contact,' a complex state of mind or psychosis called a thought or cittam. Born of this contact and the appropriate' cittam, now (i.e., in answer 3) called, in terms of its synonym, representative intellection (ma noviññāņa dhatu), feeling, we are told, is engendered. Perception is called up likewise and, apparently, simultaneously. So is 'thinking' (cetana)-of the sankhara-skandha. And associated with' the cittam come all the rest of the constituent dhammas, both sankhāras, as well as specific modes or different aspects of the feeling and the thought already specified. In a word, we get contact evoking the fifth skandha, and, as the common co-ordinate resultant, the genesis or excitement of the other three. This is entirely in keeping with the many passages in the Nikayas, where the concussion of sense and object are said to result in viññāņam = cittam = the fifth skandha. 'Eye,' for instance, and form,' in mutual contact,' result in visual cognition.'

[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

In the causal chain of that ancient formula, the Paticca samuppada, on the other hand, we find quite another order of genesis, sankhāras inducing cognition or thought, and contact alone inducing feeling. This mysterious old rune must not further complicate our problem. I merely allude to it as not in the least supporting the view that the order of statement, in the skandhas, implies order of happening. What we may more surely gather from the canon is that, as our own psychological thought has now conceived it, the, let us say, given

1 E.g., ease.

2 E.g., the faculties' of mind (ideation) and of pleasure. 3 Given below on p. 348 [1336].

4 Professor Ward, op. cit.

[ocr errors]

individual attends to or cognizes (vijā nāti) changes in the sensory continuum, and is, in consequence, either pleased or pained' (or has neutral feeling). And, further, in any and every degree of conscious or subconscious mood or disposition, he may be shown to be experiencing a number of 'associated states,' as enumerated. All this is in our Manual called a cittuppādā—a genesis of thought.

Of thought or of thinking. There seems to be a breadth and looseness of implication about cittam fairly parallel to the popular vagueness of the English term. It is true that the Commentary does not sanction the interpretation of contact and all the rest (I refer to the type given in the first answer) as so many attributes of the thought which 'has arisen.' The sun rising, it says, is not different from its fiery glory, etc., arising. But the cittam arising is a mere expression to fix the occasion for the induction of the whole concrete psychosis, and connotes no more and no less than it does as a particular constituent of that complex.1

This is a useful hint. On the other hand, when we consider the synonymous terms for cittam, given in answer 6, and compare the various characteristics of these terms scattered through the Commentary, we find a considerable wealth of content and an inclusion of process and product similar to that of our thought.' For example, 'cittam means mental object or presentation (ārammanam); that is to say, he thinks; that is to say, he attends to a thought." Hence my translation might well

1 Asl. 113. I gather, however, that the adjective cetasikam had a wider and a narrower denotation. In the former it meant 'not bodily,' as on p. 6. In the latter it served to distinguish three of the incorporeal skandhas from the fourth, i.e., cittam, as on pp. 265, 318-cittacetasika dhammā. Or are we to take the Commentator's use of kayikam here to refer to those three skandhas, as is often the case (p. 43, n. 3)? Hardly, since this makes the two meanings of cetasikam self-contradictory.

2 Ibid. 63.

« PreviousContinue »