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#1 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:47 AM

dear Group,
A friend wrote to me that the reason they can't believe in the Atthakatta (commentaries) is because they say the heart is the base for consciousness. they wrote:
_____
On the other hand, Buddagosa CONFIRMS in Visuddimagga that the seat of the Mind is Heart. Now we know, this cannot be possible, through lots of knowledge we have gained on the functions of the heart and the brain and the associated central nervous system. If the heart is the seat of the consciousness, what happens during open heart surgeries where the heart is kept inactive for hours before activating by an electric shock at the end of the operation.

On the other hand, what consciousness a person will have who receives a new heart from another dead person?
_________________________________________

Dear friend,

All of us are much conditioned by an age where scientific discoveries seem so testable and provable. It is natural that doubts arise on this matter. The visuddhimagga (viii, 111)says about hadaya-vatthu (heart basis): they describe the heart and then note that inside the heart "there is hollow the size of a punnaga seeds bed where half a pastata measure of blood is kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur." Note that it is not the heart itself that is the hadaya-vatthu NOR is it the blood inside the heart but rather as the Paramatthamanjusa (see vis.xiii note 5 ) says "the heart basis occurs with this blood as its support". You see the actual hadaya-vatthu is incredibly sublime - in scientific measure it wouldn't even amount to a tiny fraction of a gram. It might even be so refined as to be unmeasuarable by scientific instruments.

This applies also to the other sense organs (pasada rupa). The Atthasalini remarks that the very purpose of using the term pasada is to dismiss the popular misconception of what we think an eye or an ear is. (see karunadasa p45)The actual sensitive matter in the eye and ear is very refined. If someone dies then the ear-sense and eye sense (sotapasada and cakkhu-pasada ) are immediately no longer produced (they are produced by kamma only) yet one would not notice much outward change looking at the eye and ear(at least for the first few minutes before decomposition sets in). The same applies to the heart - the blood in the heart would have the same volume after death and yet the hadaya-vatthu is no longer present.

I think you accept that consciousness arises soon after conception. The fetus at that stage is so tiny as to be invisible to all but the most trained eye (if even that large). yet consciousness is arising and passing away dependent on some matter(rupa) somewhere. There is certainly no brain yet but according to the commentaries the heart basis (hadaya-vattu ) ,that extremely subtle, rupa is already present - conditioned by kamma. This shows how extraordinarily subtle this type of rupa is. There is more that I could write about this. However, I think one can see how heart transplants etc. make no difference to the arising and passing of this subtle conditioned rupa.

What does the brain do then? It does something, it is like wiring center needed for functioning of the body mind - Sure if you pull out a few wires , just as with a computer, things aren't going to work so well. One will always be confused about these problems if one thinks in stories about people and hearts and medicine and brain- Even detailed scientific explanations cannot approach the nature of the true reality of the evanescent conditioned phenomena we call life. There are only rupas and namas arising and passing away, and just as with the tipitaka the commentaries lead us to see this truth.

robert

Visuddhimagga Ch. XIV
 

QUOTE
60. 13. The heart-basis has the characteristic of being the (material) support for the mind-element and for the mind-consciousness-element. Its function is to observe them. It is manifested as the carrying of them. It is to be found in dependence on the blood, of the kind described in the treatise on the mindfulness of the body (Ch. VIII, 111), inside the heart. It is assisted by the primaries with their functions of upholding, etc.; it is consolidated by temperature, consciousness, and nutriment; it is maintained by life; and it serves as physical basis for the mind-element and the mind-consciousness-element, and for the states associated with them.26


--------------------------

Vism. VIII, 111.
 

QUOTE
This is the heart flesh. As to colour, it is the colour of the back of a red-lotus petal. As to shape, it is the shape of a lotus bud with the outer petals removed and turned upside down; it is smooth outside, and inside it is like the interior of a kosataki (loofah gourd). In those who possess understanding it is a little expanded; in those without understanding it is still only a bud. Inside it there is a hollow the size of a punnaga seed's bed where half a pasata measure of blood is kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur.


#2 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:48 AM

Is it to be taken literally that the "heart" referred to here is the physical organ that is being spoken about? Could it not be that "heart" is referring to "emotions", which are mental formations, so that citta includes both mind and emotion?
______________________________

Good question. The hadaya-vatthu is rupa (physical phenomena) and so is entirely different from citta which is mental phenomena- this in the realms where there are five aggregates (khandas)(ie. our world). In the Tipitaka they don't actually specify this matter as hadaya (heart) but simply say "yam rupam" (that material thing). They specify it in the commenatries where extra details are often given.

It is useful to know that although mano-vinnana (synonyms for citta) have hadaya-vatthu as the base in five aggregate worlds (our world) this type of matter is not an indriya (controlling faculty), whereas cakkhu-pasada, sota pasada etc.(the sensitive matter of the eye, ear, nose tongue body etc)are all indriya. The reason that the heart matter is not indriya is that mano is not contolled by it in the sense that the relative strength or weakness of the heart matter does not influence mano (citta, vinnana). This is contrasted with say cakkhu pasada where if the sensitive matter in the eye is of weak quality then seeing will be diminished (and the same for the other senses). Thus we see that the heart base must be even more subtle than the extremely refined matter that is the eye base.

robert

#3 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:51 AM

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"The Path of Purification" (Visuddhimagga) Ch. XIV

QUOTE
60. 13. The heart-basis has the characteristic of being the (material) support for the mind-element and for the mind-consciousness-element. Its function is to observe them.


N: to observe: the Pali has: aadhaarana: the meaning is: being a container, foundation, support, holding up. In the five khandha planes where there are nama and rupa, cittas need a physical base, foundation. They do not arise independently of the body. The five sense-cognitions have the sense bases as physical support, and all the other cittas, namely, mind-element and the mind-consciousness-element (see explanation in the other post) have as support what is called the heartbase, an infinitely tiny rupa arising and falling away.

Text:

QUOTE
It is manifested as the carrying of them. It is to be found in dependence on the blood, of the kind described in the treatise on the mindfulness of the body (Ch. VIII, 111), inside the heart.


N: let us first look at the footnote :

Text:

QUOTE
Vism. VIII, 111. This is the heart flesh. As to colour, it is the colour of the back of a red-lotus petal. As to shape, it is the shape of a lotus bud with the outer petals removed and turned upside down; it is smooth outside, and inside it is like the interior of a kosataki (loofah gourd). In those who possess understanding it is a little expanded; in those without understanding it is still only a bud. Inside it there is a hollow the size of a punnaga seed's bed where half a pasata measure of blood is kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur.


N: We have to go back in time centuries and centuries and consider with patience what is meant. What was the intention of the commentators? To see the heartbase as not worth clinging to, not beautiful. It is only the tiniest element performing a function. The last sentence is the core: with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur. The reality of that base is expressed by means of conventional terms to help people at that time to understand it correctly. We should not reject the terms used here, but cconsider what is really essential. Blood, inside the heart: we have to understand the rupa dhamma these words stand for. That is what really matters.

Returning to Vis. Text:

QUOTE
It is assisted by the primaries with their functions of upholding, etc.


N: It arises from the first moment of life in a decad: the four Great Elements: solidity (earth) as a foundation, cohesion (water) as holding together (preventing falling apart of the conascent rupas), heat (fire) as maturing or maintaining and motion (wind) as distending (resilience).

Text:

QUOTE
it is consolidated by temperature, consciousness, and nutriment; it is maintained by life;


N: So long as we are alive cittas arise, and each citta supports the previously arisen rupas. U. Narada, Conditional Relations: postnascence condition: Mentality possesses such powerful force that, although it depends on the heart-base,( which is dependent on the blood inside the heart that is a very small part of the body), it is related to the matter produced by the four causes present in the whole body by postnascence condition. it serves as physical basis for the mind-element and the mind-consciousness-element, and for the states associated with them. Nutriment and life: nutriment is one of the eight inseparable rupas arising in each unit of rupa. Not mentioned here but implied: flavour, odour and colour, included in these eight.

It is maintained by life: since heartbase is produced only by kamma, there has to be in that unit: life-faculty. As we saw: it maintains kamma produced matter, as a wetnurse.

Nina.

#4 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:53 AM

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[Note 26. ' "The heart-base is ... the support for the mind-element and for the mind-consciousness element"; how is that to be known? (i) From scriptures and (ii) from logical reasoning.]

Text: (ii) But the logical reasoning should be understood in this way. In the five-constituent becoming, [that is, in the sense sphere and fine-material sphere,] these two elements [mind element and mind-consciousness element] have as their support produced (nipphanna) derived matter.

N: The heart [base] is among the derived rupas, it is produced by kamma. The Commentator points out in the following paragraph which of the rupas do not qualify for being the heart-base, the support of the mind-element and the mind-consciousness element.

Text: Herein, since the visible-data base, etc., and nutritive essence, are found to occur apart from what is bound up with faculties, to make them the support would be illogical. N: colour, sound etc. and also nutritive essence (one of the eight inseparables) are also in what we call dead matter, in what is not a living body (bound up with the faculties).

Text: And since these two elements are found in a continuity that is devoid of feminity and masculinity faculties [i.e. in the Brahmaa-world], to make them the support would be illogical too.

N: These do not qualify, because in the rupa brahma planes there is no sex faculty, but there are these two elements. Text:And in the case of the life faculty that would have to have another function, so to make it the support would be illogical too. So it is the heart-basis that remains to be recognized as their support. For it is possible to say that these two elements have as their support produced derived matter, since existence is bound up with matter in the five-constituent becoming. Whatever has its existence bound up with matter is found to have as its support produced derived matter, as eye-consciousness-element does.

N: eye-consciousness-element has the eyebase as its support.
****
Nina.

#5 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 05:56 AM

U Narada, p. 61:

Why heartbase is never a conditioning state:( as base-prenascence indriya) As shown above, five of the six bases are the conditioning states of base-prenascence-faculty condition, but the remaining base, heart-base, is never so. The reasons for this are;

1. Heart-base arises before mind-element and mind-consciousness element which are dependent on it. In this respect it is similar to the other five bases. But unlike them, the strength or weakness of the consciousness is not dependent on it. Because whether the heartbase is clear or not, mind-element and mind-consciousness element are not affected accordingly [N: but in the case of seeing, this is affected by it]. Thus heart-base does not control the consciousness dependent on it.

2. The five bases and the five corresponding sense-objects are respectively the receivers and impingers. But this is not so with heart-base and cognizable object. Instead, cognizable object impinges on the mind-door (life-continuum *) and appears in it. Hence, heart-base is not a door and so it can never be a conditioning state of base-prenascence-faculty condition.

U. Narada, p. 175: Question. Why is it that the general term Œbaseš expounded in Pth. is specified as Œheart-baseš by the Commentators when this is not mentioned anywhere in the Pali canon? Answer: It is clear to many that eye-consciousness, etc. are dependent and based on eye-base, etc. But in the case of the material base in question, Œheartš is prefixed to it so that there will be no doubt as to which base is meant. For mind-element and mind-consciousness element are dependent on the material base which is situated within the heart and is, therefore, called Œheart-baseš. Thus Œbaseš and Œheart-baseš are one and the same.
_____
* The bhavanga-citta arising immediately before the mind-door process begins with the mind-door adverting-consciousness, is the mind-door. It is the means by which the cittas of that process experience the object.
*****
Nina.

#6 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 06:01 AM

Robert Kirkpatrick
The visuddhimagga (viii, 111)says about hadaya-vatthu (heart basis): they describe the heart and then note that inside the heart "there is hollow the size of a punnaga seeds bed where half a pastata measure of blood is kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur." Note that it is not the heart itself that is the hadaya-vatthu NOR is it the blood inside the heart but rather as the Paramatthamanjusa (see vis.xiii note 5 ) says "the heart basis occurs with this blood as its support".

************************************************************
Ranjith:

I have read this part of the Visuddimagga written in Sinhala. Sinhala version used the word "patha" in place of "pastata". In Sinhala, the 'patha' is a measure for liquid which accounts for about 100 mili liters. Therefore, half a 'patha' could be about 50 ml. My belief is the human heart contains much more quantity of blood in it at any given time. If we want to take it as it is probably, we can assume that the 'Vinnana' can resides in the hadaya-vatthu' as long as there is half a patha of blood in there.

**************
Robert:

You see the actual hadaya-vatthu is incredibly sublime - in scientific measure it wouldn't even amount to a tiny fraction of a gram. It might even be so refined as to be unmeasuarable by scientific instruments.

*********
Ranjith:

In this statement what do you refer to by the word of hadaya-vatthu?

************************************************************
Dear Ranjith,

What is essential to realise is that hadaya-vatthu (heart base) is not the heart nor is it the blood in the heart that we can see. It is a special type of rupa that is conditioned only by kamma and it arises in association with some of the blood in the heart. In the space of a flash of lightning more than a billion moments of hadaya-vatthu have arisen and fallen away. If we think of heart in conventional terms (and mistake this for hadaya-vatthu) we are lost in the world of concept- and will not understand the deep meaning in the Visuddhimagga.
_____________________________________________________________

Ranjith:

However, I still can not understand what answers I have for following questions.
If the seat of the Vinnana is the hadaya-vatthu;

1. What would happen to the Vinnana during the time of an open heart surgery where the heart is inactive for the function of pumping blood?

2. Does the Vinnana get changed from one heart tissue to another in case of the heart transplant?

3. Where does Vinnana reside during the period of tissue transition (several hours)?

4. In case of using an artificial heart, we can assume that engineers do not make any provision for the tiny heart hole' as they are not aware of the requirement. But we know the person who carry the 'heart pump' live normally. In this case what happens to the Vinnana?
_______________________________________________

Robert:

None of this can be surprising if we understand hadaya-vatthu. That special kammic matter will arise wherever there is the suitable conditions, including blood (or even a blood substitute). Although now, for us, it arises inside the body inside the heart, it can certainly arise in a pump, or anywher suitable. Vinnana lasts even a shorter time than the heartbase so there is no question of it going anywhere . Vinnana has no time to go anywhere- it can'tchange from tissue to anywhere. It arises, performs its function (depending on the type of vinnana) and immediatley falls away. But it conditions the next vinnana to arise. It is this continuity that deceives us into believing that things can last.

Even if we think something lasts only for a split second we are still caught up in vipallasa of permanence. It is all much more ephemeral than that and so only vipassana that insights (not us) can understand the difference between nama and rupa and so overcome doubt on these matters. This applies also to the other sense organs (pasada rupa).

The Atthasalini remarks that the very purpose of using the term pasada is to dismiss the popular misconception of what we think an eye or an ear is. (see karunadasa p45)The actual sensitive matter in the eye and ear is very refined. If someone dies then the ear-sense and eye sense (sotapasada and cakkhu-pasada ) are immediately no longer produced (they are produced by kamma only) yet one would not notice much outward change looking at the eye and ear(at least for the first few minutes before decomposition sets in). The same applies to the heart - the blood in the heart would have the same volume after death and yet the hadaya-vatthu is no longer present.

************************************************************


Ranjith:

Yes, the 'pasada-rupa' is not the organ itself. But I think it is the name given to the ability of the 'rupa' (organ) to receive an 'arammana' in a specific form and translate that into another form of 'rupa' to send the message to 'Vinnana'(consciousness) which is constantly monitoring the 'six sense doors' for inputs. I have shown this process clearly in the diagram I have posted sometimes ago.
________________

Robert: The pasada rupa doesn't translate into anything. It arises and performs its function which is to be the base and meeting point for cakkhu-vinnana to arise and contact the rupa which is visible object. It is so anatta- so uncontrollable. the pasada is conditioned, the cakkhu vinnana is conditioned by different conditions, the rupa which is visible object (vanayatana or rupayatana) is conditioned by different conditions again. All of them so ephemeral and yet they all arise and meet. That is all life is- through different doors. Because of deep ignorance we imagine that we can control this process. Seeing into this process is understanding paticcasamupada. It is so deep and yet sadly these days we have people who can think about anatta or have unusual experiences while meditating and believe this means they have had insight. Very hard to help.
________________

Ranjith:

When a person die, all pasada rupas 'appear' to die immediately. But they don't. What dies is the Mind so that it can no longer monitor the sense doors and receive arammanas. This happens immediately after the death. That is the reason for me to use the words "permanent separation of the Mind from the Matter" to describe the death. However, the ability of some of those sense organs to function normally remain intact for sometime. That is how the surgeons use the Eye tissue of a dead person to transplant into another person, giving the vision to the second one. Removal of the eye tissue can take place even an hour after the death. I am aware of a situations where a medical team has recovered eyes of a dead man few hours after his death as the man died at home and relatives did not call the nearest Eye Bank for hours.

_________________

Robert:

This is mixing conventional thinking with Dhamma and so confusions occur. You write "When a person die, all pasada rupas 'appear' to die immediately. But they don't. What dies is the Mind so that it can no longer monitor the sense doors and receive arammanas. This happens immediately after the death."

No. Immediately after cuticitta (death consciousness) arises (not even a split second delay)there are no more of any of the sense bases. They are all produced by kamma and already patisandicitta has arisen in a new existence - maybe in another world and another plane far from here. But the eyes, ears and so forth - these organs where the pasada arises still exist, are still visible, because they are not conditioned solely by kamma. And certainly they can act as a support for new pasada rupa -conditioned by anothers kamma. That is why transplants can work. If this is still not clear please ask more as these subtle points where conventional ideas and the sublime Dhamma intersect can show us much about the clinging that there is to concept and story.

#7 RobertK

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 06:03 AM

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Would it be correct to say the heartbase could be an object of javana only if the javana consciousness were a very high degree of amoha (panna/wisdom)? At that level, presumably, there wouldn't be a future life.

N: When looking at the Patthana we see that it can also be an object of attachment, etc. Thus, not only in the case of arahats who will not have a future life.

L: Even so, there is reason to doubt that this could happen.

N: We never know, it depends on conditions, we cannot speculate about this. Heartbase is a condition by way of base, and also it can be a condition by way of object at the same time, during life or at the end of life, as we have seen (U Narada, refers to Patthana). Some people find it hard to accept that what can only be experienced through the mind-door and what they cannot experience now is not necessarily a concept. Heartbase is a reality, a rupa-dhamma. A concept can be a condition by way of object, but it could never be a condition by way of physical base, as is the case with the heart-base. Thus, how could heartbase be a concept, an idea, a product of thinking?

L: I see that the Vism. commentary says the heartbase is to be known "from scriptures and from reasoning", in other words, conceptually.

N: I am glad you mention this. We have to return to the Pali text: kathameta.m vi~n~naatabbanti? Aagamato, yuttito ca. How can this be known? aagamato: by the scriptures. Yuttito: by application. There is nothing about logical reasoning in the Pali text, this is too limited. Yutta: yoked, connected, applied to. You see here that this is a much larger meaning? Applied not just by thinking, it can be by direct experience. From the scriptures, yes, had the Buddha not taught us, we would not know that there is a heart-base. People may doubt again. Only the sotapanna has eradicated doubt. By the development of satipatthana he has realized by direct experience many realities. Suppose many are realized but not all, this does not give rise to doubt, because of the confidence in the Dhamma has become unshakable. Because of direct experience through panna, confidence becomes steadfast and firm.

L: Also, I was wondering what, if any, difference one's bhavanga citta makes. If my last conscious moment manifests as a hatred for apples, that javana series will have kammic consequences but will the hatred for apples that manifests countless times as bhavanga in my next life have any kammic consequences, become a latent tendency, or in any way characterize my behaviour?

N: Those last javanas with hate, dosa, condition an unhappy rebirth, in a woeful plane. The object taken by them can be an object through any of the six doors, it can be visible object (say, colour of apples), or a symbol of future rebirth, we cannot speculate about that. That same object , an echo of it, is experienced by the next rebirth-citta, and all bhavangacittas, but in those cases the object is not experienced through a doorway. The consequences: one has hatred accumulated as latent tendency, but also the other latent tendencies of desire, wrong view, etc. Dosa arises again and again, but not just dosa for apples! Dosa for countless objects.

A Summary about heartbase:

Rob K's posts have rendered many questions people may have about the heart, transplantation of heart, etc. He also explained that we may be clinging to an idea of my heart, but that the heartbase is a very subtle rupa that can only be experienced through the mind-door. Although we cannot experience it now, what can we learn about this? It is the physical basis for many cittas, included in mind-element and mind-consciousness element. It is a condition for other realities and it itself is conditioned by kamma which keeps on producing it throughout life, on and on. We are in a five khandha plane, meaning, what we call *we* are nama and rupa. Each citta takes a new base (be it sensebase or heartbase), except during the last javanacittas of a life which all depend on one heartbase. This study helps us to see at least intellectually, that the heartbase and the cittas that depend on it are very temporary, beyond control and not to be taken for mine or self. All these studies of details we do now are accumulated as a foundation so that later on panna can arise which understands the true nature of dhammas.

Nina.

#8 Mitta

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Posted 28 March 2008 - 04:30 PM

Hi,

I was reading the Chapter1 of ‘The Mind in Early Buddhism’ by Bhikkhu Thich Minh Thanh and there’s an interesting passage there about the heart base:

QUOTE
4. Odd Idea about Citta

It is interesting to notice the alien idea about citta that happened to be in the proposition: 'citta is incorporeal and resident in the cave of the heart'[18]. It is probably because of a reference to this verse, in respect of the physical basis of citta, that some section of the Theravādins developed a cardio-centric theory according to which the heart (hadayavatthu) is the locus of mind and mental consciousness. These Theravādins appear to be alone in holding this theory and this is confirmed by the statement of Yaśomitra[19] that it is confined only to the school of Sri Lankan Buddhism. It is hard to find in the orthodox system of Buddhist thought any place to which the idea can be incorporated properly.
--
[18] Dhp. v. 37.
[19] He is said to be the author of Sphuṭārthā Abhidharmakośa Vyākhyā. see M. Winternitz, HIL: 344.




#9 Virgo

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:03 AM

QUOTE(RobertK @ May 5 2006, 05:47 AM) View Post

dear Group,
A friend wrote to me that the reason they can't believe in the Atthakatta (commentaries) is because they say the heart is the base for consciousness. they wrote:
_____
On the other hand, Buddagosa CONFIRMS in Visuddimagga that the seat of the Mind is Heart. Now we know, this cannot be possible, through lots of knowledge we have gained on the functions of the heart and the brain and the associated central nervous system. If the heart is the seat of the consciousness, what happens during open heart surgeries where the heart is kept inactive for hours before activating by an electric shock at the end of the operation.

On the other hand, what consciousness a person will have who receives a new heart from another dead person?
_________________________________________

Dear friend,

All of us are much conditioned by an age where scientific discoveries seem so testable and provable. It is natural that doubts arise on this matter. The visuddhimagga (viii, 111)says about hadaya-vatthu (heart basis): they describe the heart and then note that inside the heart "there is hollow the size of a punnaga seeds bed where half a pastata measure of blood is kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness element occur." Note that it is not the heart itself that is the hadaya-vatthu NOR is it the blood inside the heart but rather as the Paramatthamanjusa (see vis.xiii note 5 ) says "the heart basis occurs with this blood as its support". You see the actual hadaya-vatthu is incredibly sublime - in scientific measure it wouldn't even amount to a tiny fraction of a gram. It might even be so refined as to be unmeasuarable by scientific instruments.

This applies also to the other sense organs (pasada rupa). The Atthasalini remarks that the very purpose of using the term pasada is to dismiss the popular misconception of what we think an eye or an ear is. (see karunadasa p45)The actual sensitive matter in the eye and ear is very refined. If someone dies then the ear-sense and eye sense (sotapasada and cakkhu-pasada ) are immediately no longer produced (they are produced by kamma only) yet one would not notice much outward change looking at the eye and ear(at least for the first few minutes before decomposition sets in). The same applies to the heart - the blood in the heart would have the same volume after death and yet the hadaya-vatthu is no longer present.

I think you accept that consciousness arises soon after conception. The fetus at that stage is so tiny as to be invisible to all but the most trained eye (if even that large). yet consciousness is arising and passing away dependent on some matter(rupa) somewhere. There is certainly no brain yet but according to the commentaries the heart basis (hadaya-vattu ) ,that extremely subtle, rupa is already present - conditioned by kamma. This shows how extraordinarily subtle this type of rupa is. There is more that I could write about this. However, I think one can see how heart transplants etc. make no difference to the arising and passing of this subtle conditioned rupa.

What does the brain do then? It does something, it is like wiring center needed for functioning of the body mind - Sure if you pull out a few wires , just as with a computer, things aren't going to work so well. One will always be confused about these problems if one thinks in stories about people and hearts and medicine and brain- Even detailed scientific explanations cannot approach the nature of the true reality of the evanescent conditioned phenomena we call life. There are only rupas and namas arising and passing away, and just as with the tipitaka the commentaries lead us to see this truth.

robert

Visuddhimagga Ch. XIV
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Vism. VIII, 111.

I read recently that the Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw instructs his students that after they exit jhana they should look down very briefly (only for a one second) into the heart base with the wisdom eye that is developed in jhana. By looking with the wisdom eye it appears that the heart base/ mind door can actually be seen. Students report that they can see the heart base and the actual jhana factors present inside it when looking with the wisdom eye at the heart. This is done to see what jhana factors are present so one can confirm which jhana they were just in by making sure that the mental factors present in the mind door are the same ones that should be present for the specified jhana. This is described very briefly in Jhanas Advice From Two Spiritual Friends.

So we can see that what the commentary says is confirmed by the experience of yogis. This only confirms that the commentaries are correct. It is certainly not reason to reject them.

Kevin