22 Jan
Posted in: Homework
By    Comments Off on Ouch.


The next link in the chain of Dependent Origination/Co-Arising is vedana, which is almost always translated as “feeling” or “feeling tone.” This is not “feeling” in the way we “feel” our emotions. It’s in the way we “feel” the impact of a sensation as it comes into contact with awareness.

Vedana is a simple, feeling response to contact (phassa), and it is always either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. (“Neutral” is more accurately “neither-pleasent-nor-unpleasant.”)

The image I chose here looks like the feeling tone is always unpleasant, but that’s because I want to keep in mind that even pleasant sensations….the taste of really good dark chocolate, for example, or a beautiful sunset, or the touch of a baby’s skin….even these lovely sensations have the potential for pain, if we cling to them and keep wanting more. Neutral sensations also have this potential, because we tend to space out when they’re present and not notice what’s going on.

Christina Feldman says, “It is important to acknowledge that the links of contact, of sense doors and feeling that we are talking about are neither wholesome nor unwholesome in and of themselves, but become the catalyst for what happens next. The sense doors, the feelings and the contact are the forerunners of complexity. They are the forerunners of how we actually react or respond, and how we begin to weave a personal story out of events or impressions that all of us experience at all times.

“Therefore contact, feeling and sense doors are pretty important places to pay attention to. Because it’s when we move on to the next link of craving that we begin to see more precisely the process of suffering and complexity that begins to emerge.”

Vedana can also be translated as “sensation,” but for the DPP assignment, I’m going with “feeling tone.”

(image: Napo Tarot)


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