21 Jan
Posted in: Homework
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The next link in the chain of Dependent Origination (also called Dependent Co-Arising) is phassa, most often translated as “contact.”

This is the point when a sensation from the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin…or thoughts, ideas, images, etc. from the mind….come into contact with awareness.

Christina Feldman says, “Contact is the meeting between the sense door and the sense information–I ring the bell, hearing arises. You have an itch in your body, your body consciousness arises. You smell something cooking in the kitchen, the smell sense door arises. This arising always involves the coming together of the sense door, the sense object and consciousness. Those three elements together is what contact is.

“The Buddha once said that with contact the world arises. And with cessation of contact there is the cessation of the world. It doesn’t mean wipe-out. What it means is that there’s a cessation of the world that is perceived according to sankharas (habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, etc.) and ignorance. There’s cessation of a ‘personal’ perception of the world.

“Each moment of contact is the isolating of an impression out of the whole stream and presence of impressions that are present for us in every moment. There’s a vast number of impressions/phenomena going on. Contact is what happens when something jumps out of that background and becomes foreground. We’re paying attention to it. There’s that meeting of the sense object, the sense door, and consciousness. The sensation stands out for us. That is contact.”

Phassa is sometimes translated as “sensory impingement” or “sense experience.” But I like the immediacy of “contact,” so for the DPP homework, I’m going with that.

(image: illustration by George Willett from “Creative Whack Pack.”)

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