Rupa kalapas fall into two groups: a transparent group and an opaque group. Rupa kalapas which contain one of the five material transparent-elements (pasada-rupa) are transparent. All other rupa kalapas are opaque.
You should first discern the four elements, earth, water, fire, and air, in individual transparent and opaque rupa kalapas. You will find that the rupa kalapas arise and pass away very, very quickly, and will be unable to analyse them, because you still see them as small particles with size. Since you have not yet seen through the three kinds of compactness: compactness of continuity (santati-ghana), of group (samuha-ghana), and of function (kicca-ghana), you are still in the realm of concepts (pannatti), and have not arrived at ultimate reality (paramattha).
It is because you have not seen through the concept of group and shape, that the particles, small lumps, remain. If you do not go any further, and attempt to do
Vipassana by contemplating the arising and passing-away of the rupa kalapas, you would be trying to do Vipassana on concepts. So you must analyse the rupa kalapas further, until you can see the elements in single ones: this is in order to reach ultimate reality.
If you are unable to discern the four elements in single kalapas, because of they arise and pass away very, very quickly, then ignore their arising and passing away; just like pretending to not see, or notice someone whom you do not want to meet, but have met by accident. Ignore the arising and passing-away and simply concentrate on the four elements in single rupa kalapas. The power of your concentration will allow you to ignore their arising and passing-away.
If you are still unsuccessful, you should concentrate on the earth-element alternately in the whole body at once, and then in a single kalapa. Then do the same with the water-element, the fire-element, and the airelement. This way, you will discern the four elements in both the transparent and opaque rupa kalapas.
When you have succeeded, discern the four elements in both the transparent and opaque rupa kalapas of the six sense-bases: the eye-base, ear-base, nose-base, tongue-base, body-base, and heart-base in turn.
A rupa kalapa contains at least eight types of materiality: earth, water, fire, air, colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive-essence. Therefore, after you have discerned the four elements in both the transparent and opaque rupa kalapas of the six sense-bases, you should also discern the remaining elements of colour, odour, flavour, and nutritive-essence.
Colour (vanna) is found in all rupa kalapas, and is the object of sight (ruparammana). It is very easy to discern.
Odour, or smell (gandha) is also found in all rupa kalapas. You should begin by discerning both the nose transparent-element and the bhavanga mind. First discern the four elements in the nose to find the nose transparent-element. The nose transparent-element must be seen in the appropriate rupa kalapas in the nose.
If you have successfully discerned the four elements in the transparent kalapas and opaque kalapas of the six sense-bases, you will easily be able to discern the bright, luminous bhavanga mind, the mind-door (manodvara). It is located in the heart, and depends on the heart-base (hadayavatthu), which is made up of opaque kalapas called heart-as-the-tenth-factor kalapas or heart-decad kalapas (hadaya-dasaka-kalapa).
Having thus discerned the nose transparentelement and bhavanga mind, proceed to discern the odour of a rupa kalapa. Odour can be known by either the nose or mind consciousness. The nose consciousness arises resting on the nose transparent-element. The mind consciousness arises attracted by the bhavanga mind which itself rests upon heart-base materiality. This is why when you wish to discern odour in rupa kalapas, both the supporting transparent-elements must be discerned.
Flavour (rasa) is found in all rupa kalapa. Having discerned both the tongue transparent-element and bhavanga mind, discern the taste of a rupa kalapa. You can discern the taste of saliva on the tongue. As with odour, flavour of an object can be known by either the tongue or mind consciousness, and both their supporting elements must be discerned.
The Dispeller of Delusion, an Abhidhamma commentary, says: 'Sabbopi panesa pabhedo manodvarika-javaneyeva labhati.' This explains that the colour, odour, and flavour of a rupa kalapa, can be known by the mind consciousness alone. Before your meditation becomes strong, you use the nose and tongue consciousness to help you learn how taste and odour is known by the mind consciousness. Once your meditation is strong and powerful, you can know flavour and odour of rupa kalapas with the mind consciousness alone.
Nutritive-essence (oja) is found in all rupa kalapas. It is of four types: nutritive-essence produced by kamma, by consciousness (citta), by temperature (utu), and by nutriment (ahara). Look into any rupa kalapa, and you will find nutritive-essence, from which rupa kalapas are seen to multiply forth again and again.
After having discerned the basic eight types of materiality in rupa kalapas, you should try to discern the remaining types of materiality in specific rupa kalapas
The life-faculty (jivita) is the materiality which sustains the life of materiality produced by kamma. It is not found in rupa kalapas produced by consciousness, temperature, or nutriment, but in those produced by kamma, that is, the transparent rupa kalapas. You should discern them, and then look for the life-faculty in them. The life-faculty materiality sustains the life of other materiality in its own kalapa only, not in other kalapas.
Having discerned the life-faculty in a transparent rupa kalapa, you should also try to discern it in an opaque rupa kalapa. There are three types of opaque kalapa in the body which contain life-faculty. One type, heart-decad kalapas, or heart-as-the-tenth-factor kalapas (hadaya-dasaka-kalapa) is found in only the heart. The other two, sex-decad kalapas or sex-as-the-tenth-factor kalapas (bhava-dasaka-kalapa), and life-nonad kalapas or life-faculty-as-the-ninth-factor kalapas (jivita-navaka-kalapa), are found throughout the body. Therefore, if you discern the life-faculty in an opaque kalapa in the body somewhere beside the heart, you know it must be either a sex-decad kalapa or life-nonad kalapa. To tell these two apart, you need to discern sex-determining-materiality.
Sex-determining-materiality (bhava-rupa) is found in opaque kalapas throughout the body, in all six sense-bases. After you have discerned the life-faculty in both transparent and opaque kalapas, you should look for sex-determining-materiality in the opaque kalapa where you found the life-faculty. If there is sex-determining-materiality, the kalapa is a sex-decad kalapa (bhava-dasaka-kalapa), and not a life-nonad kalapa (jivita-navaka-kalapa). In a male there is only male sex-determining-materiality, and in a female only female sex-determining-materiality. Male sex-determining-materiality is the quality by which you know, 'This is a man.' Female sex-determining-materiality is the quality by which you know, 'This is a woman.' When you are able to discern sex-determining-materiality, look for it in each of the six bases: eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and heart.
Heart-base materiality (hadayavatthu-rupa) is the materiality which supports all consciousnesses arisen in the mind-door; this means except those consciousnesses arisen in the five sense-doors: eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body.
To discern heart-base materiality, concentrate on the bhavanga mind. Then discern the rupa kalapas which support the bhavanga mind. You will find these rupa kalapas in the lower part of the bhavanga mind. They are opaque, heart-decad kalapas.
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