Kalapa (atomism)

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Kalapa or rupa-kalapa (from Sanskrit rūpa "form, phenomenon" and kalāpa "bundle") is a term in Theravada Buddhist phenomenology for the smallest units of physical matter, said to be about 1/46,656th the size of a particle of dust from a wheel of chariot.[1] Kalapas are not mentioned in the earliest Buddhists texts, such as the Tripitaka, but only in the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, an Abhidhamma commentary dated to the 11th or 12th century, and as such not part of common Theravada doctrine.[2]

According to the description found in the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, Kalapas are said to be invisible under normal circumstances but visible as a result of meditative samadhi.[3] Kalapas are composed of eight inseparable elements of material essence in varying amounts which are:[4] Pathavi (earth), Apo (water), Tejo (fire), Vayo (air), Vanna (color), Gandha (smell), Rasa (taste), and Oja (nutrition). The first four elements are called primary qualities, and are predominant in kalapas. The other four are secondary properties that derive from the primaries.[5] Certain kalapas are said to also include additional elements, including sound, sex, body, mind-base and life.[6][7]

In contemporary Buddhist meditation practice, the observation and analysis of kalapas is a type of vipassana practice that aims to allow direct observation of impermanence and non-self.[8][9] Contemporary adherents of practices related to the observation and analysis of kalapas include U Ba Khin, S.N. Goenka and Pa Auk Sayadaw.[10][11][12][13] Mahasi Sayadaw in the 1980s expressed a belief that kalapas played a role in aging, death and rebirth.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kornfield, Jack (1977, 1996), Living Dharma: Teachings of Twelve Buddhist Masters, Shambhala p.316
  2. ^ Abhidhammattha-sangaha, Britannica Online (1998, 2005).
  3. ^ Shankman, Richard (2008), The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambhala, p. 178
  4. ^ Anuruddhàcariya, Bhadanta, trans. By Thera, Nàrada Mahà (1979) A Manual of Abhidhamma: Abhidhammattha Saïgaha of Bhadanta Anuruddhàcariya Buddhist Missionary Society, p.320
  5. ^ U Ba Khin, Sayagyi Thray Sithu (1995-2011) "The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma" The Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka
  6. ^ Mendis, N.K.G. (2006-2011), The Abhidhamma in Practice The Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka
  7. ^ Sayadaw, Pa Auk Tawya (2000), Knowing and Seeing, D.W.K. Ng, p.267
  8. ^ Rasmussen, Tina and Snyder, Stephen (2009) Practicing the Jhanas: Traditional Concentration as Presented by Venerable Pa Auk Sayadaw, Shambhala p.127
  9. ^ U Ba Khin, Sayagyi Thray Sithu (1995-2011) "The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma" The Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka
  10. ^ Goenka, S.N. (2000) The Discourse Summaries, Vipassana Research Publications, p. 131
  11. ^ Sayadaw, Pa Auk Tawya (2000), Knowing and Seeing, D.W.K. Ng, p.125
  12. ^ U Ba Khin, Sayagyi Thray Sithu (1995-2011) "The Essentials of Buddha Dhamma" The Buddhist Publication Society, Sri Lanka
  13. ^ Shankman, Richard (2008). The Experience of Samadhi: An In-depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation. Shambhala. p. 177. ISBN 9780834824010.
  14. ^ "Sayadaw, Mahasi (March 1982) PATICCASAMUPPADA, Buddhasasana Nuggaha Organization". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
  • Noa Ronkin, Early Buddhist Metaphysics: The Making of a Philosophical Tradition (2005), 58f.

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