Posted by: Soh
Taken from Facebook group, Dharma Connection

Question:

"What does sentient beings mean? 

What's the difference between sentient and insentient?"



In anatta agency is resolved in four aspects;

Firstly it's resolved that there is only foreground manifestation without background; instead to there being two (experiencer-experienced) or three (experiencer-experiencing-experienced) things it's resolv
ed that in reference to what is experienced there is precisely only what is experienced. This is resolving that self as witness/observer is non-arisen since it depends on imputation.

Secondly it's resolved that in that naked foreground manifestation there is no active subject endowed with cognitive or productive abilities/capacities. This is resolving that self as controller/doer is non-arisen since it depends on imputation.

Thirdly it's resolved that in that naked foreground manifestation without both active and in-active subject there is not a single phenomenon that could be said to be "mine". This is resolving that self as owner/posessor is non-arisen since it depends on imputation.

Last aspect... Is to resolve that there is no pervailing substance/beingness/awareness that remains unchanged... No global source for naked manifestation and likewise no "the awareness" and the like. This is resolving that self as universal selfhood is non-arisen since it depends on imputation.

First aspect is that there is no receiving end for thought... Just thought without background against which it appears.

Second aspect is that we don't find any thinker behind thoughts who is emitting them.

Third aspect is that we don't find any thought that we could pin down as "mine", belonging to "me".

Fourth aspect is that we don't find any universal unchanging essence in any possible relationship to thoughts (identical with them, different from them, being in them, containing them or possessing them).

Sentient being is conventional term when there is ignorance, attachment and aversion... and delusion of self-view that solidifies this process of grasping into substantial being. Meaning sentient being is term for grasping at self as

a)observer/witness
b)controller/doer
c)owner
d)abiding soul/being/essence/source

When it's directly resolved in one's own mindstream both poles of sentient and insentient are seen to be delusory... If something that was posited as sentient is non-arisen exactly to what we could compare "insentient"? How many one-sided coins we could find?

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1 Response
  1. Eezy Isempty Says:

    Hello Piotr,

    Good question...

    There are no one-sided coins, there is nothing to compare, both sentient and insentient phenomenon are non-arisen and empty.

    Still, does an insentient phenomenon, such as a rock, 'experience' -- or is there no ignorance there?

    Here is an un-koan for you, "Why is an orange?"

    Answer: "Because a snake has no armpits."

    Eezy Isempty;-)