Momentary Existence Explained
Conscious, sensible perceiving of something objectively existing
Conscious psychic phenomena as emotions, memories, etc.
If we separate in abstraction consciousness as such, a pure consciousness as a form from its content, we are getting 3 basic components:
Psychic phenomena in abstraction separated from consciousness
Sensible phenomena, the content of senses, also separately from a consciousness.
In Buddhist terminology those 3 elements are named “čitta”(or “vijnana”), “čaitta” and “rupa”. These elements or dharmas are connected each with other. The process itself, when dharmas are connecting, changed, replaced, etc. can be seen as a new element, the fourth element.
Reminding it is an abstraction, we can say: the conscious, empirical life of each personality, so called subject, who experiences his or her external and inner world, is constituted of the elements that are connected between themselves according to a certain laws.
Those elements can be divided to many smaller types, they are met in most different shades and combinations and form something homogeneous, with a potential and subordinated to the law of dependent origination.
All separate elements are involved in relations between each other. They are dependant each of other.
And it shows us, the Buddhist analysis that divides a personality to elements, is not of psychophysiological character, but psychological in a sense its objects are the external and inner experiences of a person, not his material body.
buddha dharma momentsThe theory of moments or momentary existence in most of the later scriptures is not anymore proven but is considered to be commonly accepted. In the treatises on elements, groups, etc. it is considered to be well known.
It consists of hypothesis that each element lasts only one very short moment, and thus the conscious personality is a chain of always changing combinations of moments, which consists of separate elements that manifest themselves only one short moment.
They are not changing, they are disappearing. What doesn’t disappear also doesn’t exist. The cause of manifestation of each dharma is a previous moment, which also manifested itself from nothing to disappear in nowhere.
The conclusion from the theory of momentary existence was denial of a movement. Really existing object, i.e. element, cannot move, because it disappears right after its origination, it doesn’t have time to move.
The later doesn’t contradict to the fact that one of the main features of material things is a movement. Each movement can be divided to a row of separate phenomena or manifestations that are originating in a chain.
For instance, the acceleration of a falling body is explained with differences in a weight and movement in each moment of the falling, because the moment is assembled differently at each moment (AK-2; 46).
Here Buddhism leaves the field of psychology and enters into that of ontology – the question about the reality of being. Because of all the content of our experience is reduced to momentary combinations of momentary elements, it is concluded that there is nothing really existing.
Accordingly to the Buddhists view, we could consider anything to be really existing only if it were unchanging and eternal. But in the analysis of the empirical being we are not able to find anything like this.
New dharmas are originating and disappearing each moment, but it should not be understood as an absolute birth or creation from nothing or from something, it means they are manifesting themselves out of some transcendental, unknown level of existence and create some momentary phenomena or functions.