There Is No Suffering 65

What I have said for seeing applies to all of the other sense faculties. There is no need to go into detail with each one of them. You may choose to contemplate seeing, hearing, or any of the other faculties. If you do it correctly, awareness of the other senses will fall away. For instance, if you are intensely contemplating sound, you will not be aware of sights, odors, flavors, or feelings. Unless you isolate the sense faculty being contemplated, there are too many distractions, and your mind will scatter. Among these methods of contemplation, the eye and ear are probably the easiest to practice, because sights and sounds are always readily present. You may not be sensitive enough to constantly focus on tastes and odors. Of course, one might include the awareness of breath as a component of the scent faculty, but it is not truly part of the sense of smell. Your attention is on the sensations associated with breathing, or with the number of breaths, but not odors. Methods involving breathing are more closely related to the sense of touch. Although contemplating light uses the eyes, objects, and the eye consciousness, it is not exactly the method being described here.

To practice the contemplation I am describing, instead of focusing the mind on an external object, directly contemplate the nature of a sense faculty, its sense object, and consciousness in order to realize that they are fundamentally empty.

Mind and its Functions

Of the contemplations of the sense faculties, that of the mind itself is the most difficult. Buddhadharma analyzes the mind into its individual components to better understand its nature and workings, but all the components function together in a seamless, ever-changing continuum. The major components are the six consciousnesses (vijnanas),25 the faculty of mind ( mana) and its objects (dhatus),26 and base-consciousness (citta).27