Heart Base for Consciousness
All of us are
much conditioned by an age where scientific discoveries seem so testable
and provable. It is natural that doubts arise on this matter. The
visuddhimagga (viii, 111) says about hadaya-vatthu (heart basis): they
describe the heart and then note that inside the heart "there is hollow
the size of a punnaga seeds bed where half a pastata measure of blood is
kept, with which as their support the mind element and mind-consciousness
element occur." Note that it is not the heart itself that is the
hadaya-vatthu NOR is it the blood inside the heart but rather as the
Paramatthamanjusa (see vis.xiii note 5 ) says "the heart basis occurs
with this blood as its support". You see the actual hadaya-vatthu is
incredibly sublime - in scientific measure it wouldn't even amount to a
tiny fraction of a gram. It might even be so refined as to be
unmeasuarable by scientific instruments.
Source: Buddhist Dictionary, Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA
hadaya-vatthu: 'heart as physical base' of mental life. The heart, according to the commentaries as well as to the general Buddhist tradition, forms the physical base (vatthu) of consciousness In the canonical texts, however, even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka, no such base is ever localized, a fact which seems to have first been discovered by Shwe Zan Aung (Compendium of Philosophy, pp. 277ff.). In the Patth. we find repeatedly only the passage: "That material thing based on which mind-element and mind-consciousness element function" (yam rūpam nissāya manodhātu ca manovi˝˝ānadhātu ca vattanti, tam rūpam).
Source: Buddhānusmrti - A Glossary of Buddhist Terms
hrdaya-vastu [hadaya-vatthu] heart-basis. The heart is considered as the physical support of all citta-s other than the two sets of fivefold sense consciousness which take their respective sensitivities as their bases. The hṛdaya-vastu is described as the seat of thought and feeling -- the basis of mind. It is the seat of the divine intuition and of the Buddha-nature.
Page: Atthasālinī. I. 247.
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