9

The answer on this question mentions passa in the comments.

Having never encountered the term in my studies, what is an overview of the term? What school of Buddhism does it originate from?

7

In Sutta MN 148 phassa is described. And in many other Suttas.

Chachakka Sutta: The Six Sextets

"'The six classes of contact should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. The meeting of the three is contact. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact. 'The six classes of contact should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the fourth sextet.

  • 1
    I guess that maybe "should be known" means "the doctrine about phassa should be known" and not "phassa itself should not be avoided". Access to Insight includes other suttas with statements like "Sensuality should be known" and "dukkha should be known". – ChrisW Dec 18 '15 at 13:35
  • 1
    You are right, I removed that statement for a better answer – user4878 Dec 18 '15 at 14:14
9

As per my dictionaries:

Phassa (sanskr. sparça): contact, touch, tangibility, tactile sensation, a momentary union of the sense-object, sense-door, and sense-consciousness.

It's a standard term coming all the way back from the Pali Canon and used widely by Theravada and Abhidhamma.

  • So to avoid passa you would sit in a room with your eyes shut? – hellyale Dec 17 '15 at 18:12
  • 1
    As per "hinayana"-level understanding, I suppose so. Per "mahayana"-level understanding you avoid phassa by not reifying the object nor the subject of the sensation as truly independently existing. – Andrei Volkov Dec 17 '15 at 18:14
  • On a side note, what dictionaries do you use? I could use a good resource for terms like these. – hellyale Dec 17 '15 at 18:29
  • 2
    @Theravada I don't use it to refer to Theravada, I use it to mean "primitive/basic level of understanding" (whether in Theravada or in Mahayana). See my answer here for more details. You don't disagree there are people who have simplistic understanding and people who have more in-depth understanding? That's what I use it for. – Andrei Volkov Dec 17 '15 at 18:49
  • 1
    @hellyale for Sanskrit I use spokensanskrit.de and for Pali dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali – Andrei Volkov Dec 17 '15 at 18:52
6

Some places where it's defined or described:

Phassa is Pali, and Access to Insight references its being used in Pali suttas.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.