How does thinking occur? Do concepts arise and fall?

Thinking is made from concepts, ie: “John went home”. All words here are concepts. If concepts do not arise and fall, then how can word/concept “John” arise, cease and be followed by arising and ceasing of “went” to be followed by arising and ceasing concept of “home”?

Can someone, please, explain?

Thank you!


Hi Citta
have a look at this topic which explains most of this>

also this:


Not only the “taking up” but also the “making” and the “remembering” of marks may be relevant to all cases of perception if it is understood as follows: What really happens in a simple act of perception is that some features of the object (sometimes only a single striking one) are selected. The mental note made by that perception is closely associated with those selected features; that is, we attach, as it were, a tag to the object, or make a mark on it as woodcutters do on trees. So far every perception is “a making of marks” (nimittakaraṇa). In order to understand how “remembering” or “recognizing,” too, is implied in every act of perception, we should mention that according to the deeply penetrative analysis of the Abhidhamma the apparently simple act of seeing a rose, for example, is in reality a very complex process composed of different phases, each consisting of numerous smaller combinations of conscious processes (cittavīthi), which again are made up of several single moments of consciousness (cittakkhaṇa) following each other in
a definite sequence of diverse functions. Among these phases there is one that connects the present perception of a rose with a previous one, and there is another that attaches to the present perception the name “rose,” remembered from previous experience. Not only in relation to similar experiences in a relatively distant past, but also between those infinitesimally brief single phases and successive processes, the connecting function of rudimentary “memory” must be assumed to operate, because each phase and each lesser successive state has to “remember” the previous one—a process called by the later Ābhidhammikas “grasping the past” (atīta-gahaṇa). Finally, the individual contributions of all those different perceptual processes have to be remembered and coordinated in order to form the final and complete perception of a rose.

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Mind sees two types of objects.

  1. Realities
  2. Concepts

"Thinking ‘John’ " arises and falls.
But John doesn’t arise or fall.

"Thinking ‘John’ " is a reality. It is a Nama dhamma. Therefore it arises and falls.

But John is a fake object, because there are only Khandas and no John. So “John” is a concept. Therefore it (unreal things) doesn’t arise or fall.


Thinking is made from recognition (In Pali: saññā). The subject that is recognized is different from the recognition. Recognition arises and falls.

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