Concepts I - Concept of sound

We know the concept of a whole or a mass (gana pannatti) because of the experience of visible object. Apart from this we know the concept of sound (sadda pannatti), we know the meaning of sounds. All this occurs in daily life. We should know precisely what is absolute truth and what is conventional truth. Conventional truth is not real in the absolute sense. We recognise the shape and form of things and they appear as a cup, a dish, a spoon, a radio, a car, or a television. 
Human beings can utter sounds that form up words; they use conventional terms with which they name things that appear. Thus we can understand what thing is being referred to. Animals cannot, to the same extent as human beings, refer to things by means of language. Sound is a reality; different sounds constitute words or names. There cannot be words or names without sounds. When someone has eyesight he can see different things, but he also needs speech sounds that form up words and names in order to refer to what he sees. When someone knows the meaning of the sounds that form up words, he can speak; he can name things and refer to different subjects. We all cling to names which are used in conventional language.
We should also know absolute realities. We should know the characteristic of sound, a kind of reality that can be heard. The reality of sound is named differently in different languages. In English the word “sound” is used to denote this reality. In Pali it is called “sadda-rupa”. No matter how one names it, it is a reality that has its own characteristic: it is a rupa (physical phenomenon) which appears through the ears. It is not nama (mentality), a reality which experiences.

Topic 288