Buckwheat wrote:Ñāṇa wrote:I would suggest that the notion of consciousness existing outside the realm of time is itself meaningless. Consciousness is designated according to the particular condition dependent upon which it arises. If there are no such conditions, there is no basis for designating the existence of any consciousness whatsoever.
And yet... (link)Consciousness without surface, endless, radiant all around, has not been experienced through the allness of the all.
My understanding is that the consciousness associated with nibbana is without feature, radiant, timeless, dimensionless, and not based on the six senses. I don't see this as some Sci-Fi or mystical realm, but simply to speak in terms of time or space would be meaningless in reference to nibbana. Please correct me if I am wrong.
You might find a helpful alternative to Ven T's interpretation of MN 49 if, instead of reading the "sabbam" as a reference to the Buddhist "sabba" (ie the 6 pairs of internal and external bases, given in footnote 8), we actually consider the possibility that this sutta was criticising the Upanishadic concept of "sarvam". In the Upanishads, "sarvam" also functions as the name for the ground of Existence/Sat, and sarvam is directly equated with Brahman (see Upanisads, ed P Olivelle, p 297). Sarvam as "the ALL" would thus be whatever metaphysical principle that underlies Brahman in Upanishadic theory, and the Buddha refuses to affirm this metaphysical notion as the base for "self" (since He was aware that the Upanishads also made the equation between Brahman and Atman).
I personally prefer this reading, as the Upanishad thinkers were not known to have been much interested in the 6 sense bases and their objects as the seats of Atman. Most of their musings were directed to either Brahman or Sarvam. MN 49 as an allegorical critique of a brahma's misconceptions would likely have been directed to this mode of thinking. I think the ayatana approach would have been wasted on the Upanishadic thinkers, since they did not make a great fuss over these 12 elements.