In the absence of vinnana there is...?

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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:34 am

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:we can also understand [i-making] and deal with it in terms of the Dhamma, understanding continuity in terms of paticcasamuppada, seeing the emptiness of the "I-making."

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Question about deep sleep

Postby appicchato » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:57 pm

""No phenomenon is a phenomenon, until it is an observed phenomenon" (J.A. Wheeler).

'phenomenon: a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen'...so what's an 'observed phenomenon'?...weird...and if it's not a phenomenon until observed you can't really say 'No phenomenon...until'...because it has yet to be observed...

Why am I writing this?... :pig:
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby chownah » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:24 pm

I-making is not a continuous process....it happens when conditions are right...it does not happen when conditions are not right....there are all throughout the day moments when I-making does not happen.....it just seems like I-making is continuous....the illusion that I-making is continuous is one of the reasons why we have such faith in the delusional self.
Perhaps the time interval between I-making is longer when deep sleeping....I don't know because I can't remember it....I have no idea what is happening when deep sleeping because I can not remember it......maybe there was I-making...maybe there was not....I don't know because I can't remember any of it......it is just a guess to say what does or does not happen in an interval of time during which you remember nothing....just speculation......I guess....what else can I do in this situation except guess?....

Many years ago I was in a auto collision and got knocked out...I had amnesia for about 6 hours........I had retrograde and anterograde amnesia....that means I could not remember who I was while it was happening and I could not remember the experiences of losing my memory after it was over.......in a cognitive psychology lab when we were studying related things I mention to the teaching assistant that this had happened to me....he got really interested and asked me what it was like.....I told him, "I don't know, I can't remember anything"...and chuckled........now rewind to when I was in the hospital....the doctor and my friend said that I was fully conscious and talking lucidly but couldn't remember who I was and what I was doing at the time of the collision etc......I can't remember this experience of not remembering...was my bhavhanga broken?...was my citta cracked?...was my vinana vacant?....how was it that when I "awoke" I seemed just like the same self I was before?....I don't know....I can't remember a thing?....is there a need for an explanation or to speculate on it....the people around when my memory was gone said I was a self although a self that did not seem to be just like the self from before the collision...and then all of a sudden I was again just like the self I was before the collision....as for me it just seemed like I woke up and was not able to remember when I went to sleep...
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby ground » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:53 pm

Interesting discussion. There seems to be felt that there is a lot at stake.


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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:09 pm

Perhaps sleep (at the deep dreamless level) is a samadhi (absorption) state. This is why there is no experience of time. One where it is not right to say there is NO consciousness, but consciousness of what is called in the suttas "life force." As is mentioned in the context of explaining the cessation of perception and feeling. Anyone know the pali for that? I think is very closely associated with what is felt as that delicious sleep feeling that pulls one into sleep when very tired. When I'm tired, if I just let my attention dwell on that, I zonk out.

It's too bad someone in the suttas didn't ask what is the difference between the cessation of perception and feeling, and deep dreamless sleep.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby Travis » Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:45 pm

It seems to me that the problem is in the use of the word phenomenology and the implication that it is meant in a strict western philosophical sense, which I don't think is the case, rather it is an approximation of dependent-arising except the terminology places a (perhaps unnecessary) emphasis on the arising as opposed to the condition. I get this, but maybe the use of the word is distasteful to those who have an aversion to the obvious shortcomings of the western philosophical tradition. In any case be it samadhi (which might be a useful analogy), or non-continuity, the conditions do not seem to be present or sufficient for complete unbinding (wisdom, morality, mindfulness, concentration, etc). In the case of samadhi there is no concentration in deep sleep, but maybe some sort of "natural" suppression of /isolation from the influxes that accounts for the state.

In any case I (personally) don't see what benefit there is to understanding this in regard to the cessation of suffering. It seems more like a "Clash of the Posts: 1000+ Titans"

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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby chownah » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:10 pm

Is this discussion happening because some people have a mental model (maybe mostly coming from the Abhidhamma?) which is thought to be able to explain the workings of the mind at every instant and this concept of deep sleep seems to not be accounted for in this model?
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Re: Question about deep sleep

Postby imagemarie » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:51 pm

appicchato wrote:
""No phenomenon is a phenomenon, until it is an observed phenomenon" (J.A. Wheeler).

'phenomenon: a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen'...so what's an 'observed phenomenon'?...weird...and if it's not a phenomenon until observed you can't really say 'No phenomenon...until'...because it has yet to be observed...

Why am I writing this?... :pig:



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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby acinteyyo » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:44 pm

hm... there is the possibility that there WAS consciousness during deep, dreamless sleep but that there is no memory of it NOW. To remember NOW that there WAS or to remember NOW that there WASN'T consciousness cannot simply be regarded as a reliable source to draw the conclution that there actually WAS or WASN't consciousness. What we know now from memory doesn't have to be consistent with what actually happened back then. It's rather astonishing that what we remember and what seems to have happened in the past matches at all from time to time.

All we can say is that when I remember now that there was anything in the past, that that past I'm experiencing now actually is a past happening now and doesn't have to do anything at all with an supposed past which happened in the past. A past which happened in the past is nothing but inference. Which means that there isn't any "firsthand-knowledge" of what happened in the past. What happened in the past has ceased thus cannot be experienced now. To rely on one's memory isn't necessarily more significant as to rely on any other tale...

Maybe that's why the Buddha doesn't rely on views or positons from memory but
(MN72) wrote:What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.'


best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby Moggalana » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:22 pm

I don't have anything to add from a buddhist point of view, but the following might be relevant to the discussion nontheless.

Dreaming is not confined to REM sleep. There are qualitative and quantitative differences but dreaming also takes place during non-REM (aka 'deep') sleep.

Wikipedia: Non-rapid eye movement sleep wrote:Stage 3 – previously divided into stages 3 and 4, is deep sleep, slow-wave sleep (SWS). Stage 3 was formerly the transition between stage 2 and stage 4 where delta waves, associated with "deep" sleep, began to occur, while delta waves dominated in stage 4. In 2007, these were combined into just stage 3 for all of deep sleep.[3] Dreaming is more common in this stage than in other stages of NREM sleep though not as common as in REM sleep. The content of SWS dreams tends to be disconnected, less vivid, and less memorable than those that occur during REM sleep.[4] This is also the stage during which parasomnias most commonly occur.


One question remains: Are dreams conscious experiences? Most people think 'yes', Daniel Dennett thinks 'no' (see his cassette theory of dreaming) and Susan Blackmore thinks that normal dreams are not while lucid dreamings are.

Acinteyyo's remark is relevant here: Only because we don't remember doesn't mean we weren't conscious. I think that as long as there is brain activity there is some sort of consciousness.
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:57 pm

chownah wrote:Is this discussion happening because some people have a mental model (maybe mostly coming from the Abhidhamma?) which is thought to be able to explain the workings of the mind at every instant and this concept of deep sleep seems to not be accounted for in this model?
chownah

I thought the subtext was that the Abhidhamma and Commentaries contain unnecessary proliferation and scholarly creations that are not useful to ending suffering.

Whereas another position is that they contain useful information based on practice and their primary aim is to give a more detailed framework to aid the cutting and slicing of (phenomenological) experience into more-or-less irreducible chunks, as in the Sutta Retro linked to above:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9585&start=40#p147264
"'The six classes of craving 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. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving.


In the end, what I understand the instructions to be is that one should do is go through walking meditation, sitting meditation, and daily life, building up an awareness of such things. And, of course, cultivating dana and sila, and so on... This practice, according to the suttas and commentaries, will eventually lead to the arising of insight.

I've followed discussions such as this thread for quite a while, and have yet to understand anything in the details that really matters when it comes does to following those instructions. Whether one interprets particular bits of dependent origination in momentary or over-time ways, or whether some interpretation is actually "phenomenological" or "ontological". To me these are just frameworks to get started on the cutting and slicing of experience.

However, if such details of interpretation are thought to be crucially important, then I think that whatever framework is conceived has to be able to stand up to rigorous scrutiny, and the sutta I quoted above about the difference between death and the cessation of perception and feeling is one particular example:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9585&start=20#p147239
There is plenty of discussion of this radically-momentary-phenomenological interpretation in Bhikkhu Bodhis criticism of Ven Nanavira's writings. http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 140#p61579
Ven Nananada's lengthy lectures on Nibbana give what seem to me to be rather more sophisticated arguments than Ven Nanavira's for an alternative interpretation of dependent origination. However, it appears that his interpretation considerably relaxes the radical-momentariness idea (which answers several of Bhikkhu Bodhi's objections).

In the end, whatever interpretation one prefers, the parts of the process discussed in the sutta quoted above are fairly immediate... ("With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. With feeling as a requisite condition there is craving." etc.)

:anjali:
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:46 pm

Greetings Mike,

Nice post.

To me, the importance of such matters are twofold:

1 - Focus. :shock:

There's limited time, yet there's a gigantic corpus of literature written in the name of the Dharma, and an infinite number of potential paths to construct out of it... so to use one of ven. Appicchato's sayings, it's about sorting the wheat from the chaff. Sorting out that which you can experience and know, versus that which must necessarily by its very nature be taken as an article of faith only is part of that process. As you observe above, "the parts of the process discussed in the sutta quoted above are fairly immediate" and I think that's also true of key 'meditation' suttas like the Satipatthana Sutta, whereas not everything written in the name of the Dharma throughout history meets that criteria. If it doesn't apply to experience, it doesn't apply to dukkha, so it doesn't apply to the Dhamma. That may sound somewhat brutal, but if something does not support the goal, it is of no value in the context of the Dhamma.

2 - Breaking down anusaya :sage:

The more we think in terms of "I", the more we reinforce and sustain avijja, and this runs counter to any attempts made at insight through satipatthana/vipassana. Thus, anything which artificially or unnecessarily reinforces that perception or sense of self, such as speculative theories of continuity, conceit/mana, obsession with future/past lives etc. is not just off-track, unfocused and irrelevant, but actually counter-productive... and I think there's enough caution from the Buddha in the suttas about avoiding unfounded speculation, extending beyond one's range, and about searching beyond his teachings (i.e. to the work of outsiders, disciples, poets).

:soap:

Whether others agree with me on such matters is up to them, but it's nice when people take the effort to listen to and comprehend the points I'm making and can then evaluate what I'm saying against their own criteria, rather than just yield a instinctive reaction to what they think I'm saying. What I say often goes against the conventional grain, so even to those experienced in the Dhamma for quite some time may have trouble working out what I'm talking about as it challenges concepts and definitions that may have been accepted as given for years. In that light, I think this has been a positive discussion.

What I can say, is that I've viewed the Dhamma through this lens for at least a couple of years, and when I review the suttas, I look at them from the phenomenological frame of reference, and have not found that I've had to "distort" things to make them fit - it all unfolds nicely. Of course, my goal is to know the truth, to know Dhamma... not to bolster existing views. Existing views haven't led to liberation, and whilst that is so, it's good to keep an open mind, consider one's goal and act in accordance with it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:08 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I think that's also true of key 'meditation' suttas like the Satipatthana Sutta, whereas not everything written in the name of the Dharma throughout history meets that criteria. If it doesn't apply to experience, it doesn't apply to dukkha, so it doesn't apply to the Dhamma. That may sound somewhat brutal, but if something does not support the goal, it is of no value in the context of the Dhamma.
And who is the arbiter of that based upon what criteria?

The more we think in terms of "I", the more we reinforce and sustain avijja, ... and I think there's enough caution from the Buddha in the suttas about avoiding unfounded speculation, extending beyond one's range, and about searching beyond his teachings.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:23 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:And who is the arbiter of that based upon what criteria?

My criteria are my critera. As the post opens, "To me..."

Others may have whatever criteria accords with their goal.

The more we think in terms of "I", the more we reinforce and sustain avijja, ... and I think there's enough caution from the Buddha in the suttas about avoiding unfounded speculation, extending beyond one's range, and about searching beyond his teachings.

Very good Tilt. When the alternative is the wanky practice of putting I in square brackets, I'll stick to my putthujana attempts to stop being putthujjana.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:26 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:And who is the arbiter of that based upon what criteria?

My criteria are my critera. As the post opens, "To me..."

Others may have whatever criteria accords with their goal.
Their goal? And their goals not the Buddha's goals?

The more we think in terms of "I", the more we reinforce and sustain avijja, ... and I think there's enough caution from the Buddha in the suttas about avoiding unfounded speculation, extending beyond one's range, and about searching beyond his teachings.

Very good Tilt. When the alternative is the wanky practice of putting I in square brackets, I'll stick to my putthujana attempts to stop being a putthujjana.
In other words, one is stuck with the "I" until there is awakening.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:30 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Their goal? And their goals not the Buddha's goals?

Me not being them, it's not for me to say.

tiltbillings wrote:In other words, one is stuck with the "I" until there is awakening.

If one wishes to communicate effectively, such self-reference is unavoidable. Even the Buddha was "stuck with" that.

On the other hand, revelling in putthujana ignorance by wallowing in I-making is avoidable, by recourse the Noble Eightfold Path.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:44 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:Their goal? And their goals not the Buddha's goals?

Me not being them, it's not for me to say.
But you certainly seem to say, in your criticisms of of things of which you do not approve such as the three-life paticcasamuppada and the bhanavanga-sota notion.

tiltbillings wrote:In other words, one is stuck with the "I" until there is awakening.

If one wishes to communicate effectively, such self-reference is unavoidable. Even the Buddha was "stuck with" that.

On the other hand, revelling in putthujana ignorance by wallowing in I-making is avoidable, by recourse the Noble Eightfold Path.
No one here is advocating reveling in "I-making" ignorance, and the Abhidhammikas certainly were not nor were the commentators.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:49 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Whether others agree with me on such matters is up to them, but it's nice when people take the effort to listen to and comprehend the points I'm making and can then evaluate what I'm saying against their own criteria, rather than just yield a instinctive reaction to what they think I'm saying....

I'll take that as a compliment then. :heart:

Having listened and made an effort to comprehend, I agree with some bits and pieces, and not others. What you say about your approach seems to have a very analytical focus. A focus on proving a particular point of view. And unfortunately it often comes across as being reactionary because rather than simply discussing what you've learned you seem to be determined to prove that other possibilities are not correct. If you are going to argue that other approaches are incorrect, then you have to also be willing to engage with counter-arguments, and not just dismiss them as "instinctive reactions".

:anjali:
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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:50 pm

Greetings Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:But you certainly seem to say, in your criticisms of of things of which you do not approve such as the three-life paticcasamuppada and the bhanavanga-sota notion.

This is a Buddhist forum - I can comment on what I like within the boundaries of the Terms Of Service. Is there a purpose to your line of questioning in the context of this topic, or is it just contrarianism?

tiltbillings wrote:No one here is advocating reveling in "I-making" ignorance, and the Abhidhammikas certainly were not nor were the commentators.

I don't believe they advocate it, but the consequences of following such schemas may be akin to what was discussed in Chownah's recent "reincarnation" topic. Namely that regardless of intention, because of existing avijja, people can interpret post-Buddha teachings and words in ways which actually run counter to the Buddha's message.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: In the absence of vinnana there is...?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Whether others agree with me on such matters is up to them, but it's nice when people take the effort to listen to and comprehend the points I'm making and can then evaluate what I'm saying against their own criteria, rather than just yield a instinctive reaction to what they think I'm saying....
I have been at this longer than you have been alive. I am well aware of the points you are making, and because I do not agree with your rigid intellectual phenomanalisam does not mean that I am indulging in an "instinctive reaction to what they think I'm saying." Things are not ever so black and white as you are painting them.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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