I'm trying to find more information on this term and how it came about. Does it appear in Abhidhamma literature? Or is it a definitely later Mahayana term? Is there a similar idea in Abhidhamma? This idea interests me because it has several parallels in western philosophy in the form of . I would like to know how the Abhidhamma views self aware consciousness, ie consciousness aware of itself being aware of something.
From what I have seen svasamvedana is usually translated as something like reflexive awareness or self awareness. In Tibetan it is Ranggi rig pa (I think) and is related to metaphors such as 'luminosity' (gsal ba) or 'clear light' ('od gsal). The most common image is that of a lamp. The lamp is reflexive, it illuminates itself in the very act of illuminating others. It is a very contentious issue in Tibetan philosophy because it is key for some schools but is thoroughly denied by the gelugs.
I've also seen the term svasamvitti used interchangeably.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta
Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā
I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14