Consciousness questions

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Lazy_eye
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Consciousness questions

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:04 pm

Hi all,

I was listening to a talk yesterday on the consciousness aggregate. The teacher described consciousness as a kind of "bare awareness" and compared it to a mirror which reflects various objects; moreover, he said the quality of consciousness is essentially the same regardless of the objects or situation. Whether we're sober or drunk, dreaming or awake, driving a car or taking a walk, the capacity of awareness (the sense of there being an observer or witness) has this mirror-like characteristic.

However, he then went on to discuss consciousness as being conditioned/dependently originated. Referring to MN 38, he talked about Sati's mistake and why it's a mistake, and about how in practice we can get to the point where we observe the conditionality of consciousness.

I'm puzzled, though, as to how consciousness can be both a mirror with an unchanging quality and, at the same time, something which is conditioned. Aren't these at odds with each other? Anyone feel up to explaining?

On a different note, when we talk about mind-moments (citta) conditioning subsequent mind moments, is it kamma which drives the whole process along? I'm thinking here of the ocean waves analogy -- waves succeed each other in the way that citta do, one subsiding and another arising. But wave motion in general is caused by gravitational forces and winds -- would this be analogous to the forces of desire and craving and their manifestation as kamma?

LE

(note: edited to clear up some confusion of terms)

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cooran
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Re: Consciousness questions

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:36 pm

Hello LE, all,

Is anything in this thread of assistance?:

cittanupassana
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2856

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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cooran
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Re: Consciousness questions

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:11 pm

Hello LE,

This is from Buddhanet.net:

Analysis of Consciousness
We read in the 'Questions of King Milinda'; "A difficult feat indeed was accomplished, O great King, by the Exalted One" -- "Which was that difficult feat, O venerable Nagasena?" - "The Exalted One, O king, has accomplished a difficult task when he analysed a mental process having a single object as consisting of consciousness with its concomitants, as follows: 'This is sense-impression, this is feeling, perception, volition, consciousness." - "Give an illustration of it, venerable sir" - "Suppose, O king, a man has gone to the sea by boat and takes with the hollow of his hand a little sea water and tastes it. Will this man know, 'This is water from the Ganges, this is water from such other rivers as Jamuna, Aciravati etc.?" - "He can hardly know that." - "But a still more difficult task, O king, was accomplished by the Exalted One when he analysed a mental process having a single object, as consisting of consciousness with its concomitants."
http://www.buddhanet.net/abhidh05.htm

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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retrofuturist
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Re: Consciousness questions

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:28 am

Greetings Lazyeye,

On the matter of consciousness, I recommend checking out Bhikkhu Nanananda's...

Nibbāna Sermon 7
http://www.beyondthenet.net/calm/nibbana07.htm

An extract...

The point we wish to stress is that consciousness has in it the nature of reflect­ing something, like a mirror.

Now vi¤¤àõaü anidassanaü is a reference to the nature of the released consciousness of an arahant. It does not reflect any­thing. To be more precise, it does not reflect a nàma-råpa, or name-and-form. An ordinary individual sees a nàma-råpa, when he reflects, which he calls `I' and `mine'. It is like the reflection of that dog, which sees its own delusive reflection in the water. A non-arahant, upon reflection, sees name-and-form, which how­ever he mistakes to be his self. With the notion of `I' and `mine' he falls into delusion with regard to it. But the arahant's con­scious­ness is an unestablished consciousness.

We have already mentioned in previous sermons about the estab­lished consciousness and the unestablished conscious­ness.[ix] A non-ara­hant's consciousness is established on name-and-form. The unestablished consciousness is that which is free from name-and-form and is unestablished on name-and-form. The established con­sciousness, upon reflection, reflects name-and-form, on which it is established, whereas the unestablished consciousness does not find a name-and-form as a reality. The arahant has no attachments or en­tanglements in regard to name-and-form. In short, it is a sort of pene­tration of name-and-form, without getting entangled in it. This is how we have to un­ravel the meaning of the expression anidassana vi¤¤àõa.


But all his sermons string in to other another so you may also want to go backwards or forwards a bit too.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"We should not congratulate someone on the success of their misdeeds, but on the contrary should endeavour to advise him or her to lead a more skilful and wholesome life. If such advice is ignored then we can only give up and let go" - Phra Panyapatipo

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Consciousness questions

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:22 pm

Thanks Chris and Retro. I'll read the material and see if I have any follow-up questions. Appreciate the help.

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Rhino
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Re: Consciousness questions

Postby Rhino » Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:28 pm

With best wishes

Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha's Teaching.
Nanavira Thera - Notes on Dhamma


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