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Consciousness questions - Dhamma Wheel

Consciousness questions

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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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

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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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.


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