help me understand how consciousness is not self

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help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:59 am

i understand the other four groups of grasping no problem:

(1) corporeality, (2) feeling, (3) perception, (4) mental formations

and i get , (5) consciousness provisionally but not deeply.

as far as i can tell consciousness is not self because: it is always changing, you cannot force it to remain the same and it stops and starts.

mindfulness makes it easy to see the not self of all the other groups but the very mindfulness being used seems to be a "self" kind of consciousness. obviously it is not actually a self. please explain in depth how consciousness is not self.
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:48 am

Greetings,

Remember to think here of consciousness in terms of the six-consciousnesses.

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: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:53 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Remember to think here of consciousness in terms of the six-consciousnesses.

Metta,
Retro. :)


retro you just blew my mind! i had been thinking in terms of western psychological idea of consciousness. not in the buddhist six consciousnesses! this solves everything!!! thanks!
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:38 am

Hi Alan,

I thought you might be referring to citta (as in the "mood" sense of the third satipatthana) rather than the consciousness aggregate or the sense doors. As I understand it, citta is often the most difficult thing to see as anatta, since, especially under meditation conditions, it can be quite stable (whereas sensations, thoughts, etc, can be seen to rise and fall very rapidly). So it is easy to mistake the "calm meditative mind" as some sort of "true self".

I think Ajahn Brahm mentions this in Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, but it's a reasonably common observation, and something you can explore yourself.

:anjali:
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:59 am

Remember the Dependent Origination sequence. Consciousness is part of a process.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:34 am

Greetings Alan...

alan... wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Remember to think here of consciousness in terms of the six-consciousnesses.

Metta,
Retro. :)


retro you just blew my mind! i had been thinking in terms of western psychological idea of consciousness. not in the buddhist six consciousnesses! this solves everything!!! thanks!

Right, and now you've done that... see if you can find the "western psychological idea of consciousness" anywhere independently of the five aggregates.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby kirk5a » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:21 pm

MN147:

"What do you think — whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the [eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, intellect] as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: Is it constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord."

"Seeing thus, Rahula, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.

"He grows disenchanted with the ear...

"He grows disenchanted with the nose...

"He grows disenchanted with the tongue...

"He grows disenchanted with the body...

"He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: With that, too, he grows disenchanted. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is depleted, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"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: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:26 pm

alan... wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Remember to think here of consciousness in terms of the six-consciousnesses.

Metta,
Retro. :)


retro you just blew my mind! i had been thinking in terms of western psychological idea of consciousness. not in the buddhist six consciousnesses! this solves everything!!! thanks!
Depends upon which Western pyschological idea of consciousness you are pointing to. Some are quite process oriented.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:44 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Alan,

I thought you might be referring to citta (as in the "mood" sense of the third satipatthana) rather than the consciousness aggregate or the sense doors. As I understand it, citta is often the most difficult thing to see as anatta, since, especially under meditation conditions, it can be quite stable (whereas sensations, thoughts, etc, can be seen to rise and fall very rapidly). So it is easy to mistake the "calm meditative mind" as some sort of "true self".

I think Ajahn Brahm mentions this in Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond, but it's a reasonably common observation, and something you can explore yourself.

:anjali:
Mike


that's exactly my problem. in daily life it's fairly visible that consciousness is changing at all times so seeing anicca is one thing. seeing dukkha as well since obviously consciousness has stress in it. however as you said the meditative mind seems seamless so where is anatta? perhaps in the fact that the meditative mind is only so solid in meditation and that those factors exist dependent on meditation and cease after you leave the cushion?
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:48 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alan...

alan... wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Remember to think here of consciousness in terms of the six-consciousnesses.

Metta,
Retro. :)


retro you just blew my mind! i had been thinking in terms of western psychological idea of consciousness. not in the buddhist six consciousnesses! this solves everything!!! thanks!

Right, and now you've done that... see if you can find the "western psychological idea of consciousness" anywhere independently of the five aggregates.

Metta,
Retro. :)


nowhere, except on the cushion, there i see it as a single thing, hence my continued confusion.

i sit and can view all six consciousnesses as one panoramic viewpoint. i can feel, see, hear, think, smell and taste all at once which is an illusion of a constant self. so the problem continues. at first your idea of seeing six consciousnesses worked quite well, until i sat down...

i can still see it as impermanent easily, and i see it as not self intellectually but i can't see it deeply.
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:50 pm

Cittasanto wrote:Remember the Dependent Origination sequence. Consciousness is part of a process.


right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is not antta, right? how do i contemplate and observe this? especially on the cushion?
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:24 pm

alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Remember the Dependent Origination sequence. Consciousness is part of a process.


right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is not antta, right? how do i contemplate and observe this? especially on the cushion?

Atta (self), not antta.
It is a reflective point to keep in mind when you see the grasping at a sense of self. When you believe something is so tell your mind it is lying to you.
Reflect on the Anatta-lakkha Sutta here.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby equilibrium » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:26 pm

alan... wrote:.....i can feel, see, hear, think, smell and taste all at once which is an illusion of a constant self......

Between these, there is one which is more important than them all, do you know which one and why?
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:03 pm

equilibrium wrote:
alan... wrote:.....i can feel, see, hear, think, smell and taste all at once which is an illusion of a constant self......

Between these, there is one which is more important than them all, do you know which one and why?


obviously i don't so what is it?
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:06 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:Remember the Dependent Origination sequence. Consciousness is part of a process.


right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is not antta, right? how do i contemplate and observe this? especially on the cushion?

Atta (self), not antta.
It is a reflective point to keep in mind when you see the grasping at a sense of self. When you believe something is so tell your mind it is lying to you.
Reflect on the Anatta-lakkha Sutta here.


man for some reason talking to you i always have annoying typos, sorry! i meant "right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is anatta, right?" that typo totally changed my meaning lol!

i really am not as ignorant as that made me sound. anatta is not self atta is self. "an" is a negative connotation. this is the pali equivalent of atman and anatman in sanskrit and so on.

thanks for the sutta link! i will look at it.
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby pulga » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:16 pm

alan... wrote:
nowhere, except on the cushion, there i see it as a single thing, hence my continued confusion.

i sit and can view all six consciousnesses as one panoramic viewpoint. i can feel, see, hear, think, smell and taste all at once which is an illusion of a constant self. so the problem continues. at first your idea of seeing six consciousnesses worked quite well, until i sat down...

i can still see it as impermanent easily, and i see it as not self intellectually but i can't see it deeply.



Friend, (there are) these five faculties each with a separate field, a separate resort, no one of them exploiting for its being another's field and resort, that is to say, the eye faculty, ear faculty, nose faculty, tongue faculty, and body faculty. Now these five faculties each with a separate field, a separate resort, no one of them exploiting for its being another's field and resort, have mind as their homing-place, mind exploits for its being their fields and resorts. (Mahavedalla Sutta ~ Ven. Ñanamoli's translation)
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby equilibrium » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:25 pm

alan... wrote:
equilibrium wrote:
alan... wrote:.....i can feel, see, hear, think, smell and taste all at once which is an illusion of a constant self......

Between these, there is one which is more important than them all, do you know which one and why?

obviously i don't so what is it?

emmmm.....not the answer expected, anyway.
You really need this one if one is to fully understand not-self.....do you see it now?

You are aware the answer cannot be told directly for reasons.....as it takes realization, this CANNOT be transferred from person to person.....agree?
Need a bit of awareness here!
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:27 pm

equilibrium wrote:emmmm.....not the answer expected, anyway.
You really need this one if one is to fully understand not-self.....do you see it now?

You are aware the answer cannot be told directly for reasons.....as it takes realization, this CANNOT be transferred from person to person.....agree?
Need a bit of awareness here!


the buddha gave similes at least man, give me a break. what are you getting at?
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:04 pm

alan... wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
alan... wrote:right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is not antta, right? how do i contemplate and observe this? especially on the cushion?

Atta (self), not antta.
It is a reflective point to keep in mind when you see the grasping at a sense of self. When you believe something is so tell your mind it is lying to you.
Reflect on the Anatta-lakkha Sutta here.


man for some reason talking to you i always have annoying typos, sorry! i meant "right so because consciousness is dependent on many other factors it is anatta, right?" that typo totally changed my meaning lol!

i really am not as ignorant as that made me sound. anatta is not self atta is self. "an" is a negative connotation. this is the pali equivalent of atman and anatman in sanskrit and so on.

thanks for the sutta link! i will look at it.

I had missed the "not" underlined so... but I find your achnoledgement of this typo funny as my user name used to be Manapa.
do you use a spell checker? I use one as my spelling can be quite bad. you can download them for browsers.

but think of it as the Karaniya metta sutta says of the practice of metta "Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down, so long as one is free from drowsiness, this should be recollected"
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: help me understand how consciousness is not self

Postby alan... » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:48 pm

Cittasanto wrote:I had missed the "not" underlined so... but I find your achnoledgement of this typo funny as my user name used to be Manapa.
do you use a spell checker? I use one as my spelling can be quite bad. you can download them for browsers.

but think of it as the Karaniya metta sutta says of the practice of metta "Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down, so long as one is free from drowsiness, this should be recollected"


i use spell check but with all the pali words tons of stuff is underlined so i sometimes accidentally ignore stuff as i'm used to ignoring all the pali words with red lines underneath.

what about your previous user name?
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