Where does sense consciousness occurs?

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Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby Alex123 » Sun May 06, 2012 8:40 pm

Hello all,

according to classical view, where does sense consciousness (ex: eye-consciousness) occurs?

Visudhimagga XV,6-7 seems to suggest that:
    "And these various states of consciousness and its concomitants dwell in the eye, etc.,"... "And the eye, etc., are the locality of their birth because they arise just there," 7. So for these reasons too these things are called 'bases' in the sense of place of abode, store, meeting place, locality of birth, and reason."

With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Mon May 07, 2012 12:20 pm

In an eye door process, for example , the cakkhu vinnana arises at the cakkhu pasada, a very subtle rupa that is situated inside the center of the physical eye. The other cittas in an eye door process arise atbthe heart base, a subtle rupa located in dependence on the blood inside the heart.
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby Alex123 » Mon May 07, 2012 10:29 pm

Hello RobertK,

robertk wrote:In an eye door process, for example , the cakkhu vinnana arises at the cakkhu pasada, a very subtle rupa that is situated inside the center of the physical eye. The other cittas in an eye door process arise atbthe heart base, a subtle rupa located in dependence on the blood inside the heart.


Thank you for your reply. Doesn't this contradict modern science which says that vision occurs in the brain, rather than in the center of the physical eye?


With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby SamKR » Tue May 08, 2012 12:21 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello RobertK,

robertk wrote:In an eye door process, for example , the cakkhu vinnana arises at the cakkhu pasada, a very subtle rupa that is situated inside the center of the physical eye. The other cittas in an eye door process arise atbthe heart base, a subtle rupa located in dependence on the blood inside the heart.


Thank you for your reply. Doesn't this contradict modern science which says that vision occurs in the brain, rather than in the center of the physical eye?


With best wishes,

Alex


Well the retina (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retina) (the part of the eye) is considered to be the part of brain.
But I think that cakkhu may not mean exactly the eye-ball but any of the parts where vision arises: could be from retina to visual cortex (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_cortex).
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue May 08, 2012 12:23 am

Greetings,

How does this accord with the fact that with 2 eyes, what we see/experience is not 2 separate visions, but a single synthesized 3-dimensional depth-induced image? Or does Classical Theravada only allow "one-eye"-consciousness at a time?

Metta,
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby Alex123 » Tue May 08, 2012 12:41 am

SamKR wrote:But I think that cakkhu may not mean exactly the eye-ball but any of the parts where vision arises: could be from retina to visual cortex .


VsM says this:
47. 1. There is what is called the 'eye' in the world. That looks like ablue lotus petal and is surrounded by black eyelashes and varied with dark and light circles. The eye [sensitivity as meant] here is to be found in the place in the middle of the black circle surrounded by the white circle in that [feature of the] eye with its accessories where there appears the image of the bodies of those who stand in front of it. It pervades the eye's seven layers like oil sprinkled on seven layers of cotton. VsM XIV, 47


Seems to say that it is in the physical eye, not in the brain.
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 08, 2012 3:04 am

Hi Alex,
Alex123 wrote: Doesn't this contradict modern science which says that vision occurs in the brain, rather than in the center of the physical eye?

Bearing in mind that this is the Classical Theravada section, I don't understand what you are trying to achieve with this line of questioning. That the Vinaya, Suttas, Abhidhamma, and Commentaries are not completely consistent with modern science is obvious. This section is for gaining a better understanding of those discourses.

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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Tue May 08, 2012 8:22 am

Considering that scientists currently claim that the mind- ie all citta and cetasikas are actaully merely physical phenomena (such as neuron activity), a hilariously silly idea, I wonder why anyone would think to bother with their delusions.
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue May 08, 2012 7:35 pm

robertk wrote:Considering that scientists currently claim that the mind- ie all citta and cetasikas are actaully merely physical phenomena (such as neuron activity), a hilariously silly idea, I wonder why anyone would think to bother with their delusions.

Well, in that case, could we get back to trying to understand the Classical view?

[Arguments about the usefulness of Abhidhamma, etc belong over here: The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2169 not in the Classical Theravada section.]

Earlier Robert said:
In an eye door process, for example , the cakkhu vinnana arises at the cakkhu pasada, a very subtle rupa that is situated inside the center of the physical eye. The other cittas in an eye door process arise atbthe heart base, a subtle rupa located in dependence on the blood inside the heart.

In such explanations does "rupa" refer to something "physical" in the scientific sense? Or is it more to do with explaining how the eye door process is experienced?

Reference to the literature would be appreciated.

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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Wed May 09, 2012 6:50 am

Why try to relate Rupa to what science says. The Buddha and arahats knew more about rupa than anything science will ever know.
BUT rupa can be translated as materiality. It is what is touched or smelt or seen or heard. And it is also those extremely subtle rupas such as eye base , ear base, nose base, the kammajarupa (conditioned by kamma), that are where the various types of mentality must arise.
THis is all according to Theravada but I have no texts to show you, sorry. Anyway I didn't just make this stuff up.

The idea of Alex that all 'experiences' arise in the brain can be shown to be patently false right now. Feel your toes in your shoes. Obviously the body-door consciousness is arising right in the area of the toe: as the body door is all over the body (unlike eye door which , as I said , is only situated in the center of the physical eye).

The fact that scientists, and even some buddhists, believe that all consciousness arises in the brain is a vivid demonstration of the deeply rooted nature of wrongview:
So intense is wrongview that it goes against even obvious direct experiential truths . Vipallasa, hallucination.
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:03 am

Hi Robert,
robertk wrote:Why try to relate Rupa to what science says. The Buddha and arahats knew more about rupa than anything science will ever know.

Well, yes, perhaps science was the wrong word to use. What I was trying to get at was whether some modern Buddhists take translations such as "rupa" as "materiality" too literally, assume that it is something that is supposed to be "physical" (or "scientific") and then argue that the Theravada have a "realist" view, or that it is inconsistent with science, etc, etc. So I'm trying to clarify how the Theravada view these Abhidhammic descriptions.
robertk wrote:The idea of Alex that all 'experiences' arise in the brain can be shown to be patently false right now. Feel your toes in your shoes. Obviously the body-door consciousness is arising right in the area of the toe: as the body door is all over the body (unlike eye door which , as I said , is only situated in the center of the physical eye).

And if we view the above description as "how we experience things at those particular sense doors", not an attempt at a scientific description of anatomy and physiology, then there is no problem.
Is that a reasonable thing to do?

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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Wed May 09, 2012 7:12 am

No Mike, it is not the right way to think about it. What you seem to be doing is trying to fit the Dhamma into some sort of 'experience is all' type world view.

The Dhamma explains reality: phenomema that are experienced and also phenomena that are not experienced. For example you most likely can't experience the subtle rupa called cakkhu pasada (eye base) and yet it exists, it arirses for an infinitely short time then is gone, and replaced by another , diffrent cakkhu pasada, and this occurs repeatedly, over trillions of moments each day: provide that the kamma producing this rupa, keeps producing (again you can't be aware of that kamma- done in the past, that is the cause for the cakkhu pasada now) .
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:17 am

robertk wrote:Why try to relate Rupa to what science says. The Buddha and arahats knew more about rupa than anything science will ever know.
BUT rupa can be translated as materiality. It is what is touched or smelt or seen or heard. And it is also those extremely subtle rupas such as eye base , ear base, nose base, the kammajarupa (conditioned by kamma), that are where the various types of mentality must arise.
THis is all according to Theravada but I have no texts to show you, sorry. Anyway I didn't just make this stuff up.

The idea of Alex that all 'experiences' arise in the brain can be shown to be patently false right now. Feel your toes in your shoes. Obviously the body-door consciousness is arising right in the area of the toe: as the body door is all over the body (unlike eye door which , as I said , is only situated in the center of the physical eye).

The fact that scientists, and even some buddhists, believe that all consciousness arises in the brain is a vivid demonstration of the deeply rooted nature of wrongview:
So intense is wrongview that it goes against even obvious direct experiential truths . Vipallasa, hallucination.


You only feel your toes because your nervous system sends signals to your brain telling it that the toes are there. You have have eye-consciousness when light hits the eye and then that information is processed by the brain in 3 dimensions. All consciousness arises in the brain. Without the brain there is no consciousness in the body or the eyes,ears,nose, tongue, intellect. Eye consciousness occurs in the brain and is dependent on the brain. Be real, seriously. There is a reason people die when they get shot in the head. There is also a reason paraplegics can't feel their legs. Are you aware that there are people with toes that can't feel them. That is because there brain is cut off from receiving signals from those areas.

The suttas don't say that the eye-consciousness has to arise at the eye, it just says that is dependent on the eye, form, and contact. It just so happens that the consciousness then arises in the brain due to those 3 things

The abhidhamma may be a different story, but I don't see the suttas saying the eye-consciousness necessarily arises in the eye
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Wed May 09, 2012 7:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:19 am

Not so much "experience is all", but "experience is all we can experience". I certainly don't buy arguments that the Buddha taught that there is no external reality.

Thanks for the clarifications.

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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 7:24 am

Dear PB,
polarbuddha101 wrote:You only feel your toes because your nervous system sends signals to your brain telling it that the toes are there. ...

Those are necessary conditions, but the Classical Theravada view would deny that that is all there is to it.

Please remember the guidelines for this section of the Forum:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=373
The Abhidhamma and Classical Theravada sub-forums are specialized venues for the discussion of the Abhidhamma and the classical Mahavihara understanding of the Dhamma. Within these forums the Pali Tipitaka and its commentaries are for discussion purposes treated as authoritative. These forums are for the benefit of those members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of these texts and are not for the challenging of the Abhidhamma and/or Theravada commentarial literature.
...

Arguments from a Scientific POV are welcome in:
The great Abhidhamma Pitaka authenticity debate
viewforum.php?f=16

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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Wed May 09, 2012 7:27 am

Mike, glad to hear that! Sometimes I read this website and it seems to be the norm that "buddhists' think the world is some sort of solipsistic illusion.

Scary that Buddhism seems to be declining so rapidly< or is it just that with the internet people are now free to express their views that in past times would have remained personal?

The Dhamma can be expressed in various ways, so we need to use concepts even to explain realities.
http://www.abhidhamma.org/sujin3.htm
The Abhidhammattha Vibhavani (Book 8) distinguishes between six kinds of concepts that are names, nama-pannatti (see Visuddhimagga VIII, note 11).

1. Vijjamana pannattis, concepts which make known what is real, for example the words rupa, nama, vedana (feeling), or sanna (perception) 10.

2. Avijjamana pannattis, concepts which make known what is not real, such as the words Thai or foreigner. These concepts do not represent absolute realities, citta and cetasika which are nama, and rupa. Thai or foreigner are not real in the absolute sense, they are conventional realities, sammutti dhammas. Could akusala citta11 (unwholesome consciousness) be Thai or foreign? Akusala citta is a paramattha dhamma (a reality), it is a dhamma which has its own characteristic, it is not Thai or foreign.

3. Vijjamanena avijjamana pannattis, concepts of the non-existent based on the existent. There is the expression "the person with the six abhinnas."12 The six abhinnas are real but person is not real. Thus this concept stands for what is real and for what is not real.

4. Avijjamanena vijjamana pannattis, concepts of the existent based on the non-existent. There is the expression "woman's voice". The sound is real, but the woman is not real.

5. Vijjamanena vijjamana pannattis, concepts of what is real based on what is real. There is the term cakkhu-vinnana (eye-consciousness). Cakkhu (eye) is a reality, namely the cakkhu-pasada-rupa (eyesense, a reality sensitive to colour or visible object), and vinnana (consciousness) is also a reality, namely the reality which experiences.

6. Avija amanena avijjamana pannattis, concepts of what is not real based on what is not real. There is the expression "the kings son". Both king and son are not real, they are sammutti dhammas, conventional realities.
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby robertk » Wed May 09, 2012 7:39 am

. All consciousness arises in the brain. Without the brain there is no consciousness in the body or the eyes,ears,nose, tongue, intellect. Eye consciousness occurs in the brain and is dependent on the brain. Be real, seriously. There is a reason people die when they get shot in the head. There is also a reason paraplegics can't feel their legs. Are you aware that there are people with toes that can't feel them. That is because there brain is cut off from receiving signals from those areas.

The suttas don't say that the eye-consciousness has to arise at the eye, it just says that is dependent on the eye, form, and contact. It just so happens that the consciousness then arises in the brain due to those 3 things

The abhidhamma may be a different story, but I don't see the suttas saying the eye-consciousness necessarily arises in the eye

Please give me even one suggestion from sutta or commentary indicatiing your contention that eye consciousness arises in the brain.
You suggest that I "BE real, Seriously". I am being very real : perhaps you might wish to rethink your understandning of what the Buddha taught and life in general.

Let's say someone knew nothing about computers. They played with their computer and pulled out a few wires, it stopped working properly. They then claimed that the 'heart' of the computer was the wiring. Would they be right or would it be the pentium processor, that they never even looked at that, that is the seat of calculations. This is where 'science' is with regard to their uniderstanding of mentality.


And please do check" does feeling in your toe really arise in the brain? Or is it an idea so ingrained becuase of what you learnt from science or school or even from views accumulated from past lives..
Oh and if someone is shot in the heart, or emptied of all blood, how long to they live, as a matter of interest?
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Wed May 09, 2012 8:31 am

robertk wrote:
. All consciousness arises in the brain. Without the brain there is no consciousness in the body or the eyes,ears,nose, tongue, intellect. Eye consciousness occurs in the brain and is dependent on the brain. Be real, seriously. There is a reason people die when they get shot in the head. There is also a reason paraplegics can't feel their legs. Are you aware that there are people with toes that can't feel them. That is because there brain is cut off from receiving signals from those areas.

The suttas don't say that the eye-consciousness has to arise at the eye, it just says that is dependent on the eye, form, and contact. It just so happens that the consciousness then arises in the brain due to those 3 things

The abhidhamma may be a different story, but I don't see the suttas saying the eye-consciousness necessarily arises in the eye

Please give me even one suggestion from sutta or commentary indicatiing your contention that eye consciousness arises in the brain.
You suggest that I "BE real, Seriously". I am being very real : perhaps you might wish to rethink your understandning of what the Buddha taught and life in general.

Let's say someone knew nothing about computers. They played with their computer and pulled out a few wires, it stopped working properly. They then claimed that the 'heart' of the computer was the wiring. Would they be right or would it be the pentium processor, that they never even looked at that, that is the seat of calculations. This is where 'science' is with regard to their uniderstanding of mentality.


And please do check" does feeling in your toe really arise in the brain? Or is it an idea so ingrained becuase of what you learnt from science or school or even from views accumulated from past lives..
Oh and if someone is shot in the heart, or emptied of all blood, how long to they live, as a matter of interest?


I don't think I'm supposed to be answering you in this thread since this is the classical area but whatever, I'm sure the moderators won't mind one final response.

The suttas and the commentaries do not mention the brain because people of that time were ignorant that the brain played such a central role in processing. However, we need not let that fact interfere with dependent origination because eye-consciousness does still depend on the eye, form/light, and contact, it just so happens that the consciousness arises in the brain and not in the eye as iron age monks might have had you think.

As far as your computer comparison goes, that's just it, thanks for proving my point. You are saying that consciousness arises in the wires instead of in the processor. The eye has wires which run into the brain, so does your body, they are called nerve endings, this system of wires runs up to the brain where all the information is processed. The reason one dies when they lose blood or are shot in the heart is because the heart and blood work together to deliver fresh oxygen to the brain. This is why people who have heart attacks can be revived if the brain isn't starved of oxygen for too long and actually, if you slow down the body's metabolism by making the body cooler, the brain can go for even longer without oxygen because it is absorbing it at a slower rate.

I have no need to rethink about life in general as thinking about life in general is something I do everyday, it is not something i re-do. I evaluate and then I evaluate some more, I do not re-evaluate. Do not blindly adhere to what you think the Buddha taught, he was not omniscient, he did not know everything and basing all your views on some books written down hundreds of years after he died is dogmatic and unfit for somebody who wishes to realize truth for themselves, I would suggest you re-evaluate your epistemological grounds for making assertions about the way the human body and mind function.

As far as what the Buddha taught, the only thing that is important is how to end suffering by developing the noble eight-fold path and understanding the way to end suffering through that path, which last time I checked, didn't say one had to blindly adhere to anatomical and physiological claims from people who had 1% of the knowledge we have today with regards to those matters. If you hinge your whole practice on clinging to obviously untrue propositions then you will never be able to unbind yourself from false views and let go of the identity you've built up around those associations. I wish you the best of the luck towards the goal and hope we can all one day come to realize liberation and I hope you realize that scientific facts are not a hindrance to that goal. However, it should be noted that neither of our positions on that matter really pertain to the goal, ultimately, speculating about such trivial matters is just something sidetracking us from the actual purpose in following the Buddha's teaching, which is simply to become unbound from reacting to feelings that create emotions that lead to clinging to and identifying with impermanent phenomena, once we do that we can experience the unconditioned, the deathless, Nibbana.

:namaste:
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"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 09, 2012 8:36 am

Greetings,

robertk wrote:Please give me even one suggestion from sutta or commentary indicatiing your contention that eye consciousness arises in the brain.

There is certainly no support for that particular contention in the Visuddhimagga... https://www.google.com.au/search?source ... imagga+pdf

Brain.

This is the lumps of marrow to be found inside the skull. As to colour, it is white, the colour of the flesh of a toadstool; it can also be said that it is the colour of turned milk that has not yet become curd. As to shape, it is the shape of its location. As to direction, it belongs to the upper direction. As to location, it is to be found inside the skull, like four lumps of dough put together to correspond with the skull's four sutured sections. As to delimination, it is bounded by the skull's inner surface and by what appertains to brain...

...

Snot.

This is impurity that trickles out from the brain. As to colour, it is the colour of a young palmyra kernel. As to shape, it is the shape of its location. As to direction, it belongs to the upper direction. As to location, it is to be found filling the nostril cavaties. And it is not always to be found stored there; but rather, just as though a man tied up curd in a lotus leaf, which he then pricked with a thorn underneath, and whey oozed out and dripped, so too, when beings weep or suffer a disturbance of elements produced by wrong food or temperature, then the brain inside the head turns into stale phlegm, and it oozes out and comes down by an opening in the palate, and it fills the nostrils and stays there or trickles out.

From the above, it is evident that the brain is not where eye-consciousness arises, otherwise having a runny nose would cause temporary blindness, and we know that clearly this is not the case. Similarly with the other sense 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: Where does sense consciousness occurs?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed May 09, 2012 8:52 am

Which I guess all goes to show that Buddhism is not science, and doesn't purport to be.

So perhaps we should get back to the Classical Theravada interpretation of sense consciousness, and how to use that understanding to end suffering.

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