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Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa' - Dhamma Wheel

Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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manas
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Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby manas » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:26 am

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Dmytro
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby Dmytro » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:42 am



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manas
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby manas » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:42 am

Last edited by manas on Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby Dmytro » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:54 am



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reflection
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby reflection » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:54 am

You can have the senses without contact. You can have certain feelings without craving. You can have birth without (immediate) death. Wouldn't you need to re-invent all those terms according to your line of thought?

Instead, if you take dependent origination to be talking about the process of rebirth rather than a daily process, there is no such problem with all those terms, including consciousness. In respect to dependent origination, the term consciousness is referring to the general stream of consciousness in a life rather than a single moment.

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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby manas » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:55 pm

Greetings Dmytro, and reflection,

If someone in deep sleep is temporarily void of all vinnana, what is going to happen if he dies, or is killed very suddenly before even having the chance to awaken? No vinnana = no stored-up kamma from innumerable previous existences...

I hope you don't think I'm suggesting that vinnana isn't also the standard definition most folks imagine, ie that which cognizes right here in this present moment. Yes it is that, but from what I can see it is wider is scope that just that. I'm not trying to argue with any Buddhist scholars here, why would I do such a thing??? I'm pointing out an issue many of us have noticed - that the English language has no clear-cut, fitting word for many pali terms, not just vinnana. And that it behooves us to study the deeper implications of pali terms, so as to avoid much hand-wringing and confusion.

I think it's like with an iceberg, we can only see the top part, but there is much more underneath. It is still one huge iceberg, but our awareness of it is limited, for now. Same with vinnana, maybe? I'm not making any pronouncements, I'm engaged in a process of inquiry here! But I think it's an important issue.

I've got to rush off now, but a final note is that, when I began realizing this it actually helped me to see that vinnana is just another life-process that keeps going seemingly on it's own, according to kamma etc, and is less under 'control' than I had thought. Yes, vinnana is not-self, it's another of those impersonal forces of Nature, that somehow or other the devil of self-identification has convinced us to construct a 'self' out of, But more another time, and thanks for your interest!

:anjali:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby Dmytro » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:43 am



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retrofuturist
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:51 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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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby reflection » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:27 am

Vinnana doesn't store anything. Kamma also isn't a thing, both are processes. Vinnana switches on and off all the time, it simply isn't present when we are unconscious because it is only present when there is contact with the senses.

In terms of dependent origination though, it speaks about the arising and cessation of the aggregate of vinnana for that particular life, not a single moment of vinnana. That's the difference there.

I think consciousness is a fine term, as long as we keep in mind there are 6 types.

:anjali:

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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:35 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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reflection
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby reflection » Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:19 am


Sutiro
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby Sutiro » Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:14 am

I agree that vinnana translated as "consciousness" has led to much misunderstanding of the vinnanakhandha. We should look at the derivation of the Pali word to expand our understanding. "nnana' means "knowing" and the common prefix "vi" has several related meanings, "apart", "separate" or "different". So if instead of using one word "consciousness" and all its implications we would achieve a better understanding if we used two words "separate knowing".

Check out this interesting website for more information www.fourwindslao.com

Regards
Sutiro

santa100
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby santa100 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:49 pm

I think "consciousness" is fine because it's an umbrella term that can always be prefixed for more specialized meanings, like eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, mind-consciousness, manas/alaya-consciousness(if you want to get deep into Yogacara analysis), etc..

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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby groconvalra » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:27 am

I agree..

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Hanzze
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Re: Wanted: a fitting English term for 'Viññāṇa'

Postby Hanzze » Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:38 am

I guess it would be useful to change the general understanding of consciousness, it isn't a expend perception like love for example and still able to transport a well understanding.
Just that! *smile*


BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Nate sante baram sokham _()_


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