Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

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Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:31 am


"The Buddha also says in some other passages that there's a consciousness that's known independently of the six sense spheres - That's the consciousness that's seen in awakening."

-Thanissaro Bhikku, from this talk: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/0904 ... kening.mp3



Hey everyone,

Upon hearing this from Venerable Thanissaro, I became a bit puzzled as I have not come across this idea yet in my study of the Dhamma. Could anyone point me to some suttas where this type of consciousness is mentioned?

Thanks very much,
Benjamin
Last edited by Benjamin on Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses?

Postby pegembara » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:46 am

First of all, extinguishment (nibbāna) is clearly not annihilation. The reason for this is simply that there is nothing to be annihilated. Only existing entities can be annihilated, and since Buddhism rejects the idea of a self, annihilation is by definition impossible. Processes, on the other hand, may come to an end. Since humans are processes, they can cease. What is it that ceases? Just suffering.

http://community.dhammaloka.org.au/show ... 9-38-DN-11



Now viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ is a reference to the nature of the released consciousness of an arahant. It does not reflect anything.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=12147#p184136
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses?

Postby santa100 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:59 am

From DN 15 ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ), which gives detailed description of Dependent Co-arising:

"'From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?"

"No, lord."

"If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?"

"No, lord."

"If the consciousness of the young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-and-form ripen, grow, and reach maturity?"

"No, lord."

"Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for name-and-form, i.e., consciousness."
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses?

Postby pegembara » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:21 am

When we emphasise our personality we create problems, because the personal qualities are different for each one of us. We have our common human problems: old age, sickness and death; all men have certain things in common; all women have certain conditions in common. But then there are certain attitudes, cultural expectations and assumptions, which are conditioned into the mind, instilled into us after we are born. Through mindfulness, we are able to get beyond this conditioning of the mind to the pure consciousness that isn't conditioned, but which is like the background, the emptiness, the blank sheet on which words are written. Our perceptions arise and cease on that blank sheet, that emptiness.

The personality, the self-consciousness, the fears and the desires of the mind are what they are; we are not trying to dismiss them or add to them, or make any problems or difficulties around them. We are willing to let them be what they are. They feel this way, they have this quality; they arise and cease. In that cessation there's the realisation of the peace, the bliss or the serenity of being, and there's no self in it. Everyone has that potential, that ability to realise this. We describe it as seeing the Dhamma, the way it is - it's not a matter of becoming anything at all.

Ajahn Sumedho.



Consciousness, thus unestablished, not proliferating, not performing any function, is released. Owing to its release, it stands still. Owing to its stillness, it is contented. Owing to its contentment, it is not agitated. Not agitated, he (the monk) is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"For one knowing in this way, seeing in this way, monk, there is the immediate ending of fermentations."

SN22.5

There is no consciousness independent of the 6 senses. http://www.leighb.com/mn38.htm
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:03 am

Benjamin wrote:

"The Buddha also says in some other passages that there's a consciousness that's known independently of the six sense spheres - That's the consciousness that's seen in awakening."

-Thanissaro Bhikku, from this talk: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/0904 ... kening.mp3



I think this may likely be the most controversial statement that Thanissaro has ever made. It is why he is sometimes accused of being an eternalist of some sort. Of course, he says that this other sort of consciousness is not definable in terms of location or time thereby sidestepping the eternalist accusation, perhaps atemporalist would be the term. Anyway, I consider Thanissaro my primary teacher but I do have reservations about this proposition of his and what exactly he means by it and what exactly he thinks this consciousness may be.

What does everybody else think about this statement of his? What do you think it amounts to?

:namaste:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"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: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:28 pm

Thanks to all of you for giving this your time and effort.

I really enjoy Thanissaro's talks, I've always found him to be one of the most practical teachers regarding the Dhamma. With him, everything is focused on what you can do, hence the emphasis on anatta as a strategy and so forth. This "anatta as a strategy" idea seems to indicate that Thanissaro is less concerned (maybe completely un-concerned) with metaphysical speculation and solely focused on walking the path. It always seemed to be quite different from other teachers.

For example, this:

"Although the concept "not-self" is a useful way of disentangling oneself from the attachments & clingings which lead to suffering, the view that there is no self is simply one of many metaphysical or ontological views which bind one to suffering."

"So, instead of answering "no" to the question of whether or not there is a self — interconnected or separate, eternal or not — the Buddha felt that the question was misguided to begin with. Why? No matter how you define the line between "self" and "other," the notion of self involves an element of self-identification and clinging, and thus suffering and stress. "

-Ven. Thanissaro


Always seemed different to me than this:

"The correct view is that there is no self. Whether one should teach this to others or not might be up for debate, but the truth of it is not. Right view is so important, the Lord Buddha placed it at the front of the eightfold noble path. As long as one holds to self in this or that, one still has wrong view. The very notion of I that exists in "I have no self", is already view of personality (sakkaayaditthi), and makes one stuck in a thicket, etc.

To say, on the other hand, that one could get stuck on such a view as "there is no self" doesn't make any sense, unless it is based on the idea that there once was a self in the past. The view of non-self frees the mind from any attachment internally or externally. It is, of course, possible that one might get caught up in pondering or fretting over the non-existence of self and miss the point, but that is not due to wrong view, it is due to wrong attention (ayoniso manasikara)"

-Ven Yuttadhammo



But :focus: Is there anywhere in the Sutta's where this "consciousness known independently of the six sense spheres" is mentioned? Pegembara seems to think not, any other opinions?

Thank you all for taking the time,
Benjamin
"Don't believe everything you read."
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby polarbuddha101 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:14 pm

Where do water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing?
Where are long & short,
coarse & fine,
fair & foul,
name & form
brought to an end?
"'And the answer to that is:


Consciousness without feature,[1]
without end,
luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire, & wind
have no footing.
Here long & short
coarse & fine
fair & foul
name & form
are all brought to an end.
With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousness
each is here brought to an end.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"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: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Rob1980 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:38 pm

Awareness is something that is different from consciousness, but when the Arahat dies, awareness also ceases, as there is nothing for it to be aware of. Awareness is not something that is talked about in the suttas as I expect the Buddha was aware of the human tendency to reify. Also the Buddha stated in the suttas that it is better to err on the side of Anhilation view than eternalist view, even though they are both wrong.

Bhiikhu Bodhi seems to be in the eternalist camp, whereas most forest monks I know and met were in the extinction camp(which to me seems correct and what distinguishes Buddhism from other non-monothesitic religions)

I would also say that from what I have read and learnt, Mahayana Buddhism seems to lean heavily in the eternalist camp(when one does eventually save all living beings and attain enlightenment)

I think it doesn't really matter to much, if one practices enough Vipassana and Samatha one will begin to see truth.

Best of luck with your Dhamma practice and best wishes.
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:41 pm

Rob1980 wrote:Awareness is something that is different from consciousness


Agreed, but Thanissaro uses them interchangeably in the talk I am mentioning.

Best of luck with your Dhamma practice and best wishes.


You as well. :anjali:
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby rahul3bds » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:55 am

Benjamin wrote:

"The Buddha also says in some other passages that there's a consciousness that's known independently of the six sense spheres - That's the consciousness that's seen in awakening."

-Thanissaro Bhikku, from this talk: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/0904 ... kening.mp3



Hey everyone,

Upon hearing this from Venerable Thanissaro, I became a bit puzzled as I have not come across this idea yet in my study of the Dhamma. Could anyone point me to some suttas where this type of consciousness is mentioned?

Thanks very much,
Benjamin


He's Most likely referring to this:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:42 pm

rahul3bds wrote:
He's Most likely referring to this:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Interesting, thanks very much.
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Jason » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:51 pm

Benjamin wrote:

"The Buddha also says in some other passages that there's a consciousness that's known independently of the six sense spheres - That's the consciousness that's seen in awakening."

-Thanissaro Bhikku, from this talk: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/0904 ... kening.mp3



Hey everyone,

Upon hearing this from Venerable Thanissaro, I became a bit puzzled as I have not come across this idea yet in my study of the Dhamma. Could anyone point me to some suttas where this type of consciousness is mentioned?

Thanks very much,
Benjamin


You can find some of my thoughts about this topic (as well as references) here and here if you're interested.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

leaves in the hand (Buddhist-related blog)
leaves in the forest (non-Buddhist related blog)
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:11 pm

This is a common notion in many religions and schools of buddhism. I seem to remember references to this in some of the thai forest stuff i have read, but the best exposition of it that i have read is in "the zen teachings of huang po":

(EDIT: found a better example:)
This Mind is neither large nor small; it is located neither within nor without. It should not be thought about by the mind nor be discussed by the mouth. Ordinarily, it is said that we use the Mind to transmit the Mind, or that we use the Mind to seal the Mind. Actually, however, in transmitting the Mind, there is really no Mind to receive or obtain; and in sealing the Mind, there is really no Mind to seal. If this is the case, then does the Mind exist or does it not exist? Actually, it cannot be said with certainty that the Mind either exists or does not exist, for it is Absolute Reality. This is expressed in the Ch'an Sect by the maxim: "If you open your mouth, you are wrong. If you give rise to a single thought, you are in error." So, if you can quiet your thinking totally, all that remains is voidness and stillness.


Some teachers otoh seem to go to great lengths to avoid discussing this, probably to prevent the kind of discussion that is taking place in this thread.

But, a question: Isnt there a concept for this already in theravadan buddhism? I seem to remember some one telling me that the concept of Citta was similiar or did i misunderstand?
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:05 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:But, a question: Isnt there a concept for this already in theravadan buddhism? I seem to remember some one telling me that the concept of Citta was similiar or did i misunderstand?


Good ole' Wikepedia:

Citta (Pali) is one of three overlapping terms used in the nikayas to refer to the mind, the others being manas and viññāṇa. Each is sometimes used in the generic and non-technical sense of "mind" in general, and the three are sometimes used in sequence to refer to one's mental processes as a whole.[1] Their primary uses are, however, distinct.

The Pali-English Dictionary suggests citta is heart / mind, and emphasizing it is more the emotive side of mind as opposed to manas as the intellect or mind-sense in the sense of what grasps mental objects (dhammas ). Citta is the object of meditation in the third part of Satipatthana, also called four foundation of mindfulness.

"Citta" primarily represents one's mindset, or state of mind. Citta is the term used in to refer to the quality of mental processes as a whole.[5] Citta is neither an entity nor a process; this likely accounts for its not being classified as a skandha, nor mentioned in the paticcasamuppada formula.
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby SarathW » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:43 pm

As a Samatha meditator the highest you can achieve is Neither perception and Nor non perception stage. At this stage you still have some very fine attachment to this world hence you are conditioned by six senses.
By attaining Arahantship you will completely destroy all attachments. However to expererience this state before Parinibbana, the Arhant have to getting to the Niroda Samapatti state at which Arhant will not have any awareness.
There is only one consciousness and depend on how it arises we will give it a name, Eye consciousness etc. For example Deva,Peta and Brahma do not have consciousness based on six senses. Bats, dogs and snakes have different type of consciuness to human.
The same way anger is based on six sense consciousness and the none anger is not based on six senses.

So I think it is possible to have some awareness independent of 6 senses.

The most important thing to remember is that there is no consciousness outside this long fathom body.
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:04 am

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby reflection » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:15 pm

If you love to read and think and ponder, here's more for you:


http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/ ... E2%80%99t/
and
http://sujato.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/ ... E1%B9%87a/

For me the answer is clear without reading this. If I have no consciousness in a black out or sleep, why would there be any in nibbana? Consciousness of all sorts is maybe the most impermanent thing of all.

Metta to ya!
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby SarathW » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:36 pm

Hi reflection
The way I understand is that you have consciousness (Bhava) even if you are in a coma, sleep or blackout.
:)
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby Benjamin » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:00 am

Interesting, thank you all for your posts and your time. To me, it seems that Nibbana is more about ending a process than achieving something. It's about stopping the wheel of becoming and clinging, not attaining some heavenly or blissful state. While it may be blissful (Dhp 203), it appears to be more of a "side effect" of not-clinging, then something that can be forcefully attained.

Thank you all for continuing to provide insight into the Dhamma. :anjali:


Benjamin
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Postby reflection » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:13 pm

SarathW wrote:Hi reflection
The way I understand is that you have consciousness (Bhava) even if you are in a coma, sleep or blackout.
:)

Well, to me it's not about understanding in such a way, but about experience. Do you actually experience something when unconscious? I don't and that's how I made an initial conclusion that there is no permanent form of consciousness. Consciousness arises after a sense impression, it can't just be in any way without an object.

On a sidenote, I think bhava is not the right word for consciousness, that'd be vinnana.

Metta to ya!
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