What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Greetings,

One moment of consciousness conditions the next.

If that gets called a "stream", over time... it's not an unrealistic comment. It just shows the continuity of causal relations from one moment to the next.

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: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby EOD » Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:05 pm

retrofuturist wrote:One moment of consciousness conditions the next.


Hello,

I'm not sure what you mean with "moment of consciousness". A kind of "atomic theory" of mind or time? Or just consciousness as it is right now? I'm not aware that the Buddha taught that consciousness is a succession of causally related discrete and smallest units ("atoms") of consiousness in time.

Best wishes,

EOD
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:31 pm

Greetings EOD,

A citta. I agree though it doesn't have to be discrete and "atomic".

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: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby Guy » Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:55 am

Hi Kidd,

Ajahn Brahm has used the metaphor of sand on a beach to describe consciousness. At a distance when you look at a beach it looks like it is a solid surface but up close when you look at each grain of sand individually you see that there are gaps between the sand. In a similar way, our ordinary experience of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process with no gaps or spaces, but when the mind is clear (after deep meditation) we can see that there are instances/moments of consciousness that arise and pass away, with gaps in between.

Consciousness is said to be like sands on a beach, it is like a stream, but these are just metaphors to help us understand such a subtle process.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby kidd » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:18 am

Aren't we conscious of what is apparent and not conscious of what is not apparent?

Isn't consciousness simply awareness of what is; and when there is nothing to be aware of doesn't consciousness cease?

:juggling:
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby EOD » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:27 am

Guy wrote:Ajahn Brahm has used the metaphor of sand on a beach to describe consciousness. At a distance when you look at a beach it looks like it is a solid surface but up close when you look at each grain of sand individually you see that there are gaps between the sand. In a similar way, our ordinary experience of consciousness is that it is an ongoing process with no gaps or spaces, but when the mind is clear (after deep meditation) we can see that there are instances/moments of consciousness that arise and pass away, with gaps in between.

Hello,

how can you see gaps between moments of consciousness? In those gaps no consciousness ("seeing") is present per definition. Gaps between moments of consciousness are moments of unconsciousness, i.e. moments in which consciousness is absent. But as long as you see something (a "gap" for example), consciousness is still present. You might be able to notice the absence of ear-consciousness with your mind-consciousness, but there is no instance beyond mind which were able to notice the absence of mind or consciousness in total. So even if there were gaps between moments of consciousness, it would be impossible to notice them at the time when they are present.

Best wishes,

EOD
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:26 pm

EOD wrote:how can you see gaps between moments of consciousness?


This perception is described in the Progress of Insight outlined in the Commentaries and Visuddhimagga. Here is Mahasi Sayadaw's explanation:

http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progres ... ml#Arising
4. Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away
...
His knowledge consisting in insight, here called "noticing," will be likewise keen, strong, and lucid. Consequently, he will discern clearly and in separate forms all the bodily and mental processes noticed, as if cutting to pieces a bamboo sprout with a well-sharpened knife. Therefore the meditator then believes: "There is no body-and-mind process that cannot be noticed." When examining the characteristics of impermanence, etc., or other aspects of reality, he understands everything quite clearly and at once, and he believes it to be the knowledge derived from direct experience.

http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progres ... issolution
5. Knowledge of Dissolution

Noticing the bodily and mental processes as they arise, he sees them part by part, link by link, piece by piece, fraction by fraction: "Just now it arises, just now it dissolves." When that knowledge of arising and passing away becomes mature, keen and strong, it will arise easily and proceed uninterruptedly as if borne onward of itself; also the bodily and mental processes will be easily discernible. When keen knowledge thus carries on and formations are easily discernible, then neither the arising of each bodily and mental process, nor its middle phase called "presence," nor the continuity of bodily and mental processes called "occurrence as unbroken flux" is apparent to him; nor are the shape of the hand, the foot, the face, the body, and so on, apparent to him. But what is apparent to him is only the ceasing of bodily and mental processes, called "vanishing," or "passing away," or "dissolution."

Mike
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby EOD » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:53 am

mikeenz66 wrote:
EOD wrote:how can you see gaps between moments of consciousness?


This perception is described in the Progress of Insight outlined in the Commentaries and Visuddhimagga. Here is Mahasi Sayadaw's explanation:

http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progres ... ml#Arising

4. Knowledge of Arising and Passing Away
...
His knowledge consisting in insight, here called "noticing," will be likewise keen, strong, and lucid. Consequently, he will discern clearly and in separate forms all the bodily and mental processes noticed, as if cutting to pieces a bamboo sprout with a well-sharpened knife. Therefore the meditator then believes: "There is no body-and-mind process that cannot be noticed." When examining the characteristics of impermanence, etc., or other aspects of reality, he understands everything quite clearly and at once, and he believes it to be the knowledge derived from direct experience.


That is not the same thing as seeing gaps between moments of consciousness. He says: "There is no body-and-mind process that cannot be noticed." I agree with that. But you need mind or consciousness in order to notice. Gaps in consciousness are like blind spots. When you are unconscious you can't notice: "I'm unconscious" or "There is no consciousness", because in order to do that you need consciousness which is not there at that moment or gap. That is what I meant.

Apart from that I would not rely too much on the commentaries or Visuddhimagga. The Buddha said in AN 4.180 and DN 16 that in case of doubt only the discourses and the discipline are relevant in order to find out what belongs to his teachings and what not.

Best wishes,

EOD
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:12 am

Hi EOD,

Well, use your own experience then. With enough calm and mindfulness it is possible to notice discontinuities.

Metta
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Re: What is the Theravadan Aim for Rebirth?

Postby EOD » Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:34 am

mikenz66 wrote:With enough calm and mindfulness it is possible to notice discontinuities.

I agree.

Best wishes,

EOD
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