Why there is no re-linking consciousness

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Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:16 pm

Modern Theravada is based on a reappraisal of the Pali suttas. Of course, one of the primary instigators of this was Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. As is heard in the video about his life on You Tube, he began a fresh research of the Pali suttas.

In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.

The suttas unambiguously state without dispute, such as in MN 9, there are six kinds of consciousness, namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind consciousness.

The word consciousness itself comes from the Pali word 'vinnana', which means 'direct knowing'. In short, consciousness is cognition. Consciousness is that faculty of mind that allows knowing or experience via the eye, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. As the Buddha advised in MN 38, there is no arising of consciousness without a sense organ.

If the notion of relinking consciousness is considered, it includes the carrying from one life to the next kammic accumulations.

If the nature of the five aggregates are considered, the capacity of consciousness is merely to know or be aware. The capacity of perception includes memory and the capacity of sankhara khanda is accumulating or storing ignorance & wisdom, merit & demerit. For example, if the question is asked: "What gets enlightened?", the answer is the citta or sankhara khanda.

Therefore, it appears according to basic theory, that consciousness carries with it memories, knowledge, ignorance and the fruits of kamma is impossible.

Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.

:reading:
Last edited by Element on Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby piotr » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:08 pm

Hi,

Element wrote:In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.


What? In what sense? Tibetan 'bardo' is a translation of sanskrit term 'antarabhāva' (in-between state), which is rejected in Kathāvatthu of the Abhidhamma-piṭaka. Re-linking consciousness (paṭisandhi-viññāṇa) is described as a first moment of consciousness in new life.

Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.


Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:06 pm

Greetings Element, all,

Please note, this topic has been moved to the Dhammic free-for-all.

As for comparisons between relinking consciousness and the Tibetan "bardo", if you actually look into it you'll see that the commentarial Theravadin position, strongly influenced by the Abhidhamma Pitaka leaves less scope for the possibility of an intermediate state than do the suttas themselves.

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:08 pm

piotr wrote:Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.

Piotr

Where in the suttas is this stated?

Thank you

Element
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Individual » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:53 pm

Element wrote:Modern Theravada is based on a reappraisal of the Pali suttas. Of course, one of the primary instigators of this was Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. As is heard in the video about his life on You Tube, he began a fresh research of the Pali suttas.

In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.

The suttas unambiguously state without dispute, such as in MN 9, there are six kinds of consciousness, namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind consciousness.

The word consciousness itself comes from the Pali word 'vinnana', which means 'direct knowing'. In short, consciousness is cognition. Consciousness is that faculty of mind that allows knowing or experience via the eye, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. As the Buddha advised in MN 38, there is no arising of consciousness without a sense organ.

If the notion of relinking consciousness is considered, it includes the carrying from one life to the next kammic accumulations.

If the nature of the five aggregates are considered, the capacity of consciousness is merely to know or be aware. The capacity of perception includes memory and the capacity of sankhara khanda is accumulating or storing ignorance & wisdom, merit & demerit. For example, if the question is asked: "What gets enlightened?", the answer is the citta or sankhara khanda.

Therefore, it appears according to basic theory, that consciousness carries with it memories, knowledge, ignorance and the fruits of kamma is impossible.

Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.

:reading:

"There is no re-linking consciousness" contradicts kamma and dependent origination. Re-linking consciousness is also observable, in a manner of sorts. To use a Zen cliche, "Observe the moment or space between thoughts." There's your luminous mind, there's your bhavanga. And it's not dependent on the brain or any particular rupa.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:50 am

Element wrote:
piotr wrote:Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.

Piotr

Where in the suttas is this stated?


I have in fact quoted the Sutta to you twice already. Once again:


    Bhava Sutta

    "It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the fine-material realm, would fine-material becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed, craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a middling realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the immaterial realm, would immaterial becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed, craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a superior realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming."
    (AN.i. 223-24)

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby piotr » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:41 am

Hi,

Bija-sutta (SN 22.54) may also interest you.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Heavenstorm » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:09 pm

Element wrote:In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.


The last time I check, bardo means "intermediate state between death and next rebirth" and I find no such equivalent in Theravada. The bardo consists of a period between 3 to 49 days while re linking consciousness is just a space of momentary thought. Your comparison are too far sketching and lacks a serious introspection into the terms used in different traditions.

Dude, this is yet another lame attempt of yours to discredit the Abhidharma. Please stop it, its making you look bad.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:44 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Bhava Sutta

"It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
"If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
"No, lord."
"Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.

Dhammanando

The Bhava Sutta does not explain relinking consciousness. It is merely explaining how consciousness absorbs and grows into sensual objects, material objects and immaterial objects nourished by craving. I think this video link is a clear enough explanation of the Bhava Sutta.

Or this link may be more wholesome, where Angulimala asked himself: "What have I become?"

Kind regards

Element
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:54 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:Dude, this is yet another lame attempt of yours to discredit the Abhidharma. Please stop it, its making you look bad.

Hi Heaven

'Bad' is in the mind of the creator. Abhidharma has discredited itself. If have seen or read nothing in the suttas so far to support it.

Dhammanando certainly needs to present a more convincing view rather than choosing an unrelated sutta.

Buddha taught one practises for liberation of mind. Not for public recognition. Buddha taught ignorance remains from listening to the wrong teachings.

With metta

Element
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:06 pm

Hi Element

If there is no re-linking consciousness in the Buddhas teaching, why do you think it was added later? What i mean is where do you think it came from if it crept in?
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:08 pm

Element wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:Bhava Sutta

"It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
"If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
"No, lord."
"Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.

Dhammanando

The Bhava Sutta does not explain relinking consciousness. It is merely explaining how consciousness absorbs and grows into sensual objects, material objects and immaterial objects nourished by craving. I think this video link is a clear enough explanation of the Bhava Sutta.

Or this link may be more wholesome, where Angulimala asked himself: "What have I become?"

Kind regards

Element


Dear Element,

Where is the implication in this sutta that the process stops after the sensual objects, material objects, and immaerial objects have been nourished by craving? In the sutta these processes do not seem to be independent of one another. Would we not be continually planting kammic seeds as afflicted consciousness arises?

Kindly,
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:23 pm

Individual wrote:"There is no re-linking consciousness" contradicts kamma and dependent origination. Re-linking consciousness is also observable, in a manner of sorts. To use a Zen cliche, "Observe the moment or space between thoughts." There's your luminous mind, there's your bhavanga. And it's not dependent on the brain or any particular rupa.

Individual,

Are you sure your observation is clear or merely from a 'cliche' tainted mind? Are you declaring enlightenment to the forum?

Buddha stated in MN 148:
The arising & falling away of the six types of consciousness are discerned.

There is no re-linking consciousness in dependent origination thus you point is mute. Dependent origination merely describes consciousness conditioned or affected by ignorance. There is the phrase in Pali avijjāsamphassajena, which means 'ignorant contact'. Contact requires consciousness. Due to consciousness being tainted by ignorance, like a glass is tainted by colour or dust, avijjāsamphassajena occurs.

Buddha said:
puthujjano rūpaṃ attato samanupassati. Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, samanupassanā saṅkhāro so. So pana saṅkhāro kiṃnidāno kiṃsamudayo kiṃjātiko kiṃpabhavo? Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā; tatojo so saṅkhāro.

The puthujjano regards form as 'self'. That regarding is a formation. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that formation? When puthujjano is contacted by a feeling born of ignorant contact, craving arises. Hence that formation [of self] is born.

SN 22.81

It is advisable you rely on greater authority than your own insight. If fact, you have offerred a doctrine of permanence, which is both deluded & incorrect. The luminous mind the Buddha spoke of is not permanent in its existence. It is permanent in its undefiled nature but never permanent in its existence.

Buddha said the only thing that is permanent is Nibbana, which is the cessation of defilement. Buddha said any type of consciousness, whether gross or subtle, is impermanent and dependently arisen.

Regarding kamma and its results, this can be compared to a disease. For example, the body becomes sick or infected with disease and that disease is more or less permanent. For example, an AIDS carrier more or less carries that disease for life.

However, this does not imply consciousness is permanent. Just because a physical disease is permanent this does not mean the various classes of consciousness are permanent. In fact, there is a sutta where the Buddha states:
If you were to regard anything as permanent, it would be best to regard the body as permanent rather than the mind or consciousness. Whilst the body may last eighty years, nama dhammas are fleeting.

Possibly yourself, Dhammanando or Piotr can indentify the sutta.

With metta

Element
Last edited by Element on Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:34 pm

Funny Element, I just compared becoming or birthing to a tumor, or a virus the other day. I was trying to describe it as recurrent rather than eternal.

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:43 pm

clw_uk wrote:Hi Element

If there is no re-linking consciousness in the Buddhas teaching, why do you think it was added later? What i mean is where do you think it came from if it crept in?

Craig

I have not studied Mahavihara Buddhism myself. However, I have heard it asserted by a number of monks that before writing about dependent origination in his Vissudhi Magga, Buddhagosa declared himself he was not qualified to elucidate dependent origination. Therefore, I can only assume Buddhagosa was puthujjano rather than ariyan. More or less, most beings are attached to 'self' and 'permanence'. Many beings seek to be teachers & famous writers rather than take refuge in the Buddha.

Buddha said:
"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

Ani Sutta


With metta

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:49 pm

Individual wrote:There's your luminous mind, there's your bhavanga. And it's not dependent on the brain or any particular rupa.

Buddha said:
“You foolish fellow (mogha-purisa), to whom have you ever known me to teach dhamma in that way? You foolish fellow, have I not stated in many discourses that consciousness is dependently arisen, since without a condition consciousness does not come into being? But you, you foolish fellow, have misrepresented us by your wrong grasp & injured yourself and stored up much demerit (apunna); for this will lead to your harm & suffering for a long time.”
Mahàtanhàsankhaya Sutta

Be careful.

With metta

Element
Last edited by Element on Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:50 pm

Hello all,

Some may be interested in this paper by Ven. Bhikkhu Sujato on Perspectives of Early Buddhism - Rebirth and the In-Between State in Early Buddhism
Note that this paper (as with the others) will only be available for download until 2 February, 2009.
http://www.c2rc.org/papers.php

metta
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:59 pm

piotr wrote:Hi,

Bija-sutta (SN 22.54) may also interest you.


Hi Piotr,

The above sutta is 100% irrelevent to the topic. This sutta is merely about the growth, increase & proliferation of consciousness as it absorbs and becoming fixated into aramana or various sense objects connected to emotion. This sutta is perfectly explained in the video I previously posted. This sutta has no relationship to relinking consciousness.

With metta

Element
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:41 pm

Chris wrote:Some may be interested in this paper by Ven. Bhikkhu Sujato on Perspectives of Early Buddhism - Rebirth and the In-Between State in Early Buddhism
Note that this paper (as with the others) will only be available for download until 2 February, 2009.
http://www.c2rc.org/papers.php

In his first sermon, the Buddha presented the Four Noble Truths: suffering, its origin, cessation, and the path. The first term in the definition of suffering is jāti, which we translate as ‘birth’, although ‘conception’ might be more accurate. Note that birth is an existential problem, to be overcome, and hence cannot merely refer to one’s birth in this life. It must refer, as the universal testimony of the Buddhist traditions affirm, to rebirth in saṁsāra, as part of an endless stream of lives. Hence the second Noble Truth is yāyaṁ taṇhā ponobbhavikā, ‘that craving pertaining to future existence’, and the Third is ‘the complete fading away and cessation of that very craving’ (yo tassāyeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodho...). These few phrases establish rebirth as central to the Buddha’s fundamental teachings.

Dear Chris, All,

Jati in the First Noble Truth is birth rather than conception.

For both woman and child birth is difficult to bear. The word dukkha literally means difficult to bear.

In MN 38 and MN 130, the Buddha said about birth:
Bhikkhus, the conception of an embryo in a womb takes place through the union of three things (Tiṇṇaṃ kho pana, bhikkhave, sannipātā gabbhassāvakkanti hoti). The mother then carries the embryo in her womb for nine or ten months with much anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, at the end of nine or ten months, the mother gives birth with much anxiety, as a heavy burden. Then, when the child is born, she nourishes it with her own blood; for the mother’s breast-milk is called blood in the Noble One’s (ariya) training.

The king of the under world cross questions, asks for reasons and studies together with him thus. ‘Good man did you not see the first divine messenger among humans?’ He says ‘Sir I did not see.’ Then the king of the under world would ask him. ‘Good man didn’t you see a todler who stands and lies with difficulty, mingled in his own urine and excreta while lying?’


The First Noble Truth teaches attachment to the five aggregates is suffering. It does not explicity teach birth, death, pain, etc, are suffering. Buddha said: "In short, attachment to the five aggregates is dukkha". For example, when Buddha was dying, his mind experienced great pain yet he did not suffer. When there is non-attachment towards those born dear (piyajatika), there will be no suffering.
"That's the way it is, householder. That's the way it is — for sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress & despair are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear."

Piyajatika Sutta


Regarding the matter and meaning of becoming, this has been discussed already. To me, Bhikkhu Sujato is clearly mistaken when he associates becoming in the Second Noble Truth to a literal 'future existence’. To me, Bhikkhu Sujato sounds very confused.

With metta

Element
Last edited by Element on Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Postby Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:56 pm

Chris wrote:Some may be interested in this paper by Ven. Bhikkhu Sujato on Perspectives of Early Buddhism - Rebirth and the In-Between State in Early Buddhism
Note that this paper (as with the others) will only be available for download until 2 February, 2009.
http://www.c2rc.org/papers.php

‘Whatever ascetics or priests there are that recollect their manifold past lives, all of them recollect the five grasping-aggregates or one of them’. This
suggests that the aggregates are empirical realities that characterize not just this life, but past lives as well. Thus the Saṁyutta tells us that the unawakened individual runs and circles around these five aggregates from one life to the next.

metta
Chris

Dear Chris, All

I must disagree with Bhikkhu Sujato again. The sutta states:
At Savatthi. "Monks, any priests or contemplatives who recollect their manifold past dwellings all recollect the five aggregates clung to or one among them. Which five? When recollecting, 'I was one with such a form in the past,' one is recollecting just form. Or when recollecting, 'I was one with such a feeling in the past,' one is recollecting just feeling. Or when recollecting, 'I was one with such a perception in the past,' one is recollecting just perception. Or when recollecting, 'I was one with such mental fabrications in the past,' one is recollecting just mental fabrications. Or when recollecting, 'I was one with such a consciousness in the past,' one is recollecting just consciousness.

Buddha has spoken clearly, saying - when recollecting 'I was one with such a form in the past,' one is recollecting just form. In other words, the mind thinks back to the past: "I was so fit and handsome when I was young". The Buddha is stating here in the past there was only form, there was no "I".

Thus, when one is enlightened, say, like the Lord Buddha was, not only is the mind in the present free from the delusion of 'self' but the mind realises in the past it had no 'self' either. In the past, the mind was merely deluded. In the past, the mind foolishly regarded the five aggregates as "I" and "mine".

On the night of the Buddha's enlightenment, not only did his mind stop concocting 'self' in the present but his power of insight erradicated all of the clinging in the substratum of the mind that was build up or accumulated from the past.

In one sutta, I cannot recall it, the Buddha said when he was still the Bodhisatva, his mind would not run to the future nor in the present chasing sensuality. However, his mind would often run back and ponder past sensuality. This occurs because of the mind's past regarding of things as 'self' and 'pleasant'.

There are things I am not interested in now that I took an interest in in the past. However, if I recollect the past, the pleasure of those past experiences may arise strongly even though I may feel sad if I see people performing those actions today.

This is recollection of past dwellings. During the first watch of the night, the Buddha's mind purified itself of the deep and subtle attachments connected to past dwellings.

In the sutta, the Buddha goes on further to say:
This, monks, is called a disciple of the noble ones who tears down and does not build up; who abandons and does not cling; who discards and does not pull in; who scatters and does not pile up.

It appears Bhikkhu Sujato is building up rather than tearing down; clinging rather than abandoning; pulling in rather than discarding; piling up rather than scattering.

With metta

Element
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