Six sense base question

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adosa
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Six sense base question

Postby adosa » Sat May 08, 2010 12:31 am

Can eye-consciousness arise at the same time as say nose-consciousness or is it one at a time?


adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 1:07 am

Greetings Adosa,

adosa wrote:Can eye-consciousness arise at the same time as say nose-consciousness or is it one at a time?

Good question... but before you get any answers from others, perhaps you can pay attention to what's happening in your world and tell us what your experience suggests. Try watching television, try dribbling a basketball, take a shower... in doing so, don't forget that mind-consciouness is one of the six senses/consciousnesses.

When you think, do you go deaf, dumb and blind? Would you believe otherwise if you were to read a contradictory explanation in a book or on a forum?

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: Six sense base question

Postby adosa » Sat May 08, 2010 2:17 am

Thanks Retro,

It's hard to say exactly what the sequence is going on inside the head but here goes........

During meditation when I am hearing, it seems that at that very moment, I am hearing. Sure a scent can enter into consciousness but then nose-consciousness arises, and for a split second ear-consciousness drop. The ability to hear is still there granted but the object is not in "view" so to speak, so then ear-consciousness is not present. Then a thought pops up but at that moment I don't seem to be experiencing nose-consciousness. Or am I?

Maybe this is more an Abhidhamma question as the various consciousness can rise so fast that with my lack of jhana I cannot experience them fast enough to tell if they rise one by one or can rise simultaneously. So, that really is the basis of my question. Basically the question came up while meditating on the six sense bases and rotating through and observing each one. It's definitely a good look at the impermanent, dependently arising nature of consciousness.



adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 2:28 am

Greetings Adosa,

Whilst of course you're welcome to explore the Abhidhamma, if you're keen to stay in the realm of the suttas, perhaps you might wish to investigate nama and its constituent components vedana (feeling), sañña (perception), cetana (intention, volition), phassa (sensory contact) and manasikara (attention, advertence).

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby adosa » Sat May 08, 2010 2:41 am

Hi Retro,

At this point I'm working my way through the Nikayas. I've been reading The Book of Causation, observing the six sense basis and the arising of consciousness and part of my question stems from the following discourse.

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

and the following statement.

"It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey, swinging through a forest wilderness, grabs a branch. Letting go of it, it grabs another branch. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. In the same way, what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another."



adosa :smile:
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 3:02 am

Greetings Adosa,

I believe the purpose of that section of text you underline is intended to demonstrate that Self (atman) does not exist in mentality... which is precisely the reason I suggested investigating the term nama and its constituent components. From memory, Venerable Nanananda's Nibbana Sessions explain this well as well as give an explanation for precisely why it's such a critical part of the dependent origination chain. As we see in the sutta you quote...

'From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.

"'From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.


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: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 3:04 am

adosa wrote:Can eye-consciousness arise at the same time as say nose-consciousness or is it one at a time?


adosa :smile:

According to the Abhidhamma, they arise one at a time.

Kevin

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 3:06 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to the Abhidhamma, they arise one at a time.


According to Abhidhamma, does one consciousness cease before the next begins?

According to Abhidhamma, can there be multiple consciousnesses in parallel, even if manasikara (attention) is focused on just one at a time?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 3:44 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to the Abhidhamma, they arise one at a time.


According to Abhidhamma, does one consciousness cease before the next begins?

According to Abhidhamma, can there be multiple consciousnesses in parallel, even if manasikara (attention) is focused on just one at a time?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro. Just one at a time. Each one ceases before the next arises.

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat May 08, 2010 3:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to the Abhidhamma, they arise one at a time.


According to Abhidhamma, does one consciousness cease before the next begins?

According to Abhidhamma, can there be multiple consciousnesses in parallel, even if manasikara (attention) is focused on just one at a time?

Metta,
Retro. :)

i'm gonna say yes, at least that's how i've read it, to your 1st question.

i'm not quite sure about the second.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 3:48 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to the Abhidhamma, they arise one at a time.


According to Abhidhamma, does one consciousness cease before the next begins?

According to Abhidhamma, can there be multiple consciousnesses in parallel, even if manasikara (attention) is focused on just one at a time?

Metta,
Retro. :)

i'm gonna say yes, at least that's how i've read it, to your 1st question.

i'm not quite sure about the second.


There can only be one citta (consciousness) at a time, several mental factors can and do arise with each citta.

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 3:51 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Hi Retro. Just one at a time. Each one ceases before the next arises.


When you think about something, do you go temporarily blind?
When you think about something, do you go temporarily deaf?
When you think about something, do you lose body consciousness?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of taste?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of smell?

:popcorn:

How would you answer these questions in accordance with your understanding of the Abhidhamma?
How would you answer these questions in accordance with your own experience?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 3:54 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:Hi Retro. Just one at a time. Each one ceases before the next arises.


When you think about something, do you go temporarily blind?
When you think about something, do you go temporarily deaf?
When you think about something, do you lose body consciousness?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of taste?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of smell?

:popcorn:

Metta,
Retro. :)

when seeing, hearing consciousness does not arise. When smelling, tasting consciousness doesn't arise, nor does any other consciousness and so on. Consciousness, according to the Abhidhamma, arises and falls very, very quickly.

According to abhidhamma, only one object is known at a time.

Kevin

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 08, 2010 3:57 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:According to Abhidhamma, does one consciousness cease before the next begins?

According to Abhidhamma, can there be multiple consciousnesses in parallel, even if manasikara (attention) is focused on just one at a time?

As Kevin says, according to Theravada Abhidhamma it's one at a time. If one wants to explore the view that the various Abhidammas/Abhidharmas from the different sects were created as a way of rationalising the Suttas then it might be worth mentioning that, as I recall (where's Ven Huifeng when we need him?), some other Abhidharmas allow citta to have multiple objects.

As one would expect, the commentary (quoted in Bhikhu Bodhi's translation of the Sutta that Adosa mentioned, gives an explanation of the simile consistent with the Abhidhamma: the mind focuses on one object after another, as the monkey holds onto one vine after another and there is no consciousness without an object.

Mike

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 3:58 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to abhidhamma, only one object is known at a time.


When the Abhidhamma was transmitted orally from one monk to another, was the receiving monk listening to the words with ear-consciousness or thinking about and considering what was being said with mind-consciousness? When the monk was listening, did their vision black out?

When the Abhidhamma was transcribed to palm leaf, was the writer experiencing eye-consciousness to see what he was writing, or mind-consciousness to think of what to write?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 08, 2010 4:03 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:When you think about something, do you go temporarily blind?
When you think about something, do you go temporarily deaf?
When you think about something, do you lose body consciousness?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of taste?
When you think about something, do you lose your sense of smell?

:popcorn:

How would you answer these questions in accordance with your understanding of the Abhidhamma?
How would you answer these questions in accordance with your own experience?

I'll play on the last one.

My experience is that as my mindfulness and concentration has improved I do find that I only discern the objects that I am focussed on. In fact, I find "multitasking" more difficult. If I'm reading the paper in the morning, I find I have missed whole sections of the news on the radio.

Of course since the mind is quite quick I don't exactly feel blind or deaf, but it's much like when the single processor in my computer is busy with something it's hard to do something else, not many CPU cycles to work with...

Mike

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 4:07 am

Greetings Mike,

Could the 'one consciousness at a time' theory be experientially seen and known for one's self?

Do you know if the Buddha taught this in the suttas?

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 4:08 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:According to abhidhamma, only one object is known at a time.


When the Abhidhamma was transcribed to palm leaf, was the writer experiencing eye-consciousness to see what he was writing, or mind-consciousness to think of what to write?

Metta,
Retro. :)

According to abhidhamma, when we see, only color is known. Immediately afterward mind door processes ensue and a concept about some whole object which one "sees" arises. The concept of an object is known by mental consciousness, but only color, one at a time, are known by the eye. There can be seeing consciousness hundreds of times, or thousands of times while looking at a speaker just briefly, but the idea of "speaker" is all processes of citta arises at the mind base, not the eye. So when someone transcribes something, if all his sense faculties are in tact - which, hopefully they were for the man in your question - consciousness would have arisen at each sense base many times.

I hope this answers your question.

Kevin

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 08, 2010 4:12 am

Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:There can be seeing consciousness hundreds of times, or thousands of times while looking at a speaker just briefly


Does one take this on concept on faith, or does one see and count this for themselves.

Virgo wrote:I hope this answers your question.


It does, thank you.

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Six sense base question

Postby Virgo » Sat May 08, 2010 4:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Virgo,

Virgo wrote:There can be seeing consciousness hundreds of times, or thousands of times while looking at a speaker just briefly


Does one take this on concept on faith, or does one see and count this for themselves.


Retro. :)

Hi Retro. My opinion is that one need not be able to count how many cittas arise in a sense-door process and so on. All one needs to do is have panna that sees the anatta, anicca, or dukkha aspect of any dhamma, ie. have a moment of genuine satipatthana. When that happens, it is known that an object was known by wisdom for what it is. The mind can distinguish between nama and rupa and so on. It can know that an object was known and that it fell away lightning fast. By way of this it can be understood just how fast they arise and fall. Panna just knows an object because it finally understands, one doesn't have to try and focus on it for that to happen. When people do vipassana that is just an approximation leading to understanding, it is not genuine moments of vipassana, which simply just arise when the conditions are right and wisdom has been developed-- even vipassana meditators admit that their focusing on objects is just an approximation. Those moments can happen though because dhamma are arising any way, like seeing or hearing or feeling, and nama is arising along with them. It is just nama understands at those moments along with the dhammas as they arise. It is not like one can know and name each one and watch them in succession, but when panna understands a dhamma, it understands that it arises and falls extremely fast (anicca), only arises based on conditions that can't always be controlled (anatta), and is suffering because of those two (dukkha). When panna has an object, it only has one object.

Kevin


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