viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

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Luke
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viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by Luke »

Hello,

Could someone please tell me where I can find more information about the concept of viññāna-sota (mind-stream)? I'd like to understand this concept better.

Is viññāna-sota part of the five skandhas or is it something beyond them?

What keeps our individual mind-streams separate?
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Ben
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by Ben »

Luke wrote:Hello,

Could someone please tell me where I can find more information about the concept of viññāna-sota (mind-stream)? I'd like to understand this concept better.
Try the Abhidhamma literature. Bhikkhu Bodhi's "A comprehensive manual of the Abhidhamma" might be a good place to start. There's an electronic copy if you search for it on google books. A hardcopy can be purchased from Pariyatti.com and it is a worthwhile publication.
Luke wrote:Is viññāna-sota part of the five skandhas or is it something beyond them?
There is nothing in the realm of subjective experience that is outside the five khandas.
Luke wrote:What keeps our individual mind-streams separate?
The process of cognition arises dependent on six sense bases.
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Individual
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by Individual »

Luke wrote:Hello,

Could someone please tell me where I can find more information about the concept of viññāna-sota (mind-stream)? I'd like to understand this concept better.

Is viññāna-sota part of the five skandhas or is it something beyond them?
viññāna-sota usually means "ear-consciousness".

Eye-organ-->eye-consciousness
Nose-organ-->smell-consciousness
Ear-organ-->ear-consciousness

Very rarely is it used in the suttas in the sense of "mind-stream." I think that term is more often used by Mahayanists.

From the PTS dictionary:
Sota2 (m. & nt.) [Vedic srotas, nt., fr. sru; see savati] 1. stream, flood, torrent Sn 433; It 144; J i.323; sīgha -- s. having a quick current D ii.132; Sn 319; metaphorically, the stream of cravings Sn 715 (chinna˚; cp. MVastu iii.88 chinna -- srota), 1034; S iv.292; M i.226 (sotaŋ chetvā); It 114; denotes noble eightfold path S v.347; bhava -- s. torrent of rebirth S i.15; iv.128; viññāṇa -- s. flux of mind, D iii.105; nom. sing. soto S iv.291 sq.; v.347; nom. plur. sotā Sn 1034; acc. plur. sotāni Sn 433; plur. sotāyo (f. [?], or wrong reading instead of sotāso, sotāse [?]) J iv.287, 288. -- 2. passage, aperture (of body, as eyes, ears, etc.), in kaṇṇa˚ orifice of the ear, and nāsa˚ nostril, e. g. D i.106; Sn p. 108; J i.163, 164 (heṭṭhā -- nāsika -- s.); Vism 400 (dakkhiṇa˚ & vāma -- kaṇṇa -- s.).
Some of the references mentioned...

Digha Nikaya, PTS volume 3, pg. 105

http://www.buddhistlibraryonline.net/en ... aniya.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Again, lord, he goes on after that to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness 5 established both in this world and in another world. This is the third degree of discernment. Again, lord, he goes on to discern the unbroken flux of human consciousness as not established either in this world...
(It continues on...)

I didn't see what they were talking about in Samyutta Nikaya, PT volume 4, pg. 291, though. I think they mean chinnasotam.

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ggo-e.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
To the householder Citta sitting on a side venerable Kamabu said: Householder, it is said,

Is faultless, covered in white,
Has one agreement, rolls on!
Look at him he is without confusion,
Has cut the stream and is not bound.
There are other references above worth investigating, but I don't have the time.

You can find the PTS numbers in the Pali suttas here:
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Some people have said that the "free" translations out there aren't very good, though, so maybe they are inaccurate.

If that's the case, you'll just have to look for a shadowy man in a dark alley somewhere to give you an "illegal copy" of the PTS version.
Luke wrote: What keeps our individual mind-streams separate?
"Self" is a thought or process, not a thing. Therefore, there is no "my" or "your" mind-stream, but neither is it true, "We all share the same mind-stream." If you don't understand that, it is better to only be concerned with your own mind-stream and not others'.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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mikenz66
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by mikenz66 »

The stream of conciousness is, as Ben says, an Abhidhamma term. See, for example:

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... B1%C4%81na" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Just like the other groups of existence, consciousness is a flux viññāna-sotā, stream of c.' and does not constitute an abiding mind-substance; nor is it a transmigrating entity or soul. The 3 characteristies see: ti-lakkhana impermanence, suffering and no-self, are frequently applied to it in the texts e.g., in the Anattalakkhana Sutta, S.XXII, 59. The Buddha often stressed that;apart from conditions, there is no arising of consciousness' M 38; and all these statements about its nature hold good for the entire range of consciousness, be it;past, future or presently arisen, gross or subtle, in oneself or external, inferior or lofty, far or near; see: XXII, 59.
http://www.library.websangha.org/earlyb ... kkhana.rtf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Kalupahana explains where the idea came from:
‘The empirically based description of consciousness in the early discourses…received a strictly analytical treatment in the Abhidhamma Pitaka…which attempted to determine what transpires in the ‘stream of consciousness’ (vinnanasota) at each moment…The analysis is very clearly presented in the first paragraph of the Dhammasangani, the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka: “At a time when a state of good consciousness belonging to the sensuous sphere has arisen…at that time are present contact, feeling etc”. This way of treating consciousness in terms of the moment of its occurrence is continued throughout the first chapter of the Dhammasangani…This compelled the late abhidhammikas to examine the nature of the time frame within which consciousness occurs. The direct consequence of this is the emergence of the “theory of moments”, a theory which is conspicuous by its absence in the early discourses, but which dominated the entire abhidhamma tradition in India, to be subsequently introduced into the Pali abhidhamma by the much-hailed commentator Buddhaghosa.’ (Buddhist Encyclopaedia, Vol. IV, p239)
Mike
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mikenz66
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by mikenz66 »

PS you can read online:

Bhikkhu Bodhi's A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma: The Abhidhammatthasangaha of Acariya Anuruddha, Buddhist Publication Society
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hxo ... lQTussnmCQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

See V-36, V-41, V-42 (pages 221-229)

Mike
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ground
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by ground »

As I understand it "mind-stream" is a conceptual device to support the concept of "individuum" or "individual" in the context of "time" and the concept of "karma" being "connected" to "person" or "individuum" and/or a sequence of "transmigrators"

Kind regards
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mikenz66
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Luke,
Luke wrote: What keeps our individual mind-streams separate?
That's a rather tricky problem...

Peter Harvey, in The Selfless MInd (1995) devotes the whole of Chapter 4 to:
Personal Continuity and Responsibility
Given that the 'early Suttas' and early Theravadin interpretive texts see a person as a cluster of interacting, changing, states, what is their position on the following questions:
  • does it make sense to hold a person karmically responsible for past actions, of he or she is not unchangeably the same person?
  • to what extent is there a continuity of character from life to life?
  • how is such continuity accounted for?
Part of the discussion is:
Within one's life, the body, which is crystallised past kamma
[SN 2:37, Bhikkhu Bhodhi translation]
Bhikkhus, this body is not yours, nor does it belong to others. It is old kamma, to be seen as generated and fashioned by volition, as something to be felt...
, unifies the states of a person. As is said in the Milindapanha, a person's processes are 'all held together as a unity in dependence on the body itself' (Miln.40).
... [discussion of Abhidhamma idea of 'life-faculties'] ...
What prevents the unity of a continuity splitting at rebirth though? M.I.185 [MN 28 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html]suggests that craving is a key binding force of the continuity.
Here's a quote from MN 28, Nanamoli/Bodhi translation
What is the internal earth element? Whatever internally, belonging to oneself, is solid, solidified and clung to; that is, head hairs...
:anjali:
Mike
Luke
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by Luke »

Thanks, Mike. Those are exactly the issues that I'm interested in.
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by rowyourboat »

vinnana gives rise to nama rupa and namarupa gives rise to vinnana.
vinnana does not give rise to vinnana
therefore there cannot be a 'stream' of vinnana
I think abhidhammakas got this wrong
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by piotr »

Hi,
rowyourboat wrote:I think abhidhammakas got this wrong
Do abhidhammikas claim that viññāṇa gives rise to viññāṇa?
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by Sunrise »

rowyourboat wrote: therefore there cannot be a 'stream' of vinnana
I think abhidhammakas got this wrong
Possibly. I have never seen vinnana talked of as a stream in the suttas. I have never seen vinnana talked of as existing independent of the sense bases in the suttas
"Were someone to say, 'I will describe a coming, a going, a passing away, an arising, a growth, an increase, or a proliferation of consciousness apart from form, from feeling, from perception, from fabrications,' that would be impossible

Upaya sutta
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Re: viññāna-sota (mind-stream)

Post by mxms »

I think that our perception of the stream as "individual" and "separate" is an illusion.

What keeps our individual mind-streams separate?

What keeps the illusion of individuality and separateness? The "individual" body obviously.

The only thing that it reincarnates, reborns or reconnects itself over and over again is the very stream, there is not an individual.

There is an impersonal and collective mental stream that incarnates in individual and separates bodies. (human bodies, or not human bodies)

What is the substance of this mental stream? What is it made of? Its substance are the four mental aggregates, specially cetana (mental volition)
And remember, as Walpola Rahula explains: cetana = tanha = kamma, three different names for the same thing, cetana, kamma and tanha are one and the same.

Imagine the following: there is an immense river with an unstoppable flow, we take a glass and fill it with water from the river, now this water seems to be individual and separate of the river, but it is only an illusion, we throw the water to river again and the illusion disappears.

What keeps our individual mind-streams separate? What a question! It really deserves to be understood with the true wisdom (pañña, insight)
I asked myself for long time: What is what it keeps mind (four mental aggregates) and body united? And the answer is: “the will to live”, and the will to live is cetana.
The mental-stream is the stream of cetana. “The impersonal will to live” is the only thing that it reincarnates, reborns or reconnects itself over and over again, and it do it in separate bodies.

The question of this stream is treated here:

https://krishnamurti-teachings.info/ebo ... dhists.pdf
(Read chapter “Life after Death”)

And here:

http://www.katinkahesselink.net/kr/death_jk.htm
(Read “A conversation following the Death of John Field”)
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