Commitment to a narrative of liberation

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Re: Commitment to a narrative of liberation

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:39 pm

beeblebrox wrote:You don't think we can be aware of our consciousness?


Sure, you can notice that aspect of experience. But to say that vinnana vinnan-izes vinnana apart from any other aggregate is not correct, per the sutta above. That vinnana takes an object is simply a manner of speaking - vinnana is only part of the experience of a sense base in operation, i.e. contact.

In other words, there is no free-standing vinnana for vinnana to take note of; if there is vinnana, namarupa is directly indicated.

It's as though vinnana is being understood as a dhamma, such that dhamma-mano-vinnana is really vinnana-mano-vinnana. This seems nonsensical to me... I half expect that the non-verbal idea of awareness - a dhamma - is being reified as actually being vinnana, at which point it's off to the races (Ground of Being, etc.).

sabbe dhamma anatta
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Commitment to a narrative of liberation

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:57 pm

daverupa wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:You don't think we can be aware of our consciousness?


Sure, you can notice that aspect of experience. But to say that vinnana vinnan-izes vinnana apart from any other aggregate is not correct, per the sutta above. That vinnana takes an object is simply a manner of speaking - vinnana is only part of the experience of a sense base in operation, i.e. contact.

In other words, there is no free-standing vinnana for vinnana to take note of; if there is vinnana, namarupa is directly indicated.

It's as though vinnana is being understood as a dhamma, such that dhamma-mano-vinnana is really vinnana-mano-vinnana. This seems nonsensical to me... I half expect that the non-verbal idea of awareness - a dhamma - is being reified as actually being vinnana, at which point it's off to the races (Ground of Being, etc.).

sabbe dhamma anatta


Hi Dave,

From my understanding, vinnana is not approached in that way. It is not seen as something which is free-standing.

The way that you see it seems to be similar to the way that I misperceived what you meant with this statement: "vinnana takes an object." If "vinnana" was seen as a self-standing entity in the statement, I agree that indeed would be incorrect... but how would I know if that wasn't what you meant?

If you have a suggestion for correcting that kind of misperception, maybe you could try to do the same?

In the Heart Sutra... it says that consciousness (among other skandhas) is empty. That means it's empty of anything which is self-standing. These kind of teachings should be seen through that light... I think it's basically taken for granted that consciousness is interdependent.

:anjali:
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Re: Commitment to a narrative of liberation

Postby daverupa » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:04 pm

beeblebrox wrote:From my understanding, vinnana is not approached in that way. It is not seen as something which is free-standing.


I agree, it oughtn't to be approached in that way. I think we agree here. It is one aggregate, empty, conditioned.

But have you read the other thread, on Dharma Wheel? The approach we agree to be confused is there seemingly taken up with vigor.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Commitment to a narrative of liberation

Postby Viscid » Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:49 pm

This talk about self-reflectivity sounds much more like Sartre and Husserl than Buddhism.. and is more likely a result of a cross-fertilization between Western Existentialism and Buddhism than actual Buddhist doctrine.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Commitment to a narrative of liberation

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:14 pm

daverupa wrote:
I mean, vinnana can receive any number of definitions which aren't really seperable from sanna and vedana, so talking about vinnana in-and-of-itself requires talking about a certain arupa attainment, else speculation and reasoned argumentation, which turns out one of two ways.

SN 22.53 wrote: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.


(A quote which, by the way, makes that arupa attainment seem quite odd...)

Anyway, to then tie a slew of soteriological claims to that specific exploration deviates from the Buddha's approach and furthermore is in danger of running afoul of warnings against ossifying meditational/contemplative experiences per the Brahmajala Sutta.

Even if consciousness could be aware of itself in a pristine state of integrated wholeness with the cosmos... even that would be with contact as condition...


The purpose of this statement on viññāṇa in SN. 22.53, when taken with Tathāgata’s rebuke of Sāti’s heresy, may have been given with caution of a particular kind of ātmavāda where vijñāna serves as an epithet and agent of Self. E.g.:

    “By what should one know that by which all this is known? By what, my dear, should one know the knower?”

    “…yenedam sarvaṃ vijānāti, taṃ kena vijānīyāt, vijñātāram are kena vijānīyād iti.” (Bṛh.U. II.4.14 - S. Radhakrishnan)

This is with reference to the Ātman as possessing ‘all-knowledge’ (vijñāna-ghana) in terms of cognitive range.

Also, with reference to the notion of 'narrative', it may be of interest that Norman suggests that exchanges such as in the case of Sāti’s rebuke, were intended, if not at least helpful, to safeguarding the bhāṇaka from false doctrines (K.R. Norman A Philological Approach to Buddhism, The Bukkyō Dendō Kyōkai Lectures 1994 (p. 92)). Which for the purposes of this discussion would be to protect the 'narrative' from false narratives.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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