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.
Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.
Alice replied rather shyly, ‘I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’”
—LEWIS CARROLLSecure your own mask before assisting others
. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)A Handful of Leaves