Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Leon-nl
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Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:14 pm

I would say no. I found this:

"The system of psychology built up in the abhidhamma teachings is a highly sophisticated and subtle one. It is one of the great historical triumphs of the human mind. It is best to approach these teachings on their own terms. There is much here that contradicts modern psychological assumptions. To cite just the most glaring example, there is no place in abhidhamma for the " subconscious" as understood in modern terms. Consciousness is seen as arising momentarily upon a single object, there is no room for multiple levels of consciousness happening simultaneously. This idea becomes more evident when we realize that, unlike modern theories, abhidhamma has a very clear concept of what precisely consciousness is."

source: http://www.arrowriver.ca/dhamma/abhi1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Any other meanings? Any other document(s) where this is discussed?
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

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retrofuturist
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:27 pm

Greetings Leon,

You may find this of interest...

Anusaya: Latent tendencies - The self, habits, awareness and liberation. By Piya Tan

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:36 pm

What is the definition of subconsciousness for this discussion?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:42 pm

Hi Paul, Namaste,

I quickly scanned the text you linked to, but the author speaks about "unconsciousness" and doesn't use the word "subconsciousness".
For me it is strange to speak about "unconsciousnes" thought at all, as we all know that one of the five aggregates is the aggregate of consciousness.
Maybe I miss a piece of the puzzle? or an author with a wrong explanation?

Metta to u2!
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

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subaru
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by subaru » Thu Dec 17, 2015 11:50 pm

Which of these are considered working of subconsciousness:
1) Stopping at the red-light without thinking about it
2) dreaming in sleep
3) A memory or emotion arise without any known reason
4) being startled upon hearing a loud bang

it's interesting to find out if our subconsciousness has conscience or ethics , if yes where do they come from.
:candle:

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:02 am

But then Subaru you already suppose that subconsciousness exists... :-)
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:03 am

SarathW: The definition of subconsciousness here is the Western, psychological idea of subconsciousness.
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:15 am

Let me give an example:

I like somebody very much. I don't know exactly why and I start investigating why I like this particular person. Then I start having sexual thoughts about this person while exploring my feelings and thoughts.
Do these thoughts come from the subconsciousness?

I would say no, in buddhism we don't know such thing as subconsciousness. But I might be wrong.
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:20 am

Leon-nl wrote:SarathW: The definition of subconsciousness here is the Western, psychological idea of subconsciousness.
I do not know much about Western thinking.
Does a baby in mother's womb has subconsciousness?
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by dhammacoustic » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:23 am

Latent tendencies and bhavanga might be related to what modern psychology calls the subconscious. Probably Yogacara's ālayavijñāna would be of interest to you as well.
Uppādā vā tathagātanaṃ anuppādā vā tathagātanaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. Taṃ tathagāto abhisam­buj­jhati abhisameti. Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti. ‘Passathā’ti cāha; ‘avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā’. Iti kho, bhikkhave, yā tatra tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā-ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamup­pādo.
:heart: namō tassa bhagavatō, arahatō, sammā sambuddhassā

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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:26 am

I think the Buddhist definition of sub-concious would be anything below the radar of awareness, ie it's an adjective not a noun.

The aim of Buddhist mental cultivation among other things is to bring whatever we are un-concious of into awareness.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by SarathW » Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:12 am

Buddism is talking about both Nama and Rupa (Namarupa)
It involve mind and mater and mindmatter.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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samseva
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by samseva » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:53 am

Leon-nl wrote:SarathW: The definition of subconsciousness here is the Western, psychological idea of subconsciousness.
Unless you have a very clear definition—the meaning or definition of 'subconscious' even in Western psychology changes from one school to another—you'll only end up with Buddhist concepts that have some similarities to the one you have in mind (which we don't know). Also differentiating and specifying 'unconscious' and 'subconscious' would be useful—are they the same thing, if not, what differentiates them and so on.

Do that (first part) and I'll cough you up some Pāḷi terms. :smile:

Pinetree
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Pinetree » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:10 am

You probably mean "unconscious", because the subconscious is so obvious, it can not escape acknowledgement.

I am thinking the unconscious is part of kamma.

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:01 pm

Let me give a simple definition:

existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:03 pm

dhammacoustic wrote:Latent tendencies and bhavanga might be related to what modern psychology calls the subconscious. Probably Yogacara's ālayavijñāna would be of interest to you as well.
Thank you, that's helpful!
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

Leon-nl
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:07 pm

Pinetree wrote:You probably mean "unconscious", because the subconscious is so obvious, it can not escape acknowledgement.

I am thinking the unconscious is part of kamma.
No, I mean subconsciousness with this definition: "existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness".

And this example:

"I like somebody very much. I don't know exactly why and I start investigating why I like this particular person. Then I start having sexual thoughts about this person while exploring my feelings and thoughts.
Do these thoughts come from the subconsciousness?"

I doubt whether Theravada buddhism acknowledges subconsciousness in this way.
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by kirk5a » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:26 pm

I prefer "pre-rational" rather than "sub-conscious."

We can become aware of everything in the mind. It's just that much of it underlies thinking and is before thinking. The "primal." I think Theravada does acknowledge this, it is the territory of the "underlying tendencies" as suggested earlier. Even infants have these (MN64).
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by Leon-nl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:40 pm

kirk5a wrote:I prefer "pre-rational" rather than "sub-conscious."

We can become aware of everything in the mind. It's just that much of it underlies thinking and is before thinking. The "primal." I think Theravada does acknowledge this, it is the territory of the "underlying tendencies" as suggested earlier. Even infants have these (MN64).
Take my example again:

"I like somebody very much. I don't know exactly why and I start investigating why I like this particular person. Then I start having sexual thoughts about this person while exploring my feelings and thoughts.
Do these thoughts come from the subconsciousness?"

Sure, underlying tendencies play a role but can thoughts be subconscious? I doubt it. In this example the sexual thoughts arise the moment itself, they don't come from a subconscious part of the mind I think. Am I wrong?
“Look on the world as empty, Mogharāja, being always mindful.
Having removed wrong view of self, in this way one will cross beyond Death.
When looking on the world in this way the king of Death does not see one.” - Sn 5.15

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kirk5a
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Re: Does Theravada acknowledge Subconsciousness?

Post by kirk5a » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:48 pm

Leon-nl wrote:Take my example again:

"I like somebody very much. I don't know exactly why and I start investigating why I like this particular person. Then I start having sexual thoughts about this person while exploring my feelings and thoughts.
Do these thoughts come from the subconsciousness?"

Sure, underlying tendencies play a role but can thoughts be subconscious? I doubt it. In this example the sexual thoughts arise the moment itself, they don't come from a subconscious part of the mind I think. Am I wrong?
Pre-rational, not sub-conscious. The sexual thought itself is but the flower of something with deep roots.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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