Does consciousness exist?

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alfa
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Does consciousness exist?

Post by alfa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 am

Friends :smile:

This is NOT about whether self exists, so let's not lose focus.

Consider consciousness.

Eye consciousness ... to mind consciousness.

Without conditions, consciousness does not exist.

So what are we, if not consciousness (or conscious beings)?

Again, forget about self and not-self. If we are not consciousness (without conditions, that is), then doesn't this amount to saying we are nothing?

How does this differ from the materialist PoV, then?

chownah
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by chownah » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:27 am

It seems that the buddha said rather than to think of things either existing or not existing it is better to think in terms of dependent orgination.....that is to think that things arise when conditions for them arise. Different things arise from different conditions. Consciousness arises from certain conditions and other things arise from other conditions.

It seems to me that when you say "Again, forget about self and not-self. If we are not consciousness (without conditions, that is), then doesn't this amount to saying we are nothing? " what is happening is that you are mistaking consciousness for "we".....that is to say if consciousness does not exist then "we" do not exist....this is just the commonly made mistake of taking consciousness to be self. You start by saying "forget about self and not-self" but then you present an arguement relying on self. It is sort of like "forget about football, but can you tell me the score".
chownah

Srilankaputra
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:29 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 am
Friends :smile:
So what are we, if not consciousness (or conscious beings)?
Hi alfa,

which consciousness are we ? Is it eye consciousness , ….. , mind consciousness

when for example, when eye consciousness cease and mind consciousness arise does the being become annihilated and re-arisen ?

actually this considered among the wrong views i think. More specifically annihilationism.


alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 am
How does this differ from the materialist PoV, then?
It does not. They both amount to annihilationism (ucchedavada).
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:41 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 am
. If we are not consciousness (without conditions, that is), then doesn't this amount to saying we are nothing?
No. It simply means there is no consciousness arising, for a short time.
Because there are no conditions arising, there is no consciousness arising.

It's similar to materialism in that everything has a cause and a consequence. For every action there is a reaction.
That's just the way the universe works... nothing to do with materialism specifically.

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cappuccino
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:51 am

alfa wrote: Without conditions, consciousness does not exist.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... html#fnt-1
Consciousness without feature,
without end,
luminous all around
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .html#fn-1
it does not partake in the allness of the All
Last edited by cappuccino on Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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robertk
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by robertk » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:25 am

Samyutta Nikaya 22.94 :
“Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.
...

“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.
...


Bhikkhu Bodhi : "The affirmation of the existence of the five aggregates, as impermanent processes, serves as a rejoinder to illusionist theories, which hold that the world lacks real being."

sentinel
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by sentinel » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:11 am

Consciousness is one of the Condition , a phenomenon , an experience , It arises and vanishes , therefore , what one can say is if it is Not under conditioning then it lies beyond scope of understanding .

One try to dissect the situation(of five aggregates) into subject object , the process is an analysis , but the analysis seems to arrive at nothing . Thinking is a conventional tool one use to understand matter/thing , however Buddha himself suggest to apply "mindfulness" instead .
:buddha1:

alfa
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by alfa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am

Thanks, friends, for your contribution.

Let's approach this in another way.

What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?

sentinel
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by sentinel » Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:31 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am
Thanks, friends, for your contribution.

Let's approach this in another way.

What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?
When one thinks in term of existing/non existing ,
the problem is how one perceives or thinks ,
Always in linearly pattern .
Consider a round circle , try to find a beginning point !?

Dependent origination is like a round circle ,
If one try to pinpoint it or dissecting it , ends up in polarity . Polarity is not the true understanding .
:buddha1:

Srilankaputra
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:15 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am
Thanks, friends, for your contribution.

Let's approach this in another way.

What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?
I think Robertk answered this
“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.
...

Bhikkhu Bodhi : "The affirmation of the existence of the five aggregates, as impermanent processes, serves as a rejoinder to illusionist theories, which hold that the world lacks real being."
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

chownah
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by chownah » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:24 pm

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am
What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?
I think that srilankaputra's comment that roberk already gave an answer is a good one.....and to supplement that sutta reference I add:
SN 12.15
Kaccayanagotta Sutta
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
...an excerpt:
By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
...so....I guess this is saying that to say that things exist or don't exist is just a view or opinion and one using right discernment does not see it through the lense of that kind of opinion....when the world arises the thought that it does not exist does not arise and when it ceases the thought that it exists does not arise. This can be sort of confusing so the sutta later says:
'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
.....which is what I mentioned in my last post. This is saying (in my view) that proper discernment will lead one to the idea that things are dependently arisen as opposed to things being either existant or non-existant. I guess this is like saying when anger has arisen then one with proper discernment would not come up with the idea that it does not exist.....but when anger has faded away one with proper discernment would not come up with the idea that it does exist.

There is some more good stuff in the sutta and I suggest reading all of it.
chownah

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:35 pm

Srilankaputra wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:15 am
alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am
Thanks, friends, for your contribution.

Let's approach this in another way.

What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?
I think Robertk answered this
“And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.
...

Bhikkhu Bodhi : "The affirmation of the existence of the five aggregates, as impermanent processes, serves as a rejoinder to illusionist theories, which hold that the world lacks real being."
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻



With profound respect to the above Srilankaputra's post, here is my reply to OP: alfa
alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:08 am
Friends :smile:

This is NOT about whether self exists, so let's not lose focus.

Consider consciousness.

Eye consciousness ... to mind consciousness.

Without conditions, consciousness does not exist.

So what are we, if not consciousness (or conscious beings)?

Again, forget about self and not-self. If we are not consciousness (without conditions, that is), then doesn't this amount to saying we are nothing?

How does this differ from the materialist PoV, then?
Hello friend,

Q- What are we?
A-
- I don't know about others.
- For me, as a lay person, just with a rudimentary level (if at all) as far as the Dhamma is concerned, I don't need to worry about that "if". That "if" can only be aplied to a dead person or to the realms of the elites: Arahants and Non-returners with full expertise in Jhanas, entering Nirodha Samapatti. For me conditions will always be there and accordingly the dependent consciousness.

- But, here is some difference ---> sn41.6
“What’s the difference between someone who has passed away and a mendicant who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling?” “When someone dies, their physical, verbal, and mental processes have ceased and stilled; their vitality is spent; their warmth is dissipated; and their faculties have disintegrated. When a mendicant has attained the cessation of perception and feeling, their physical, verbal, and mental processes have ceased and stilled. But their vitality is not spent; their warmth is not dissipated; and their faculties are very clear. That’s the difference between someone who has passed away and a mendicant who has attained the cessation of perception and feeling.”

https://suttacentral.net/sn41.6/en/sujato
In that way, this differs from the materialist PoV. (plus [more importantly] --> this <-- 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 by Srilankaputra 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻)

Metta
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐
  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

alfa
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by alfa » Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:42 pm

chownah wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:24 pm
alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:15 am
What DOES exist, according to the Buddha?
I think that srilankaputra's comment that roberk already gave an answer is a good one.....and to supplement that sutta reference I add:
SN 12.15
Kaccayanagotta Sutta
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
...an excerpt:
By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.
...so....I guess this is saying that to say that things exist or don't exist is just a view or opinion and one using right discernment does not see it through the lense of that kind of opinion....when the world arises the thought that it does not exist does not arise and when it ceases the thought that it exists does not arise. This can be sort of confusing so the sutta later says:
'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
.....which is what I mentioned in my last post. This is saying (in my view) that proper discernment will lead one to the idea that things are dependently arisen as opposed to things being either existant or non-existant. I guess this is like saying when anger has arisen then one with proper discernment would not come up with the idea that it does not exist.....but when anger has faded away one with proper discernment would not come up with the idea that it does exist.

There is some more good stuff in the sutta and I suggest reading all of it.
chownah
Thanks. In the same sutta, doesn't he say (in the final paragraph) that this is the cessation of birth? Then how is this different from non-existence? How is this the middle path, avoiding both existence and non-existence?

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cappuccino
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:43 pm

because doesn't exist, doesn't apply

does exist, doesn't apply

etc.

Srilankaputra
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Re: Does consciousness exist?

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Feb 06, 2019 7:19 pm

alfa wrote:
Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:42 pm
Thanks. In the same sutta, doesn't he say (in the final paragraph) that this is the cessation of birth? Then how is this different from non-existence?
There are two main types of wrong views, eternalism and annihilationism.
Four example;
eternalism- after death the soul resides in heaven or hell eternaly
annihilationism - nothing exists after death.

Adhering to any of these views does not release one from ageing and death. In reality there is no life exempt from death, and belief in any annihilationist view does not release one from rebirth (for cause of birth is not removed).

Avoiding these two extremes the blessed ones teaches;

How each dhamma has a cause ( avoids the extreme of non-existence) ;
From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
and the exhaustion of conditions ( avoids the extreme of existence) ;
from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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