Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Element

Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:16 pm

Modern Theravada is based on a reappraisal of the Pali suttas. Of course, one of the primary instigators of this was Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. As is heard in the video about his life on You Tube, he began a fresh research of the Pali suttas.

In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.

The suttas unambiguously state without dispute, such as in MN 9, there are six kinds of consciousness, namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind consciousness.

The word consciousness itself comes from the Pali word 'vinnana', which means 'direct knowing'. In short, consciousness is cognition. Consciousness is that faculty of mind that allows knowing or experience via the eye, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. As the Buddha advised in MN 38, there is no arising of consciousness without a sense organ.

If the notion of relinking consciousness is considered, it includes the carrying from one life to the next kammic accumulations.

If the nature of the five aggregates are considered, the capacity of consciousness is merely to know or be aware. The capacity of perception includes memory and the capacity of sankhara khanda is accumulating or storing ignorance & wisdom, merit & demerit. For example, if the question is asked: "What gets enlightened?", the answer is the citta or sankhara khanda.

Therefore, it appears according to basic theory, that consciousness carries with it memories, knowledge, ignorance and the fruits of kamma is impossible.

Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.

:reading:
Last edited by Element on Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by piotr » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:08 pm

Hi,
Element wrote:In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.
What? In what sense? Tibetan 'bardo' is a translation of sanskrit term 'antarabhāva' (in-between state), which is rejected in Kathāvatthu of the Abhidhamma-piṭaka. Re-linking consciousness (paṭisandhi-viññāṇa) is described as a first moment of consciousness in new life.
Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.
Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:06 pm

Greetings Element, all,

Please note, this topic has been moved to the Dhammic free-for-all.

As for comparisons between relinking consciousness and the Tibetan "bardo", if you actually look into it you'll see that the commentarial Theravadin position, strongly influenced by the Abhidhamma Pitaka leaves less scope for the possibility of an intermediate state than do the suttas themselves.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"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)

Element

Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:08 pm

piotr wrote:Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.
Piotr

Where in the suttas is this stated?

Thank you

Element

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Individual » Thu Jan 29, 2009 10:53 pm

Element wrote:Modern Theravada is based on a reappraisal of the Pali suttas. Of course, one of the primary instigators of this was Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. As is heard in the video about his life on You Tube, he began a fresh research of the Pali suttas.

In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.

The suttas unambiguously state without dispute, such as in MN 9, there are six kinds of consciousness, namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body & mind consciousness.

The word consciousness itself comes from the Pali word 'vinnana', which means 'direct knowing'. In short, consciousness is cognition. Consciousness is that faculty of mind that allows knowing or experience via the eye, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. As the Buddha advised in MN 38, there is no arising of consciousness without a sense organ.

If the notion of relinking consciousness is considered, it includes the carrying from one life to the next kammic accumulations.

If the nature of the five aggregates are considered, the capacity of consciousness is merely to know or be aware. The capacity of perception includes memory and the capacity of sankhara khanda is accumulating or storing ignorance & wisdom, merit & demerit. For example, if the question is asked: "What gets enlightened?", the answer is the citta or sankhara khanda.

Therefore, it appears according to basic theory, that consciousness carries with it memories, knowledge, ignorance and the fruits of kamma is impossible.

Consciousness is merely cognition according to the Buddha.

:reading:
"There is no re-linking consciousness" contradicts kamma and dependent origination. Re-linking consciousness is also observable, in a manner of sorts. To use a Zen cliche, "Observe the moment or space between thoughts." There's your luminous mind, there's your bhavanga. And it's not dependent on the brain or any particular rupa.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Dhammanando » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:50 am

Element wrote:
piotr wrote:Certainly viññāṇa is a cognition but I don't think that it is correct to say that it's "merely cognition", since it's also described as a seed with other kammic factors that nourish it.
Piotr

Where in the suttas is this stated?
I have in fact quoted the Sutta to you twice already. Once again:

  • Bhava Sutta

    "It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the fine-material realm, would fine-material becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed, craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a middling realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
    "If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the immaterial realm, would immaterial becoming be discerned?"
    "No, lord."
    "Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed, craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a superior realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming."
    (AN.i. 223-24)
Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by piotr » Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:41 am

Hi,

Bija-sutta (SN 22.54) may also interest you.
Bhagavaṃmūlakā no, bhante, dhammā...

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Heavenstorm » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:09 pm

Element wrote:In Mahavihara or Sri Lankan Buddhism, which appears rooted in the teachings of Buddhaghosa and the commentaries, there is the notion of relinking consciousness within the cycle of dependent origination. This is similar to Tibetan notions of the 'bardo'.
The last time I check, bardo means "intermediate state between death and next rebirth" and I find no such equivalent in Theravada. The bardo consists of a period between 3 to 49 days while re linking consciousness is just a space of momentary thought. Your comparison are too far sketching and lacks a serious introspection into the terms used in different traditions.

Dude, this is yet another lame attempt of yours to discredit the Abhidharma. Please stop it, its making you look bad.

Element

Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:44 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Bhava Sutta

"It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
"If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
"No, lord."
"Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
Dhammanando

The Bhava Sutta does not explain relinking consciousness. It is merely explaining how consciousness absorbs and grows into sensual objects, material objects and immaterial objects nourished by craving. I think this video link is a clear enough explanation of the Bhava Sutta.

Or this link may be more wholesome, where Angulimala asked himself: "What have I become?"

Kind regards

Element

Element

Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:54 pm

Heavenstorm wrote:Dude, this is yet another lame attempt of yours to discredit the Abhidharma. Please stop it, its making you look bad.
Hi Heaven

'Bad' is in the mind of the creator. Abhidharma has discredited itself. If have seen or read nothing in the suttas so far to support it.

Dhammanando certainly needs to present a more convincing view rather than choosing an unrelated sutta.

Buddha taught one practises for liberation of mind. Not for public recognition. Buddha taught ignorance remains from listening to the wrong teachings.

With metta

Element

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by clw_uk » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:06 pm

Hi Element

If there is no re-linking consciousness in the Buddhas teaching, why do you think it was added later? What i mean is where do you think it came from if it crept in?
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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:08 pm

Element wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:Bhava Sutta

"It is said, lord, 'becoming, becoming.' In what way, lord, is there becoming?"
"If, Ānanda, there were no kamma ripening in the sense realm, would sense-sphere becoming be discerned?"
"No, lord."
"Thus, Ānanda, kamma is the field, consciousness is the seed (viññāṇaṃ bījaṃ), craving the moisture; for beings obstructed by ignorance and fettered to craving, consciousness becomes grounded in a low realm. Thus, Ānanda, there is the production of re-becoming in the future. It is thus, Ānanda, that there is becoming.
Dhammanando

The Bhava Sutta does not explain relinking consciousness. It is merely explaining how consciousness absorbs and grows into sensual objects, material objects and immaterial objects nourished by craving. I think this video link is a clear enough explanation of the Bhava Sutta.

Or this link may be more wholesome, where Angulimala asked himself: "What have I become?"

Kind regards

Element
Dear Element,

Where is the implication in this sutta that the process stops after the sensual objects, material objects, and immaerial objects have been nourished by craving? In the sutta these processes do not seem to be independent of one another. Would we not be continually planting kammic seeds as afflicted consciousness arises?

Kindly,
Drolma

Element

Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:23 pm

Individual wrote:"There is no re-linking consciousness" contradicts kamma and dependent origination. Re-linking consciousness is also observable, in a manner of sorts. To use a Zen cliche, "Observe the moment or space between thoughts." There's your luminous mind, there's your bhavanga. And it's not dependent on the brain or any particular rupa.
Individual,

Are you sure your observation is clear or merely from a 'cliche' tainted mind? Are you declaring enlightenment to the forum?

Buddha stated in MN 148:
The arising & falling away of the six types of consciousness are discerned.
There is no re-linking consciousness in dependent origination thus you point is mute. Dependent origination merely describes consciousness conditioned or affected by ignorance. There is the phrase in Pali avijjāsamphassajena, which means 'ignorant contact'. Contact requires consciousness. Due to consciousness being tainted by ignorance, like a glass is tainted by colour or dust, avijjāsamphassajena occurs.

Buddha said:
puthujjano rūpaṃ attato samanupassati. Yā kho pana sā, bhikkhave, samanupassanā saṅkhāro so. So pana saṅkhāro kiṃnidāno kiṃsamudayo kiṃjātiko kiṃpabhavo? Avijjāsamphassajena, bhikkhave, vedayitena phuṭṭhassa assutavato puthujjanassa uppannā taṇhā; tatojo so saṅkhāro.

The puthujjano regards form as 'self'. That regarding is a formation. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that formation? When puthujjano is contacted by a feeling born of ignorant contact, craving arises. Hence that formation [of self] is born.

SN 22.81
It is advisable you rely on greater authority than your own insight. If fact, you have offerred a doctrine of permanence, which is both deluded & incorrect. The luminous mind the Buddha spoke of is not permanent in its existence. It is permanent in its undefiled nature but never permanent in its existence.

Buddha said the only thing that is permanent is Nibbana, which is the cessation of defilement. Buddha said any type of consciousness, whether gross or subtle, is impermanent and dependently arisen.

Regarding kamma and its results, this can be compared to a disease. For example, the body becomes sick or infected with disease and that disease is more or less permanent. For example, an AIDS carrier more or less carries that disease for life.

However, this does not imply consciousness is permanent. Just because a physical disease is permanent this does not mean the various classes of consciousness are permanent. In fact, there is a sutta where the Buddha states:
If you were to regard anything as permanent, it would be best to regard the body as permanent rather than the mind or consciousness. Whilst the body may last eighty years, nama dhammas are fleeting.
Possibly yourself, Dhammanando or Piotr can indentify the sutta.

With metta

Element
Last edited by Element on Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:34 pm

Funny Element, I just compared becoming or birthing to a tumor, or a virus the other day. I was trying to describe it as recurrent rather than eternal.

Kindly,
Drolma

Element

Re: Why there is no re-linking consciousness

Post by Element » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:43 pm

clw_uk wrote:Hi Element

If there is no re-linking consciousness in the Buddhas teaching, why do you think it was added later? What i mean is where do you think it came from if it crept in?
Craig

I have not studied Mahavihara Buddhism myself. However, I have heard it asserted by a number of monks that before writing about dependent origination in his Vissudhi Magga, Buddhagosa declared himself he was not qualified to elucidate dependent origination. Therefore, I can only assume Buddhagosa was puthujjano rather than ariyan. More or less, most beings are attached to 'self' and 'permanence'. Many beings seek to be teachers & famous writers rather than take refuge in the Buddha.

Buddha said:
"In the same way, in the course of the future there will be monks who won't listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. They won't lend ear, won't set their hearts on knowing them, won't regard these teachings as worth grasping or mastering. But they will listen when discourses that are literary works — the works of poets, elegant in sound, elegant in rhetoric, the work of outsiders, words of disciples — are recited. They will lend ear and set their hearts on knowing them. They will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.

"In this way the disappearance of the discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — will come about.

Ani Sutta
With metta

Element

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