I also recommend a look at MN 38 to answer the question of whether consciousness is unchanging. This was the view of Sati, the son of a fisherman. He believed that an unchanging consciousness transmigrated: “it is the same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths, not another.” The view is rejected by the Buddha in the same discourse.
At MN 38.8 the Buddha says that consciousness arises variously dependent upon upon the eye and forms, the ear and sounds, the nose and odors, the tongue and flavors, the body and tangibles, and even the mind and mind objects. These 6 types cover everything, including mindfulness. When we are mindful of the breath at the edges of the nostrils or mindful of the body, we are using awareness of tactile sensation (the fifth type of consciousness listed by the Buddha).
I dont feel MN38 applies to what im saying (although i can see why you think it was) as I dont claim that consciousness is permanent and unchanging and transmigrates through rebirth
I said consciousness rises and falls but awareness is always there, aware of the rise and fall of consciousness as well, if it wasnt one couldnt see the rise and falls of consciousness
Awareness changes but yet it is still awareness, the only simile i can give that best can describes what im trying to put accross is one i have heard from Ajahn Chah
"Still, flowing water"
Sati's view was that this same consciousness is self, that it is who he is and what carries memories etc through each moment/life and it never changes which of course is wrong view (if consciousness never changed there would only ever be an awareness of one thing forever)
The way i have been using consciousness is different, ive being using it as another word for pure awarness, pure reconition of everything rising and falling
. These 6 types cover everything, including mindfulness. When we are mindful of the breath at the edges of the nostrils or mindful of the body, we are using awareness of tactile sensation
I agree but in your opinion what does the Buddha mean by
Consciousness without surface,
luminous all around
There are the six types of consciousness, rising and falling but there is always awareness isnt there, awareness isnt a self since its not created and when one is aware there can be no sense of self since things are just the way they are
This makes it utterly unique and a permanent reality. Even Ajahn Sumedho, who is sometimes given to innovative definitions, has acknowledged this: “Nibbana is unconditioned…. Now what is the unconditioned?... It doesn’t arise or pass away, begin or end.” [Ajahn Sumedho, The Mind and the Way (Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1995) pp. 110-111]
I agree, Ajahn Sumedho has also said many times that pure consciouss awareness is the true refuge, since you dont create awareness but you can create a self around/out of awareness through ignorance but its this pure awareness that is the unconditoned, unmade, unborn etc
As i said before you dont think into mindfulness or create it, there just is mindfulness, this is because mindfulness is always there otherwise it would be something created and arahants who had full awareness in everything would still having conditioning in the mind
When in meditation, at least for myself, when my mindfulness is good i dont think "i am aware" or "i will be aware" there is just awareness thats always there just, for want of a better word, hidden under all the conditioned thinking, craving, ignorance etc
Mindfulness is part of what gets us there, but once we arrive, we see things in a radically different way
And how does one see things completely? through sustained and deep mindfulness
Arahants dont think "I am this" or "this is mine" there is just pure mindfulness, understanding of "this just is"
as quoted earlier
"The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you.
This is the state of mind an awakened one has, when one is seeing "earth as earth" this is mindfulness or clear awareness of things as they are isnt it, when one is mindful one just sees things as they are so pain is just pain, breath is just breath and so on for every dhamma that there is
In relation to the point you raised about MN26
There is now no further becoming
"Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'
"Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.
In mindfulness there is no becoming, no sense of "I am" because there is just awareness of things as they are so there is no grasping
grasping/clinging is a condition of becoming
becoming is a condition for birth
So when one has pure awareness there is no grasping so no becoming, no birth and no death etc. Its the deathless, the uncreated, unborn
'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize
Pure, untarnished awareness is deep, its hard to see and realize (implying its already there) because of the defilements etc
Its peaceful, which is what pure mindfulness is since there is no pain or pleasure etc there is just awareness of sensations etc, there is no taking up as self and becoming, its just calm and peacful which one can begin to see through meditation (at least in reguards to myself)
So its a pure awareness i.e. not tarnished
beyond the scope of conjecture
As i said before, one doesnt think "i am aware" or even think oneself into awareness. Its not a view or metaphysical opinion, its a reality to be realised Awareness is always there
Of course dont take any of this as true just because i have said it, this has come from my own meditation practice and understandings of the Buddha's word
Thank you for the discussion. It got me searching through the suttas
Anytime it was good discussion, take care