What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

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zan
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by zan » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:27 pm

ToVincent wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:57 am
zan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:45 am
ToVincent wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 4:34 am

I do'nt understand your ludicrous question.
Consciousness is not yours!
Nor are any other of the aggregates.
Calm down friend, we're on the same side I think. I'm on the Abhidhamma/commentary side here. No rivers to cry. :console:
You might call me friend if you want to.
You might think that we are "on the same side", if you want to.
But one thing for sure is that there is nothing like an emergent property of consciousness from satta, in early Buddhism - (might it be Theravada, Sarvāstivāda, Puggalavada, or whatever early (prohibited) schism there was at the time; after Buddha's death).

"Consciousness is not yours", said Buddha.

Let's be clear about that.
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You misunderstand me. I am presenting no such thing. The whole point of this thread is to present classical Theravada counter arguments to the non-classical view that there is consciousness outside the aggregates.

Every single one of my statements are in defense of the Abhidhamma and commentarial position.

Perhaps you read my op too quickly?

What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

The Abhidhamma categorically rules it out. This is not debatable.

My question is: What arguments does the school as a tradition or even what do individuals use to refute this idea?

Or, put another way, imagine I'm an eternalist who uses ambiguities in the suttas, and lack of extremely specific statements ruling out exactly what I'm claiming, to support the view that there's consciousness outside the aggregates and that this allows for eternal life or a god or self, etc. etc., whatever I want to use it for. How would a classical Theravadin argue to prove me wrong in believing the suttas support consciosuness outside the aggregates.
Wait, are you just playing along with these instructions from the op and pretending I'm an eternalist? If so then good job! It is technically what I asked for ha ha!

If not then I can only clarify that the op was presenting a hypothetical position to be argued with in favor of the Abhidhamma and commentary view.

The goal of this thread is to support the view that, if I'm not mistaken, you are presenting. :smile:
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

ToVincent
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by ToVincent » Fri Sep 13, 2019 3:28 pm

zan wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:27 pm
...
Just making sure that this is not going to veer into some proof that there is no consciousness outside of satta, in early Buddhism.

It is not because you find a trash bag in your yard, that it's yours. Is it?

And I must say that, me jumping into that thread, had a lot to do with your saying in your first post; namely:
" The Abhidhamma categorically rules it out. This is not debatable."
I have an unfortunate and unpleasant tendency to itch, when I hear that something is not "debatable". Particularly when it comes to schisms.
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Some working for the Mara's world; some for the Brahma's world; some for the Unborn.
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In this world with its ..., māras, ... - In this population with its ascetics.... (AN 5.30).
------

https://justpaste.it/j5o4

zan
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by zan » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:52 pm

And another thing:

The Buddha stated hundreds of times that all consciousness, any consciousness whatsoever was considered as part of the consciousness aggregate.

Did he ever, even a single time, state, clearly and unambiguously that there was consciousness outside the aggregates? Something like "This consciousness, Bhikkhus, is outside the aggregates." or "The consciousness aggregate includes all consciousness, near and far, past or present, and yet there is another consciousness that does not fall under this category."

Of course not!

Quite the opposite, actually; he made it abundantly clear that the consciousness aggregate includes literally all consciousness, without exception. He used many different phrasings on many different occasions to make it utterly clear that he was talking about all consciousness.

The only things that supposedly support such an idea are vague statements that are purported to imply such a thing. It is never flatly stated to exist as flatly as the consciousness aggregate is stated to exist and to include all consciousness. As such, all supposed statements that validate this idea could just as easily be taken to mean something else.

As already noted on this thread and many other places: The featureless consciousness argument, from DN 1, The Kevatta Sutta, simply doesn't work for two reasons (Excluding MN 49 since it is likely a typo that only exists in one school's version of the sutta):

One: It's a poetic description (yes poetic, it's literally a poetic verse, not prose) of a meditative attainment. So, it doesn't clearly delineate anything and is ambiguous.

Two: The final line of the verse says that with the cessation of consciousness all of this is destroyed. Why would he introduce, for the first and only time in the suttas, some special consciousness and then say it is destroyed?
It is in the next lines of the verse, which are usually overlooked by the viññāṇa = Nibbana school, that the Buddha’s true position is stated. With the cessation of viññāṇa all this comes to an end. The ‘infinite consciousness’ is merely the temporary escape from the oppression of materiality, but true liberation is the ending of all consciousness.
-Bhikkhu Sujato "Vinnana is not Nibbana, really it just isn't"
Finally, if it did exist, and is as critically important as described by most adherents to this idea, why would the Buddha utterly fail to teach about it clearly, and regularly? Why would he leave it only as vague implications to be searched out?

Obviously, the commentary tradition and Abhidhamma got it right.

The only way to get around this is to take vague ideas in unconnected suttas and put them next to each other. You're still not done though, as this alone won't do it, they're too vague, the implications too subtle. Now, because the Buddha didn't actually clearly and unambiguously teach this, you have to stitch them all together with your own narrative superimposed on to his teachings to show that there is this special consciousness.

It just doesn't work.
Last edited by zan on Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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cappuccino
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Sep 23, 2019 6:55 pm

zan wrote: Did he ever, even a single time, state, clearly and unambiguously that there was consciousness outside the aggregates?
Kevatta Sutta: To Kevatta

(you asked)

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vkasdn
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by vkasdn » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:19 am

Consciousness is an aggregate. Consciousness can't be 'outside' of consciousness, that isn't consciousness.

It is like asking if there is form outside of the aggregates, feeling, etc...

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cappuccino
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:07 am

vkasdn wrote: Consciousness is an aggregate.
Thanissaro wrote:it differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising
Notes

confusedlayman
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by confusedlayman » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:36 pm

vkasdn wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:19 am
Consciousness is an aggregate. Consciousness can't be 'outside' of consciousness, that isn't consciousness.

It is like asking if there is form outside of the aggregates, feeling, etc...
true, there is Sutta where a monk ask another monk... what happens if arhant die.. for that monk replies cessation of all consciousness.. I dunno the Sutta number but its in access to insight or Sutta central. infact awareness of object in mind via intellect or 5 sense organ that whole process is termed as conciousness and conciousness itself dont exist as separate object.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

confusedlayman
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Re: What is the Classical Theravada argument against consciousness outside the aggregates?

Post by confusedlayman » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:33 pm

zan wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:51 pm
The Abhidhamma categorically rules it out. This is not debatable.

My question is: What arguments does the school as a tradition or even what do individuals use to refute this idea?

Or, put another way, imagine I'm an eternalist who uses ambiguities in the suttas, and lack of extremely specific statements ruling out exactly what I'm claiming, to support the view that there's consciousness outside the aggregates and that this allows for eternal life or a god or self, etc. etc., whatever I want to use it for. How would a classical Theravadin argue to prove me wrong in believing the suttas support consciosuness outside the aggregates?
unless one is falling in net of craving.
non-agitation is highest peace
living unaffected by other cause and condition to suffering is true bliss
not associating with stupid people is immediate peace
- CL (confused layman)

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