What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

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MrLearner
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What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by MrLearner » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:36 pm

Hello everyone,

I have been reading around these forums and have come up with these terms and even though I checked in the internet I don't understand what people mean by these words.

1. Consciousness- Does it mean been aware of your surrounding. Why is a topic of a great debate? Is been aware of thing via our nervous system same as consciousness, can it be scientifically explained.
2. Awareness (Is it different to consciousness)
3. Perceptual reality ( Does that mean what we perceive from our eyes as reality, then what do you call the absolute reality and who sees that)

I just want basic definitions on these words, in simple lay terms. Thank you very much :smile:

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:57 pm

I don't know how deeply you want to get into this, but take a look at some of the sources in the Buddhanet Library such as A Manual of Abhidhamma or Nyanatiloka's Pali Dictionary.
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mikenz66
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:27 pm

Here is the Nyanatiloka's dictionary entry for Viññāna, 'consciousness':
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... B1%C4%81na

In the khandas http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#khandha viññāna is often described as simply the "conciousness of" something, whereas saññā involves a recognition of the object.

See also: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... ml#khandha

:anjali:
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Goofaholix
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:55 pm

samtheman wrote: 1. Consciousness- Does it mean been aware of your surrounding. Why is a topic of a great debate? Is been aware of thing via our nervous system same as consciousness, can it be scientifically explained.
The meaning in Buddhist Psycology is very different from the english meaning, it generally refers to contact with one of the 6th senses. So if you see something you have a moment of eye-conciousness for example.
samtheman wrote: 2. Awareness (Is it different to consciousness)
This means exactly what it means in english, it's the capacity to know what is occuring right here right now.
samtheman wrote: 3. Perceptual reality ( Does that mean what we perceive from our eyes as reality, then what do you call the absolute reality and who sees that)
Everything we experience we filter through concepts, our understanding of how things work, our past condioning, judgements, and emotions etc. So what we perceive is not exactly the same as what it would be without that. I haven't heard the term "Perceptual reality" it's more usuall "Conceptual reality" ie we experience our world through the concepts that we create about it that help us understand and interact with it.
“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: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by SarathW » Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:01 pm

Hi Samathman
I will give a try. :)
1) Close your eyes, and think that you are a newly born child. Then open your eyes. Every experience (seen, hearing etc) are consciousness.
2) Think you are now two days old child. Open your eyes. Now you are aware of every thing around you as you have seen / heard them before.
3)What ever you experience on day one is not there in day two. So there is nothing exist absolutely.
This division is only for study purpose only. Nama and Namarupa are dependently originated hence can't separate from each other.
Just imagine you are a medical student studying the body.
:shrug:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

MrLearner
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by MrLearner » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:29 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone :)

However I'm still not clear of this.

1) Ok lets say I see a tree. Light goes to my eyes and via the nerves I see the image of tree in my head.

a) Ok first I recognise there is some image? Is that consciousnees
b) Then I realize that image is indeed a tree? Is that awareness

2) If what I stated is right. How did I recognise it was a tree? Does consciousness create awareness?

3) Why can not consciousness explained by nervous system alone. I mean you see, smell because of nerves. So why can not consciousness same as nervous system?

4) If this is not the case, I think that for consciousness to occur, you need both the biological componet (nervous system) and something else. What is this something else, is this the part that goes to the other life when our biological body decay.

Thanks :)

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Goofaholix
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by Goofaholix » Fri Sep 26, 2014 7:00 pm

When the sees an image that is vinnana, conciousness, I would say that's purely the nervous system operating.

When you recognise that the image is a tree then that is sanna, perception, the pattern recognition is based on concepts and memory.
“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

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:32 pm

A Question on Concepts in the Debate of King Milinda may be of some help to understand these various terms.
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MrLearner
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by MrLearner » Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:54 pm

Thanks everyone :)

It seems at least the definitions are not that hard to grasp. This all came about when I watched a youtube debate between Deepak Chopra and Richard Dawkins. I can understand Richard Hawkin's point of view, but I don't understand what Deepak is saying, he constantly uses these terms and I don't get it. Then somewhere I heard Deepak is talking buddhism, so I came here to see if I could understand these terms and understand his point of view.

1) On another note, I always wanted to know why there is no soul in Buddhism? I mean what passes to another body when we die, why can not this thing that is passed call a soul?

culaavuso
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by culaavuso » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:05 am

samtheman wrote: 1) On another note, I always wanted to know why there is no soul in Buddhism? I mean what passes to another body when we die, why can not this thing that is passed call a soul?
SN 44.9: Kutuhalasālā Sutta wrote: "But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."
"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"
"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 23.2: Satta Sutta wrote: I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Ven. Radha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?"
"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'
"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications...
"Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

Bakmoon
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by Bakmoon » Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:00 pm

samtheman wrote:
1) On another note, I always wanted to know why there is no soul in Buddhism? I mean what passes to another body when we die, why can not this thing that is passed call a soul?
There isn't any particular thing that passes from one life to another. At every moment you have a consciousness that arises and then fades away to be replaced by another consciousness. This is a continuous process that occurs during life, and when one is reborn this process simply continues. There is no permanent foundation underlying this process.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

MrLearner
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by MrLearner » Thu Oct 16, 2014 5:32 pm

Bakmoon wrote:
samtheman wrote:
1) On another note, I always wanted to know why there is no soul in Buddhism? I mean what passes to another body when we die, why can not this thing that is passed call a soul?
There isn't any particular thing that passes from one life to another. At every moment you have a consciousness that arises and then fades away to be replaced by another consciousness. This is a continuous process that occurs during life, and when one is reborn this process simply continues. There is no permanent foundation underlying this process.
Thanks for the reply :) However I'm still confused.

* Ok lets say someones dies, their consciouness also dies, and as you said it is replaced by another consciousness.
* Ok lets say this person is this time born as an animal instead of a human, does he still have a consciouness.
* Also lets say instead this person was intitially poor and then was born to a wealthy family after his death due to good karma. So what was the "thing in this man" that karma force pushed to a wealthy unborn child. I mean consciousness can not disseapear and suddenly new consciousness can not appear in this new persons body without some external force. This thing that was pushed to the other body. Why can't you call it a soul?

santa100
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by santa100 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:20 pm

samtheman wrote:* Ok lets say someones dies, their consciouness also dies, and as you said it is replaced by another consciousness.
* Ok lets say this person is this time born as an animal instead of a human, does he still have a consciouness.
* Also lets say instead this person was intitially poor and then was born to a wealthy family after his death due to good karma. So what was the "thing in this man" that karma force pushed to a wealthy unborn child. I mean consciousness can not disseapear and suddenly new consciousness can not appear in this new persons body without some external force. This thing that was pushed to the other body. Why can't you call it a soul?
Sure, animals have consciousness for they are aware of the environment.
There're many different kinds of consciousness. The Abhidhamma categorizes them into 121 types. Because of such fine-grained classification, there's no need for a concept of a soul in Buddhism. That "thing" in a dying person that links to a new rebirth is just another kind of consciousness called rebirth-linking consciousness. More details can be found in the Visuddhimagga here

MrLearner
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by MrLearner » Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:42 pm

Thanks santa100 :) So that is what I was thinking. I mean there is some "thing" that passes from the dead body to new body when a person dies. No need to tangle with names, whatever it is called "rebirth-linking consciousness" or someother term, as you said there is some "thing" that passes to the other body, for a new consciousness to arise. Then why did bakmoon say
Bakmoon wrote:
samtheman wrote:
1)
There isn't any particular thing that passes from one life to another. At every moment you have a consciousness that arises and then fades away to be replaced by another consciousness. This is a continuous process that occurs during life, and when one is reborn this process simply continues. There is no permanent foundation underlying this process.
There isn't any "thing". Where infact there is a thing "rebirth-linking consciousness"

santa100
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Re: What does consciousness and other hi fi terms mean?

Post by santa100 » Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:17 pm

samtheman wrote:Then why did bakmoon say..
There's no conflict in what Bakmoon said. Rebirth-linking consciousness, like any other conditioned phenomena, also arises and fades away. Whatever kamma, wholesome or unwholsome get passed from one life to the next. But it's still an impermanent "thing" just like any other. And if a "thing" is impermanent, then it's not really "itself" over time, is it..

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