No soul, consciousness confused?

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MrLearner
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No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by MrLearner » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am

Hello everyone,
I'm really sorry these are basic questions but i did a search on this forum about these all but still confused. So if there is no soul in buddhism what goes to the next life? If it is consciousness that goes to the next life, how can you say body doesn't make consciousness, so when body dies consciousness dies? What is consciousness, why can not it only created by physical body? What is the difference between consciousness and mind? If we create a really good artificial intelligence in the future who will have cravings just like us, does that mean when the robot dies it will be reborn? Thanks a lot my friends. Simple analogies will help.

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retrofuturist
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:17 am

Greetings,

It is worth remembering that the Buddha himself did not give comprehensive explanations for rebirth, reincarnation or whatever you would like to call it. If we take the Simpsapa Sutta as the rationale for why this was not done, we can conclude that this was...
SN 56.31 wrote:"Because, monks, it is not related to the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, does not conduce to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, tranquillity, higher knowledge, enlightenment or Nibbaana. That is why I have not revealed it.
As for soul (atman), the Buddha didn't categorically accept of deny the ontological existence of a soul, either. What he did say was that all things should be regarded as not-self... so keep that in mind if you wish to follow the Buddha's instruction and not engage in further speculation which may also fall foul of the criteria of the Simsapa Sutta.

Lastly, consciousness in the Buddha's teaching is not an ongoing constant thing... it is always "consciousness of something"... and this "consciousness of something" is impermanent and not-self. You can read a recent discussion of this in Why is consciousness 6-fold in the suttas?.

I feel that reasonably addresses your set of questions, even though it may not be the sort of answer you were looking for. Perhaps it might help you refine your questions?

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

confusedlayman
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by confusedlayman » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:18 am

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am
Hello everyone,
I'm really sorry these are basic questions but i did a search on this forum about these all but still confused. So if there is no soul in buddhism what goes to the next life? If it is consciousness that goes to the next life, how can you say body doesn't make consciousness, so when body dies consciousness dies? What is consciousness, why can not it only created by physical body? What is the difference between consciousness and mind? If we create a really good artificial intelligence in the future who will have cravings just like us, does that mean when the robot dies it will be reborn? Thanks a lot my friends. Simple analogies will help.
Hi, I am following the path to observe immediate change and dont really know what is reborn after body death. only arhats or noble disciples know I think. but some people say linking consciousness like that. no idea how it works but its good u see ur past life and observe it and see it face to face rather than reading in book and stopping there.
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)

SarathW
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by SarathW » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:54 am

Buddha did not talk about a soul or transmigrating consciousness.
The best way you can understand this is by understanding how you can hear someone's voice.
Nothing transferred from the speaker to the listener.
It appears Vinnana consciousness (re linking consciousness)(say voice of some one) produce Namarupa(say sound waves).
Then Namarupa produce a new consciousness (say a listener).
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:16 am

retrofuturist wrote: Lastly, consciousness in the Buddha's teaching is not an ongoing constant thing... it is always "consciousness of something"...
no this isn't a conclusion you should be making

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:18 am

Consciousness without feature,
without end,
luminous all around
Kevatta Sutta: To Kevatta

Notes
In this it differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future.

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retrofuturist
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:24 am

Greetings,

You could well say that "Consciousness without feature" is consciousness with nibbana as its object...

... but I doubt this exercise is particularly useful to the OP, who is coming into this conversation erroneously portraying consciousness as ongoing... a position not supported by the Theravada texts, and one that is actually refuted.

See: MN 38: Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta

I will quote a significant portion of this sutta as it is relevant to the OP's questions (key portions bolded)...
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Sāvatthī, at Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's park. Now on that occasion this pernicious viewpoint (diṭṭhigata) had arisen in the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son: "As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on [from birth to birth], not another." A large number of monks heard, "They say that this pernicious viewpoint has arisen in the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son: 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on [from birth to birth], not another.'" So they went to the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son and on arrival said to him, "Is it true, friend Sāti, that this pernicious viewpoint has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One such that it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

Then those monks, desiring to pry the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son away from that pernicious viewpoint, quizzed him back & forth and rebuked him, saying, "Don't say that, friend Sāti. Don't slander the Blessed One, for it is not good to slander the Blessed One. The Blessed One would not say anything like that. In many ways, friend, the Blessed One has said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'" And yet even though he was quizzed back & forth and rebuked by those monks, the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, through stubbornness and attachment to that very same pernicious viewpoint, continued to insist, "Exactly so, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One such that it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

So when the monks were unable to pry the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son away from that pernicious viewpoint, they went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they [told him what had happened].

So the Blessed One told a certain monk, "Come, monk. In my name, call the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, saying, 'The Teacher calls you, friend Sāti.'"

"As you say, lord," the monk answered and, having gone to the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, on arrival he said, "The Teacher calls you, friend Sāti."

"As you say, friend," the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?"

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."


Then the Blessed One said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Is this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, even warm in this Dhamma & Vinaya?"

"How could he be, lord? No, lord."

When this was said, the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, sat silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words.

Then the Blessed One, seeing that the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, was sitting silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words, said to him, "Worthless man, you will be recognized for your own pernicious viewpoint. I will cross-question the monks on this matter."

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks, do you too understand the Dhamma as taught by me in the same way that the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, does when, through his own poor grasp [of the Dhamma], he not only slanders us but also digs himself up [by the root] and produces much demerit for himself?"

"No, lord, for in many ways the Blessed One has said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'"

"It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.' But this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, through his own poor grasp [of the Dhamma], has not only slandered us but has also dug himself up [by the root], producing much demerit for himself. That will lead to this worthless man's long-term harm & suffering.

"Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

"Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.
To anyone responding to posts in this section, please remain mindful of this sub-forum's purpose and function.

:thanks:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

char101
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by char101 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:43 am

It is like a fake gold.

To an ignorant, it will look like gold.
To the knowledgeable, it will look fake.

Are the thing viewed as gold and fake gold different things? No, it is the same thing.

What is different then? The view or understanding about it.

Self is the view that appears when we view the mind and body with ignorance.
Self is supposed to be permanent.
The mind and body is not permanent.
Thus the mind and body are fake self, or in other words, not-self.
Last edited by char101 on Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:44 am

retrofuturist wrote: erroneously portraying consciousness as ongoing... a position not supported by the Theravada texts, and one that is actually refuted.
no, it wasn't refuted, you've gone too far

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retrofuturist
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:58 am

Greetings cappuccino,
cappuccino wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:44 am
retrofuturist wrote: erroneously portraying consciousness as ongoing... a position not supported by the Theravada texts, and one that is actually refuted.
no, it wasn't refuted, you've gone too far
On the contrary, the refutal of Sati The Fisherman's wrong view leaves no wriggle room for your eternalist position on consciousness.

After Sati is refuted, the sutta goes on to show how consciousness actually should be regarded, and it is not the eternalistic model of consciousness that you advocate. If you think you have a legitimate Theravada position to put forward in this conversation, ensure you reference the texts or bhikkhu in question, in order to maintain compliance with the rules of this section. Anything not meeting that standard will be disapproved.

:thanks:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:14 am

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am
What is consciousness, why can not it only created by physical body?
You can try an experiment. Try to find this objective physical existence that creates consciousness. All you will find is the seen, the heard, the smelt, the tasted , the touched and thought up by the intellect.
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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dhammacoustic
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by dhammacoustic » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:18 am

“no soul” is a western interpretation mostly based on metaphysical misunderstandings and incorrect translations. there is no such teaching in buddhism. however, you shouldn't imagine a flying white ghost either.. if you're referring to anatta, it means that sensual/intellectual phenomena should not be regarded as myself.

the pali word vinnana is erroneously translated as consciousness, but what it actually signifies is “distinction”, ie cognition .
Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses ...
Consciousness: the state of being conscious; awareness of one's own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc. 2.
(...) eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

replace consciousness with cognition, then the sensible buddhist training would be: these "things" are not myself, they are not me --- even the thought “i am” , is not myself..
MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am

(...) what goes to the next life?
nothing, therefore everything..

SarathW
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by SarathW » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:40 am

Another way to look in to it as lighting a candle with another candle.
Nothing transferred from the first candle to the second.
Due to the condition (the heat) of the first candle and the right conditions of the second candle light appeared.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cappuccino
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:42 am

the flame of the first candle is the flame of the second candle

the flame changes

but isn't annihilated

pegembara
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Re: No soul, consciousness confused?

Post by pegembara » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:00 am

MrLearner wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:08 am
Hello everyone,
I'm really sorry these are basic questions but i did a search on this forum about these all but still confused. So if there is no soul in buddhism what goes to the next life? If it is consciousness that goes to the next life, how can you say body doesn't make consciousness, so when body dies consciousness dies? What is consciousness, why can not it only created by physical body? What is the difference between consciousness and mind? If we create a really good artificial intelligence in the future who will have cravings just like us, does that mean when the robot dies it will be reborn? Thanks a lot my friends. Simple analogies will help.
What continues are the experiences. If you are no longer experiencing, can you be said to be conscious?
The crux of the matter is whether experiences continue after death?

In the hypothetical case of AI. If the AI can be replicated, the experience will continue.

Every time there is an experience, a "birth" of another "consciousness" takes place. Strictly speaking, it is a birth, birth, birth ...rather than rebirth, rebirth, rebirth. This process has been going on even while you are "alive".
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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