How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

On the cultivation of insight/wisdom
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manas
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by manas » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:42 pm

Thank you, Bhikkhu Pesala and Polar.
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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ryanM
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by ryanM » Thu Apr 13, 2017 2:27 am

polarbear101 wrote:
Mahātaṇhāsankhaya Sutta: The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving
Just on the title of the sutta alone, I would think at least one person attained some stage of awakening!
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:11 pm

Nicolas wrote:Some perhaps-relevant sutta quotes regarding the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception and the cessation of perception and feeling (and how, for those two, it would seem that the discernment arises upon emergence from them):
Anupada Sutta wrote: “And further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, Sāriputta entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’ He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is a further escape,’ and pursuing it, he confirmed that ‘There is.’

“And further, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, Sāriputta entered & remained in the cessation of perception & feeling. And when he saw with discernment, his effluents were totally ended. He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’5 He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is no further escape,’ and pursuing it, he confirmed that ‘There isn’t.’
Cūḷavedalla Sutta wrote: “Now, lady, how does the attainment of the cessation of perception & feeling come about?”

“The thought does not occur to a monk as he is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling that ‘I am about to attain the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I am attaining the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I have attained the cessation of perception & feeling.’ Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state.”

[...]

“Now, lady, how does emergence from the cessation of perception & feeling come about?”

“The thought does not occur to a monk as he is emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling that ‘I am about to emerge from the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I am emerging from the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I have emerged from the cessation of perception & feeling.’ Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state.”
Jhāna Sutta wrote: “Thus, as far as the perception-attainments go, that is as far as gnosis-penetration goes. As for these two dimensions—the attainment of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception & the attainment of the cessation of feeling & perception—I tell you that they are to be rightly explained by those monks who are meditators, skilled in attaining, skilled in attaining & emerging, who have attained & emerged in dependence on them.”
Thank you for reminding me of the Anupada Sutta (MN 111)

:anjali:
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manas
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by manas » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:20 am

Hello once more everyone,

there is this feeling, this perception, of 'the self as possessing consciousness' as the Buddha puts it (a wrong view). I'm wondering if this is just the result of mental proliferation, ie, when we were very young, the thought "I am" didn't even occur to us; the perception of a distinct, separate sense of self arises as we grow. Furthermore, the notion of some kind of atman-like 'self' that is somehow 'witnessing' this play of arising and passing away, and is simply misidentifying with the clinging-khandhas, ie, in a sense, just having a dream, so to speak - we learn that notion from others, for example, in some Hindu religions that notion is preached.

I suspect the Buddha probably ridicules such a notion in places, I would love to see any quotes here as this is an old prejudice I acquired. It seems more and more silly the more my conviction in the Dhamma grows, but I at least want the philosophical explanations for why the notion of 'self as atman, simply misidentifying with the world' is silly. I feel as though in two camps about it. The Buddha is right about SO MUCH and much has been demonstrated as true, just as he had said, so I kind of already intuitively sense there is a gaping logical fallacy regarding the notion of some permanent atman witnessing everything. I think there are certain passages in which the Buddha deals directly with such a notion- feel free to post them, if you wish. I'm in the mood for some destruction - of the good kind.

kind regards :anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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manas
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by manas » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:33 am

My own refutations of the atman theory /perception.

firstly, we have NO direct experience of this mysterious 'true self' .

secondly, if the atman is full of 'knowledge, eternity and bliss' as hindus claim, how could it even have been 'covered over by a cloud of delusion' in the first place? thus it could not be our 'true self' , rather, this world would all simply be a dream without a dreamer - pointless. with no connection to any permanent 'self' outside of it all.

thirdly, with regards to what i was told: 'spiritual suicide' - no, because if we were to see directly that vinnana is inconstant, unsatisfactory and not self, we would not be losing anything but delusion itself, ie, we cannot lose something that was never ours in the first place - plus, they claim the self is 'indestructible' and part of god, and so can't ever die in any case. so what could possibly be the risk in following the Buddha dhamma, since the Buddha is only inviting us to let go of what is NOT self?

That last one is pretty convincing, actually. but feel free to destroy the atman-theory with any sutta references regarding it, I suspect the Buddha would have subjected it to analysis somewhere.

:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Way~Farer
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by Way~Farer » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:18 am

I have a question about this passage quoted from Cūḷavedalla Sutta, above:
“The thought does not occur to a monk as he is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling that ‘I am about to attain the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I am attaining the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I have attained the cessation of perception & feeling.’ Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state.”
I take this to mean that when 'attaining the cessation of perception and feeling' there is no thought 'I am attaining it'. Indeed, if one were to think that, one would still be engaged in perception and feeling, or so it would seem to me. So the thought of attaining some state, would actually interfere with the attaining of it!

So the point that I wonder about is, are 'states of cessation' experiences at all? If there is no sense of oneself experiencing some state, then is that state an experience, or is it the cessation of experience, and of the ordinary state of feeling that 'I am experiencing such and such'?

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manas
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by manas » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:32 am

Even just writing out what Hindus say regarding atman, has convinced my it's simply bollocks, and I think I'll leave off this line of inquiry for now, and simply practise.
Thanks for the help regarding the original topic.
:anjali:
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:54 am

Way~Farer wrote:I have a question about this passage quoted from Cūḷavedalla Sutta, above:
“The thought does not occur to a monk as he is attaining the cessation of perception & feeling that ‘I am about to attain the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I am attaining the cessation of perception & feeling’ or that ‘I have attained the cessation of perception & feeling.’ Instead, the way his mind has previously been developed leads him to that state.”
I take this to mean that when 'attaining the cessation of perception and feeling' there is no thought 'I am attaining it'. Indeed, if one were to think that, one would still be engaged in perception and feeling, or so it would seem to me. So the thought of attaining some state, would actually interfere with the attaining of it!

So the point that I wonder about is, are 'states of cessation' experiences at all? If there is no sense of oneself experiencing some state, then is that state an experience, or is it the cessation of experience, and of the ordinary state of feeling that 'I am experiencing such and such'?
Have to be very careful using words such as experienced or cognized, because there is nobody to experience where there is no form and perception.
That being said, one can say it is experienced by nobody. Also the term experience is tied up in duration(arising and ceasing) by default for most people, so im trying not using it in regards to the Unmade state nowadays. When the world ceases Only highest happiness Remains, it is a whole, there is no X and Nibbana, there is just Nibbana and it is pleasant:
Nibbana Sutta: Unbinding
..on one occasion Ven. Sariputta... said to the monks, "This Unbinding is pleasant, friends. This Unbinding is pleasant."

When this was said, Ven. Udayin said to Ven. Sariputta, "But what is the pleasure here, my friend, where there is nothing felt?"

"Just that is the pleasure here, my friend: where there is nothing felt.
Further Venerable Sariputta explains that since the Aggregates are Stress the cessation of stress is Pleasant.
Mahavedalla Sutta: The Greater Set of Questions-and-Answers
Ven. Maha Kotthita ".." said to Ven. Sariputta,
...
"'Consciousness, consciousness': Thus is it said. To what extent, friend, is it said to be 'consciousness'?"
...
"'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'"
So when Ven. Sariputta says that Unbinding is pleasant and Consciousness cognizes pleasure, we must not get fooled into thinking that it is same type of consciousness. They use a diffrent term for the "Nibbana-consciousness" which is not of Aggregates. As i wrote above:
Have to be very careful using words such as experienced or cognized, because there is nobody to experience where there is no form and perception.
That being said, one can say it is experienced by nobody. Also the term experience is tied up in duration(arising and ceasing) by default for most people
Conventionally consciousness is "x" cognizing "y" and is tied to arising and ceasing, same as experience, in Nibbana there is nobody to be conscious of it, therefore it is problematic to use these terms.

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Way~Farer
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by Way~Farer » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:44 am

You know 'experienced by no-one' is linguistically identical to 'not experienced', right?

I think this subject is bound up with states of jhana. And those states are not conscious states, they are states of trance or rapture. That is why, incidentally, yogis sit in the padmasana - because in that posture, the body will stay upright even when the yogi does go into trance states.

Myself, I have never experienced anything of the kind, and don't expect to. But I think that is what is going on in the background of these suttas.

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manas
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Re: How can the disappearance of consciousness, be directly discerned?

Post by manas » Sat May 06, 2017 7:46 pm

Looking back to even my earliest memory of this life, I cannot recall even one instance of vinnana existing independently of an object. Consciousness is always *of* something. Thus, it does indeed arise in dependence upon the supporting conditions of sense and object being present.

That being the case, the inconstancy of vinnana CAN be discerned, in that as the object shifts, so too does the type of consciousness alter (as Bhikkhu Pesala pointed out earlier). When the mind is calm and wakeful, this becomes even more apparent.

The underlying issue that caused me to post this topic, has been resolved for me. Folks may of course, continue to discuss if they wish, but I would like to confirm my acceptance of this: that as consciousness is dependently arisen, inconstant, subject to arising and passing away, and not under any kind of independent control, that it is, in an ultimate sense, stressful, and is not fitting to be regarded as either 'me' or as 'mine'. :anjali:
'
'
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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