Question about deep sleep

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Question about deep sleep

Post by freefall68 » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:59 am

I am currently reading Dr. Walpola Rahula's "What the Buddha Taught". I am stuck at the place where he explains Vinnanakkhandha:
Then the Buddha went on to explain consciousness in detail: 'Consciousness is
named according to whatever condition through which it arises: on account of the
eye and visible forms arises a consciousness, and it is called visual consciousness; on
account of ear and sounds arises a consciousness, and it is called auditory
consciousness; on account of nose and odour arises a consciousness, and it is called
olfactory consciousness; on account of tongue and tastes arises a consciousness, and it
is called gustatory consciousness; on account of body and tangible objects arises a
consciousness, and it is called tactile consciousness; on account of the mind and
mind-objects (ideas and thoughts) arises a consciousness, and it is called mental
...and then..
The Buddha declared in unequivocal terms that consciousness depends on
matter, sensation, perception and mental formations, and that it cannot exist
independently from them. He says: 'Consciousness may exist having matter as it
means, matter as its object, matter as its support, and seeking delight it may grow,
increase and develop; or consciousness may exist having sensation as it means… or
perception as it means… or mental formation as it means, mental formation as its
object, mental formation as its support, and seeking delight it may grow, increase
and develop.
What is Buddhism's take on deep sleep? Is there a consciousness during deep sleep when no mental formations are there for support? I ask this question because the issue of deep sleep consciousness is given lot of emphasis in advaita system. When I get up in the morning and declare that "I had a nice sleep", is it not my direct knowledge?

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Re: Question about deep sleep

Post by cooran » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:23 am

Hello freefall,

Within Theravada (the Abhidhamma) the mind moments (cittas) which occur in deep dreamless sleep are the Bhavanga Cittas. This book by Nina Van Gorkom is worth bookmarking.
Here is the chapter on the Bhavanga:" onclick=";return false;

When you wake up after a deep sleep and feel wonderful it is because the body and mind are rested, relaxed and refreshed.

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Question about deep sleep

Post by retrofuturist » Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:01 am

Greetings Freefall,

When you stay within the thought-world of the suttas, what Walpola Rahula says is correct.

When you extend beyond that thought-world to the broader Theravada tradition, inclusive of its Abhidhamma and commentaries the situation becomes more complex.

See the following topic, spawned from this one, for an indication as to how that is so...

In the absence of vinnana there is...?" onclick=";return false;

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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