Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

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kirk5a
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by kirk5a » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:20 pm

There is that interesting metaphor in SN 12.64.
"Just as if there were a roofed house or a roofed hall having windows on the north, the south, or the east. When the sun rises, and a ray has entered by way of the window, where does it land?"

"On the western wall, lord."

"And if there is no western wall, where does it land?"

"On the ground, lord."

"And if there is no ground, where does it land?"

"On the water, lord."

"And if there is no water, where does it land?"

"It does not land, lord."

"In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase. Where consciousness does not land or increase, there is no alighting of name-&-form. Where there is no alighting of name-&-form, there is no growth of fabrications. Where there is no growth of fabrications, there is no production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is no production of renewed becoming in the future, there is no future birth, aging, & death. That, I tell you, has no sorrow, affliction, or despair."
Bhikkhu Bodhi says this refers to an arahant's consciousness while he is alive, but not that an "unestablished consciousness" remains after the arahant's parinibbana. I read it as leaving "where" undefined. Except of course, in terms of "no passion." But not explicitly defining that "where" AS "consciousness" ? Maybe? :broke:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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drifting cloud
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by drifting cloud » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:00 pm

SarathW wrote:As far as I know it is wrong to say, fire still there. There is nothing called fire, it arises due to conditions!
Yes, this is the modern understanding of fire. This was not the understanding of fire that was current in the Buddha's time, however, and so when the Suttas speak of fire going out they are referring to a pre-scientific understanding of fire:
Back in the days of the Buddha, nirvana (nibbana) had a verb of its own: nibbuti. It meant to "go out," like a flame. Because fire was thought to be in a state of entrapment as it burned — both clinging to and trapped by the fuel on which it fed — its going out was seen as an unbinding. To go out was to be unbound. Sometimes another verb was used — parinibbuti — with the "pari-" meaning total or all-around, to indicate that the person unbound, unlike fire unbound, would never again be trapped.

A Verb for Nirvana
Whether or not the ancient Indian concept of fire is scientifically accurate or not has no bearing on how the metaphor should be understood.
Last edited by drifting cloud on Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by drifting cloud » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:18 pm

reflection wrote:If you read on, you'll see that is also in the sutta. There is no mention of this consciousness-without-feature here, and in many other suttas.
I didn't say this Sutta mentioned consciousness-without-feature. My point was that the state of the Tathagata or arahat after death cannot be described. This is again consistent with the metaphor of unbinding. In the ancient Indian understanding, fire that has gone out is non-local, unestablished, unlimited, not clinging to anything; it is undefined. In a similar fashion the Tathagata cannot be said to exist or not exist...

I see this as a metaphor for being beyond the six sense spheres, about which nothing can be said because "it lies beyond range".
reflection wrote:Consciousness without feature is a bit of a contradiction, because consciousness always needs an object.
The viññāṇa of the skandhas clearly requires an object in order to arise. But as discussed the Suttas also mention a different kind of "consciousness", which perhaps does not require an object. I believe others have speculated that the "object" of this consciousness is the peace of cessation.

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drifting cloud
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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by drifting cloud » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:27 pm

kirk5a wrote:There is that interesting metaphor in SN 12.64.

Bhikkhu Bodhi says this refers to an arahant's consciousness while he is alive, but not that an "unestablished consciousness" remains after the arahant's parinibbana. I read it as leaving "where" undefined. Except of course, in terms of "no passion." But not explicitly defining that "where" AS "consciousness" ? Maybe? :broke:
This is Thanissaro's response to this argument, from his footnotes and commentary on MN 49 which references the passage you quoted from SN 12.64:
Some have objected to the equation of this consciousness with nibbana, on the grounds that nibbana is no where else in the Canon described as a form of consciousness. Thus they have proposed that consciousness without surface be regarded as an arahant's consciousness of nibbana in meditative experience, and not nibbana itself. This argument, however, contains two flaws: (1) The term viññanam anidassanam also occurs in DN 11, where it is described as where name & form are brought to an end: surely a synonym for nibbana. (2) If nibbana is an object of mental consciousness (as a dhamma), it would come under the all, as an object of the intellect. There are passages in the Canon (such as AN 9.36) that describe meditators experiencing nibbana as a dhamma, but these passages seem to indicate that this description applies up through the level of non-returning. Other passages, however, describe nibbana as the ending of all dhammas. For instance, Sn V.6 quotes the Buddha as calling the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas. Sn IV.6 and Sn IV.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. Thus, for the arahant, nibbana is not an object of consciousness. Instead it is directly known without mediation. Because consciousness without feature is directly known without mediation, there seems good reason to equate the two.
The whole footnoteitself is worth reading.

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by SarathW » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:35 pm

Hi Drifting Cloud
You wrote:
----
the Suttas also mention a different kind of "consciousness", which perhaps does not require an object.
----
You baffled me again! I have never heard something like this! Where did you learn this? Can you give me the Suttas reference and link if you can?
As far as I know consciounness arises due to reasons. (Fine material (say Strings) or gross materials or objects)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by Polar Bear » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:53 pm

"He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as 'mine,' does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:namaste:
Last edited by Polar Bear on Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by reflection » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:47 am

Why not discuss nibbana? It's the goal of the practice, so we better have an idea what it is. :)

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by Polar Bear » Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:13 am

reflection wrote:Why not discuss nibbana? It's the goal of the practice, so we better have an idea what it is. :)
I don't know. The ending of all dukkha, the destruction of craving. The end of all passion, aversion, and delusion. Total unbinding from the phenomenal world is pretty much all I need to know without getting metaphysical about it. There are a couple other things that make it sound cool too like the indefinability of the sage, but the thing I like alot about all these descriptions is that they're all psychological and hence don't get into metaphysical stuff. Also, I don't think an arahant would care if there is some consciousness outside the aggregates or not because he has realized that all phenomena are not self and has abandoned all thirst for further existence and so there is no way the arahant sage can die because all that which will die has been seen as not belonging to him/her and abandoned. Thus, the arahant is freed from birth, aging, illness and death, pain, sorrow, lamentation, and despair.

:sage:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by Buckwheat » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:48 pm

Phenomena are neither eternal nor nihilistic. After death, the Tathagata can neither be said to exist nor not exist.

When did consciousness without feature become "metaphysical." While at my level of practice I'm still letting go of very basic hang-ups, I can still see how, as the mind calms, consciousness is less and less outward oriented (less clingy). It is not difficult for me to believe the Buddha was able to achieve a consciousness without feature. This form of consciousness is way beyond my understanding, and discussion of it's existence or being a later addition to the canon all requires wisom far beyond my current capacity. So if for that reason you want to cease the discussion, I am on board with you. But I don't really like to label it metaphysical.

There are some properties of magnetism that seem very "magical" or "metaphysical" to me. But really, they are cold hard physical truths. My labels have no impact on the world. Only on my experience of the world.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by reflection » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:13 pm

:)

I can see how one would just be interested in 'the ending of suffering', and doesn't need to go much deeper. But then again, what is suffering? That's of course the question then. Would consciousness still be suffering, or wouldn't it?.. And so how much do we need to let go?

But depending on how you define metaphysics, there also isn't really anything metaphysical about nibbana being the end of existence. You can get an idea of what it is, without experiencing it. For me it has always been so straightforward and yet challenging answer, it almost had to be true. Makes this heart jump inside, if you know what I mean. It's like a 'truth detector'. A 'featureless consciousness' just never rang the same bell and I can't imagine the Buddha ever having meant this as the end of suffering.

Then again, if our paths slowly but surely take us onto higher peace, that's the road we have to take. If we notice anywhere our points of view are causing a block, then it's important to question them once again. Until then, there is much work to be done. Nomatter what our points of view are at the moment.

With loads a metta!

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by SarathW » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:48 am

Hi Reflection
I see where you comming from and I agree with you.
How ever, I do not have answers to questions such as:

A) sabbe dhamma anatta: Does it mean that nirvana is there as same as Sankara?
B) "In this very one-fathom long body along with perceptions and thoughts, do I proclaim the world, the origin of the world, the end of the world and the path leading to the end of the world." Here the term world is applied to suffering.
Does it mean that Nirvana can be experience right now in this body?
C) that space is not, but Nibbāna is.
See the thread:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=16160" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

D) Why Nibbana is classified as Nama in Abhidhamma?
See the thread:
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=16220" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


For the time being I have decided to be open minded and keep this question in mind as unresolved!

Mean-while :) :meditate:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by Buckwheat » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:57 am

SarathW wrote:A) sabbe dhamma anatta: Does it mean that nirvana is there as same as Sankara?
Doesn't this mean that nirvana is not self.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by SarathW » Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:52 pm

Hi Buckwhet,
Yes that’s correct.
What I meant was whether Nirvana also exist the same way as five aggregate. So what I am saying is Non-Existence is exist. On the other hand we can’t say whether Nirvana exist or not exist.
Sorry to confuse you. :juggling:

You better off reading P385 of: :)
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

“So,though indeed Existence is, Non-Existence should be sought”
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by manas » Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:54 pm

SarathW wrote:...

“So,though indeed Existence is, Non-Existence should be sought”
Hi Sarath,

I don't recall reading that anywhere in the suttas, could you maybe say exactly where this is from? Anyway, to my knowledge 'existence' isn't able to encapsulate the full meaning of the word, 'bhava' (having said that, neither is 'becoming' a perfect translation, but then again that's the case for many pali terms); Thanissaro Bhikkhu actually wrote extensively about bhava here:

http://mettarefuge.files.wordpress.com/ ... hikkhu.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In any case, we are supposed to abandon not only desire for becoming, but also desire for not-becoming, are we not?
The central paradox of becoming is also evident in the second noble truth, where one of the three forms of craving leading to becoming is craving for non‐becoming—the ending of what has come to be. This poses a practical challenge for any attempt to put an end to becoming. Many writers have tried to resolve this paradox by defining non‐becoming in such a way that the desire for Unbinding (nibbana) would not fall into that category. However, the Buddha himself taught a strategic resolution to this paradox, in which the fourth noble truth—the path to the end of suffering—involves creating a type of becoming where the mind is so steady and alert that it can simply allow what has come into being to pass away of its own accord, thus avoiding the twin dangers of craving for becoming or for non‐becoming.
: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: Awareness independent of the 6 senses? (Thanissaro)

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:53 am

Greetings Sarath,
SarathW wrote:“So,though indeed Existence is, Non-Existence should be sought”
Is this a quote, or are these your own words?

This is vibhava-tanha.

Metta,
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)

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