understanding anatta with evolution?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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understanding anatta with evolution?

Post by absolute » Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:22 am

there are many explanation about anatta like stream of consciousness and mind continuity, from this case the explanation of wikipedia or other sources they are said that buddhism don't deny a existence of soul because of ever evolving-consciousness, ever-evolving consciousness seems like there is a something like soul exist and changing forever, but i think understanding with evolution is right thing to comprehend it, in that case there is no need a concept of soul because evolution is change between generation or each individual creature to another over the long time, we don't say the one creature itself evolving over the past years in evolution, but we said this kind of animals evolving, ,one creature die, descendants of that creature replace it with little bit change and so on like that. am i right to think like that or really kind of soul exist in buddhism?

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Re: understanding anatta with evolution?

Post by Floor » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:35 am

Buddhism explains that there is no "I" to be found anywhere, Anatta.

With regards to reincarnation, you can think of some type of object or consciousness that jumps from body to body as one dies and is reborn. However, even there not an "I" is to be found.

Try to find an "I". Are you your face? Are you your body? Are you your thoughts? Are you your emotions? Are you your mind? Are you the middle point in your head?

Try to find this I.

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Re: understanding anatta with evolution?

Post by EmptyCittas1by1 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:08 am

I don't recall there being a Buddhist teaching on an "ever-evolving consciousness". The consciousness changes, yes, but it doesn't "evolve". When some think of evolution, they think of a constant entity which is morphing over and over again into different shapes. The consciousness isn't something like that, and neither is the body or an animal. "Inconstancy" or "change" refers to things coming and going. The being that existed a second ago is not at all the same being that exists here and now. This "coming and going" occurs on various levels, and that's what really causes so-called evolution. When we look from a far-away distance, we fail to see each individual thing coming and going, instead we see one thing simply transforming, thus we create this idea of a being which is transforming.

This "evolution" of consciousness simply refers to different cittas (consciousnesses) coming and going in a process. The cittas that experience the jhanas are different than the ones which experience the immaterial states. When the fine-material-cittas cease and the proper conditions are present, the immaterial-cittas arise. I'm not very schooled in Abhidhamma, so I can't explain it very well. If you want to learn how consciousness works, read that. I recommend Bhikkhu Bodhi's "Abhidhamma Retreat" videos on youtube. Take notes and prepare for a headache, it's very difficult stuff to understand.

The realization that all things occur in a process, that all things come and go, is the realization of anicca. From that comes the realization of dukkha, and from that comes the realization of anatta.
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah

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Re: understanding anatta with evolution?

Post by thelotuseffect » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:25 pm


"Yes, friends, as I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else."

Then those bhikkhus thinking to dissuade the bhikkhu Sati from that pernicious view, cross examined him, asked for reasons and discussed with him: "Friend, Sati do not say that, do not misrepresent the Blessed One. The Blessed One did not say that. The Blessed One has shown in various ways, that consciousness arises dependently. Without a cause there is no arising of consciousness." Even when so much was said, he held on to his pernicious view tenaciously and would not give it up and said: "As I know the Teaching of the Blessed One, this consciousness transmigrates through existences, not anything else."

:juggling: :jumping:

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