Author Topic: What is consciousness?  (Read 12919 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #75 on: November 16, 2013, 08:53:16 am »
Quote
Re: What is consciousness?


The psychological manifestation of the Mind.

Hi, Wesley.  Not a bad definition, but as both Buddha and neuroscience has pointed out:  There are both physiological and mental components of consciousness as well as the both physical and mental processes and interactions, which cause consciousness to arise.  Then there are other closely related components called awareness, and also understanding.  Another, Buddha called "penetration" as though we were making an effort to "understand", but were meeting with resistance due to some intrinsic weakness, lack of effort, resources, prerequisites, or skill, and/or perhaps not having the right combination or key to entry. All of these are hindrances or deficits, which prevent penetration.

When thinking of penetration during meditation or contemplation I often visualize an exterior object protected by a force-field, which requires some mental effort in order for me to break through.  The same when contemplating Koans, math  or logic problems, or when troubleshooting failed electric/electronic, or mechanical problems which are preventing various systems not to function as designed.

All of this, while perhaps making life interesting and providing temporary satisfaction or even joy or happiness when the problems are surmounted, do nothing to permanently end our dukkha.  Even consciousness itself Buddha pointed out was but a hindrance and should not be in any way an object of fascination or clinging.   :dharma:

Even so, without the mental facility of consiousness and its underlying organic physiological supports could we find our way to The Noble Eight Fold Path and therewith our exits to freedom?  I wonder. :eek:
« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 10:46:38 am by Bodhisatta 2013+316/365 ths »
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #76 on: November 16, 2013, 02:09:25 pm »
"John Searle: Our shared condition -- consciousness"

Dr. Searle seems to have a good handle of what consciousness actually is and how it arises as a biological phenomenon.:

http://www.ted.com/talks/john_searle_our_shared_condition_consciousness.html

Question is, "What is our experience?"  The practice of Meditation and Mindfulness helps us to "observe" and characterize our actual experience with consciousness.  For example, when we pay attention during walking meditation we become aware of the volitional energy and direction of mind required to arouse our motivation to move in any given body part in any desired direction.  Searle addresses this and many other aspects of consciousness.

resource:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/silananda/bl137.html

Buddha recommended that we raise our awareness of even such mundane autonomic functions such as breathing and heartbeat in The Anapana Sati  Meditation on Breathing:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ariyadhamma/bl115.html

But, what about consciousness itself?  Many meditators confuse the aspect of mind which watches the mind itself as different than, or separate from the mental consciousness, where, after many years of experience in meditation and mindfulness we find that it is not, just as Buddha warned us, and that once we realize this fact, we can abandon any attachment to that particular aspect as well, and we gain insight into his lessons / teachings regarding emptiness. :dharma:

« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 02:17:10 pm by Bodhisatta 2013+316/365 ths »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #77 on: November 17, 2013, 09:54:27 am »
Dan Dennett: The illusion of consciousness

Dr. Dennett raises the specter, which has always plagued us  as summarized in the following time tested trite truism:

"Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see!"  Benjamin Franklin.....and  he demonstrates why.

http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_our_consciousness.html
« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 10:00:18 am by Bodhisatta 2013+317/365 ths »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #78 on: November 17, 2013, 10:19:21 am »
Buddha recognized the inconstancy of our various forms of consciousness and is quoted:

[quote]Viññana Sutta: Consciousness
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 2004
At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."[/quote]

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn25/sn25.003.than.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #79 on: November 25, 2013, 12:14:15 am »
Notice of Split Thread

Several posts have been split from the "What is Consciousness" thread because they were more specific to the Dzogchen tradition and then slowly went off-topic, requiring that the posts in question be relocated to the Dzogchen section:

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/dzogchen/re-what-is-consciousness/msg70503/#msg70503

Offline anata123

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #80 on: February 23, 2014, 03:47:30 pm »
Sati:
Exactly so, friend. As I understand the dhama taught by the blessed one.
It is the same consciousness that goes through the round of the endless rebirths.

Bhikkus:
Friend Sati, do not misrepresent the blessed one. The blessed one would never speak of consciousness in this manner.
In many ways the blessed one has stated that consciousnes is dependently arising, for without conditions there would not be origination of consciousness.

Bhikkus:
Venerable sir, since we couldn't detach pernicious view from Sati, we report this matter to the blessed one.

Buddha:
Come bhikku, tell the bhikku Sati in my name that the teacher calls him.

Buddha:
Is true the following pernicious view has arisen in you Sati; as I understand the dhama taught by the blessed one, it is this same consciousness that goes through the round of this endless rebirths?

Sati:
Exactly so venerable sir.

Buddha:
What is that consciousness Sati?

Sati:
 Venerable sir, consciousness is which that feels and experiences, all the results of good or bad karmic actions.

Buddha:
Misguided man, to whom have you ever known me teach the dhama in that way?
Not only have you misrepresent the Sangha by this wrong grasp of the dhama, but you also injured yourself by storing up much demerits, for this will lead you to the harm and sufferings for a long time.

Misguided man have I not stated in many ways that consciousness is dependently arisen and that without conditions there would be no origination of consciousness.

With ignorance is condition comes volitional formation.

With volitional formation as condition comes consciousness.

Bhikkus,  consciousness is recognized by the particular conditions dependent upon which it arises.

When consciousness arises dependent on the eyes and form it is reckoned as eyes consciousness... Same for ear, nose, tongue, body and mind is paired with mind objects in the same way eyes is paired with form.

Just as fire is reckoned by the particular conditions dependent upon which it burns.

When fire burns dependent on log it is reckoned as a log fire.

When fire burns dependent on hays it is reckoned as a hay fire.

When fire burns dependent on forest it is reckoned as a forest fire.........

Offline Atanavat

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #81 on: February 24, 2014, 08:17:59 am »
 - "If the alaya is imagined as a vast ocean, then the seven other consciousness are waves on its surface. The seven are not separate from the eighth, nor do they disturb the stillness of its depths; all eight are essentially one."


I see that as in complete accordance with numerous thought system, philosophies and religious mysticism around the world, past and present. Even a lot of scientific theory is alluding to similar descriptions and ideas. It is the most adequate description that I have personally heard of what is the prime motive drive for there to be consciousness at all, and it explains reincarnation as something that should be taken very seriously in the view of karma and its influence on experience. It strikes at the heart of the reasons to walk the path.

Here is a (to me) cool description of implications of many-world theory: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/10-mind-bending-implications-many-worlds-theory.html

Thought it would fit well with the above.  :namaste:
« Last Edit: February 24, 2014, 08:22:59 am by Atanavat »

Offline Ananda10

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #82 on: April 12, 2014, 06:48:18 am »


Dependent on eye and form, eye consciousness arises...ear and sound, nose and odors, tongue and flavors, body and tangibles...Dependent on mind and dhamma mind consciousness arises.

Offline NoEssentialNature

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #83 on: May 20, 2014, 05:46:43 pm »
Even so, without the mental facility of consiousness and its underlying organic physiological supports could we find our way to The Noble Eight Fold Path and therewith our exits to freedom?  I wonder. :eek:

Without them we would be awake. But having them, we need to use them to untangle ourselves. Through developing consciousness of what consciousness is, it is untangled, and we return to our original state of freedom and awakening.

Offline flaneur

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #84 on: April 06, 2015, 06:05:37 pm »
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."

"We're all bozos of this bus."

Offline NoEssentialNature

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #85 on: April 02, 2016, 05:20:08 pm »
I think it was David Chalmers who suggested consciousness should just be accepted as something fundamental to the Universe, like gravity or electromagnetism...

Maybe it's an emergent property rather than a fundamental one?

Yogacara schools, including all of Mahayana Buddhism, hold the mind-only doctrine https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogachara#Yog.C4.81c.C4.81ra_and_Madhyamaka

The assumptions of reductionist experimental science make it difficult to see consciousness as anything but a derivative emergent phenomena of simpler systems. But that ignores the philosophical debates deep within the scientific worldview, which often happens because scientists don't generally like being drawn into them, being mostly practical people :)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropic_principle
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe
Now these are not solid theories or settled debates. I only point to these ideas, like observation in quantum mechanics,  as showing how consciousness may be fundamental to the universe, rather than 'just' emergent.

So: many schools of Buddhism hold Mind to be fundamental.
And it is is respectable and widespread view among scientists that choose to think about it, that minds and the existence of the universe may be co-dependent and have neccessarily emerged together.
An extension of that second,  follows from probably the most significant insight of the whole of the last centuries Western philosophy:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_language_argument
Understanding and thought do not occur for isolated abstract thinkers, mathematics and experimental scientific method included. They occur only, through the collaboration and agreement over signs of communities of thinkers.
This suggests an evolving, emergent, dynamic reality, that responds and develops from experiences. Not Reality, an unchanging set of equations existing outside and independently of  inds percieving It. That perspective, and the core but discredited assumptions of much of scientific thought, is actually a hangover of monotheism.

I think the Private Language Argument is a great way to navigate using Western thought, to how to understand Buddhist concepts of Store House Consciousness https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses
Buddhism does not need to catch up with Western thought. Western thought needs to catch up with and integrate the profound insiggts into consciousness of meditators and the subtle and complex debates they had based on the direct experiences of applying meditation to understanding Mind. Imho.

Offline Solodris

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #86 on: December 28, 2016, 12:54:08 pm »
 :buddha:
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:44:10 am by Solodris »

Online IdleChater

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #87 on: December 28, 2016, 04:32:12 pm »
Consciousness (Vijñāna in Pali) is one of the 5 Skandas.  As such it can be seen as conditioned phenomena. It arises from mental formation.  The Buddhha spoke of it as that which "cognizes" (SN 22.79).  Consciousness is also associated with sense faculties so we have eye consciousness, nose consciousness and so on.

ālāyavijñāna or "storehouse consciousness" is said to be the basis of all consciousness and is used to explain rebirth.

Offline Solodris

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #88 on: December 28, 2016, 05:44:21 pm »
 :buddha:
« Last Edit: December 29, 2016, 03:44:24 am by Solodris »

Offline Solodris

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Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #89 on: February 08, 2017, 11:40:47 am »
What would you think about consciousness as the cosmic manifestation of time?

Time is consciousness, consciousness is time.

Recognition is awareness, but not time?

This isn't Dharma though, maybe this post is better suited somewhere else.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 11:58:19 am by Solodris »

 


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