Author Topic: What is consciousness?  (Read 17046 times)

Offline Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5166
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2011, 03:33:42 am »
Reification leads to such kinds of views.

We are discussing basic logic here.

Spiny
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline ground

  • Member
  • Posts: 2139
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2011, 05:26:03 am »
Reification leads to such kinds of views.

We are discussing basic logic here.

Spiny

No. You want to support your views with what you fabricate as "basic logic". Obviously what you call "basic" is not so basic as it may appear to you.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2011, 05:28:28 am by TMingyur. »

Offline catmoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1599
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2011, 10:41:31 pm »
Funny I thought we were discussing consciousness. The question framed in the topic title is not a new one. It has been used as a Zen koan for centuries in the form "What is this?" Short of a stunning direct insight, I don't think the question can be answered.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Hanzze

  • Member
  • Posts: 2077
  • (Johann)
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2011, 08:52:58 am »
Maybe from interest:

Quote
EIGHTH CONSCIOUSNESS

In Yogacara theory everything is "mind only" and this consciousness is divided into eight sections. The principal part of consciousness is the alaya or "storehouse consciousness" which is the basis of the seven other consciousnesses. All eight comprise the mind dharmas and the fifty dharmas that interact with the mind.

The alaya consciousness is also known as the "repository of impressions." From the alaya arise all of our ideas of self, ego, and their respective functions in the external world. 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.



from BASIC IDEAS OF YOGACARA BUDDHISM

So is alaya independent of physical existence, ie a human form?

Spiny
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 03:08:53 am by Spiny le Norman »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2011, 02:10:36 pm »
Thank you, Hanzze.  This commentary seems to have identified "the watcher" -ego which seems to be the attachment of some traditions.  The storehouse is also interesting in that it is the integrator of all memories/past experiences and the current real time sense-consciousnesses.

Never seen this before. :pray:
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 Hanzze

  • Member
  • Posts: 2077
  • (Johann)
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #35 on: December 12, 2011, 10:34:33 pm »
Similar approaches like in Yogacara we find in most forest traditions, but we need to be careful that consciousnesses is at least only a tool to escape from suffering and not any eternity. *smile*

Quote
LUSTHAUS, DAN (1998). Buddhism, Yogācāra school

Yogācāra is one of the two schools of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its founding is ascribed to two brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu, but its basic tenets and doctrines were already in circulation for at least a century before the brothers lived. In order to overcome the ignorance that prevented one from attaining liberation from the karmic rounds of birth and death, Yogācāra focused on the processes involved in cognition. Their sustained attention to issues such as cognition, consciousness, perception and epistemology, coupled with claims such as ‘external objects do not exist’ has led some to misinterpret Yogācāra as a form of metaphysical idealism. They did not focus on consciousness to assert it as ultimately real (Yogācāra claims consciousness is only conventionally real), but rather because it is the cause of the karmic problem they are seeking to eliminate.

Yogācāra introduced several important new doctrines to Buddhism, including vijñaptimātra, three self-natures, three turnings of the dharma-wheel and a system of eight consciousnesses. Their close scrutiny of cognition spawned two important developments: an elaborate psychological therapeutic system mapping out the problems in cognition with antidotes to correct them and an earnest epistemological endeavour that led to some of the most sophisticated work on perception and logic ever engaged in by Buddhists or Indians.

Although the founding of Yogācāra is traditionally ascribed to two half-brothers, Asaṅga and Vasubandhu (fourth–fifth century bc), most of its fundamental doctrines had already appeared in a number of scriptures a century or more earlier, most notably the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra (Elucidating the Hidden Connections) (third–fourth century bc). Among the key Yogācāra concepts introduced in the Saṃdhinirmocanasūtra are the notions of ’only-cognition’ (vijñaptimātra), three self-natures (trisvabhāva), warehouse consciousness (ālayavijñāna), overturning the basis (āśrayaparāvṛtti) and the theory of eight consciousnesses.


You might also find more explaining here: Eight Consciousnesses from Wikipedia

Don't get attached to metaphysics! Just be mindful. *smile*

Offline Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5166
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #36 on: December 13, 2011, 07:16:46 am »
Funny I thought we were discussing consciousness. The question framed in the topic title is not a new one. It has been used as a Zen koan for centuries in the form "What is this?" Short of a stunning direct insight, I don't think the question can be answered.

I was rather hoping for a stunning direct insight. :wink1:

Spiny
"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2011, 08:14:14 am »
Funny I thought we were discussing consciousness. The question framed in the topic title is not a new one. It has been used as a Zen koan for centuries in the form "What is this?" Short of a stunning direct insight, I don't think the question can be answered.


I was rather hoping for a stunning direct insight. :wink1:

Spiny


Here are some stunning insights regarding "consciousness" as evidenced by Near Death Experiences.  Four Interviews with Cardiologist, Pim van Lommel. :

Part 1: 
The Cardiologist on the Near-Death Experience 1


Part 2: http://nhneneardeath.ning.com/forum/topics/cardiologist-pim-van-lommel

Part 3:   
Pt.3 of 4 - Dr. Pim Van Lommel - Consciousness Beyond Life


Part 4: 
Pt.4 of 4 - Dr. Pim Van Lommel - Consciousness Beyond Life
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #38 on: December 16, 2011, 10:09:16 am »
Another thought just arose regarding consciousness, especially with regard to non-local consciousness or non-local mind, which I would like to put out for discussion:

If the senses were not associated with the brain, then why would five of them:

Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell, Mental Processing be located on the head?  Seems like that would be a perfect place from an evolutionary strategy to locate them?

Again, if you support the notion of non-local consciousness, or non-local mind please cut off your head and tell us what happened.
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 Dairy Lama

  • Member
  • Posts: 5166
  • Cool baby yeah!
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2011, 03:51:57 am »
Again, if you support the notion of non-local consciousness, or non-local mind please cut off your head and tell us what happened.

I also have some difficulty with the idea of disembodied consciousness somehow floating round in the ether.  However I'm not that the 7th and 8th types of consciousness ( manas and alaya-vinana ) are actually described in this way?

Spiny

"My religion is very simple - my religion is ice-cream"

Offline Wonky Badger

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1439
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2011, 03:22:30 pm »
This is how I, as a computer engineer, imagine it (sorry for all the techy details).

I imagine the body as the hardware of the computer. Power unit as the heart, hard drive, RAM and processor as the brain, network card, mouse, and keyboard among other as the senses. I imagine the operating system, like Windows or Linux to be the consciousness.

A computer without an operating system looks just the same as a computer with one installed, but still it's silent and unresponsive while the other is fully functioning and responsive. If you tear apart a computer, you will not be able to actually find the operating system, just as you will not be able to find the consciousness in a human body.

Now, if we just assume the hardware to be the material body, and the point of birth when the operating system enters the computer, and let's just for the sake of argument assume that the operating system is Windows Vista (with some modifications for sentience). Let's also assume that at point of death, the computer owner makes a backup of the operating system to be able to install on their new computer and that the system is otherwise not rebooted during it's life cycle. And unfortunately our operating system cannot be copied. It has to reside either on the hard drive or on backup media, never in two places at the same time.

During the computer's life cycle, it's decisions and experiences might alter the operating system. Bad decisions might downgrade it to Windows XP, good decisions might upgrade it to Windows 7 and a great realization might just convert it to open source Linux.  :cheesy:
And of course, all major software changes require reboot to fully take effect.

Regarding Ron's note about cutting of one's head, surely one can pull out the hard drive, RAM or processor, and the computer will lose it's consciousness, but that does not mean that the hard drive, RAM or processor IS the consciousness. The operating system is lying somewhere on a backup DVD which, in this example I would label as neither hardware or software. The hardware is just the interface between the operating system and the input devices of the computer.

It might be a flawed example, but that is the closest I can come to make sense of it all.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
---
What would Buddha do?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2011, 03:41:26 pm »
Right!

Right now, conceptually, I am stuck between:

1. Local Mind dissipates when all forms of dependently originated consciousnesses subside.

and,

2. Mind, luminous and pristine, free of all taints, delusions, khandas, fetters, shackles, .....etc. is all that is left once unbound, and extinguished.

Each reportedly seem to result in some sort of a timeless, spaceless, state free of kamma, and unseen by death: nibbana. So, is non-local consciousness, but an endless sea of consciousness? And, is our individual "share" of consciousness dependently arisen, or but a small part of the sea with a delusion that it is somehow become isolated between me and thee?

It seems to me that the latter is but another visualization or characterization for the idea of an eternal ego, or soul, which by the way, had to be learned from someone else: a guru, teacher, master, or Buddha.

In a recently viewed lecture regarding The Four Noble Truths, HHDL stated that nibbana "was dependent upon" proper understanding and practice of The Noble Eight Fold Path.  I have read exactly the same thing in The Suttas, which state that The Noble Eight Fold Path, The Middle Way, is "the singular path to nibbana", which seems to me makes nibbana conditional upon the correct interpretation, understanding, and practice of The Nobel Eight Fold Path.  "What else could it mean?"

So, I guess that I will just have to wait for my next NDE, or better yet,
DE to see what happens.  Do I remain locally conscious and unconscious, or do "my dreams" take me into flight, or across the universe as my imagination allows.

What struck me as the most cogent of Dr.  Lommel's statement had to do with the plasticity of the brain, which he saw as consciousness driving brain function and determining which regions of the brain were utilized for various sensory and mental functions. This struck me hard, because I have seen many documentaries regarding brain plasticity, and studied folks with literally "half a brain" learning to function acceptably. But, even those with half a brain who function OK, would rather have a whole brain. And, to date, all those who have proposed that consciousness is independent of brain have refused to cut off their heads for me and to report back as to how things worked out .

I am not so sure about this independent consciousness idea, because brain plasticity seems more likely to be driven by exterior stimulus combined with sense consciousnesses rather than by an interior consciousness such as mental factors. However, Buddha was clear with his instruction that we "see" with our interior faculties and not with those which are responsible for supporting contact.

I am beginning to think that any resolution or understanding of this issue is beyond my ken.

OP & CP stated this dilema quite well:
http://www.freesangha.com/forums/gen...iousness-3111/


[Quote:]
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2011, 04:14:32 am »
Quote
Quote from: CP Gumby on December 09, 2011, 07:27:20 am
The suttas appear to be inconsistent on the relationship between consciousness and name-and-form. In some suttas, like the one above, a mutual dependence is described between consciousness and name-and-form. But in other suttas name-and-form arises in dependence on consciousness, and not the other way round.


Quote
OP: Yes, normally, in Dependent Origination, you'll see consciousness conditions nama-rupa (name-form or mind-body). But you do sometimes find him saying the opposite. I have provided 2 translations of each part of this Sutta in an effort to see if the meaning can be clarified:
- The first one is the Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation.
- The second one is the Maurice Walshe translation.

The Buddha explains it like this:

"Consciousness conditions name and form: Means a consciousness descending into the womb - giving rise to the new mind-body (i.e., 5 Skandhas) of the new person in this life.
- And this is the way to understand how from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-and-form. If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?" "No, lord."
- "If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?" "No, lord."
- "If the consciousness of the young boy or girl were to be cut off, would name-and-form ripen, grow, and reach maturity?" "No, lord."
Source: "Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse" (DN 15), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...15.0.than.html . Retrieved on 1 December 2011.

- If consciousness were not to come into the mother's womb, would mind-and-body develop there?' 'No, Lord.'
- 'Or if consciousness, having entered the mother's womb, were to be deflected, would mind-and-body come to birth in this life?' 'No, Lord.' 'And if the consciousness of such a tender young being, boy or girl, were thus cut off, would mind-and-body grow, develop and mature?' 'No, Lord.'
Source: http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pi...igination.html

So consciousness enters the womb - that's how the Buddha explained birth. If that consciousness departs the womb - there would be no mind-body arising as a result of it in this life - and so, there would be no person to grow to maturity.



"Name-and-form conditions consciousness:
- And this is the way to understand how from name-and-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness. If consciousness were not to gain a foothold in name-and-form, would a coming-into-play of the origination of birth, aging, death, and stress in the future be discerned? "No, lord."
Source: "Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse" (DN 15), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 8 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit...15.0.than.html . Retrieved on 1 December 2011.

- If consciousness did not find a resting-place in mind-and- body, would there subsequently be an arising and coming-to- be of birth, ageing, death and suffering?' 'No, Lord.'
Source: http://www.palicanon.org/en/sutta-pi...igination.html
It occurs to me that "both" could be the case dependent upon the pressing ambient conditions. For example in samsaric condtions the mind certainly conditions behavior in response to exteriors conditions. For example an athlete focuses his mind on training, which in turn conditions attitude, his musculature and stamina.


In nibbana there should be not such exterior stressors, or if they exist, they are handled with equanimity.

So, now I am left wondering if "nibbana" is simply a state of mind in which all eventualities, even hellish conditions, are handled with equanimity.
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2011, 03:43:58 pm »
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

  • Member
  • Posts: 4525
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #43 on: December 17, 2011, 04:23:52 pm »
HHDL re. The Nature of Mind:  HHDL re. The Nature of Mind: 
Nature of the Mind
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 catmoon

  • Member
  • Posts: 1599
    • View Profile
Re: What is consciousness?
« Reply #44 on: December 17, 2011, 11:55:50 pm »
Funny I thought we were discussing consciousness. The question framed in the topic title is not a new one. It has been used as a Zen koan for centuries in the form "What is this?" Short of a stunning direct insight, I don't think the question can be answered.

I was rather hoping for a stunning direct insight. :wink1:

Spiny

Such insights are available, but not communicable. For insight, get out a cushion and sit on it.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal