Author Topic: Anidassana-vinnana  (Read 5337 times)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 09:23:10 pm »
From this evening's reading:

Quote
Viññanam anidassanam. This term is nowhere explained in the Canon, although MN 49 mentions that it "does not partake in the allness of the All" — the "All" meaning the six internal and six external sense media (see SN 35.23). In this it differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future. However, the fact that it is outside of time and space — in a dimension where there is no here, there, or in between (Ud 1.10), no coming, no going, or staying (Ud 8.1) — means that it cannot be described as permanent or omnipresent, terms that have meaning only within space and time. The standard description of nibbana after death is, "All that is sensed, not being relished, will grow cold right here." (See MN 140 and Iti 44.) Again, as "all" is defined as the sense media, this raises the question as to whether consciousness without feature is not covered by this "all." However, AN 4.174 warns that any speculation as to whether anything does or doesn't remain after the remainderless stopping of the six sense media is to "objectify non-objectification," which gets in the way of attaining the non-objectified. Thus this is a question that is best put aside.

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html


Thought this might be useful to your research, Spiny.

Note to Optimus Prime:  Some dyes are polar compounds and do not separate well during simple distillation.  So, your dye analogy is a little weak in that regard.  A better approach might be seperation using High Pressure Liquid Chromatrography preceded by elution with solvents more polar than water in those situations.

source:  http://sfscience.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/separating-mixtures/

Buddha did speak of water chemistry, when he mentioned that the self was more fragile than froth on the surface of The Ganges.

Quote
SN 45   
"At one time the Lord was staying at Ayojjhaaya on the bank of the river Ganges. There the Lord addressed the bhikkhus as follows: 'Suppose, bhikkhus, a large lump of froth was floating on this river Ganges and a clear-sighted man were to see it, observe it and properly examine it. Seeing it, observing it, properly examining it, it would appear to him to be empty (ritta), unsubstantial (tuccha), without essence (asaara). What essence, bhikkhus, could there be in a lump of froth?

"In the same way, bhikkhus, whatsoever body, past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, that a bhikkhu sees, observes and properly examines... it would appear to him to be empty, unsubstantial, without essence. What essence, bhikkhus, could there be in body?


source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/ireland/wheel107.html


« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 09:31:23 pm by Bodhisatta 2013 »
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 Optimus Prime

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2013, 10:02:48 pm »
Note to Optimus Prime:  Some dyes are polar compounds and do not separate well during simple distillation.  So, your dye analogy is a little weak in that regard.  A better approach might be seperation using High Pressure Liquid Chromatrography preceded by elution with solvents more polar than water in those situations.

Ron,

It's called an analogy... if you break any analogy into its minutiae, of course the analogy will be different to what it's trying to illustrate.  In the same way that we use similes and metaphors - these will always be different to the subject it's trying to illustrate.

The point being is that the molecule H2O is distinctly separate from the compounds of the dye.  Whether you use distillation or high pressure liquid chromatography - the process is a process of separation of the impurities from the water itself.

Also, in SN45, the body is the form/rupa khandha - it is conditioned and so is impermanent, dukkha and so not fit to be regarded as self.  It is still part of the 5 khandhas which are not you, not yours, not your self.  It is just a condition that arises and ceases.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 10:10:24 pm by Optimus Prime »

Offline francis

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2013, 02:36:06 am »
This term came up in another thread recently, and I thought it would be interesting to explore it in more detail - it appears for example towards the end of DN11.

Thanissaro has it as "consciousness without surface", or "consciousness without feature", and regards it as non-temporal.
Walshe renders it as "signless consciousness" or "invisible consciousness".
Nanananda describes it as the "non-manifestive consciousness" of the Arahant.
Horner renders it as the "discriminative consciousness which cannot be characterised".
Bodhi describes it as the Arahants consciousness during the meditative experience of Nibbana.

So it seems to be a type of consciousness associated with the experience of Nibbana.

But how does it relate to the normal 6-fold experience of consciousness?

There is no consciousness independent of the 6 senses.
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2013, 03:27:21 am »
Spiny,

This term anidassana vinnana is used when the Buddha answers a question that the Gods up to Great Brahma could not give an answer to a skilled meditator.  His question was, "Where do the 4 elements earth, fire, wind and water cease without remainder?"  No one could answer him and Maha Brahma was evasive with his answer whilst in front of his retinue of Devas - until the monk pressed him - then Maha Brahma told him to return to the Buddha for the Buddha will answer it correctly.  The Buddha answered:

You shouldn't ask the question in that way, you should ask:
- Where do the 4 elements find no footing?
- Where are long and short, small and great, fair and foul
- Where is name and form totally destroyed?


Quote
“And the answer is:
“Where consciousness is signless, boundless, all-luminous,
That’s where earth, water, fire and air find no footing,
There both long and short, small and great, fair and foul –
There ‘name and form’ are wholly destroyed.
With the cessation of consciousness this is all destroyed.”
~ D 11.81-5, (Maurice Walshe trans.)

Remember nama-rupa is name and form, ordinary mind and body - a synonym for the 5 skandhas of which consciousness is 1 of the 5.  So how come with the cessation of the type of consciousness of the 5 skandhas - there is still consciousness that is signless, boundless, all luminous?  It means that anidassana vinnana is NOT the same consciousness that is talked about in the 5 skandhas - otherwise, the Buddha would be contradicting himself.  In other words, anidassana vinnana is NOT the ordinary thinking/intellectual consciousness of the 5 skandhas/6 senses - it is a transcendent radiant, signless, infinite consciousness.


Perhaps Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Passano's commentary from "The Island" p131-132 may help in understanding this:

Quote
ONE OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE BUDDHA CHARACTERIZED the quality of awareness was to present it as a form of consciousness (viññana). This represents a unique usage of the term – customarily ‘viññana’ only refers to the conditioned activity of the six senses – however, we also find that the Buddha gives us some adjectives with which to describe it, when the term is used in this unique way:

‘viññanam anidassanam anantam sabbato pabham’‘consciousness that is signless, boundless, all-luminous,’ is one translation of this expression.

It almost goes without saying that there is controversy as to the precise meaning of this enigmatic phrase (it appears in only a couple of places in the Canon: M 49.25 & D 11.85). However, the constellation of meanings of the individual words is small enough to give us a reasonably clear idea of what the Buddha was pointing at.

Firstly, we must assume that he is using ‘viññana’ in a broader way than it usually is meant. The Buddha avoided the nit-picking pedantry of many philosophers contemporary with him and opted for a more broad-brush, colloquial style, geared to particular listeners in a language which they could understand (see after §1.11). Thus ‘viññana’ here can be asssumed to mean ‘knowing’ but not the partial, fragmented, discriminative (vi-) knowing (-ñana) which the word usually implies. Instead it must mean a knowing of a primordial, transcendent nature,
otherwise the passage which contains it would be self-contradictory.


Secondly, ‘anidassanam’ is a fairly straightforward word which means
- a- ‘not, non-, without’
- -nidassanam ‘indicative, visible, manifestative,’ i.e. invisible, empty, featureless, unmanifest;
- ‘anantam’ is also a straightforward term, meaning ‘infinite’ or ‘limitless.’

The final phrase, ‘sabbato pabham’ is a little trickier. Here is Bhikkhu Bodhi’s comment from note 513 to the Majjhima Nikaya:

8.1) “MA [the ancient Commentary] offers three explanations of the phrase
sabbato pabham:
(1) completely possessed of splendour (pabha);
(2) possessing being (pabhþtam) everywhere; and
(3) a ford (pabham) accessible from all sides, i.e., through any of the thirty-eight meditation objects. Only the first of these seems to have any linguistic legitimacy.”
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 03:37:23 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2013, 04:24:21 am »
Thanissaro has it as "consciousness without surface", or "consciousness without feature", and regards it as non-temporal.
Walshe renders it as "signless consciousness" or "invisible consciousness".
Nanananda describes it as the "non-manifestive consciousness" of the Arahant.
Horner renders it as the "discriminative consciousness which cannot be characterised".
Bodhi describes it as the Arahants consciousness during the meditative experience of Nibbana.

There is no consciousness independent of the 6 senses.

I disagree, anidassana-vinnana clearly is distinct from the ordinary 6-fold consciousness.  Have another look at the passage from DN11 we've been discussing, and have another look at the definitions above.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 04:38:02 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2013, 04:26:30 am »
From this evening's reading:

Quote
Viññanam anidassanam. ....In this it differs from the consciousness factor in dependent co-arising, which is defined in terms of the six sense media. Lying outside of time and space, it would also not come under the consciousness-aggregate, which covers all consciousness near and far; past, present, and future. However, the fact that it is outside of time and space — in a dimension where there is no here, there, or in between (Ud 1.10), no coming, no going, or staying (Ud 8.1) — means that it cannot be described as permanent or omnipresent, terms that have meaning only within space and time.

source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.11.0.than.html


Thought this might be useful to your research, Spiny.



Thanks.  The section above is intriguing - it seems to confirm that anidassana-vinnana is referring in some way to experience of the unconditioned?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 04:58:35 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2013, 04:35:54 am »
Quote
“And the answer is:
“Where consciousness is signless, boundless, all-luminous,
That’s where earth, water, fire and air find no footing,
There both long and short, small and great, fair and foul –
There ‘name and form’ are wholly destroyed.
With the cessation of consciousness this is all destroyed.”
~ D 11.81-5, (Maurice Walshe trans.)

Remember nama-rupa is name and form, ordinary mind and body - a synonym for the 5 skandhas of which consciousness is 1 of the 5.  So how come with the cessation of the type of consciousness of the 5 skandhas - there is still consciousness that is signless, boundless, all luminous?  It means that anidassana vinnana is NOT the same consciousness that is talked about in the 5 skandhas - otherwise, the Buddha would be contradicting himself.  In other words, anidassana vinnana is NOT the ordinary thinking/intellectual consciousness of the 5 skandhas/6 senses - it is a transcendent radiant, signless, infinite consciousness.


Yes, this is the passage from DN11 I quoted earlier.  It seems clear that anidassana-vinnana is not the same as the usual 6-fold classifiction of consciousness that we're familiar with - what might be called "ordinary consciousness".  However there seem to be different interpretations of what is meant by name-and-form being destroyed and the cessation of ordinary consciousness.  Nanananda for example seems to say that this refers to the cessation of conceptual thinking and proliferation, though I'm not sure I find his analysis convincing.

At this point I'm inclined to agree with Bikkhu Bodhi's intepretation that the anidassana-vinnana is really referring to a meditative experience, possibly a higher jhana - I think the DN11 passage would support this.

Offline BlueSky

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 04:40:38 am »
You can only understand that if you are ready to go beyond the permanent - the unconditioned.

However, by the time you are in that state, you can also know that it is inappropriate to name that as adinassana vinana.

Because you know that is the state of no name.

So, the name itself, adinassana vinana does not really tell you the insight.

Because it is a name referring to no name.

So, if in yourself, you think like, because it is a name, it mus. Refer to specific object, you will never be in that state.

It is a state without name.

And when you are there - you can know for yourself, how inappropriate it is to name it as Buddha nature, or the unconditioned, and so on.

Once you ever experience that, you will know complete freedom, and that is enlightenment free from any confusion.
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 04:41:06 am »
Perhaps Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Passano's commentary from "The Island" p131-132 may help in understanding this:

Secondly, ‘anidassanam’ is a fairly straightforward word which means
- a- ‘not, non-, without’
- -nidassanam ‘indicative, visible, manifestative,’ i.e. invisible, empty, featureless, unmanifest;

Hmm, I don't find this atall straightforward. :wink1:
If something is invisible and unmanifest, then how would one experience it?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 05:04:00 am by Spiny Norman »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 04:56:50 am »
So, the name itself, adinassana vinana does not really tell you the insight.
And when you are there - you can know for yourself, how inappropriate it is to name it as Buddha nature, or the unconditioned, and so on.

So you think anidassana-vinnana is referring to experience of the unconditioned?  In what way do you think?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2013, 05:25:32 am »
Right, Spiny!  I think that is why Buddha placed so much emphasis on personal verification and validation in his response the The Kalamas. 

It is difficult to impossible for us to understand anything which is not within the realm of our own personal experience.  Couple that fact with our lack of willingness to let go of that to which we are familiar and to  which we have been attached since birth, and we have the classical formula for what Buddha called "this entire ball of suffering", right here in downtown samsara.

My favorite religious parable illustrating the fear which we possess in our hearts for the unfamiliar was when Jesus Christ walked up to the fishing vessel during a storm in which his followers floated.  Jesus from the darkness of dusk, fog, mist, froth and foam of the storm upon the swirling wind driven waters commanded Simon called Peter to get out of the nice safe boat and walk upon the waves over to him.  Peter knew from his past experience that walking on water was impossible and feared drowning.  Yet ( at least according to the story) Peter called Simon did it, because of his faith in Jesus. 

For us Buddhists struggling to learn, and practice The Dhamma, the question eventually becomes, "Do we have sufficient faith in Buddha's teachings to go where he says we need to go to experience unbinding and release?"

What's our answer?  More importantly what is your answer?  What is my answer? Has our suffering become sufficient for us to begin weening from the samsaric tit of the familiar in our quest for attainment?  Are we willing to turn our backs on friends, family, well ingrained habits, and our addictions to our rutted paths in this samsaric life of ours in exchange for Buddha's promise of unbinding and release? 

At what point in time do we become willing to cease our clinging and grasping of that to which we have come to rely for comfort, shelter, and safety?  At what point do we develop the courage to be willing to become willing?

Unlike Jesus Christ, Buddha has not given us a command to exit the boat in the middle of our life's storm, but instead offers each of us in his teachings "what to do and why to do it" in The Four Noble Truths.  He offers both the facts of the reality of suffering, the revelation that the suffering can be ended, and teaches us the means to do so.

Exiting from the safe and secure into the unknown no matter how wonderful we have been told it will be is just plain scary as hell.  It is very understandable that we have great difficulty letting go of "the familiar".  Reflect upon your very first day at school.  As a child remember the first time you jumped off a diving board into the water?  As a teen, young adult, or as a lonely middle aged person, remember the first time we had sex, with someone, who truly loved us and cared about us enough to be willing to devote the rest of their lives with us.  Recall signing the purchase / loan agreement when we bought our first car or first  house.  All of us have had experiences of stepping off into experientially uncharted territory. 

If we truly wish to attain The Unconditioned, The Deathless, Nibbana, then we must motivate ourselves to fervently study, practice and experience the reality of living our lives in accordance with The Noble Eight Fold Path.  In this way, if we are to believe Buddha's promise, and the example of results of the members of his holy sangha as reported in The Suttas,  we can build a history of successes as a direct result of following Buddha's teachings.  We will learn from experience what works, and what does not work.  We will develop the muscles that only the exertion of having our own personal experiences brings.  We will, as a result, develop the necessary faith born of experience allowing us in faith in The Buddha's teachings to let go of that to which we have become attached, unbind and attain.  In this way we will come to know why Buddha placed so much emphasis on personal validation and verification in stated in his Charter of Free Inquiry, The Kalama Sutta.

Spiny, you know for a fact that no one ever got thirty inch biceps from having someone else exercise for them.  Attainment requires work.  Hard work!  Lots of faith, and a willingness to overcome our fears arising from the comfort of habituation. No steroids.

Or, at least, so say The Buddhas. :r4wheel:
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 05:41:51 am by Bodhisatta 2013 »
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 Optimus Prime

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2013, 05:31:31 am »
Perhaps Ajahn Amaro and Ajahn Passano's commentary from "The Island" p131-132 may help in understanding this:

Secondly, ‘anidassanam’ is a fairly straightforward word which means
- a- ‘not, non-, without’
- -nidassanam ‘indicative, visible, manifestative,’ i.e. invisible, empty, featureless, unmanifest;

Hmm, I don't find this atall straightforward. :wink1:
If something is invisible and unmanifest, then how would one experience it?

Not manifest means not-arising, not born, not created.  What's another name for this?  Nirvana.

Therefore, anidassana vinnana is the Unconditioned Mind.



From Ajahn Maha Boowa's book, "The Path to Arahantship", Glossary p 107:
Quote
The citta is the mind’s essential knowing nature, the fundamental quality of knowing that underlies all sentient existence.

When associated with a physical body, it is referred to as “mind” or “heart”. Being corrupted by the defiling influence of fundamental ignorance (avijjã), its currents “flow out” to manifest as feelings (vedanã), memory (saññã), thoughts (sankhãra), and consciousness (viññãna), thus embroiling the citta in a web of self-deception. It is deceived about its own true nature.

The true nature of the citta is that it simply “knows”. There is no subject, no object, no duality; it simply knows. The citta does not arise or pass away; it is never born and never dies.

Normally, the “knowing nature” of the citta is timeless, boundless, and radiant, but this true nature is obscured by the defilements (kilesa) within it. Through the power of fundamental ignorance, a focal point of the “knower” is created from which that knowing nature views the world outside. The establishment of that false center creates a “self” from whose perspective consciousness flows out to perceive the duality of the “knower” and the “known”. Thus the citta becomes entangled with things that are born, become ill, grow old, and die, and therefore, deeply involved it in a whole mass of suffering.
Notice how Ajahn Maha Boowa says that the Citta is boundless and radiant - the same description given to anidassana vinnana.  Further it does not arise nor pass away, not born and deathless - exactly the same qualities as Nirvana.  Bodhi Nirvana IS the unconditioned True Mind.



You ask that if something is invisible and not manifest, how can you experience it?

Take empty space.  Space is not manifest, yet we still know it's there.  It is not visible, it has no features, yet we still know that it exists.  It is empty, yet contains all the forms in the universe.  This is an analogy to what Nirvana is like.

Offline BlueSky

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2013, 05:33:43 am »
In order for you to go beyond name, you must precisely know the limitation of name.

This is a simple example: no name.

If it is no name, you cannot give it a name.
A name of 'no name' is a name.
So, by saying a no name to a no name is a mistake.
You shall understand this very clearly that:
To give a name of no name, is a mistake, because whatever has no name, cannot be given any name even the name of no name.

So, here once you are very clear about it, you will know this for yourself.

Because it doesn't have any name, you cannot even think about it. You can only be it.

Why you cannot think about it, but can only be it?
Because for you to think, you need name, plenty of names, to interact.

But without any name, how can you even think about it? Isn't it?

Enlightenment is never ever a product of thinking.

Because it is no name, how can you transfer this to others?
You can't. Because if you want to transfer this to others, you need name.

This is why, no Buddha can ever transfer his enlightenment to others.

The best of the best he can do is to use name.

But there is a dilemma here. If you want to teach, how to teach?

You have no chvoice here, to compromise this mistake with a name.

So here: you can transfer to others no name, but what you can transfer is only a name of no name, which is not exactly what you want to transfer.

You don't want to transfer the name of no name. What you want to transfer it is what that no name referring to, which cannot be said as no name.

That's why in Zen, it is said:
All Dharma text taught by Buddha are just like the finger pointing. It cannot go beyond that finger.

Bodhidharma said:
Dharma text is like just like a fishing net. It can never become the fish.

However, when you teach people that that is the state of no name, people will then memorize it oh that is the state of no name.

Because they memorize it, they only see the finger, but they never see what that finger pointing to, which is without definition itself.

People who see no name as no name, does not get the meaning.
And because of that he will never experience the authentic experience beyond any label. He simply experience the experience of name no name.

But, people who really get the meaning of no name, they will get the meaning, and they see the mistake of the name.
This is like, that person See the moon, and no longer See the finger.

The state of no name, is the state that you shall experience yourself.

Once you experience that, you will know.

You will know how mistake it is to say that state as:
Buddha nature, the unconditioned, nirvana, the no name, the true self, and so on.

Because now you already see the meaning, and no llonger see the text.

If you can see the mistake of no name to no name, only then you get the meaning, and go beyond the name of no name.

That state is not no name.

But if you want to say it out, you have no choice to make a mistake to name it no name.

But in your heart, you exactly know, it actually cannot be name as no name.

Enlightenment is always and always a matter of experience, never ever a matter of thinking.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 05:45:16 am by BlueSky »
Enlightenment is simply the clearing away of misunderstanding. When mistaken thinking is gone, liberation has happened. (Gampopa)


When we verbally indicate a thing as 'this' or 'that', our words, like rabbits's horns, are hollow names, mere fictive imputation upon what does not exist. (Longchenpa)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2013, 06:33:05 am »
Spiny, you know for a fact that no one ever got thirty inch biceps from having someone else exercise for them.  Attainment requires work.  Hard work!  Lots of faith, and a willingness to overcome our fears arising from the comfort of habituation. No steroids.

Absolutely.  But I also think it's useful to develop some understanding the goal of all this effort, in this case Nibbana, the unconditioned.  So we know that our practice is taking us in the right direction.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Anidassana-vinnana
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2013, 06:34:39 am »
Enlightenment is always and always a matter of experience, never ever a matter of thinking.

Of course.  But I'm not sure how that's relevant to the discussion we're having about anidassana-vinnana.

 


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