Author Topic: Mind consciousness?  (Read 3093 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2010, 04:05:30 am »
Hi Spiny,
 In the discourses the word is 'vinnana', and it is used in many different ways. To understand the meaning in a particular passage, one must look at the way the word is being used. Sometimes it means 'soul' or 'self', sometimes it means the mind as a whole, sometimes it means a conceptual knowing of some sort.

I was specifically looking at consciousness as one of 6 primary types described in the 5 aggregates, ie one for each sense base and one for the mind.  In this context consciousness appears to mean basic knowing or awareness, prior to the processes of feeling and perception based on formations.  From this I assume that mind-consciousness here means what we'd call "self-awareness" in modern parlance, ie we're aware of what's going on in our mind, thoughts, feelings etc.

Spiny

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2010, 04:02:14 am »
I was reading MN 148 earlier and I think the following extracts are relevant since they explain the relationships between mind, mind-objects, mind-consciousness and contact.  Note that for each section I've extracted the bits on eye and  mind consciousness for the sake of comparison.  I haven't quite worked out the difference between consciousness and contact as desribed in MN 148.7:

MN 148.4: "The six internal bases should be understood.  There are the eye-base....and the mind base."

MN 148.5: "The six external bases should be understood.  There are the form-base....and the mind-object-base."

MN 148.6: "Dependent on the eye and form, eye-consciousness arises......Dependent on the mind and mind-object, mind-consciousness arises."

MN 148.7: "Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact.....
Dependent on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact."

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2010, 07:20:57 am »

MN148:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.148.than.html

Quote
"'The six classes of consciousness should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. 'The six classes of consciousness should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the third sextet.


Buddha apparently does not recognize the mind-consciousness as the integrator/director/coordinator of the other five senses.  This has always confused and disappointed me as this is what (I) have observed.  For example, when sitting (I) will be focused on breath, sensing also pressure in my nostrils and lungs, sensing also sounds, sensing also pressure and pain on my hips, knees, and cocyx.  Intellectual consciousness can choose to change focus or to ignor.


I was reading MN 148 earlier and I think the following extracts are relevant since they explain the relationships between mind, mind-objects, mind-consciousness and contact.  Note that for each section I've extracted the bits on eye and  mind consciousness for the sake of comparison.  I haven't quite worked out the difference between consciousness and contact as desribed in MN 148.7:

MN 148.4: "The six internal bases should be understood.  There are the eye-base....and the mind base."

MN 148.5: "The six external bases should be understood.  There are the form-base....and the mind-object-base."

MN 148.6: "Dependent on the eye and form, eye-consciousness arises......Dependent on the mind and mind-object, mind-consciousness arises."

MN 148.7: "Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact.....
Dependent on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises; the meeting of the three is contact."
What Makes an Elder? :
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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 Spiny Norman

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2010, 08:01:14 am »
Buddha apparently does not recognize the mind-consciousness as the integrator/director/coordinator of the other five senses. 

I think you're right, but I'm still not sure what mind-consciousness is. 
Looking at MN 148.6 above, "Dependent on the eye and form, eye-consciousness arises......Dependent on the mind and mind-object, mind-consciousness arises.", seems to be saying that if we have a mind and a mind-object we will get mind-consciousness.  But does that mean we are conscious of all mental feelings, thoughts and images?

Spiny   

Offline vinasp

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2010, 08:26:24 am »
Hi Spiny,

 Spiny post #30, quote:
I was specifically looking at consciousness as one of 6 primary types described in the 5 aggregates, ie one for each sense base and one for the mind.  In this context consciousness appears to mean basic knowing or awareness, prior to the processes of feeling and perception based on formations.  From this I assume that mind-consciousness here means what we'd call "self-awareness" in modern parlance, ie we're aware of what's going on in our mind, thoughts, feelings etc.

 This is a tricky part of the teachings. When consciousness is said to be of six kinds, this is an analysis by way of the six sense-bases. The sixth is 'manas' the mind-organ. What are we aware of? Things seen through the eye, things heard through the ear, and so on for all five senses. But that is not all, what about ideas? So they postulated another sense organ, like the eye, but which knows ideas. This mind-organ is distinct from mind as a whole (citta).

So, one interpretation would take these six kinds of consciousness as: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and knowing (ideas).
 Alternatively, consciousness could mean conceptual knowing, so the six kinds become: knowing that I see, knowing that I hear .... knowing that I know.
 What is aware of feelings and other states of mind? It could be citta, this is sometimes translated as 'mind', sometimes 'heart'.

 Best wishes, Vincent.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2010, 10:06:11 am »
Yes,  What you are advising makes sense.  Eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch and their objects raise consciousnesses specific to the particular sense organ in conjunction with the specific sense organ object/form.  The eye cannot function without something to see.  The ear cannot function without something to hear, and etc.

So, instead of defining mentality as some field property of the mental organ, mind, let's translate mind-organ directly as brain, which now reads "Dependent upon the brain and its objects of concentration (thoughts, feelings, emotions) there arises brain consciousness."

So now what we have is sensory organs being activated by the appropriate physical sensory stimulus (reflected light<=>visual system, sound<=>auditory system, smell<=>olfactory system, taste<=>gustatory system, touch<=> tactility system, and thoughts, feelings, and emotions<=>cognitive system.  All of this is currently verifiable with neuro-physiological  imaging.  We can see those brain centers light up when the appropriate stimulae are present.

The fact that the other sub-conscious functions of the brain were left out requires some pondering.  Equally so the brain as sensory integrator/director/sorter/planner/reflector/memorizer.



Hi Spiny,

 Spiny post #30, quote:
I was specifically looking at consciousness as one of 6 primary types described in the 5 aggregates, ie one for each sense base and one for the mind.  In this context consciousness appears to mean basic knowing or awareness, prior to the processes of feeling and perception based on formations.  From this I assume that mind-consciousness here means what we'd call "self-awareness" in modern parlance, ie we're aware of what's going on in our mind, thoughts, feelings etc.

 This is a tricky part of the teachings. When consciousness is said to be of six kinds, this is an analysis by way of the six sense-bases. The sixth is 'manas' the mind-organ. What are we aware of? Things seen through the eye, things heard through the ear, and so on for all five senses. But that is not all, what about ideas? So they postulated another sense organ, like the eye, but which knows ideas. This mind-organ is distinct from mind as a whole (citta).

So, one interpretation would take these six kinds of consciousness as: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching and knowing (ideas).
 Alternatively, consciousness could mean conceptual knowing, so the six kinds become: knowing that I see, knowing that I hear .... knowing that I know.
 What is aware of feelings and other states of mind? It could be citta, this is sometimes translated as 'mind', sometimes 'heart'.

 Best wishes, Vincent.
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 Spiny Norman

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Re: Mind consciousness?
« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2010, 04:02:07 am »
But that is not all, what about ideas? So they postulated another sense organ, like the eye, but which knows ideas. This mind-organ is distinct from mind as a whole (citta).

I think mind-consciousness is an aspect or function of mind ( citta ), perhaps we could call it reflexive consciousness?
So mind consciousness is aware of mind-objects ( eg thoughts ) while eye-consciousness is aware of visual objects ( form ).
I think. :)

Spiny

 


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