Does matter exist without consciousness?

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pael
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Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by pael » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:03 pm

Does matter exist without consciousness? Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Without consciousness does anything exist? Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Queequeg
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:24 pm

Matter is a distinct skandha from conciousness... so I suppose there is an argument to be made that matter can "exist" without consciousness...

But... consciousness "exists" so its hard to fathom matter "existing" without consciousness...

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

"When a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?"

Things that make you go, "hmmm."

Relevant?

https://futurism.com/could-universe-conscious/
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Minobu
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Minobu » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:22 pm

pael wrote:Does matter exist without consciousness? Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Without consciousness does anything exist? Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
Some random thoughts ...

they say that on a certain level everything is like thought, concerning matter.


Jai Guru Dev said everything is a boundless awareness of possibilities...

A rinpoche once taught us that it is all karma...it was karma that creates matter..The gods and Buddhas make it beautiful for sentient beings..he said they were like the creators...without them ,he said, it would all be noxious fumes and something like lava and volcanoes and harshness everywhere...
so i guess karma creates it and the gods and Buddhas make it beautiful for us to dwell in and learn the Dharma.

I think there are levels to consciousness and awareness...and i think they are one and the same..

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Matt J
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Matt J » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:23 pm

How would you ever know?
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by odysseus » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:24 pm

Matter exists, like the mind exists. One cannot have the one without the other. It is foolish to deny the existence of matter.
Let a man not seek for the respect of his peers, let him seek wisdom.

-- Dhammapada

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Tolya M » Mon Jul 10, 2017 10:59 am

pael wrote:Does matter exist without consciousness? Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Without consciousness does anything exist? Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
Only in asanna sattva plane rupa exist apart from consiousness and consiousness apart from rupa in arupa loka brahmas according to some schools. But there are many of those who maintain subtle thought and subtle rupa in these planes. The latter statement looks more plausible.

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Tolya M » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:17 pm

pael wrote:Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Universe in buddhism is a part of being's vision. Besides them, there is no any universe. Just like you never knew anything bypassing your consciousness.

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:14 am

Let's define some terms.
Strictly speaking, to "exist" in the Buddhist sense means to possess an inherent, indivisible quality. That means that something must occur regardless of its relationship to anything else, and that it cannot be broken down into various components which do not also fully express that existence.

There is obviously plenty that occurs in the universe without there being any known awareness of it. Your body can have a disease and nobody, not even you or your doctor knows about it. So, "occur" is often a more accurate term than "exist".

Is there anything which, by the Buddhist definition, can be said to exist? Yes, space exists. It may or may not be filled with matter, but no matter how you divide it, it is still space. Space is not made up of anything other than space. There is nothing inherent in a table or in any part of a table that contains "tableness" but every bit of space is an expression of space, of "spaceness".

Now, the nature of space, and its relation to time and so forth as an argument of physics is another issue.

When Buddhists assert that nothing exists outside of consciousness, or aside from consciousness, this doesn't mean that there is nothing that isn't known, or that, say, a planet isn't physically in orbit somewhere until the second it's discovered, as though our thoughts conjure it into existence.

What this assertion refers to can be understood in different ways. In terms of ordinary day to day living, it means that we only experience the habitual way of looking at things, that, for instance, if its a rainy day, we impute value to that and say it's bad weather or it's good weather or whatever. We can even take this a step further and look at it in terms of physiology: our brains are trapped forever in dark little calcium boxes we call our skulls, and every moment of our "reality" is nothing more than an interpretation of electrical impulses triggered by outside stimuli coming into contact with our sense organs. From this, one might argue that we never ever really experience reality directly, and that these is no "we" to experience it.

At the same time, there is truth to the assertion that the realms we experience, as humans or as animals or whatever, are totally the projections of our own minds, expressed as the ripening of karma, meaning an infinite web of interconnected causes and effects. There really is no inner and outer world, even though we experience such, an outer world of things that happen, and an inner world of thinking about things that happen. But it's all one world, just as we are part of the universe, eve though we experience the universe as "out there" when we look at the stars at night.

More importantly, perhaps, is the actual practice of regarding the universe as a projection of mind, as they say, to see everything as a dream, as this practice really does reveal the illusory nature of what we experience as real. There is a lot more of our imaginations at work than we realize.
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by The Artis Magistra » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:55 am

pael wrote:Does matter exist without consciousness? Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Without consciousness does anything exist? Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
Wow, great question.

What we know or refer to as "matter" can not be established as having any existence except in our experience. Our experience is like a flat screen of perception inclusive of whatever we experience in that moment, so there exists this idea of "matter", but all we experience is information which is whatever at all we experience any moment "stuff", inclusive of all distinctions we might typically make, like emotions or memories or whatever else.

The existence of matter is the domain or interest of physicists but in the Buddhism I am familiar with the focus is largely on ethics more so than specific systems or models of the Universe devoid of ethics or things pertaining to the various aspects of the ethical Dharma and its consequences or results.

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by muni » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:25 am

Hi there,

Wonderful topic.
Is this not an example of dependency, or sometimes called interdependency?
When the mind connects, there is usually the perception of a thing, phenomena, material. In some tradition it is explained that thoughts solidify everything. Means not so that a cup for hot tea can only be used by a thought. But the cup can be by thought seen as something completely different or independent from consciousness, forgetting the very dependency.

By clarity, openness of mind, meditation or nondual equipoise the interdependency ( and emptiness/selflesness) is becoming spontaneously clear and so stops doubts. And then there is no consciousness and material as existences on their own. Since when two are only as interdependency, it is then I guess impossible to be there 'two', neither one.

Not same as mind but not different. :smile:

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:20 pm

In order to answer the question, we would have to observe matter without consciousness. And who can do that? :shrug:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:28 pm

This whole conundrum arises because of early modern science. It goes back to Descartes dividing the world into mind and matter. Galileo said that what was real, was what could be measured mathematically - 'the book of nature is written in mathematics'. And what could be measured mathematically were the objects of physics - bodies that had mass, velocity, position, and so forth. 'Mind', meanwhile, was said to be 'secondary' - internal, private, subjective. From this it was presumed that what is real, is what is measurable, 'out there', existing anyway, the vast universe in which man is but a blip etc.

But what this has overlooked is the role of mind in all of these judgements. The whole of physics rests on inferences, measurement, and judgement. And those all take place in the mind. But because of the desire to understand everything in terms of 'bodies in motion', then those acts of judgement were forgotten about. It was supposed that 'mind' was the output or consequence of the actions of matter, which had somehow come together through 'evolution' (which to all intents wishes to replicate the theoretical success of physics in the domain of biology, which is the essence of 'scientism'.)

It is all a big mass of confusion but it is very hard to see through it, as Western culture simply assumes the truth of it, without really thinking it through or understanding it. In other words, most people simply believe it without question, if you try and get them to question they think you're crazy. Buddhism never got itself into this predicament, although there's a possibility (or a threat) that Buddhists could become contaminated by it. But if you understand the history clearly and retrace how 'The West' got into this predicament, it really isn't that hard to see through it.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by takso » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:51 am

pael wrote:Does matter exist without consciousness?
No, matter would not exist without consciousness.
pael wrote:Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Yes, a conscious observer must be present for the matter to exist.
pael wrote:Without consciousness does anything exist?
What is existence? Existence is defined as that can be known by the mind (a type of consciousness). And anything that is not known to the mind does not exist. In fact, mind is the forerunner of all states, things or matters. And observable facts are dependent on the observer’s mind to provide the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter – therefore, it is also known as subjective facts.
pael wrote:Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
Yes, in a way it did. Karma means action. Action involves motion. Motion generates energy. Energy and matter are two aspects of the same thing, the differentiating factor is merely on their respective vibrational frequencies. So to speak, your past and present karma would determine your future or next life condition in the cyclic processes of rebirth.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by muni » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:39 am

Bodies are also dependent material compositions/matter, which are also dependent of consciousness and are not without ( how to percieve?). I say this because in samsara we are habitually used to identify with bodies and from this names and grasping arises.

Equipoise (nondual) is necessary for nature like it appears/is, to be revealed. All perceived appearances depend on consciousness/mind and then it turns completely impossible to cling and by that fall in the habits of likes or dislikes or neutral to any. This 'cuts' through the suffering chain. Since all appearances gets their judgements ( good, bad, so or so) by consciousness which is clinging to the appearances as they would be substances on their own, separate of consciousness. Things/beings cannot have characteristics by them own. ( emptiness of name-form) Characteristics of things, others, depend on the variety of clinging consciousness. Only without clinging/grasping, Compassion is possible. Otherwise partiality rules.

PS Some rambling o o only. See cognetive obscurations.

Just a side note, regarding dependency, I heard Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo for example saying: “we all breath the same air.” This is so beautiful, since all is interdependent, just as breaths in the air.

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:47 pm

If "...anything that is not known to the mind does not exist..." then nothing new would ever be discovered.
You could not have an illness that you are unaware of.
There would be no members to this forum until you yourself joined it,
and all posts would be creations of your own mind.
And if that is the case, if you disagree with this assessment
then this post is your own mind arguing with itself.
Since no enlightened being has a mind in conflict with itself,
the assertion that "...anything that is not known to the mind does not exist..."
is an unenlightened view.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

Anonymous X
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:43 am

pael wrote:Does matter exist without consciousness? Does matter need a conscious observer for it to exist?
Without consciousness does anything exist? Does karma create matter? Does matter arise from karma?
According to Nagasena, each consciousness accompanies it sense base.

“These conditions are related like the yolk of an egg
and its shell, they always arise together and thus they have
been related through time immemorial.”


further........

“Does mind-consciousness arise wherever eyeconsciousness
arises?”
“Yes, O king, where the one is there the other is.”
“Which arises first?”“First eye-consciousness then mind-consciousness.”
“Does eye-consciousness issue a command to mind
consciousness or vice versa?”
“No, there is no communication between them.”
“Then why is it, Nàgasena, that mind-consciousness
arises wherever there is eye-consciousness?”
“Because, O king, there is a tendency, an opening, a
habit and an association.”


On karma........

“What is it, Nàgasena, that is reborn?”
“Mind and matter.”
“Is it this very mind and matter that is reborn?”
“No, it is not, but by this mind and matter deeds are
done and because of those deeds another mind and matter
is reborn; but that mind and matter is not thereby released
from the results of its previous deeds.”


Interesting stuff.

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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:47 pm

Does it matter? :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Grigoris
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:51 pm

odysseus wrote:One cannot have the one without the other. It is foolish to deny the existence of matter.
Need I point out the completely contradictory nature of these two statements?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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odysseus
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by odysseus » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:17 pm

Grigoris wrote:
odysseus wrote:One cannot have the one without the other. It is foolish to deny the existence of matter.
Need I point out the completely contradictory nature of these two statements?
Yes, you do. Thanks.
Let a man not seek for the respect of his peers, let him seek wisdom.

-- Dhammapada

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takso
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Re: Does matter exist without consciousness?

Post by takso » Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:43 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If "...anything that is not known to the mind does not exist..." then nothing new would ever be discovered.
You could not have an illness that you are unaware of.
There would be no members to this forum until you yourself joined it,
and all posts would be creations of your own mind.
And if that is the case, if you disagree with this assessment
then this post is your own mind arguing with itself.
Since no enlightened being has a mind in conflict with itself,
the assertion that "...anything that is not known to the mind does not exist..."
is an unenlightened view.
In the first place, there is no arising of single or universal mind in samsara. When there are 10 individuals, there would be 10 unique minds respectively. Supposedly, in a room, there are two individuals i.e. Individual A (Mind A) and Individual B (Mind B). Let's say, Individual A is holding a ball and it's hidden from Individual B. In this case, the ball does exist in the room as it is already known to Individual A (Mind A). However, the ball does not exist in the room if you were to ask Individual B (Mind B). In other words, whether the ball does exist or vice versa, the end result is dependent on whether it is known to the respective minds of individual or otherwise.

Just like both the duck and the cow are created realities. Precisely, this kind of reality is also known as conventional reality i.e. a subjective cum relative reality. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. The phenomena that arise are very much related to the consciousness that perceives them.

For instance, if you were to show an I-phone to a caveman, he would describe it as merely a useless hard object. And if you were to show it to let’s say, an ant, it becomes a gigantic heavy object. Likewise, you can be named as a human, a son, a father, a preacher, a student, a Caucasian, an American, a thin man, an old man, a buyer, a supplier, a stranger, etc. concurrently. At the end of the day, the observer (be it your own self or another third party) would provide the definition or recognition based on their respective perception on the same referred object or matter.

Phenomenon exists as this or that is dependent on the observers. It is just like describing the same elephant by different blind men – one blind man may say an elephant looks like a tree trunk; another blind man would say an elephant looks like a snake.

In fact, humans could expand their consciousnesses by increasing the innate mind frequency span via deep meditation respectively. Also, with the progress of civilisation, the human mind frequency span would be altered progressively as well. For example, it is unknown to mankind the existence of cosmic rays previously. With the advancement of science and technology, humans have begun detecting and realising its existence in the cosmos. In other words, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist. Therefore, previously, those cosmic rays did not exist to mankind as it was not discerned by the human mind frequencies. Only in modern days, with the advent of advanced astronomy studies and experiments, did humans alter and expand their innate mind frequency span to a grander scale to enable the detection of things with higher vibrational frequencies.

At the end of the day, an enlightened view would mean a wholesome view. The meaning of wholesome would be in totality of perspective and unwholesome would be in non-totality of perspective. And ultimate reality exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories.

In other words, ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. A fully awakened state of mind does not require labeling, colouring, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. All subjects and objects are in completely neutralised state of affairs - when this arising, that arises; when this ceasing, that ceases.
~ Ignorance triumphs when wise men do nothing ~

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