Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

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Astus
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Astus » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:52 pm

stevie wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:24 pm
So your negation of Nirvana being 'a type of consciousness' was not meant to be a categorical negation because it can be an object of consciousness. However consideration that consciousness is impermanent but Nirvana is atemporal may entail further conceptual issues because they should be categorical different which is in contradiction to how consciousness has been defined before.
Perhaps the term 'consciousness' is merely not appropriate in the context of Nirvana considering its use in conventional buddhist teachings?
Nirvana is the complete cessation of defilements. Is it possible to experience cessation, like when one no longer feels attracted to an object? In a way, yes, one can know that. On the other hand, such cessation is not actually an object to be observed. That's why it's similar to observing space, as space is not really a visual object, but rather an absence.

"However completely one explores the entire space,
Seeing will completely cease, for space is infinite.
Similarly, one explores inner and outer reality,
But one will not find any essence – not even a subatomic particle!
The mind thus explored is inconceivable;
Hence seeing nothing is seeing it indeed."

(Shavaripa, quoted in Mahamudra: The Moonlight, p 193)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Rick
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Rick » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:57 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:25 am
Rick wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:05 am
Astus wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:17 pm
the conventional is mistaking the conventional for the ultimate, and the ultimate is seeing the conventional as simply conventional.
Is the ultimate in red the same as the ultimate in green?
They don't have the same meaning. When the conventional is mistaken for the ultimate, it means that one assumes that there is a substance, that behind concepts there are real entities, and that is how ordinary, i.e. conventional, view looks like. On the other hand, what is called the ultimate truth is seeing that there is no substance, that concepts are just mere concepts without any reality, so that's how conventional is just conventional.
Whew ... that was a close call, I was afraid you might be presenting a recursive definition of conventional, and pondering recursion sends me to the fainting couch!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by stevie » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:41 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:52 pm
stevie wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:24 pm
So your negation of Nirvana being 'a type of consciousness' was not meant to be a categorical negation because it can be an object of consciousness. However consideration that consciousness is impermanent but Nirvana is atemporal may entail further conceptual issues because they should be categorical different which is in contradiction to how consciousness has been defined before.
Perhaps the term 'consciousness' is merely not appropriate in the context of Nirvana considering its use in conventional buddhist teachings?
Nirvana is the complete cessation of defilements. Is it possible to experience cessation, like when one no longer feels attracted to an object? In a way, yes, one can know that. On the other hand, such cessation is not actually an object to be observed. That's why it's similar to observing space, as space is not really a visual object, but rather an absence.

"However completely one explores the entire space,
Seeing will completely cease, for space is infinite.
Similarly, one explores inner and outer reality,
But one will not find any essence – not even a subatomic particle!
The mind thus explored is inconceivable;
Hence seeing nothing is seeing it indeed."

(Shavaripa, quoted in Mahamudra: The Moonlight, p 193)
That resonates with me. Thank you.
'complete cessation of defilements' for me means 'complete cessation of my ignorance' which - according to precious teachers - is of two kinds: afflictive and cognitive.
And since I've always equated my experience with my ignorance, now that you're offering 'absence', yes, absence of what has been present before but is not present now can be known, since it is a mere non-implicative negation of what has been known. It's a negative phenomenon and as such it can be known.
But of course as a practitioner knowing absence can only be absence of afflictive ignorance which is only temporary absence and which may occcur spontaneously because - according to teachers - no sentient being suffers from afflictive ignorance permanently but cognitive ignorance is present even as afflictive ignorance is absent ... until the 8th bhumi they say
Edit: sorry, I guess that's wrong ... I should have written 'until buddhahood'.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:23 pm

stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:09 pm
Maybe the issue actually is just an exaggeration in terms of so called 'truth' of what merely is a use of terms according to the conventions of followers of different systems of thoughts? After all the question is not what consciousness really is but how the term 'consciousness' is understood by particular traditions.
Yes, I would quite agree. Thanks for pointing this out. I found a quote from Buddhist author/thinker David Loy that says basically the same.

Buddhism and Vedanta may be seen as describing the same phenomenon from different perspectives. From their different perspectives, different metaphysical systems are derived. But we may still wonder why they opt for different perspectives. Why did Shankara prefer to speak of the One and the Buddha of nothingness? -- David Loy
stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:09 pm
Particular traditions use the term 'consciousness' to label what is assumed to happen in the context of perceptions and thoughts that are known in the world. The being aware of the perceived or the thought is called 'consciousness'. And since the perceived and the thoughts pop up and vanish, so does the corresponding 'consciousness'.
Yes, if you view consciousness in this kind of way, you could say that it is "arising" along with arising phenomena ("eye consciousness", "ear consciousness", etc.) But as mentioned here before, there is another equally plausible view and that is of perceptual phenomena arising within a fixed field of consciousness. From that point of view, consciousness is not arising but is "catching" or being directed towards each phenomena as it arises within its ever-present field.
stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:09 pm
your 'fixed field' is - from my perspective - perfectly compatible with this understanding of 'consciousness' as momentary events. How this? Just consider a waveform similar to EEG waveforms on a monitor or a paper. There are peaks and valleys that represent momentary consciousnesses ranging on the y-axis from let's say +1 to -1 but there is also a baseline at y = 0 when no consciousness arises. Now you would like to call the baseline 'consciousness' while the tradition calls 'consciousness' every peak or valley above or below the baseline. The potential / energy of the baseline may be called 'life energy', which is the characteristic of conscious being or sentience, and the intermittent positive or negative amplitudes may be called 'consciousnesses'. If you call the baseline 'consciousness' then how would you like to call the amplitudes?
Thanks for putting forth this interesting perspective. Yet, I would say that "baseline consciousness" never reaches a baseline, a y = 0, where "no consciousness would arise." It is against its very nature. I would argue that it is always there, ever present. Or as you would probably say, it "always arises" along with perceptual phenomena.

As you originally positioned, I think we're all observing the same phenomena. But we're just interpreting it in a radically different way.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:16 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
So, wouldn't it then be valid to say that maybe your interpretation of the nature of consciousness may be flawed?
Of course, since my, yours or anybody else's interpretation of the nature of consciousness is biased, it is equally plausible that it is incomplete. I would not say flawed though as that implies total invalidation. And as transpersonal psychiatrist Stan Grof says, systems of psychological or religious thought are flawed mainly at the point where they believe they have the complete grasp or understanding on the nature of the mind and reality.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
Also: Given that the interpretation I am expressing is based on the Buddha's teachings following his awakening, why should I believe that your interpretation is more correct (especially given that you have provided no evidence of it's validity)?
Your interpretation being in light with Buddha's teaching does not by itself hold any additional weight. I could just as well throw Adi Shankara, Sri Aurobindo, Krishnamurti or many others behind my argument. But authoritative sources mean nothing if not backed by personal experience. As you probably know, Buddha himself argued for direct personal experience and criticized holding views based merely on authority of faith, tradition or teachers.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
Your examples are unconvincing and have been refuted multiple times in this thread.
If you're unable to shift your view from anything but your own orthodox view, then it's probably unconvincing. If you'll ever be able to shift, then maybe you'll be able to see them in a more convincing light.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
Of course there is a way to distinguish. A permanent consciousness would be immutable. Consciousnesses is obviously changing (which you yourself have admitted). Thus the premise that there exists an immutable or permanent consciousness, is wrong.
Again, I counter-argue that a permanent consciousness is (or for the sake of argument let's say it can be) viewed as immutable. It can be viewed as something quite separate from the arising phenomena of the mind and/or perception of senses. This is not just my experience, but the experience of great many number of practitioners of other practices, such as Vedanta.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
If I want to learn physics I will go to a certified physics teacher (an authority). I fail to see how this is a controversial course of action.
It is controversial when it directs from the content of the argument, towards who positions it. In terms of religious/spiritual practices, it also leads to development of religious hierarchy and church institutions. My experience and experience of many people I've worked with, showed me that a simple (wo)man can have as profound realization on the nature of reality as an established authority can.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
The problem is not the topic, the problem is that you are not presenting a convincing argument and you try to trick people into explaining your position for you. Not good form.
I'm sorry that you view this in such a light. As I have explained in my opening post, I am interested in understanding how Buddhist view the impermanence of consciousness, since it goes against my own (and many others) experiences and I want to learn more. The arguments I have heard so far are equally not convincing, so I'm trying to deepening the debate by positioning my view further. Then again maybe we have reached the end of the road here...
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:31 pm
Basically you have two options right now: 1. Take some time to rethink how you can defend your interpretation and come back and try again to convince us or 2. Accept that your hypothesis has been refuted and move on in life.
Again, I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything. From my viewpoint we're holding an interesting debate. And I for one am trying to deepen my understanding by trying to comprehend how Buddhist can see things in such a radical different way. We can go around this in terms of competition and who's hypothesis has been refuted and who's not, or we can learn from each other.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:38 pm
You should take time and actually contemplate your statements before posting them. I am sure that with the slightest amount of analysis you would know that they are mistaken. This would, of course, mean that you have to set aside your belief in a permanent consciousness while you engage in objective analysis.
My analysis is quite firm and have shown that through multiple examples. But you're right that we're all working with analysis(!) of phenomena here. We're seeing the same thing (arising and falling of perceptual objects), but our conclusions of what we're seeing seem to be quite different.
Grigoris wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:38 pm
Impossible. If change occurs within the field then that means the field is being being altered.
You have a movie projector projecting white light on a wall. You put a film tape in front of that white light that then shows a movie on the screen. The movie projector is not being altered in any way. In the same manner consciousness and objects of perception could work, leaving consciousness unchangeable.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:26 pm

Astus wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:26 pm
That refers to emptiness, that there is no permanent mind. The impure and false mind is the one that attaches to the idea of self, that is, the idea of a permanent perceiver and doer.
Why would a permanent mind (Consciousness) and Emptiness be excluding each other? I find these two deepest realizations of Buddhism and Vedanta quite compatible. In a certain paradoxical way maybe, but why would the "final ground" not be paradoxical in a way that it is both this and that.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:34 pm

stevie wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:12 pm
LordByronX wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:47 pm
stevie wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:49 pm
That's a good point to be clarified: to what extent does buddhism support intuition, experience and logic or to what extent is buddhism supported by intuition, experience and logic? In a nutshell: if intuition, experience and logic were valid then what's the purpose of buddhism?
How did Buddha started his spiritual path? By experiencing the four sightings. What lead him towards the "middle way"? Intuition and recollection of his youthful experience. How did he came to his final realizations? By observing his mind, extrapolating conclusions based on what he observed.
So you're validating your own intuition, experience and logic through interpreting the Buddha's path and attainments as having been based on the same kind of intuition, experience and logic.
Interesting approach.
I've put forth an example of the Buddha since this is a Buddhist forum, and most of you guys are Buddhists and you probably relate to that more than if I put forth an example of a giraffe in Africa.

On that note, my experiences have shown me repeatedly that a simple lay-man can have as profound and as truthful realizations on the nature of consciousness as Buddha, Christ or any other human being. At the core, there is nothing fundamentally special or different between me, you, Buddha or anybody else.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:47 pm

Vasana wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 5:30 pm
LordByronX wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:47 pm
stevie wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:49 pm
That's a good point to be clarified: to what extent does buddhism support intuition, experience and logic or to what extent is buddhism supported by intuition, experience and logic? In a nutshell: if intuition, experience and logic were valid then what's the purpose of buddhism?
How did Buddha started his spiritual path? By experiencing the four sightings. What lead him towards the "middle way"? Intuition and recollection of his youthful experience. How did he came to his final realizations? By observing his mind, extrapolating conclusions based on what he observed.
Worth interjecting here : Extrapolation is one type of cognition; inferential. When it comes to insight in to emptiness/ dependent origination that the Buddha realized, extrapolation alone is not sufficient for true cessations. The buddha experienced a direct cognition within Samadhi.

More on that here;

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Pramana

According to the Instruments of Knowledge

In the Buddhist tradition, a valid cognition can either be:

a valid direct perception (Skt. pratyakṣa ; Tib. མངོན་སུམ་, Wyl. mngon sum tshad ma) or
a valid inference (Skt. anumāna; Tib. རྗེས་དཔག་, Wyl. rjes dpag)
Thanks for pointing this out. I would quite agree. There is a way of "direct cognition" within a deep experience such as Samadhi, that does not always require further concluding. Then again, there are still experiences that can leave even experienced practitioners baffled. Even Ajahn Chah from Theravada tradition had one such experience, and upon asking "what was that?" an answer came "that is that" and he simply left it at that.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:58 pm

Sherab wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:28 pm
There are two types of consciousness indicated in the Suttas: one that is born, made, fabricated and one that unborn, unmade, unfabricated....

Kāmaguṇa Sutta (SN 35:117)
Ven. Ānanda said this: “.... monks, that dimension should be experienced where the eye ceases and the perception of form fades. That dimension should be experienced where the ear ceases and the perception of sound fades… where the nose ceases and the perception of aroma fades… where the tongue ceases and the perception of flavor fades… where the body ceases and the perception of tactile sensation fades… where the intellect ceases and the perception of idea fades. That dimension should be experienced’—I understand the detailed meaning to be this: This was stated by the Blessed One with regard to the cessation of the six sense media.”

Ud 8:1 Unbinding (Nibbāna Sutta)
There is that dimension, monks, where there is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor wind; neither dimension of the infinitude of space, nor dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, nor dimension of nothingness, nor dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; neither this world, nor the next world, nor sun, nor moon. And there, I say, there is neither coming, nor going, nor staying; neither passing away nor arising: unestablished,1 unevolving, without support [mental object]. This, just this, is the end of stress.
Thank you Sherab, this is very interesting and I find really ads value to this thread. I will add it to my study list.

For now I would like to ask you one thing though. In these Suttas Buddha describes dimension without consciousness. I'm trying to comprehend how did he get to know this dimension then to such a point that he is able to describe it in such an in-depth way? I'm thinking if in this dimension he was without consciousness (awareness), how did he became aware of it and its "qualities"?

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by LordByronX » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:27 pm

Matt J wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:41 am
I think I know what you're trying to convey--- it is something that I struggled with for a while. One teacher said noted that Buddhism has awareness like in Advaita, but we "don't add a lot of cosmic wu-wu to it." The major difference I've found between Buddhism and Advaita approaches is the emphasis on emptiness.

The best thing is to work with a teacher and community so you can ask straightforward, practical questions. Some schools, particularly in Kagyu Mahamudra are not so black and white. You will hear terms like "permanent" or "uncompounded" used, although these must (as with all concepts) be taken lightly.
I want to really thank you for your explanation and for sharing that you also struggled personally with this question or dichotomy between Buddhism and Advaita. The explanations you've put forth and the quotations really ring a bell, so I'm really looking forward to learning much more from these sources you posted below. It's been kind of a struggle for me discussing this topic here (as you can see), but it's been worthwhile if I can get to sources like these that can deepen my understanding:bow:
Matt J wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:41 am
Some words from the Third Karmapa from the Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra (trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang):
It is not existent since even the victorious ones do not see it.
It is not non-existent since it is the basis of samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction but the Middle Way of Unity.
May we realize the nature of mind, free from extremes.

Nothing can illustrate it by the statement "this is it."
No one can deny it by saying "it is not this."
This nature transcending concepts is unconditioned.
May we realize this view of true meaning.
Concepts cannot grasp it. However, sometimes concepts are used to point in the general direction, and away from the characteristics of phenomenon. Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, in his commentary on the above verses notes: "Buddhanature transcends concepts and is unconditioned. Unconditioned means that which does not arise, remain or cease. Anything which first arises , exists for sometime, and then disappears is conditioned." So to say that the mind is impermanent is not necessarily a proper statement. However, CNR goes on to say "[t]ranscending concepts is to be totally free from both gross and subtle notions, from both having an idea about mind and investigating its nature. One has erred if one has the slightest grasping, fixation, or fascination."

HHDL states in his teaching on Dzogchen:
According to the newer schools of Vajrayana in Tibet, the fundamental innate mind of clear light is termed sugatagarbha, or buddhanature. In the textual source of Dzogchen and Mahamudra traditions, it is referred to as "uncompounded clear light." This term "uncompounded" or "non-composite" can be understood in various ways. More generally, it means something that does not depend on causes and conditions. But it can also signify "that which is not contrived as something temporary and new," and as something that is primordially present--- a "continuous and permanent state." Take, for example, the enlightened activity of buddhahood: The Ornament for Clear Realization refers to it as "permanent," that is, some continuous permanent state; but it is in the sense that this activity is without interruption that is labelled "permanent":

Thus, since its enlightened deeds are so vast,
Buddhahood can definitely be described as pervasive;
And since those deeds are not subject to degeneration,
They can in fact be described as "permanent."

Similarly, clear light is primordially as it is; it is beginningless, and not contrived as something new. It is something that abides continuously, or "permanently"... Yet self-arising rigpa is beyond ordinary consciousness altogether. Concepts such as "compounded" or "uncompounded," "originating" or "ceasing" are all still part of the concept of the ordinary mind. Since the nature of self-arising rigpa is beyond the ordinary mind, the conventions created by our ordinary consciousness will be at odds with it. For rigpa is beyond all imagining or expression."
Amazing, thank you! So would you say that this primordial clear light is outside of arising and ceasing, and can in that view be seen as something permanent? I know this may come across as reductionist thinking, but I'm just wondering what you're view is in line of the quotes you've shared.

Somewhat off topic, but let me try to return the favor a bit by sharing a link to a talk by Christoper Bache. He did serious LSD work for 20 years and had many profound experiences that share much with what you described above. Really recommend it.

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:51 pm

LordByronX wrote: At the core, there is nothing fundamentally special or different between me, you, Buddha or anybody else.
That is one of the delusions of modernity, and something traditional Buddhism would never entertain.On one level, 'all beings are already Buddhas' - according to specific doctrinal schools of Buddhism, anyway - but, on the other, there is an hierarchy of attainment and realisation, going back to the earliest texts. It differentiates the 'un-educated worldling' or 'foolish common man' from the 'aryan disciples of the noble one', and then, of those, the different levels of 'stream-winner', 'once -returner', and so forth. Of course this is completely non-PC, but there it is.

There is a direct question addressed to the Buddha about who or what he is - the response is, not a deity, not a yaksa, not a regular person, but Buddha, Awakened.

As for your equivocation between Vedanta and Buddhism - in some respects they have a kind of family similarity, as they both grew out of an underlying culture, which had much common ground. But from the perspective of their respective advocates, they're profoundly different. I think being able to recognise and understand the sense in which they differ is pretty important.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:54 pm

LordByronX wrote:So would you say that this primordial clear light is outside of arising and ceasing, and can in that view be seen as something permanent?
The very text you're commenting on says 'it is not existent, even the victorious ones do not see it.' It is making the point, that it is beyond the categories of existent and non-existent, permanent and impermanent. It is a misunderstanding to make of it anything like 'brahman' or 'essence' or whatever, which is entirely contrary to the spirit of Buddhism.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Astus » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:38 pm

LordByronX wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:26 pm
Why would a permanent mind (Consciousness) and Emptiness be excluding each other? I find these two deepest realizations of Buddhism and Vedanta quite compatible. In a certain paradoxical way maybe, but why would the "final ground" not be paradoxical in a way that it is both this and that.
A permanent mind means an unchanging observer apart from everything else, and that is not only unreasonable from a Buddhist doctrinal point of view, but also impractical from an experiential perspective.

From the logical side a permanent mind cannot interact with appearances, hence must be either completely unaware or stuck in a fixed state of being conscious always of the same thing.

From the practical side, one has to completely disassociate oneself from all impressions and focus solely on remaining the watcher, while in Buddhism one lets go of everything completely, even being the one who is aware, and simultaneously not excluding or avoiding any experience.

Dakpo Tashi Namgyal writes (Mahamudra: The Moonlight, p 195-196):

"some untutored [meditators], having experienced the sensation of the even state of tranquility – the meditation known as “mind watching the mind” – asserted that they had achieved insight into the mind. ...
The term “seeing the mind” is a simple designation for understanding the mind’s unreality, which is detached from the beginning from all modes of existence or nonexistence. The nature of mind is such that there is nothing – not even the infinitesimal end of a hair – that is a conceivable or perceptible object or observer. The intrinsic nature of mind is undefinable and unimaginable, yet it is timeless and immutable. The Prajnaparamita-samchayagatha explains it thus:

Sentient beings speak of having seen the sky,
But one should examine how one has seen the sky!
In the same manner the Tathågata has shown
The way of seeing reality.

Saraha says:
From the beginning the nature of mind is pure like space.
In the process of looking, seeing comes to an end.

Savari elaborates:
In the process of searching for all that manifests as mind and matter
There is neither anything to be found nor is there any seeker,
For to be unreal is to be unborn and unceasing
Throughout the three periods of time.
That which is immutable
Is the state of great bliss.

He further states:
In the act of self watching the self,
A solitary self remains;
In observing this self, one does not see it.
This is undefinable since there is neither observer nor observation.
Who can comprehend
That which is undefinable?

Naropa comments:
The mind has the nature of luminous clarity,
Wherein there is no substance,
Not even the infinitesimal end of a hair."


Or Baizhang (Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang, p 33):

"To speak of the mirror awareness is still not really right; by way of the impure, discern the pure. If you say the immediate mirror awareness is correct, or that there is something else beyond the mirror awareness, this is a delusion. If you keep dwelling in the immediate mirror awareness, this too is the same as delusion; it is called the mistake of naturalism."

And Dogen (Bussho, tr Bielefeldt):

"Many students, hearing the term “buddha nature,” have falsely reckoned that it is like the “I” in the alien path of Śreṇika. This is because they have not met a person, they have not met themselves, they have not seen a teacher. They have foolishly thought that the mind, mentation, and consciousness moved by wind and fire are the knowing and comprehending of the buddha nature. Who said that the buddha nature has knowing and comprehending? While perceivers and knowers may be buddhas, the buddha nature is not knowing and comprehending. Much less does the perceiving and knowing with which one refers to the buddhas as perceivers and knowers represent the perceiving and knowing in the false understandings you talk on about, the preceiving and knowing of the motion and rest of wind and fire."

And Foyan (Instant Zen, p 38):

"Let me give you an illustration. People have eyes, by which they can see all sorts of forms, like long and short, square and round, and so on; then why do they not see themselves? Just perceiving forms, you cannot see your eyes even if you want to. Your mind is also like this; its light shines perceptively throughout the ten directions, encompassing all things, so why does it not know itself?
Do you want to understand? Just discern the things perceived; you cannot see the mind itself.
An ancient said, “The knife does not cut itself, the finger does not touch itself, the mind does not know itself, the eye does not see itself.” This is true reality."
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Grigoris
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:52 pm

LordByronX wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:16 pm
Your interpretation being in light with Buddha's teaching does not by itself hold any additional weight. I could just as well throw Adi Shankara, Sri Aurobindo, Krishnamurti or many others behind my argument. But authoritative sources mean nothing if not backed by personal experience.
Except that neither you nor any of the people you just mentioned are Samyaksambuddha.
As you probably know, Buddha himself argued for direct personal experience and criticized holding views based merely on authority of faith, tradition or teachers.
Oh how dreary: the misinterpretation of the Kalamas Sutta in order to support a non-Buddhist view.
If you're unable to shift your view from anything but your own orthodox view, then it's probably unconvincing. If you'll ever be able to shift, then maybe you'll be able to see them in a more convincing light.
Really? And here was me thinking you were incapable of shifting your view from anything but your mistaken view. :roll: Unable to convince with meaningful examples you turn to name calling. Brilliant strategy.

Let me also remind you that you are on a "Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism", that means the onus is on you to prove your position.
Again, I counter-argue that a permanent consciousness is (or for the sake of argument let's say it can be) viewed as immutable. It can be viewed as something quite separate from the arising phenomena of the mind and/or perception of senses. This is not just my experience, but the experience of great many number of practitioners of other practices, such as Vedanta.
Well, it seems that their view is completely illogical and quite possibly very wrong.

Oh, you just made an appeal to authority too. ;) Not that Vedanata views are authoritative on a Buddhist forum, but...
In terms of religious/spiritual practices, it also leads to development of religious hierarchy and church institutions.
And where is the problem with that if the institutions are teaching the truth and the the authority is due to realisation?
I'm sorry that you view this in such a light. As I have explained in my opening post, I am interested in understanding how Buddhist view the impermanence of consciousness...
No you are not. You are here to argue the existence of a permanent consciousness. You have not listened to any of the points being made, you have not provided any proof and all your attempts to do so have been refuted and yet...
We can go around this in terms of competition and who's hypothesis has been refuted and who's not, or we can learn from each other.
Admitting you are wrong is an important step in learning.
You have a movie projector projecting white light on a wall. You put a film tape in front of that white light that then shows a movie on the screen. The movie projector is not being altered in any way. In the same manner consciousness and objects of perception could work, leaving consciousness unchangeable.
Yes, the projector is being altered. The projector was off and now it is on. The projector was cold and now it is warm. The parts of the projector were still and now they are moving. Ad nauseum...
"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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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:58 pm

You can't ascribe "permanence" to something with no discernible characteristics, pretty much by definition.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:07 pm

Astus wrote:
An ancient said, “The knife does not cut itself, the finger does not touch itself, the mind does not know itself, the eye does not see itself.” This is true reality.
Very happy to see this fundamental principle stated in such an unequivocal manner.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Rick
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Rick » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:20 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:58 pm
You can't ascribe "permanence" to something with no discernible characteristics, pretty much by definition.
Brief aside: "Not of time," which *can* be used to describe to something with no attributes, is often erroneously translated as permanent or eternal. This makes for lots of head scratching!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Astus » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:52 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:07 pm
Very happy to see this fundamental principle stated in such an unequivocal manner.
"As a sword cannot cut itself, or as a finger cannot touch its own tip, Mind cannot see itself."
(Lankavatara Sutra, Sagathakam, v 568, tr Suzuki)

"The Guardian of the World himself has said
That mind cannot be seen by mind.
In just the same way, he has said,
The sword’s edge cannot cut the sword."

(Bodhicaryavatara 9.17-18, tr Padmakara)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Sherab
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Sherab » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:06 pm

Astus wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:52 pm
"However completely one explores the entire space,
Seeing will completely cease, for space is infinite.
Similarly, one explores inner and outer reality,
But one will not find any essence – not even a subatomic particle!
The mind thus explored is inconceivable;

Hence seeing nothing is seeing it indeed."

(Shavaripa, quoted in Mahamudra: The Moonlight, p 193)
Do you interpret the highlighted portion that there is no consciousness? If your answer is no, there is still a consciousness, then you would have contradicted what you said in your reply to me here: viewtopic.php?f=39&t=30573&start=100#p483621

If you answer is yes, there is no consciousness, then are you saying that there is no even a continuum of awareness? If your answer is yes, there is a continuum of awareness, then there is consciousness. If so, then why is there no consciousness in nirvana? If your answer is no, there is no continuum of awareness, then you are consistent in your position, but then there can be no Astus whether relatively or absolutely who is asserting such a position in this forum.

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Sherab
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Re: Why is consciousness seen as something impermanent?

Post by Sherab » Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:18 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 11:27 am
Sherab wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:37 am
Astus wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:02 am


There are thousands of suttas where it is taught again and again that consciousness is impermanent, unsatisfactory, impersonal, and empty, while there are a few stanzas - not even proper explanations - suggesting a different type. From this it should be clear that one should not base one's interpretation on a handful of poetic lines, but rather on what was clearly and often taught by the Buddha. Apart from scripture, an unconditioned consciousness is also contradictory and illogical that no Buddhist tradition held up as real, because such a concept is nothing else but a self view.
What we are all experiencing are in a temporal dimension.

Is there a dimension which is atemporal?

In Einstein's Relativity, all frame of references are equally valid. But there is one frame of reference that is unlike others, namely, that of light. Say light moves from point A to point B in a particular frame of reference and it takes a certain time. When look at from the frame of reference of light, point A and point B are as if at the same point because in that frame, there is no time. Because of that, It is as if there is no space. If there is no time and no space, it is hard to talk about cause and effect. It is hard to make sense of meaning that impermanence, conditioned etc.

Suppose it is possible under certain condition for a viewpoint of a consciousness in a temporal dimension to shift to a viewpoint of an atemporal dimension, how would that consciousness describe such an experience? It would be dumbstruck I would think. Any description at best can only be in the form of what it is not i.e. apophatically, for example, unborn, unmade, unfabricated etc.
maybe i am not following you, sherab, but it seems to me that notions of time and space apply, even to light.
if there were no time, there would be no movement of light: it would not go from A to B. therefore there must be time and space to move through.

it is impossible to conceive of an atemporal viewpoint because time is simply the rate of change; if there were no time then nothing would happen: ever.

there would be no 'viewpoint' because there would be no thoughts, sensations, etc.
It is equally difficult to conceive of there being no space: you would be a pinprick and nothing to compare your self to or be relative too.
Time and space are the bars of our prison but without them, nothing can exist.
Here's a video with a simple explanation without the maths.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoUc4-q4Ibc

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