Evolved from the elements and co-emergent means the same thing.
padma norbu wrote:Nope.
Ohhh... yes it does... Because consciousness is not a thing. It is not an element, it is a relationship, an aggregate. When the universe is in a formative stage, not all the aggregate elements are in place. When the oceans were populated by aminos, which are just crystals, there is not yet enough stuff to make a living thing. These aminos have to develop a level of complexity over time. Then, life emerges, then consciousness. But when a hungry little prokaryote comes out, we can't say it is conscious. But it is responding. Also, the aminos were also responding, and changing in response to the environment. This responsiveness is similar to consciousness. It is a very primitive form of awareness. It is the mirror-like awareness. Down to the subtlest forms of matter, there is attraction and repulsion. These are responses. The five wisdoms are not consciousness. These are fundamental and very very primitive awareness-like functions of physical matter. Again, I'm not saying the mind is physical. The mind is a relationship. Attraction and repulsion are not things, but relationships. The awareness-like attractions and repulsions are co-emergent with each other and so physical energy co-emerges. You string trillions of these functions together and you get a conscious being. A buddha is not a conscious, i.e., sentient being.
First all, your explanation sounds more Kabballist and Aleister Crowley-ish than any Buddhist or Dzogchen text I've ever read. Crowley said the same thing about consciousness; giving the example of the attraction and repulsion in molecular structures being very primitive aspects of awareness and evolving to great complexity. In fact, I can't see any difference in what you're saying because the Kabballist/Crowleyan perspective is that all wisdom exists in potential form only until it is manifested through the elements and made real at the earth/physical level of Malkuth through which we accumulate Knowledge which is eventually surpassed when we gain Wisdom and Understanding which essentially occurs simultaneously with the recognition of The Source, which is simultaneously our real nature and beyond egoist concerns or duality misperception. Prior to manifestation, however, it all exists as possibilities and potential only; there is no manifestation, no knowledge, no wisdom and no understanding... and so, The Source, never knows itself.
But, I am not putting words in your mouth. I realize that you didn't say all of that. What you did say is that consciousness evolves from physical interactions: "The awareness-like attractions and repulsions are co-emergent with each other and so physical energy co-emerges. You string trillions of these functions together and you get a conscious being. A buddha is not a conscious."
Secondly, if a buddha is not conscious, not sentient, then how can Amithaba or Tara help us? How can Manjushri impart any wisdom to us when we do Mo divination, for example? What does Namkhai Norbu mean when he says that being in our real nature does not mean we will not have any thoughts?
You see? If consciousness evolves from complex "trillions" of tiny awareness-like attractions and repulsions, as you are saying, than how does any of this make sense? We are not shooting for the consciousness of a rock. We are not losing our ability to think. Namkhai Norbu has made this point many times as have other teachers. So then, am I to believe based on what you've said that Buddhas are not conscious, not sentient, but based on what these teachers have said that I will eventually obtain Buddhahood while remaining conscious and sentient? Because we still have thoughts; the point is not to lose thoughts, we always have thoughts.
That is what this thread is about, actually. That is the entire point of this thread is examining this teaching that I have heard several times: we will always have thoughts, we are not trying to stop thoughts. The mind has rest and movement and both are natural. We do not want to become like the frozen monks with their rock consciousness that the Chinese slashed up while they sat there frozen in meditation.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron