Bhante Thanissaro equated grasping to consumption (of awareness)

(MN 138)Majjhima Nikāya,uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi(3),vibhaṅgavaggo(4),uddesavibhaṅgasuttaṃ(8)
“Tathā tathā, bhikkhave, bhikkhu upaparikkheyya yathā yathā upaparikkhato bahiddhā cassa viññāṇaṁ avikkhittaṁ avisaṭaṁ, ajjhattaṁ asaṇṭhitaṁ anupādāya na paritasseyya. Bahiddhā, bhikkhave, viññāṇe avikkhitte avisaṭe sati ajjhattaṁ asaṇṭhite anupādāya aparitassato āyatiṁ jātijarāmaraṇadukkhasamudayasambhavo na hotī”ti.
The Blessed One said, “A monk should investigate in such a way that, his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned, he would from lack of clinging/sustenance be unagitated. When—his consciousness neither externally scattered & diffused, nor internally positioned—from lack of clinging/ sustenance he would be unagitated, there is no seed for the conditions of future birth, aging, death, or stress.”

(MN 138)Majjhima Nikāya,uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi(3),vibhaṅgavaggo(4),uddesavibhaṅgasuttaṃ(8)
Cetaso pariyādānā uttāsavā ca hoti vighātavā ca apekkhavā ca anupādāya ca paritassati.
And because of the
consumption of awareness
he feels fearful, threatened, & solicitous.

(MN 138)Majjhima Nikāya,uparipaṇṇāsapāḷi(3),vibhaṅgavaggo(4),uddesavibhaṅgasuttaṃ(8)
Cetaso pariyādānā na cevuttāsavā hoti na ca vighātavā na ca apekkhavā anupādāya ca na paritassati
And because his awareness is not consumed, he feels neither fearful, threatened, nor solicitous.

A synonym for clinging is also “acquiring” - upadhismiṁ

“Now, when a monk—maintaining restraint over the six spheres of contact, knowing that ‘Acquisition is the root of stress’—is free from acquisition, released in the total ending of acquisition, it’s not possible that, with regard to acquisition, he would stir his body or arouse his mind

  • mn 105

“As he explores he understands thus: ‘The many diverse kinds of suffering that arise in the world headed by aging-and-death: this suffering has acquisition as its source, acquisition as its origin; it is born and produced from acquisition. When there is acquisition, aging-and-death comes to be; when there is no acquisition, aging-and-death does not come to be.’

“Then, engaging further in inward exploration, he explores thus: ‘What is the source of this acquisition, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When what exists does acquisition come to be? When what is absent does acquisition not come to be?’

“As he explores he understands thus: ‘Acquisition has craving as its source, craving as its origin; it is born and produced from craving. When there is craving, acquisition comes to be; when there is no craving, acquisition does not come to be.’

“He understands acquisition, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading on that is in conformity with its cessation. He practises in that way and conducts himself accordingly. This is called a bhikkhu who is practising for the utterly complete destruction of suffering, for the cessation of acquisition.

  • SN 12.66

So when there is craving for objects of the senses, there is acquiring, which is the opposite of giving up. Acquiring leads to becoming, like acquiring a body, which leads to birth, aging, death, suffering.

So it may help to see the connection between grasping/consuming/clinging and acquiring.

Before you can acquire you must grasp. If you don’t grasp, then you can’t acqure.

The only reason one grasps is because they see a feature (nimitta) that is considered pleasant and desireable, and that is born of delusion. If they saw things as they are, without delusion, then they would see danger, not pleasant/desireable.

The Buddha calls this perversion

Mendicants, there are these four perversions of perception, mind, and view. What four?

Taking impermanence as permanence.
Taking suffering as happiness.
Taking not-self as self.
Taking ugliness as beauty.

These are the four perversions of perception, mind, and view.

  • AN 4.49

You wouldn’t grasp, acquire and consume faeces, for example, because you don’t see that as delightful.

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It’s correct Thanissaro has used “consumed”. At the other extreme he has also used “positioned” instead of “stuck” internally because he favours jhana. These two opposite negative mindstates constitute the central pair in the third foundation of mindfulness.

“The ability to balance the mind, by avoiding both contraction and distraction, is an important skill required for the development of deeper levels of concentration or insight. The placing of these two states of mind at this point in the instructions for contemplation of the mind indicates the need to cultivate such balance, once one has at least temporarily moved beyond the reach of the grosser types of mental unwholesomeness and is aiming towards the development of “higher” states of mind, such as are described in the remainder of this satipatthãna.”—Analayo


I think “consumption” is referring to fire just as nibbana is known as extinction.

This sutta on elementary meditation delivered by the Buddha to Ananda describes the settling of the mind as a procedure before the main meditation subject where the state of mind is examined. The “inspiring themes” used to correct imbalance include the recollections (AN 11.12). The “gladness” refers to the Anapanasati sutta (MN 118) third tetrad where the mind must be either gladdened or steadied by the application of appropriate themes. Steadying a mind scattered externally would be achieved by reflection on the themes of impermanence of the body (MN 119):

“And further, he remains focused on feelings… mind… mental qualities in & of themselves—ardent, alert, & mindful—subduing greed & distress with reference to the world. As he remains thus focused on mental qualities in & of themselves, a fever based on mental qualities arises within his body, or there is sluggishness in his awareness, or his mind becomes scattered externally. He should then direct his mind to any inspiring theme. As his mind is directed to any inspiring theme, gladness is born within him. In one who is gladdened, rapture is born. In one whose heart is enraptured, the body grows calm. His body calm, he feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his mind grows concentrated. He reflects, ‘I have attained the aim to which my mind was directed. Let me withdraw.’ He withdraws & engages neither in directed thought nor in evaluation. He discerns that ‘I am not thinking or evaluating. I am inwardly mindful & at ease.’—SN 47.10

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