Consciousness in the EBT



From the introduction:
"In this role consciousness and name-and-form are said to whirl continually around each other to produce our whole conceptual world. In fact, in the seminal Mahānidāna Sutta , which omits the two links prior to consciousness consciousness, we learn that consciousness and name-and-form are mutually conditioning:1
(3) consciousness :left_right_arrow: (4) name-and-form."

Most DO suttas don’t describe this mutual relationship between consciousness and name+form, it’s the exception to the rule. For that reason I have reservations about any analysis which relies heavily on this exception.


I agree with the caveat about reliance on obscure statements in the suttas. However, my analysis does not depend on this statement from the Mahānidāna and related suttas; on the contrary, it explains this statement in terms of the descent and growth phases of consciousness described elsewhere, the first dependent on name-and-form, the second giving rise to it. Moreover, there are other significant references to the mutual dependence between consciousness and name-and-form, most notably Sariputta’s two bundles of leaves simile.


Thanks for the response, I will look at this in more detail.

Also in the introduction I noticed this: “We will also see that consciousness tends to arise in the presence of craving. Consciousness is also mentioned as a dependent component of (6) contact.”

In DO craving arises in dependence upon contact, which, as you observe, includes consciousness. I’m not clear about the first sentence, could you explain the source for this? The standard formula in the suttas says that sense-consciousness arises in dependence upon sense-base and sense-object, I’m not clear where craving comes in here? Or is this a reference to consciousness arising in dependence upon formations in the DO sequence?


“We will also see …” means that the point of the first sentence is to be presented in the course of the essay. I hope it is clear there.