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Khajjanīyasutta SN22.79

And why do you call it consciousness?
Kiñca, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṃ vadetha?
It cognizes; that’s why it’s called ‘consciousness’.
Vijānātīti kho, bhikkhave, tasmā ‘viññāṇan’ti vuccati.
And what does it cognize?
Kiñca vijānāti?
It cognizes sour, bitter, pungent, sweet, hot, mild, salty, and bland.
Ambilampi vijānāti, tittakampi vijānāti, kaṭukampi vijānāti, madhurampi vijānāti, khārikampi vijānāti, akhārikampi vijānāti, loṇikampi vijānāti, aloṇikampi vijānāti.
It cognizes; that’s why it’s called ‘consciousness’.
Vijānātīti kho, bhikkhave, tasmā ‘viññāṇan’ti vuccati.

I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on this matter? Why is consciousness, in this sutta, described ONLY in regard to the sense of taste/tongue?

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In MN:43 the description is in regard to feeling:

They speak of ‘consciousness’.
“‘Viññāṇaṃ viññāṇan’ti, āvuso, vuccati.
How is consciousness defined?”
Kittāvatā nu kho, āvuso, viññāṇanti vuccatī”ti?

“It’s called consciousness because it cognizes.
“‘Vijānāti vijānātī’ti kho, āvuso, tasmā viññāṇanti vuccati.
And what does it cognize?
Kiñca vijānāti?
It cognizes ‘pleasure’ and ‘pain’ and ‘neutral’.
Sukhantipi vijānāti, dukkhantipi vijānāti, adukkhamasukhantipi vijānāti.
It’s called consciousness because it cognizes.”

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Not sure but I suspect some one forgot the answer… :man_shrugging:t5:

Indeed, it’s been awhile since the sutta was put together. I think it might just be in connection with the title being ‘khajjaniya’- to be eaten or consumption.

The tongue is always tasting the body that is being ‘eaten up/consumed’ , thus the title and the description of vinnana by way of tongue sense.

"Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am now being devoured by form. "

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Is this explained by the inseparability of vinnana, sanna and vedana?

From MN43: “Feeling, perception, and consciousness are conjoined, friend, not disjoined. It is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them. For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them.”

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Yes, in regard to the aggregates ,MN.43 is describing this principle of dependent origination just as in SN22:79.

Form forms, feelings feel, perceptions perceive, consciousness cognizes…and each one is the nutriment/sankhara/determination for the others. (Determinations determine the determined determinations). Each aggregate is a sankhara and a dhamma; the determined that determines. ( The nutriment of the consumed which is consuming it’s nutriment)…that’s a bit of a mind twister?!

As MN:43 shows, you cannot have ‘pure’ consciousness , or a pure independent aggregate which you can seperate from the others and then investigate it from a position which is undetermined. A state existing without the five aggregates all being there simultaneously, is impossible.

A thing is because it has a nutriment which it relies upon; if one were to take away one of the aggregates, the rest would not have nutriment ‘to feed’.
One aggregate is active based upon the activity of the others.
They are all active, moving, increasing and decreasing while they persist.

Upadana which cannot be apart from the five aggregates and is also not one of the five aggregates; is like a fire which is eating itself to live. This might be what is meant when the noble disciple reflects in SN22:79" I am now being devoured by form".
He has understood anatta but has not made an end of conceit. “This conceit is being determined by form”

This upadana/assumption is actually determined by the very thing IT assumes to be the determination for i.e self identity view thinks it comes first, it’s the view that I am before or beyond the aggregates, the aggregates are mine and I am them, or the world is second and ‘I am’ is first. Which is why the Buddha also mentions that ignorance is beginningless.

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Because of the endless “cat chases tail” spinning around of the grasping aggregates, it hurts my head less to just listen to MN121 The Shorter Discourse on Emptiness..

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Good point - this reminded me of MN1.

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