SuttaCentral

Mind pervades the entire universe

most venerable monks & respected dhamma friends,

suitable veneration or regards and greetings.

is there any quote in the tipitaka, attakathas or pali abhidhamma texts that can be translated to mean that the “mind pervades the entire universe”?
[by universe - i specifically mean the okasa loka]

can the meaning of “manomaya” (dhammapada) or “cittena niyati loko” (SN.I.39) be extended to mean that mind (citta or nama) pervades the entire universe (okasa loka)?

sayagyi u ba khin and elders in attakathas say that okasa loka, sankhara loka and satta loka are inte-woven & inter-linked and that okasa loka houses the nama and rupa. but, can it be extended to mean that nama/citta pervades the entire okasa loka?

rohitassa sutta looks at the ‘loka’ to be within the body. can this sutta be extended to the extent of okasa loka? venerable mahasi sayadaw opines that rohitassa asked about the end of okasa loka but, buddha responded about the end of sankhara loka but, buddha’s reply is perfect because the end of sankhara loka is the end of okasa loka. can rohitassa sutta or ven. mahasi sayadaw’s reply be extrapolated to mean that mind pervades the entire universe - an analogy which may find concordance with certain concepts of modern day quantum physics.

a wise and respected elder, prof. p l dhar from the thai tradition commented: “Citta is not a material entity and so you cannot put it in 3D space … so all talks of pervading etc. have no meaning…Pure consciousness is a fundamental reality and it is the principle of sentience…” how should this statement by prof. dhar be taken in the context of okasa loka and buddha’s statement ‘cittena niyati loko’?

if such quotes or references are found where it is explicitly or implicitly stated that mind pervades the entire universe - can citta/nama/mano/vinnana be interchangeably used - or in the strictest abhidhammic sense only “citta” is best suited for ‘mind’ that pervades the entire universe (okasa loka)?

kindly note that my question is not related to the “extent” of the number of cakkavalas to which buddha mind waves or metta can travel nor is my question related to ‘loka cinta’ - which can easily be dismissed as acinteyya!

at many places, for example in the udanas, buddha used abstract analogies to describe nibbana & nirodha akin to the upanishad style of “neti neti” (not this. not this). some respected thai tradition elders may point at these quotes and say that it means that there is a “pure consciousness” OUTSIDE the 6-sense door mind-matter continuum. in my personal opinion - nibbana is ‘seen’ at the mind-door and nirodha is ‘seen’ beyond the mind-matter process. both nibbana and nirodha are un-conditioned ‘states’ and not ‘places’ and should not be extended to mean that there is ‘something outside’ because, the rohitassa sutta makes it very clear that nirodha-sacca is experienced within the mind-body framework itself. further, to call a nirodha experience as “pure consciousness” will not be correct because, nirodha is a state is where all the 5-aggregates (including all 6 vinnana) are in cessation. moreover, if the “pure consciousness” theory is accepted then it will mean sassata ditthi and that the “pure consciousness” of buddha’s and arahats - who have passed into unupadhisesa parinibbana (final nibbana without residue) - still exists! am i right or wrong?

further, some elders consider the word “anidassana” used by the buddha for vinnana to mean that there is a pure consciousness outside “all” (sabba) and then this idea is extended to include anatta / sunnata into it and extended to mean that there is a mind or pure consciousness outside that pervades the entire universe. the akashic field ideas of ervin laszlo fall within the spectrum of this line of thought. in my opinion - ven. sujato is spot-on when he does not ascribe any special meaning to “anidassana” except that vinnana is what cannot be seen physically. kindly allow me to ask whether buddha’s teachings on anatta, sunnata, vinnana, nibbana and nirodha should be extrapolated to mean that there is a “pure consciousness outside” (as some suggest) or that “mind (citta) pervades the entire universe (okasa loka)”?

if anyone may please help to quote relevant quotes from authoritative pali texts that explicitly or implicitly means that mind (citta) pervades the entire universe (okasa loka) - if may help to connect buddha’s sublime dhamma with modern quantum physics and may open doors to deeper understanding of buddha’s pariyatti which may inspire some scientific or inquisitive intellectuals to taste the flavour of dhammic patipatti leading to pativedhana for the benefit of many (bahujanahitaya, bahujanasukhaya)!

bhavatu sabba mangalam!

with deep respect and much metta for all quoted in this query and all who may read, reflect or reply to my message irrespective of whether they agree or disagree with me,

manish

Buddhism and science have different aims and so different epistemologies. The aim of science is explanation of the mechanics of samsara applied for human benefit. The aim of Buddhism is individual release from suffering. Buddhist knowledge extends beyond samsara and cannot be explained in terms of the scientific thought process. It’s necessary for the practitioner developing practice to discard science and accept the Buddhist thought scheme as a separate explanation of reality from a human-centered point of view. For example although not able to be verified externally, the individual can investigate the results of moral and immoral thoughts/actions within their own experience. This inner process was used by the Buddha-to-be on the path to awakening:

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.’

[…]

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.”—-MN 19

2 Likes

It may be useful to look at it the other way around? - i.e. the universe (can on occasions) pervade the entire mind. When mindfulness is low, then the universe can arise and pervade the mind. When mindfulness is high (deep samadhi) the arising of the universe is somewhat suppressed.

In AN10.58 we get

3.4‘Reverends, all things are rooted in desire. Attention produces them. Contact is their origin. Feeling is their meeting place. Immersion is their chief. Mindfulness is their ruler. Wisdom is their overseer. Freedom is their core. They culminate in the deathless. And extinguishment is their final end.’

Sorry, can’t cite any authoritative pali texts. But I have been collecting quotes on this topic for some time so I will include some – maybe you will find them interesting. I think it is important to keep in mind that Buddha taught only a small subset of what he knew – the knowledge he had of the path. So if such knowledge was not seen as important to guide someone to the end of suffering - I think he would have left it out – especially if it could lead to endless debates and misunderstandings. Not that Buddhism suffers from these of course.

Far is like near, for concepts of space do not apply. All that appears is a very refined awareness suffusing everything throughout the entire universe. The whole world seems to be filled by this subtle quality of knowing, as though nothing else exists, though things still exist in the world as they always have. …It cannot be expressed in the same way that conventional things in general can be, simply because it is not a conventional phenomenon. It is the sole province of those who have transcended all aspects of conventional reality, and thus realize within themselves that non-conventional nature.

- Ajahn Maha Boowa Thai Forest Monk

As long as I am this or that, I am not all things.
Meister Eckhart (12th Century Christian Monk)

if God is to shine divinely within you, your natural light cannot assist this process but must become a pure nothingness, going out of itself. Only then can God enter with his light, bringing back with him all that you have renounced and a thousand times more, including a new form which contains all things in itself.
Meister Eckhart

The clearer the body, the brighter one’s Buddha Nature shines. In the beginning, we still need the body. It’s like a lamp. The Buddha Nature is this flame. But we may still be conscious of shadows. As we progress we feel that the body is the universe itself and that our Buddha Self shines throughout it like the sun.

Han Shan (16th Century Ch an Monk) Maxim #57

Vast as the universe is, it fits inside the mind. Small as the body is, there is not enough in creation to satisfy it.

- Han Shan Maxim #67

God is not a man with a white beard. He has no image and no form…especially with the teachings of the Kabbalah we approach an understanding of God as the ‘Ein sof’ (the infinite, the boundless)… God is an infinite all permeating light…God is that emptiness that contains all reality”

- Rabbi Shmuel Braun taken from “Rabbi and the Buddhist Monk” (Ajahn Sona) YouTube interview ~min: 25:10

It is necessary to make a spiritual journey outside of spatial dimension and corporeal existence; leaving the world of Names and Attributes. You then transcend the plane of multiplicity and individuality; and attain the plane of the Absolute through annihilation of corporeal and spiritual existence. In this way you reach permanent existence in God. At that point, you will be able to see that the entire creation and all things in it are parts of yourself, that you penetrate every molecule of everything, and that there is nothing outside of ‘you’. Thus you understand that there exists nothing outside of your ‘I’.

- Shaikh Asiri Lah iji (16 th Century Sufi Mystic)

Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.

-Meister Eckhart

With the Wisdom provided by the Dharma, the Wisdom and Transformation of a Buddha, you can set out to do wonderous things, such as take the post of Brahma and participate in the expansion of entire Universes, or as a Dharma King, create a Buddha Land of leveled Lapis-Lazuli ground, where the congregation numbers in the sands of many Ganges Rivers. But the real–simple–cosmic miracle is the reality of the Metta or a Buddha, a Buddha can fly to other planets to bring back fruit for His Disciples like Gautama did, or levitate in meditation, but that is not what He is famous for, He is famous for His propagation of the Dharma, and that is the way He has it for the Sangha and ailing humanity. Buddhahood is the question even Gods like Brahma long for, coming to the Buddha in retinues of thousands of Brahma Kings to beg Him to expound the Law of the Dharma, and He does for countless kalpas. To serve the Buddha is the greatest gift, and the Truth of Buddhahood is the kind dress of a mendicant who has abandoned the Saha world to bring people into the the City of True Cessation and Extinction: Maha Buddhahood. Om.

pure consciousness is bondless, without an end - DN 11.