It does not matter what people define as consciousness.
In reading and studying the suttas, my own definitions have changed. I read the EBTs to change my beliefs. It does not matter what we start out with. As practice informs our consciousness, that very consciousness adapts and changes. Right View emerges. It is not sudden. It is not fast. It is conditioned. My beliefs are still changing. And I am still reading the suttas.
MN43:4.3: “It’s called consciousness because it cognizes.
That being said, if people believe certain words are actively misleading, not simply used with specialized (Buddhist) meanings, then they have a right to voice that. The trickiness, as always, is in finding the balance.
I wonder if we might perhaps wander back to the original post about sanna v. vinanna…
It occurred to me that I can summon consciousness of colors, shapes and sounds but not of tastes, smells or touches. In this small way I understand that consciousness is varied in experience. Perhaps this varied experience might be a start towards understanding sanna v. vinanna?
Current studies in neuro-plasticity are very informative with regards to this. Certain individuals can develop consciousness of fields of perception to a level that is unknown to most people. Also as certain senses are cut off, others are enhanced.
Going blind, I’ve been trying to learn Braille. I have pasted Braille stickers on my keyboard. Yet after years of typing on these Braille stickers I still cannot feel or remember Braille to the level required for sightless reading. I simply feel and remember a “bumpy key”. Yet I can close my eyes and see all the letters in the alphabet in different colors, fonts, italics, bold, serif or non-serif.
But in the neuroplastic sense, awareness of space is growing. I’m becoming more aware of here-and-there proximate distances independent of sight. I think it’s called proprioception, and is, I suppose, an aspect of touch. Indeed, my own crude understanding of the dimension of space is actually informed by that sense of touch, of how we all relate to each other in a very literal sense. It has helped me form a tenuous understanding of the following:
SN46.54:13.6: The apex of the heart’s release by compassion is the dimension of infinite space, I say, for a mendicant who has not penetrated to a higher freedom.
When one closes ones eyes, infinite space appears. It’s literally just the space of here-and-there extended into the limitless expanse of possibilities and relationships unknown. There is an odd continuity between touching one’s nose, the wall, or even the moon and beyond. Can touch that. Can’t touch that. Yet both are there.
And yet I doubt I will ever read Braille. Thank goodness for audiobooks.
If connecting to jhanas then sanna would be the range of thoughts, a perception , in meaning that you are identified with the perception, when you are not your identity anymore, the perception grow into infinite too like in arupas
So the vinnana is the limited identity we put on objects, while sanna is the range of the identity
When we reached arupas the sanna would be boundless and vinnana stop recognising things, only the source which has no definition on objects.
And when the we reached the end of arupas, the vinnana is seen completely and disenchanted , we no longer take on perception based on our old identity, a chance to be free from clinging through jhanas . Vimutti🙏🏻
Yes , source of the perception, boundless , if it takes any identification it will be limited and delusion can only takes form in limitation of forms.
In the paticcasammupada the source is also the sankhara, it has no form , but what can be seen is just the result : mental, body, speech. Nobody ever seen sankhara because it can not be identified. Like we cannot see energy, only the result.
Love what you say here. To me too, lately as I begin to sharpen my understanding, and am exposed more to Chinese translations (thanks to Sutta Central) I find (how do I say this?) it is as if the Chinese monks incorporated the Dhammic meanings into the translation, not the technical understanding of a word only. This is not a criticism of Pali translations, but it is really helpful to have the two translations side by side.
Most significantly it helped me with my understanding of Origination SN 47.42. Have you ever looked at the Chinese translation of SN 47.42. I am very curious of your understanding there. Hope this is not off topic.
I have spent most of my time in the last few years meditating on the red and blue kasinas.
It is odd that the Buddha would say “it is called perception because he perceives red, he perceives blue” etc.
What, I’ve found is that the musculature of the body is very much caught up in the “intrigue” of blue and red.
The more I relax my muscles, the more I see the kasina red and blue exiting my ligatures.
This is much to my delight and pleasure. To have the kasinas of blue and red leave my body has been an absolute GOD SEND to my prevailing lower back pains.
I am now in a position to say that anyone who is capable of opening their throat (blue) chakra is also the recipient of a very nice deep muscle relaxation of the lower back. It has made my life as a 40 year old man absolutely delightful. I feel as if I could do the same things I could in my mid 20’s!
There is a parallel, SA 609. The important bits are the same as the Pali in this case; but it’s more verbose with stock passages for each of the four abodes of mindfulness.
One of the benefits of comparing parallels is that it helps detect possible textual corruptions, but it goes both ways. Sometimes the Chinese is obscure and the Pali or Sanskrit is illuminating. So, I can’t say I have a strong bias either way.
Thanks, this is true, with some suttas the Pali translation is clearer. in some cases however, esp when it comes to bits containing info on Dependent origination, I find the Chinese version to be more lucid. In a discussion on DO, on another website, one person brought in the Chinese version, that threw a clearer light on how suffering begins at contact. My comment was based on a limited number of suttas.
To give you another example I found the Chinese version of MN 133, clearer. Likewise the Chinese translation of SN 47.42 made more sense to me. The Pali version came across as a riddle, at the beginning.
“The Chinese version is more verbose”
Perhaps it is the verbosity that helped me there. Of course how I got the Chinese was by feeding it into the Google translator…not the best way of doing things. But what is one gonna do when one is an idiot in Chinese. Do you mind translating it for me, pl? Will be grateful to you for the rest of my life.
It is nice to know Chinese, esp. when it comes to Dhamma studies. This I have come to believe of late.
"Now, I’ll explain the formation (集) of the four abodes of mindfulness and their disappearance (沒). Listen closely, and well consider it.
"What’s the formation of the four abodes of mindfulness and their disappearance? Food forms, and then the body forms. Food ceases (滅), and then the body ceases. Thus is the abode of observing as the body forms, the abode of observing as the body ceases, and the abode of observing as the body forms and ceases. This, then, is the abode without support that is forever without grasping onto the world.
"Thus, contact forms, and then feeling forms. Contact ceases, and then feeling disappears. Thus is the abode of observing feeling as it forms … (as above) …
"Name-and-form forms, and then the mind forms. Name-and-form ceases, and then the mind disappears. This is the abode of observing the mind as it forms … (as above) …
"Recollection forms, and then dharmas form. Recollection ceases, and then dharmas disappear. This is the abode of observing dharmas as they form … (as above) …
“This is the formation of the four abodes of mindfulness and their disappearance.”
@cdpatton Your translation is fabulous. I had finished a translation of SN 46.42 myself in my own backward way. When I become desperate I use all the different translations available on Sutta central and work them backwards, meaning back to English from say Portuguese. It has worked for me in the past, at least in the case of Sn 4.11.
But here, your translation is just perfection…
It reveals a great deal that the rest of the samyutta fails to reveal, this one sutta.
You wrote to begin with
“Now, I’ll explain the formation (集) of the four abodes of mindfulness and their disappearance (沒). Listen closely, and well consider it”
Once you mentioned that a translator has to take into account the Chinese characters in the translation. I found this to be fascinating. Does the differences in character enable an improved meaning in the translation. If so I conclude, the Chinese alphabet gives the Chinese, an edge over the other translators who are limited by the limitations of their alphabet? am I saying it right?
For instance “disappearance (沒)” can be denoted by another letter too? but the translator selected this particular (沒) If he or she selected another possible letter how would it have affected the translation? If I am getting too technical just ignore me. I am just curious.
The sutta ends so beautifully.
“This is the formation of the four abodes of mindfulness and their disappearance.”