Sanna v. Vinnana

Don’t say that I’m a fan. I speak for myself not about this or that teacher and i speak about the meaning and the original message, not this or that translation.

I’m not going to be debating anything with anyone as Dhamma is not a thing you can ‘prove’ to anyone or ‘debate’ – one either understands and sees it or not, there is no proving of understanding and seeing.

You have misunderstood my whole point and nothing you are pointing out there even applies to what i have been saying. I’m not asking the translations to be perfect, I’m not expecting English words to perfectly mirror Pali terms or saying ‘suttāni are all one needs’ or anything alike at all. To who are you giving that lecture there? You are at fault of misrepresenting me there.

I’m saying that some words are translated as such that the original message is lost in translation and what comes out when someone reads from such translations is of wholly different meaning than the original.

We can talk about this but only if we start with you first stating to me in detail what you think viññāṇa means right now. You have not said a single word about that in all that and not a single word about ‘Sanna v. Vinnana’ which is the original topic here. I’m not asking for a proof or texts or this or that translation or something like that but a description of the meaning you think viññāṇa holds in your own words regardless of any translation and I might ask you further question to fully see how you have understood it. If you can’t tell me what you think it means and you are not telling me that you dont know what it means i have nothing to talk about with you.

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I guess it’s for other people then. If it please you, reread it, because it’s talking about why your ideas to do with translation are untenable. I think two things may be being conflated as to what job a translator has as opposed to a Dharma teacher.

If you don’t want to decide to step out of this mindset you’ve written to me in, you don’t have to, but if you choose to read it without looking for offense towards yourself within it, you’ll find none there.

No one suggested you were. If you choose to take things personally that aren’t directed at you, no wonder you find insults and misrepresentation where there are none. And I gave my “lecture” to the entire forum, because the entire forum reads all these posts, not just you. Similarly, the “lecture” isn’t about you either, being about translation in general, and, if you watch Ven Puññaji’s videos linked to from here, you will hear someone much more educated and qualified than me speaking about these things directly, which will be directly concerning the OP and which I took quite a bit of time to transcribe for the forum (not just for you) and having heard that, you will likely not need my half-baked explanations and interpretations, and the relevance of that Dharma talk to the OP might become clearer.

IMO, it’s better in a conversation to congenitally suggest a direction for conversation, rather than issuing ultimatums and holding your participation hostage.

When someone recieves such a brusque ultimatum, the tendency is more toward disengagement than engagement. And, yes, in the post above you’ll find a lot to do with the OP.

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If that was not really directed to me then you have not made it clear because the way you have presented it with referencing me and quoting me makes it seem that you are talking about me. If you really were not talking about me then the ‘talk’ you have given is neither beneficial here as there is nobody specific here that would need such talk nor its timely as we are talking about sanna vs vinnana so its not right speech.

You would jump to a conclusion like that but it is not factual, im calm as a sheep Sir. :smile:

Go ahead and give your thoughts on viññāṇa if you want and lets see where it goes and im sure that i personally will be able to focus just on the subject matter. Otherwise as i said if you can’t tell me what you think it means and you are not telling me that you dont know what it means i have nothing to talk about with you.

I’m ready and willing to talk about sanna v. vinnana and the meaning of vinnana and i invite you to do so with me. If you don’t want to talk about it im not forcing you, its an invitation.

Yes, I thought the original wording maybe came off as a bit pointed and perhaps a bit personal upon actually seeing it posted, so I rephrased it.

You’ll just have to trust me that I’m not misrepresenting you or “lecturing” you.


Its all good Sir, lets talk about vinnana if you want.

Thanks for this post @Coemgenu, and the work in outlining the translation differences :slight_smile: It gives a solid, factual basis, to discuss the issue :pray:


This is the hardest one in translating
Sankhara has been translated in so many ways ; volition, fermentations, fabrications, will, karma, choices and finally mental construction

Not to disregard any of the translators, but we have to know that this merely words, you need to see directly, when we practice nirodha samapatti, this sankhara can clearly be seen

If Vedana is easily be seen. But not with sankhara

Vinnana can also be seen when we bring in our concentration, eyes receive any object but only see the colours without knowing the thing we see
Or ears receive any sounds but only hear the sounds without knowing what sound , and so on

An advice to know what is sankhara, try to lock up oneself in a plain white room, no table, no chair, no book, no phone, nothing physical in the room , no philosophy, no gossips, no story , no thinking, no plans, no purposes, no ideas, no jhanas , no samatha, no vipassana, no meditation, no activity, in 24hrs time you’ll clearly seen what is sankhara

May I just say, that reading through the entire discussion, it is quite evident how different Sanna can be generated from the same Vinnana process of cognizing black and white pixels on a screen!

Words are just place holders - but the same place holder can generate different images, based on our individual conditioning. Which place holder to use? That too, surely is a conditioned view.

Perhaps it might be best to just compose a range of appropriate English words and phrases designed to evoke similar Sanna, and leave the original Pali word untranslated?


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The problem really is very simple. When someone reads the translated suttas and there is a word like eye its clearly understood as eye as everyone knows what a eye is, then there is a word like ‘consciousness’ next to it and people would believe that its the kind of ‘consciousness’ common people think about and get the wrong idea, the real meaning does not come across as its nowhere evident that unlike for ‘eye’ this ‘consciousness’ should be treated any differently. Do you see what im saying?

One thing to treat that is trying to find the best possible word. ‘Consciousness’ for vinnana really gives all the wrong ideas and its nowhere said what sort of ‘consciousness’ is really intended. If you would ask people what they think ‘consciousness’ mean you would get all sorts of answers.

I will try to make a thread and ask people what they think ‘consciousness’ mean in the context of suttas but i expect that pretty much nobody will be brave enough to define and describe what kind of ‘consciousness’ they are thinking about for these very reasons.

Why don’t you just make a suggestion here and now, as it seems you have been thinking about this and have an issue with all the options currently on offer… :slight_smile:

I have made a separate thread about this in effort to see what kind of options really are on offer as i find it hard to find anyone explicitly state what they are thinking about. I would love to see everyone interested to have a say in there.

This has been discussed a lot …

Have a look through some of these previous topics

And this is a more expanded list of relevant topics

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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.

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Sadhu! Words are just words.

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.


:pray: Quite so.

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.


Not even very distinctive surfaces, like a hand brushing through a cat’s fur or a sliding on a smooth marble surface?

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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. :rofl:


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🙏🏻


What is the source? Do you mean the sankhara nidhana?