If you explore multi-sensory integration you will see that different nerve impulses have to be ‘put-together’ in a central place.

We start off with delusion ie. ‘everything exists’. What we are hopeful of is having a mindfulness driven experience of ‘when this arises, that arises’ etc.


The Buddha says:

But when you truly see the origin of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of non-existence regarding the world. Lokasamudayaṃ kho, kaccāna, yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passato yā loke natthitā sā na hoti.

2.3 And when you truly see the cessation of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of existence regarding the world. Lokanirodhaṃ kho, kaccāna, yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passato yā loke atthitā sā na hoti

This ceasing of the ‘world’ is ceasing of consciousness (and that along with other phenomena which are sensed).


I did these experiments long time ago and came to quite different conclusions. For my self the distinct feeling i get is i am here just along for the ride. I can only ever be conscious of the presently arisen citta(or consciousness). what the next one will be i cant control. I can direct it to a certain degree with attention.

Oh yes there is. dependant on eye and sights there arises eye consciousness.

They do not say. Directing attention to the eye there arises eye consciousness.


What about the unestablished consciousness ?


First if we can establish what unestablished consciousness is… it would be great!



To go with your analogy of analog vs digital, I’d say the brain and nervous system operate on an analog level whereas consciousness and attention operate on a digital level. The brain and nervous system are constantly monitoring the environment via all the five senses. It has to so we can react to, e.g. danger like a big cat jumping out from the bushes intent on eating you for dinner. Consciousness and attention are discrete and can only sample or “know” via one sense at a time. This happens so quickly that it naturally just blurs together. We can tease it apart by calming the mind with meditation and paying close attention to the process.

Mind you, this is still just an analogy and like all analogies, can only be taken so far before falling apart. I also think that theorizing about the mechanisms of our experience is of secondary import and may in fact lead us astray as opposed to the primary directive, namely actual practice. Of course, contemplation and reflection on Dhamma is an essential part of actual practice, but I don’t see trying to come up with a system of how things work via discursive thought is part of that. Doing that is putting the cart before the horse as I see it. The Buddha was able to give a systematic dissection of experience because of his penetrative Noble insight of things, not the other way around.

IMO, YMMV, etc.



Here is a very interesting video. If you are unable to watch it, you might like to research ‘Cortical blindness’. It is a condition where the patient’s brain processes visual information but the don’t have visual consciousness. For example they can avoid obstacles but cant see them.

You might also like to research the following conditions.


Sure, but this supports simultaneity.

Cessation of consciousness is death, isn’t it?

This just describes the conditionality of consciousness. It doesn’t argue against simultaneity. In the film example, eye-consciousness and ear-consciousness arise simultaneously because the necessary conditions are present ( eye+sights, ear+sounds ).


The film example doesn’t support this assertion, since we’re “sampling” both visual and aural inputs simultaneously. In this example we need both the moving images on the screen and the soundtrack to make sense of the film.


It means simultaneity is an illusion. There is an illusion not of just that but also of continuity.

Until you experience disrupted chain of form arising at the eye, giving rise to eye-consciousness and so on, the illusion persists.


If you’re arguing that we build an internal model of our environment based on raw data from the sense organs, then I’d agree. But that doesn’t mean that simultaneity and continuity are “illusions”, since we’re talking here about how we experience the internal model, and not about the functioning of the nervous system, or whatever. Our physiology is designed to present us with continuity and simultaneity, it enables us to make sense of the world.

In any case, Buddhist psychology is not concerned with this stuff, it’s concerned with the conditionality and instability of our experience. It’s concerned with what we experience in the mind, and not with nerve impulses or whatever.


The Buddha: “There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked… truly an unbroken tradition… well-reasoned… Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn’t proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, ‘Only this is true; anything else is worthless.”SuttaCentral

It’s good to have a curious mind about what might be true.

“Mendicant, if someone meditates observing rise and fall in the eye faculty, they grow disillusioned with the eye faculty. “Cakkhundriye ce, bhikkhu, udayabbayānupassī viharanto cakkhundriye nibbindati … pe …

2.2 If they meditate observing rise and fall in the ear faculty … nose faculty … tongue faculty … body faculty …jivhindriye ce, bhikkhu, udayabbayānupassī viharanto jivhindriye nibbindati … pe …

2.3…mind faculty, they grow disillusioned with the mind faculty. manindriye ce, bhikkhu, udayabbayānupassī viharanto manindriye nibbindati.

2.4 Being disillusioned, desire fades away. … When they’re freed, they know they’re freed. Nibbindaṃ virajjati … pe … vimuttasmiṃ vimuttamiti ñāṇaṃ hoti.

This further along the path of development leads to:

“Mendicants, develop immersion.

A mendicant who has immersion truly understands.

What do they truly understand?

The origin and ending of form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness [5 aggregates].


I don’t think it is simultaneous. The mind is simply very quick in attending to one sense-consciousness then another. It is our mind that makes sense of the film by “putting it together.” We each piece the forms together with our feelings, perceptions, sankharas, etc. into a story. That’s why every time you re-watch a movie, you notice details you didn’t notice before. Your body and nervous system “saw” or “heard” them, but your mind didn’t because it was attending to other details in that moment. There was no contact and thus no feeling, perception, etc. So your mind is actually seeing or hearing those new details for the first time and “updating” its story accordingly.

At least that’s how I see it. We might have to agree to disagree on this.


I still don’t understand the objection to simultaneity, and I can’t think of anything in the EBTs that insists we can only notice one object at a time.

Sure. The question is how the mind processes the various inputs, from eye and ear in the film example, and what the mind notices. If we are conscious simultaneously of input via two sense bases, then there would be simultaneous contact, feeling, etc -again, I don’t see anything in the EBTs that would prevent this simultaneity.



What about thoughts. You are thinking some thing right now. Out of innumerable number of possible thoughts. Are you aware of multiple thoughts at one time out of which you choose which one you pay attention to?


I think we must kindly agree to disagree on this. :slightly_smiling_face:


In my experience during vipassana [sense doors+sense stimuli] arise and pass away, one experience at a time.


What I do know is that I can be walking and thinking at the same time, and be aware of both activities.
I still can’t think of anything in the EBTs that prevents being aware of two things at the same time.


It’s samadhi or a unification of awareness.
It reduces distraction.


Sure, but focusing attention on one object as a practice doesn’t mean that this is the natural state of affairs.