SN 22.53 "Involvement"


Yes, this could reflect the DO process. Though without some initial experience of consciousness it’s difficult to see how intention could develop.
For example I could develop an intention to seek out ice-cream because I like the taste. But that intention can’t develop in a vacuum, it has to be based on a previous consciousness/experience of ice-cream.

It also raises the question of what the contionality in DO is like. Does it include the option of “When A increases, then so does B?”.


Ah the original experience…!

The Buddha never promised answers to everything, but rather a way out!


From DN33 consciousness is a feedback loop, much like a microphone that picks up the sound of the speaker and around and around it goes howling into suffering:

Four bases for consciousness to remain. As long as consciousness remains, it remains involved with form, supported by form, founded on form. And with a sprinkle of relishing, it grows, increases, and matures. Or consciousness remains involved with feeling … Or consciousness remains involved with perception … Or as long as consciousness remains, it remains involved with choices, supported by choices, grounded on choices. And with a sprinkle of relishing, it grows, increases, and matures.

Relishing/delight is the amplifier for the feedback loop. Hilariously, this also supports the OP, much to my consternation. What about SPACE!? :grinning:


Actually, form is only one leg of the loop. Perception of space would also support consciousness…


I think there is something to be mentioned about ‘intensity’
some feeling --> no craving
nice feeling --> craving
excellent feeling --> craving --> attachment
‘I want it again’ kind of feeling --> craving --> attachment–> becoming/‘mine’/disputes/gain/rebirth.

I identify attachment, if it keeps coming to mind, again and again!


Yes, I can see how positive feedback would work here. We need some negative feedback!

+ve feedback: B increases when A increases.
-ve feedback: B decreases when A increases.

As for space, I really like it, and seek it out. :laughing:


It’s an absence of Rupa! You could notice it in relation to the absence of rupa. I believe they are considered conascent causes of each other. One is a delimitation of the other. The crucial point is how space or emptiness differs from nibbana, and many doctrines confuse the two IMO. One arises from seeing tilakkhana and with nibbida, viraga and the other only requires some measure of mindfulness.


That’s a very interesting point. With eyes closed moving about in a dark room, there is an intense perception of space laden with the possibility of form. As you say, space and form are conascent. :dark_sunglasses:

There is also the perception of space as having distance, near and far. :straight_ruler: :triangular_ruler:

A dark room is definitely not empty, nor is it particularly extinguished! :sunglasses:


Some teachers say that space between the in-breath and the out-breath, or the spaces between sense stimuli, is nibbana. But I believe they are simply space!



In the normal cycle of breathing, one senses the arising of the in-breath in the cessation of the out-breath and vice versa. In this way one senses a space as you say, where one perceives a “from” and a “to” and a motion between.

However, as the cycle elongates, those spaces stretch into breathlessness. The directionality fades away along with the perception of time. And thoughts have nothing from which to originate.

Personally I cannot say where that all leads (I’m working on that), but one does experience a phase change away from perception of space/time. The perception of the passage of time/space as noted by the cycle of breaths fades away.


Recently I’ve been exploring the distinction between enclosed space and boundless space, as an experience. It’s a distinction made in the Visshudimagga. Practically speaking it’s the difference between noticing space in a room for example (enclosed space), and noticing space outdoors, looking at the sky, or out to sea (boundless space).
I’ve found that the difference in effect on my mind “space” is significant - quite constricted in the first case, and much more expansive in the second. I wonder if this is why I’m an “outdoor” person, drawn particularly to open spaces, and places with a view.


I don’t think space itself is much to do with Nibbana, though a spacious mind seems like a good place to start from. Some argue that space, like Nibbana, is unconditioned, but thats a point of controversy, and probably a red herring.

Emptiness (sunna) seems like a valid basis for approaching Nibbana, though it’s understated in the suttas.
See MN121 for example:


Ther seems to be different kinds of space as Martin mentions: enclosed space, enlarged mind (mahaggatta) and the immaterial attainment.

This is what is known as the asanna , a kind of false void place, which mimics nibbana. It’s said to have a corresponding rebirth in void realm. It’s not really helpful on the path but some degree of samadhi might be present and useful. It’s not a jhana. It ends up in loosing mindfulness but deeply absorbed into a hole-like state.


If we think that vedana sanna sankhara vinnana are different and separated, we’ll miss what The Buddha mean …
May be you should take a look this sutta

And about “asanna” ( 𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑛̃𝑛̃𝑖𝑛𝑜 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑎𝑡̣𝑖𝑠𝑎𝑚̣𝑣𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑜 - MN 137 ) means Not fully experiencing or no perception ( the perception still occurs but not like we are)


Sure, vinnana, sanna and vedana are conjoined. That’s why I find the OP sutta puzzling, it seems to place vinnana apart from the other four aggregates.


OK, but I still don’t get where consciousness sits with the hand example - is it just seeing the hand?

I think …sits at contact

eye consciousness arises dependent on the eye and sights. The meeting of the three is contact.
𝑃ℎ𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑎̄ 𝑣𝑒𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑎̄𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑜…𝑃ℎ𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑎̄ 𝑠𝑎𝑛̃𝑛̃𝑎̄𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑜…𝑃ℎ𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑎𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑎̄ 𝑠𝑎𝑛̇­𝑘ℎ𝑎̄­𝑟𝑎­𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑦𝑜


Consciousness originates from name and form.
Nāmarūpasamudayā viññāṇasamudayo


Yes, the OP sutta might be a variation on the mutual dependence of vinnana and nama-rupa in some DO suttas. Though confusingly, the majority of DO suttas don’t include this (see SN12).


I am unfamiliar with asanna. The only thing I could find was “unconscious” as in:

There are gods named ‘non-percipient beings’.
Santi, bhikkhave, asaññasattā nāma devā.

This does seem useless. Thanks!


Though in MN1 it seems like the Tathagata “directly knows” everything, without perception.


In contrast with everyday persons who perceive, identify and take pleasure in all they choose. Therefore the Tathagata directly knows without involvement.


I think without attachment or projecting one’s own ideas on to it. They can still be involved in ways other than that, I suppose…!