Speech caused by perception?

Hello,

I was reading Kv 2.5 and saw this

" Theravādin: That is no good reason. The Exalted One also said that speech is caused by perception. Now one in second, third, or fourth jhāna has perception, but we know that he no longer applies or sustains thought. So also for the four more abstract jhāna states (see PTS CS 2.5.8)."

which seems to be translated from

““Paṭhamaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa vācā niruddhā hotī”ti, attheva suttantoti, atthi tassa vacībhedoti? Āmantā. “ Tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa pīti niruddhā hoti, catutthaṃ jhānaṃ samāpannassa assāsapassāsā niruddhā honti, ākāsānañcāyatanaṃ samāpannassa rūpasaññā niruddhā hoti, viññāṇañcāyatanaṃ samāpannassa ākāsānañcāyatanasaññā niruddhā hoti, ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ samāpannassa viññāṇañcāyatanasaññā niruddhā hoti, nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ samāpannassa ākiñcaññāyatanasaññā niruddhā hoti, saññāvedayitanirodhaṃ samāpannassa saññā ca vedanā ca niruddhā hontī”ti, attheva suttantoti, atthi tassa saññā ca vedanā cāti? Na hevaṃ vattabbe … pe ….”

But I can’t in that pali where it says “The Exalted One also said that speech is caused by perception” as I don’t see the word “bhavagata” anywhere in that paragraph.

Does anyone have a source where the Buddha says that speech is caused by perception?

Thank you!

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I was reading about this 2 days ago !

here is Bhikkhu Anālayo mentioning it in,

Bhikkhu Anālayo Lectures

Spring-Summer 2019 – Nibbāna: The Mind Stilled, Part 3


middle of the pdf
from Bhikkhu Anālayo Lectures

since it is a copy paste form a pdf, I do not know if it will be well rendered, in

Now the commentators also seem to have fallen into such an error in their
elaborate exegesis on Nibbāna, due to a lack of understanding of this philosophy
of language. That is why the Mūlapariyāyasutta now finds itself relegated,
though it is at the head of the suttas of the Majjhima Nikāya.
It is in the nature of concepts that nouns are invested with a certain amount of
permanence. Even a verbal noun, once it is formed, gets a degree of permanence
more or less superimposed on it. When one says ‘the river flows’, one somehow
tends to forget the flowing nature of the so-called river. This is the result of the
perception of permanence.
As a matter of fact, perception as such carries with it the notion of
permanence, as we mentioned in an earlier sermon. To perceive is to grasp a
sign. One can grasp a sign only where one imagines some degree of
permanence.
The purpose of perception is not only to recognize for oneself, but also to
make it known to others. The Buddha has pointed out that there is a very close
relationship between recognition and communication. This fact is expressly
stated by the Buddha in the following quotation from the Sixes of the Aṅguttara
Nikāya:
> Vohāravepakkaṃ ahaṃ, bhikkhave, saññaṃ vadāmi. Yathā yathā naṃ
> sañjānāti, tathā tathā voharati, evaṃ saññī ahosin’ti. "Monks, I say that
> perception has linguistic usage as its result. In whatever way one perceives, so
> one speaks out about it, saying: ‘I was of such a perception’."
> Translation Bodhi (2012: 962):
> “I say that perceptions result in expression. In whatever way one perceives
> something, in just that way one expresses oneself, [saying:] ‘I was percipient of
> such and such.’”
> Parallel MĀ 111 :
> “What is ‘knowing the result of perception’? It is verbalization. Following on
> perception there is verbalization. This is called ‘knowing the result of
> perception.’”
The word vepakka is a derivative from the word vipāka, which in the context
of kamma, or ethically significant action, generally means the result of that
action. In this context, however, its primary sense is evident, that is, as some sort
of a ripening. In other words, what this quotation implies is that perception
ripens or matures into verbal usage or convention.
So here we see the connection between saññā, perception, and saṅkhā,
reckoning. This throws more light on our earlier explanation of the last line of a
verse in the Kalahavivādasutta, namely saññānidānā hi papañcasaṅkhā, “for
reckonings born of prolificity have perception as their source”.
So now we are in a better position to appreciate the statement that linguistic
usages, reckonings and designations are the outcome of perception. All this goes
to show that an insight into the philosophy of language is essential for a proper
understanding of this Dhamma. This is the moral behind the Mūlapariyāyasutta.

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Thank you Njeul!

If anyone has more sutta sources on this topic (perception causing speech), please share!

This seems to suggest a circular (or cyclical?) process.

In first jhana, speech is ceased (SN 36.11) and in second jhana vitakka and vicara cease.

But we also know that verbal sankharas cease first, then bodily, and lastly mental (feelings and perceptions), according to MN 44

So perceptions cause speech, but perceptions are last to cease, so how does one cease speech to enter first jhana if the speech is mental chatter, when perceptions only cease after eighth jhana?

Even if we take speech to mean physical chatter and not mental chatter, then thoughts are still caused by perceptions as it is thoughts that break out into speech (SN 41.6). So how do we cease thoughts before we cease perceptions if perceptions cause thoughts?

So how is this paradox solved or circular reasoning resolved?

edit: It seems like the only way out of this paradox is to replace poor perceptions with better perceptions as Girimananda sutta suggests., until finally one arrives at the perception of cessation. One first needs to start with the perception of impermanence and giving up (MN 62 and EA 17.1).

Very nice find, Njeul. I would just like to clarify, though, that the text posted is the words of Ven. Katukurunde Ñāṇananda, not Ven. Anālayo, although it is from a course Ven. Anālayo offered on Ven. Ñāṇananda’s Nibbāna Sermons.

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Aha! Thanks for this. I have added has ceased to the Voice examples

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Samadhi has the ability to retard the arising of various mental constituents, and hence their resultant acts and speech. This doesn’t imply the original causal link is falsified. Rather it means that, additional causation (samadhi, in this case) is acting on the causal chain between perception and speech.

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Right, I understand that, but how does one stop the trigger for speech or thoughts from arising? Say one is meditating and thoughts of sensuality arise.

There are only two solutions I can think of

  1. Constantly bring attention back to meditation object and away from thoughts over and over.

  2. Develop the perception of impermanence and abandoning, which seems like a sequential progression as every sutta on drawbacks seems to start with impermanence, even in anapanasati and jhana suttas.

e.g. "as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as an abscess, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. "

It might be the combination of both strategies one has to employ.

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When there is a referable reality contact can be discerned as it’s requisite condition, in as far as contact is discerned as a truth and reality perception can be discerned and delineated (as well as feeling & consciousness as conjoined phenomena).

In this Dhamma Perception can be of the in & out breaths or of the manyfold color which [latter] would be perception born of eye contact and perception is associated with all senses. What one sees that one thinks about, so what one perceives that one verbalizes (thinks about).

Perception in the formless jhana is not dependent on perception of the Four Elements but it is still reckoned as perception for therein is contact and therefore also feeling, the referable reality therein is different and that is the only difference, the variety of perceptions, the resultant felt states therein are thus called Formless Jhana.

Perceptions in the the first jhana are just that and the perceptions in the second, third and fourth jhanas are just that, they are just classes of perception thus categorized by jhanas.

Perception in and by itself ceases only when one grows disenchanted with conditioned phenomena altogether and there comes to be a perception reckoned as perception of cessation and when this perception is discerned All ceases and one comes to know that there is an alternative to the conditioned-contact-based referable reality, thus discerning the cessation of and the escape from conditioned phenomena, if there was no alternative to what is conditioned no escape could be discerned.

For jhana progression in one-by-one context it is in general about becoming disenchanted and abandoning gross states in favor of a more tranquil state, as a person who was walking was to become tired of walking and decide to stop, one by one factors are discerned as they are and abandoned, so to go from the second to third one becomes disenchanted with thinking and it becomes stilled and so on, when one becomes disenchanted with air element the perception of breathing is stilled for breath is just wind element essentially.

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Also here it is worth mentioning one thing that i’ve kind of been thinking about myself and how to explain it.

Of the six classes of perception there is that perception born of ideation-contact and there the transformation from ‘What one sees that one thinks about’. What is the transformation to Thinking instead of Seeing?

‘Perception’ it ‘Perceives’ and it is discerned in context of it’s function and it’s function is perceiving as;
Of eye-contact - ‘Blue’ or ‘Yellow’

This is fine right but it is kind of difficult to do this for other senses because in the case of ‘Consciousness’ it is said that it’s function is to cognize ‘pleasant’, ‘painful’ or ‘neither pleasant nor painful’ and ‘feeling’ it feels ‘pleasure’, ‘pain’ or ‘neither pleasure nor pain’.

If we go further sn22.079 expresses it differently;

"And why do you call it ‘consciousness’? Because it cognizes, thus it is called consciousness. What does it cognize? It cognizes what is sour, bitter, pungent, sweet, alkaline, non-alkaline, salty, & unsalty. Because it cognizes, it is called consciousness.

or alternate translation

“And why, bhikkhus, do you call it consciousness? ‘It cognizes, ’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness. And what does it cognize? It cognizes sour, it cognizes bitter, it cognizes pungent, it cognizes sweet, it cognizes sharp, it cognizes mild, it cognizes salty, it cognizes bland. ‘It cognizes,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness.

So what in case of ‘Perception’ born of the tongue contact, what does it perceive?
I would answer; ‘It perceives sour’ because it is said;

“Feeling, perception, & consciousness are conjoined, friend, not disjoined. It is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them. For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them.”

Coming back to the Perception born of ideation-contact, what does it perceive?
I would say it perceives the various ‘Thoughts’, various thoughts about this or that.

I messed this part up badly in the OP so i will try again;

I guess the transformation is simply ‘what one thinks that one thinks about’ and i think it is fine to say that because what one thinks about is the object and the verb therein is thinking, i think it is relevant because it ties to Perception of Death and other types of ‘Perceptions’ to be developed.

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There is a distinction between verbal and mental. Mental fabrications are not necessarily expressed in speech, but can result in visualizations. The level of visualization precedes verbalization, which is a relatively crude form of expression:

“In-&-out breaths are bodily; these are things tied up with the body. That’s why in-&-out breaths are bodily fabrications. Having first directed one’s thoughts and made an evaluation, one then breaks out into speech. That’s why directed thought & evaluation are verbal fabrications. Perceptions & feelings are mental; these are things tied up with the mind. That’s why perceptions & feelings are mental fabrications.”—MN 44

The oral culture of the time means that ‘speech’ should be interpreted as expression. The inevitable progression of perception into expression is a demonstration of the momentum of samsara, and why mindfulness cannot be passive.

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Yes, I think I understand your post. The way I look at it, when you shut off the senses (close your eyes, sit in a quiet area, etc…) your mind compensates with that extra energy into thinking, so the biggest hurdle is thinking which can manifest as the 5 hindrances.

The Buddha also says that over-thinking leads to sloth, and I find from my personal experiences is that when there is sloth there is a lot of imagining and dreaming going on, a stream of images and story making that just doesn’t stop.

So I’m thinking the only way to stop it is to actively pursue a certain perception (as listed in Giriminanda sutta) or to bring the attention back to the meditation object.

I’m also exploring the strategy of not giving attention to characteristics or signs as MN 53 says: “When they know a thought with their mind, they don’t get caught up in the features and details.”

So when the thought arises perhaps just labeling it as a thought or not giving it attention and returning to breath right away. If you entertain that thought then you allow the hindrance that it represents to grow.

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Here in AN 9.41 (Tapussa sutta) the Buddha employs the replacing perception strategy first, before his awakening, Thanissaro translation

So it is. Even I myself, before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, thought: ‘Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at renunciation, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven’t pursued [that theme]. I haven’t understood the reward of renunciation; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.’

[1] "Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.’

"So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace. Then, quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

The sutta then continues with his battles with different perceptions and using the strategy of replacing the perceptions with drawbacks to deal with them:

"As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset me was an affliction for me.

[2] "The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I were to enter & remain in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at being without directed thought, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at being without directed thought, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of directed thought; I haven’t pursued that theme. I haven’t understood the reward of being without directed thought; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at being without directed thought, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or firm, seeing it as peace.’

"Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at being without directed thought, grow confident, steadfast, & firm, seeing it as peace.’

And the sutta continues with the same strategy being reapplied for each of the jhanas.

So it seems the only way to break the conundrum of perception causing speech, but you can only cease perception after eight jhana, is to employ another perception first.

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There is a third, which is restraint. Because of DO, one has to perceive a thought as sensual, one has to feel a thought as sensual, one has to contact a thought as sensual. That’s three places we could have let go and restrained ourselves.

For example, consider the thought of an attractive person. Genetically we are hardwired to think of healthy persons as more attractive for breeding than unattractive persons. Therefore, a simple but effective strategy is to acknowledge that the person is healthy and good for breeding but let it go after that. There is no need to linger on that thought and proliferate it into suffering. Acknowledging a person as healthy has nothing to do with identity–it’s simply an observation.

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you probably know this one but there is also the Vitakkasanthana Sutta: The Removal of Distracting Thoughts which gives a whole arsenal for dealing with thoughts.

I’ll just leave this here as well;

From inappropriate attention
you’re being chewed by your thoughts.
Relinquishing what’s inappropriate,
contemplate
appropriately.

Keeping your mind on the Teacher,
the Dhamma, the Sangha, your virtues,
you will arrive at
joy,
rapture,
pleasure
without doubt.

Then, saturated
with joy,
you will put an end
to suffering & stress. Ayoniso-manasikara Sutta: Inappropriate Attention

If one were to have mindfulness always established, continually immersed in the body, (thinking,) “It should not be, it should not be mine; it will not be, it will not be mine” — there, in that step-by-step dwelling, one in no long time would cross over attachment.Kaccāyana Sutta: Kaccāyana

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One exclaimed this exclamation: “‘It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me’: a monk set on this would break the [five] lower fetters.”
Udana Sutta: Exclamation

Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One: “There is the case, lord, where a monk, having practiced in this way — ‘It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon’ — obtains equanimity. Now, would this monk be totally unbound, or not?”

"A certain such monk might, Ananda, and another might not.’

“What is the cause, what is the reason, whereby one might and another might not?”

“There is the case, Ananda, where a monk, having practiced in this way — (thinking) ‘It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon’ — obtains equanimity. He relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it. As he relishes that equanimity, welcomes it, remains fastened to it, his consciousness is dependent on it, is sustained by it (clings to it). With clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is not totally unbound.”

“Being sustained, where is that monk sustained?”

“The dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.”

“Then, indeed, being sustained, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance.”

“Being sustained, Ananda, he is sustained by the supreme sustenance; for this — the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception — is the supreme sustenance. There is [however] the case where a monk, having practiced in this way — ‘It should not be, it should not occur to me; it will not be, it will not occur to me. What is, what has come to be, that I abandon’ — obtains equanimity. He does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it. As he does not relish that equanimity, does not welcome it, does not remain fastened to it, his consciousness is not dependent on it, is not sustained by it (does not cling to it). Without clinging/sustenance, Ananda, a monk is totally unbound.” Aneñja-sappaya Sutta: Conducive to the Imperturbable

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The visual object and the eye open, functioning, turned towards it, gives rise to initial awareness at the eye (that is ‘eye consciousness’ or cakku vinnana). This gives rise to ‘contact’, which in turn gives rise to 1) feeling/vedana 2) identification/sanna 3) mental creations, like intentions, thoughts, yonisomanasikara, development of the sign of impermanence and any mental action of greater complexity, AFAIK. So ‘seeing’ is just initial recognition. ‘Thinking about’ is the contemplation that follows, based on what has been recognised.

Great compilation, thanks!

i would say that as soon as you can postulate existence of eye-cosciousness as a truth of referable reality it is thus discerned as a condition that has come into play, in as far as you discern just that to have arisen you can discern therein arisen requisite contact and in as far as you discern the arising of just that consciousness you can therein discerns feeling and perception for these are conjoined, one can not differentiate between them to say that one preceeds the other for they are conjoined.

There is the referable reality and we can only make statements and think about it, we can not say that the referable reality is ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Contact’ but we can know that referable reality does not come into play without causes and conditions, so in as far as we can discern the six classes of referable reality to have come into play, we can delineate the causes and conditions which came into play therein.

Analogically one could think of postulating existence of a certain ‘house’, in as far as that is conceived of one can point out supports and requisite conditions; ‘southern wall’, ‘northern wall’, ‘a roof’, these are included in the ‘house’ and are to that extent conjoined therein.
Can’t take a house a part and talk about the individual parts as a ‘house’, similarly we can not take apart individual requisites of the referable reality apart and say this here consciousness is the referable reality.

Buddha gives simile of two reeds placed to support each other forming a ‘structure’ and in the context of the structure it’s requisite conditions are discerned as dependently arisen ‘reed A’ and ‘reed B’ wherein one supports another, the whole context of a ‘structure’ disappears if you take them apart, in as far as supports and requisite conditions of a structure go they are herein conjoined, they do not come into play in and by themselves but are dependently arisen requisite conditions. Yet in the context of the structure, thinking about it we can discern ‘reed A’ and ‘reed B’ and we can make statements like ‘structure is when what is?’ ‘structure’ is when ‘reed A’ supports ‘reed B’ and ‘reed B’ supports ‘reed A’.

Furthermore when it is thus called ‘reed A’ in this context, as soon as we say that it exists we therein by inference can know that if ‘reed A’ exists in that very context of a structure then it’s support also must exist and ‘reed B’ is thus discerned as it’s requisite condition.

Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition there is feeling. ‘The six classes of feeling should be known.’ Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said. This is the fifth sextet. MN148

If they could not be discerned separately it would be pointless to give them different names, rather just call them with one name. Conjoining specifically refers to idapaccayata, as they always give rise to next one. If everything arose together there would be no casual connections discernable!

Where have you seen coinjoinement thus explained? The conjoinment is explained;

Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference between them." Mahavedalla Sutta: The Greater Set of Questions-and-Answers

When you say that contact preceeds the Feeling are you saying that feeling arises in and by itself, preeceded by contact, as present is preceeded by the past?

If this is so, then therein having first separated them are you not delineating the difference between them?

In the dependent origination you quote, how do you infer that one preceeds the other?

It is not so that they can not be diserned separately, it is that having discerned them as separately it is impossible to tell them apart beyond that for each is associated with the other;

For what one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, that one cognizes. Therefore these qualities are conjoined, not disjoined, and it is not possible, having separated them one from another, to delineate the difference among them."

Is it not so that according to you that first one cognizes one thing (A) which arises and ceases before it is succeeded by the next another thing (B) perception ie?

Again the concept of the structure of two reeds being placed against eachother, the structure is dependently arisen, ‘reed A’ is supported by ‘reed B’ and ‘reed B’ is supported by ‘reed A’, in as far there is A structure it’s supports are arisen together and not separately and casual connection can be discerned. It is not a trick but something to be understood in relation to Nama & Rupa.

In as far as there are six sense media there is objectification (thinking about and naming). So when one thinks about what one sees one can think about how it works and point out truths about what one objectifies. Therefore to point out various causes and the interplay of supports one will name them differently according to their respective function.

The point is that in the structure of reeds, reed A is reed A because reed A is thus called because it is know to have B as it’s support and is a support for B in the context of a structure, that is the meaning behind what is shortly termed ‘Reed A’.

Now if one was to dismantle the structure and point out the reed A again, it is no longer possible to say that reed A is know to have B as it’s support and is a support for B, so one is no longer talking about the same thing, reed A in the first context does not equal the reed A in the latter. So it is with the six fields of referable reality. It is not possible to postulate existence of Consciousness in and by itself and say that it is the same consciousness that is discerned as a requisite condition for the Six Sense media.

“Discernment & consciousness, friend: Of these qualities that are conjoined, not disjoined, discernment is to be developed, consciousness is to be fully comprehended.”

This is a good example how they are different and this is a good example how they are conjoined;

For what one discerns, that one cognizes. What one cognizes, that one discerns.

X is both discerned and that very X is known to be cognized. X is the referable reality which is objectified and thought about as being discerned and cognized and one can not say that the X is discernment or X is consciousness.

Thus when X is, on that account one can delineate one and the other on the same basis. Furthermore one can delineate other conditions and requisites.