Viññāṇa and Vedanā Arise Simultaneously?

If vinnana arises along with vedana at contact, then why is vinnana further down the list of dependent origination after sankhara? If vinnana arises with the dyad of contact with sense object and sense organ, then is sankhara just the conditioned formations leading to the arising of a previous vinnana, and then it cycles through to birth and suffering, but at contact another vinnana arises and begins the process over, while at the same time the previous process is running its course. So as long as you continue identifying with the 5 aggregates the process will continue to complete itself with suffering. It’s almost like dependent origination is not always constantly happening, but is even at different stages simultaneously within each set of aggregates. This is a clearly a very rough outlines theory that I just came up with when thinking about this so I would love some input on why vinnana is born of contact and yet before contact on the 12 nidanas.

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Because the overall quality of the choices (sankhara) made in the past is what mostly shape the realm of birth you find yourself in.

Ajahn @Brahmali has given a few retreats on the topic of dependent origination. This is one of the topics he explained. I strongly recommend listening to his explanation. I don’t have the link to the tapes. Does anyone know where to find the latest?

I had a thought about this, once upon a time.

Yes but that doesn’t explain how vinnana ends up there if vinnana is just the temporary result of contact between a sense organ and sense object, which is further up the list. Contact is number 6, and yet vinnana is down at number 3, even though vinnana is the result of contact. Vinnana arises as the result of contact, so does sankhara include contact?

SN 12.65

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘This consciousness turns back; it does not go further than name-and-form. It is to this extent that one may be born and age and die, pass away and be reborn, that is, when there is consciousness with name-and-form as its condition, and name-and-form with consciousness as its condition. With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’

I wouldn’t worry about the whole 12-step catechism all at once; this Sutta skips the very part you find difficult…


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Vinnana means different things in different context, so which vinnana are we talking about: vinnanaKkhandha, vinnanaAniddassanam, vinnanaMano, etc? The consciousness in DO’s 3rd position is clarified by Ven. Bodhi’s note from “Connected Discourses” citing Comy.'s explanation:

Spk: The nutriment consciousness: rebirth-consciousness (patisandhicitta). The production of future renewed existence (ayatim punabbhavabhinibbatti): the name-and-form arisen along with that same consciousness.
At AN I 223-24 it is said: ‘Kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture, for consciousness … to become established in a low (middling, superior) realm; thus there is production of future renewed existence (kammam khettam viññanam bijam tanha sineho … hinaya (majjhimaya, patitaya) dhatuya viññanam patitthitam; evam ayatim punabbhavabhinibbatti hoti).’ This implies that it is the stream of consciousness coming from the preceding existence that functions as the nutriment consciousness by generating, at the moment of conception, the initial rebirth-consciousness, which in turn brings forth (or ‘nourishes’) the concomitant name-and-form.

The commentary explanation of multiple consciousness makes no sense to me. I don’t think there’s any reason to think that’s the case.

They are not Comy’s invention. They’re all in the suttas which you can search and find out for yourself.

That’s not true, the suttas only have 6 consciousness, one for each sensory experience, the 5 classical senses and the mind. There is no mention of a separate rebirth consciousness in the EBTs.

Then good luck with finding the answer to your OP with your own belief.

Well it’s not my own belief, it’s just a fact of the text. I’m still ambiguous as to what the actual answer is, but there is no mention of a separate rebirth consciousness in the suttas, that’s a fact.

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Generally speaking this is called Patisandi Vinnana. (re-birth consciousness)
As David said there are hundreds of combinations and permutations in Dependent Origination.
Dependent Origination is not linear.
They are feeding to each other.

Wrong. It wasn’t explicitly spelled out but it was there. Try to explain this message with just your 6 kinds of consciousness:

I will not cling to consciousness, and my consciousness will not be dependent on consciousness ~~ MN 143 ~~

Or this:

The nutriment consciousness is a condition for the production of future renewed existence. ~~ SN 12.12 ~~

That is far from evidence. There is nothing in there that seems like it’s a hidden extra consciousness. Yes, the word Vinnana is used in different contexts, but when talking about consciousness, there is no special rebirth consciousness mentioned. You’d think if such a thing existed, it would have been clearly mentioned. The position that the vinnana in dependent origination is a totally different type than in the khandhas has no textual basis.

As already said, you’re free to pick and choose what to believe. And no, you’re not “ambiguous” about the answer to your OP. You really have zero answer to the OP if you blindly shut down the info. provided in the suttas.

I read it here.

Dependent on past conditioning activities, arises relinking or
rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi-viññāna) in a subsequent
birth. It is so called because it links the past with the present,
and is the initial consciousness one experiences at the moment
of conception.>

That’s just what someone said, that’s not from the EBTs.

We can look at sankhara here as intention. And intention = kamma, according to the suttas.

"Thus kamma is the field, consciousness the seed, and craving the moisture. AN3.77 Bhava sutta

Another way to look at it:

"What one intends, what one arranges, and what one obsesses about:[1] This is a support for the stationing of consciousness. There being a support, there is a landing [or: an establishing] of consciousness. When that consciousness lands and grows, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. When there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Such is the origination of this entire mass of suffering & stress. SN12.38 Cetana sutta

The DO has a specific purpose -to show the pathway in which dukkha arises, but also to show elements involved in that process (and points of intervention to cease suffering). It is not a complete catalog of how everything works -that is, bits have been left out to show the direct path to suffering. So for example sanna has been left out, though I would argue this is important for it is involved in the arising of craving, as in the sign of sensuality (where there isn’t any) kama sanna, but I suppose would be assumed under ignorance, and so on…

An important principle not readily apparent perhaps, is that each of these elements arise and pass away, having given rise to the next step, quite quickly (in real life). There is nothing that persists, and so there are no concurrent processes.

This refers to the causally arisen nature of what is known as reality - it is neither fully existent, nor not existent:

I’m referring to the Buddha saying…

"‘Everything exists’: That is one extreme. ‘Everything doesn’t exist’: That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications…’ SN12.15

…which the stream entrant break through to in terms of insight practice.

The Buddha is saying only one experience exists at a time. This is called idapaccayata. Then that experience is the cause for the following experience, and so on.

Hope this makes sense.

with metta

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If in the reverse sequence of 12 Interrelated origination , when you ends ignorant , you will end intention(kamma) also , following by ending consciousness etc.
That doesn’t make sense , the sankhara in dependent origination should not be equated to sankhara in five aggregates !

That’s how I see it .

When ignorance is removed, widom (panna or vijja) remains. We can act out of wisdom as we know. DO is relevant to intentions arising out of ignorance ie from craving, aversion and delusion as the 3 roots of unwholesome intentions or negative kamma.

"Where there is passion, delight, & craving for the nutriment of intellectual intention consciousness lands there and increases. Where consciousness lands and increases, there is the alighting of name-&-form. Where there is the alighting of name-&-form, there is the growth of fabrications. Where there is the growth of fabrications, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging, & death, together, I tell you, with sorrow, affliction, & despair.
Manosañcetanāya ce bhikkhave, āhāre atthi rāgo, atthi nandi, atthi taṇhā. Patiṭṭhitaṃ tattha viññāṇaṃ virūḷhaṃ. Yattha patiṭṭhitaṃ viññāṇaṃ virūḷhaṃ, atthi tattha nāmarūpassa avakkanti.SN 12.64

“Intention, I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect.” "And what is the cause by which kamma comes into play? Contact is the cause by which kamma comes into play. AN 6.63

And what are fabrications? There are these six classes of intention: intention aimed at sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas. These are called fabrications. SN 22.56

When intention arises to experience (enjoy) a sound or other stimulus, vinnana arises and picks up the (nama-rupa + sense base) dyad. This is opposite to the dyad giving rise to vinnana, leading to contact (phassa) by coming together of those 3. It works in both these directions and is verifiable in this life.

with metta

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