Blog of James Robinson
Rådmansgatan 76C, Stockholm
james@foreignstate.com
+46 709 830 001

An Exploration of Consciousness

I have been listening to conversations with the Dalai Lama which led me to read ‘Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying – An Exploration of Consciousness’. Here are a few beautiful words from the Dalai Lama that I have taken directly from the book.

“To review just a little bit, there’s certainly a convergence between Buddhism and science when you speak of gross levels of consciousness. Buddhists would agree that the gross levels of consciousness are contingent upon the body, and when the brain ceases to function, those levels of consciousness do not arise. A very simple example of this would be that if the physical basis for vision is lacking – the visual cortex, the retina, the optic nerve, and so forth – you do not have the perception. It is very straight forward on that level.

“We’ve agreed that this consciousness arises in dependence upon the brain. This is a causal relationship, but once again the question can be raised: what is the nature of this causal relationship? Does brain function act as a substantial cause for mental processes, or does it proved cooperative conditions? I have never seen this explicitly discussed in Buddhist treatises, but it would be reasonable to surmise that brain function provides the cooperative conditions for the arising of mental processes. But what is the substantial cause of the primary, distinguishing qualities of consciousness, namely clarity and cognition? The Sutrayana system seems to answer that clarity and cognition arise from the latent propensities of the proceeding mental continuum. According to Vajrayana, as stated previously, the substantial cause would be identified as the very subtle mind, or primordial mind. But I understand the heart of your question to be: what is it that provides the connection between the very subtle mind and the gross body or the gross mind? Here we speak of the ‘very subtle energy bearing five-coloured radiance.’ This suggests that this very subtle energy is endowed with the ultimate potential for the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space. From this energy there first arises the five inner elements, and from these the five outer elements arise.

“There are some mentalist Buddhist schools, principally the Yogacara school, that deny the existence of an external world. One reason proponents of this school posit the foundation consciousness is because they deny the external world. They need this foundation consciousness as the store house for imprints that manifest in a dual fashion, both as subject and object. According the this view, you don’t need an external world because everything arises from a source that is essentially mental in nature.

“Let’s move now to the Praangika Madhyamaka school, which we consider to be the ultimate Buddhist philosophical system. This school asserts the existence of an external world, including the objects of the senses. Whence does this world arise? What is the origin of this external world, the physical environment? The origin is traced back to particles of empty space. This origin is not posited as the beginning of all time, but rather the origin within a cosmic cycle. In short, you can trace this whole manifest cosmos back to the space particles. That is not to say that is the ultimate origin of the universe, but that’s the beginning for one cosmic evolution. Then you can speak further about what happened before then. The whole of the evolution of the natural world stems from space particles, and that evolution would take place regardless of whether there’s consciousness, regardless of the karma of sentient beings.

“This universe is inhabited by sentient beings who experience situations and environments that lead to their detriment or to their happiness. There is an interface between the karma of sentient beings and the natural environment. Karma modifies or influences the nature of the physical environment such that by inhabiting this environment one experiences pleasure or pain. In this context we speak of good fortune, misfortune, and so on. What is the source of the wholesome and unwholesome karma? This is traced back to mental processes and, more specifically, one’s motivation. Wholesome and unwholesome motivations are the most influential factor in determining whether one’s actions, or one’s karma, are wholesome or unwholesome. As soon as you are concerned with motivation, you’re in the sphere of the mind. And the mind is intimately related to the very subtle energy, the energy bearing the fivefold brilliance. This energy bears the potential of the five elements, with the five outer elements evolving from the five inner elements. Thus, karma would presumably have as its vehicle this very subtle energy as it manifests through the outer and inner elements. So there’s a two-way interface between the mind and the physical elements.”

 

 

26 Comments

  • I am constantly looking online for posts that can benefit me. Thank you!

  • It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  • locksmith says:

    808135 806455excellent put up, very informative. 567138

  • read says:

    436985 703634This put up is totaly unrelated to what I used to be looking google for, however it was indexed on the first page. I guess your doing something right if Google likes you adequate to place you at the first page of a non related search. 895708

  • Cassey Fulk says:

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  • I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this information for my mission.

  • I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this web site. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own website now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  • visit now says:

    Hey, thanks for the fantastic post. I feel a lot better after having read this.

  • You created some decent points there. I looked online for the problem and found most people will go along with along with your internet site.

  • A person necessarily lend a hand to make seriously content articles I’d state. That’s the incredibly first time I frequented your internet webpage and thus far? I amazed with all the research you made to make this actual article extraordinary. Excellent activity!

  • I’ve learn several just right stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you set to create one of these fantastic informative website.

  • I savour, cause I discovered just what I was having a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  • Throughout the grand scheme of things you actually receive a B+ for hard work. Where you misplaced us was in your details. You know, they say, details make or break the argument.. And it could not be more accurate right here. Having said that, allow me reveal to you what exactly did work. Your authoring is actually rather powerful and that is probably the reason why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, while I can see a leaps in logic you come up with, I am not necessarily certain of how you appear to connect the points which inturn help to make the conclusion. For now I will subscribe to your point but trust in the near future you actually link your facts much better.

  • Stephen, I got the first letter and every one after EXCEPT Margaret Cho’s. Can you remedy that, please?

  • whoah this blog is excellent i like reading your articles. Keep up the good paintings! You understand, many individuals are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  • Heya!! thank you for sharing this excellent interesting information.I had been looking for this kind of articles. for a significant some time,luckliy i found your blog.Carry on the good job.I’m hoping in future too you are going to post this type of important info.

  • This can be particularly good time as heightened inside webpage. Love chatting about across.

  • This can be relatively valid stage as raised from the blog website. Value preaching about approximately.

  • Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  • Link exchange is nothing else however it is simply placing the other person’s web site link on your page at suitable
    place and other person will also do similar for you.

  • It’s in reality a nice and useful piece of info.
    I’m satisfied that you shared this useful info with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have read some excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot attempt you place to make any such excellent informative website.

  • Damn, awesome site. I the fact is discovered this on aol, and im delighted I did so. I’m going to undeniably be finding their way back here on a regular basis. wish i could boost posts here as well as deliver a bit more towards the table, however am just reading and absorbing the maximum amount of facts while i can today.

  • You might have shared the top collection ever. “Sleek Minimal PSD Website” is really an incredible PSD.

  • Agnus Andoh says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Regards!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>