What we refer to as cognitive awareness or "consciousness" is not a single, solitary thing, but a rapid series of events consisting primarily of neurological activity in the brain. But all that is really happening is a lot of complicated electrical and chemical interactions. "WHO" is witnessing these events, and "WHO" interprets these chemical changes as the experience of fear, of love, as sadness, and so on? The TV is on, but who is the one that is watching it?
One's "Original Mind" (for lack of a better term) in fact is not disturbed by conditional phenomena (material things).
So, it's not that your Original Mind itself becomes dim. Rather, it is the awareness of original mind which becomes obscured.
You can think of this like turning on a flashlight and then putting that flashlight into a sealed box. The flashlight is still on, but the 'activity' of the box prevents our seeing it.
You could also use the analogy of a clogged drain. We say that a drain is clogged when it is full of stuff and the water won't go down. But as far as the drain pipe is concerned, nothing has changed. It is still the same pipe. It isn't clogged. What is clogged is not the drain pipe, it is the space inside the pipe
. Likewise, true consciousness or Original Mind is not blocked by contaminants. But because we don't see it, we may think that it is. When we say "the drain is clogged" we are really talking about the empty space inside the drain pipe. When we say consciousness is fogged by intoxicants, we are really referring to the path to awareness
of Original Mind, not Mind itself.
Tiger wrote:As far as I know, consciousness is beyond form and substance according to Buddhism. It is like space. And just how if you punch in the air (space) you are not going to affect space or its properties in anyway, shouldn't any material thing also have no affect on consciousness (or mind)? Then why does our consciousness become "dim" when we take intoxicants or becomes expanded when we consume certain other drugs?
Or is it that our seventh and eighth consciousness remain unaffected by material phenomena and only sixth consciousness gets affected by chemicals and reactions (brain is a biochemical process after all?)?