you are saying that all of this otherwise non-cognitive stuff spontaneously bears cognitive witness to its own existence.
Yes! It's miraculous, isn't it? So is the fact that a buncha particle-waves can come together to create a cherry tree in full flower. Who/what tells each particle to go where it goes, stay where it stays?
Amazing to us, yes. Miraculous, no, explainable.
And if Khenpo Gangshar had said that the blossoms or bark or cherries could not be found anywhere,
you could easily prove that wrong.
If he had said the brain cannot be found anywhere, you could prove otherwise.
But, if asked "where does the smell of the cherry blossoms arise?", or "where does the taste of the cherries arise?,
and you answered 'in the flower itself' or, "in the pulp of the fruit itself"
you would be mistaken.
For while it is true that the cherry tree produces the chemical and physical causes
for scent and taste,
scent and taste only arise as mind, to the one sniffing and tasting,
and only because such events happen to arise within the context of awareness
just as the cherry tree arises within the context of three-dimensional space.
But just as the cherry tree does not produce one's awareness of it,
likewise the brain cannot be shown to produce one's awareness of it either.
it can only produce the events that, because of awareness, arise as experiences.
in that way, the brain and the tree are alike.
they produce conditions,
but not the awareness of those conditions.
I welcome any proof that the brain itself
(alone) is what produces a witness to its own activity.
If the brain has not been shown to actually produce
and yet, because the fact of awareness cannot be denied,
then one can conclude that this "awareness" is something that is not caused by anything else,
it does not arise as the result of component factors,
but is itself a factor in the arising of cognition.
The brain may produce everything that is experienced as thoughts
But it is not shown that the brain alone produces the one "having" the experience of thoughts.
That's the illusion!
Even if you admit that this illusion of "me" is imaginary,
If you say that this imaginary "being" who experiences samsara is produced as a result of physical components alone,
then samsara must have a purely physical cause as well.
and if it is physical, how can one be liberated from it?
Liberation could be attained only by having a lobotomy.
By destroying the physical cause.
Buddhist teachings all point back to realization of this basic awareness.
Zen, Dzogchen, Mahamudra, even Pure Land, in one way or another,
calling it Buddha Mind, or Buddha nature, Emptiness and Luminosity, or whatever,
all point to this fundamental nature of awareness
in which mind arises.