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The ceasing of eye conscoiusness? - Dhamma Wheel

The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
chownah
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The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:59 am

I have noticed that if I sit with my head perfectly still (like when you are sitting on the toilet with your feet on the floor, your elbows on your knees, and your forehead resting on your hands) and I fix my stare so that my eyes do not move at all (important that there is absoluetly no eye movement which includes no re-focusing) then after a couple of seconds the visual image starts to degenerate until there will be no recognizable forms at all.....

Is this the ceasing of eye consciousness?....of course some science oriented explanations will probalby be posted as to physiologically why this happens....which is interesting....but not what I'm wondering about.

In this situation there is still light entering the eye and striking the retina (I guess) and the retina is still there (I guess)....so....???

chownah

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ground
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby ground » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:18 am

Guess it is just losing the physiological eye focus due to relaxation.

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tiltbillings
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:22 am


Kenshou
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:27 am

Well if there were no eye-consciousness you'd be seeing nothing at all. I think it's probably more to do with perception rather than consciousness. Sight is really just kind of a flat screen, recognition of specific objects and features is based on and secondary to that.

I'd guess that since you're preoccupied with other business, the specific perception of the contents of your vision sort of drifts off. Which is probably just a more complicated way of saying what others have already suggested.

And yes, now we all have a nice mental image, don't we.

chownah
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:04 am


Nyana
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby Nyana » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:10 am


chownah
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:22 am


chownah
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:29 am


Akuma
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby Akuma » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:34 am


chownah
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:48 am

Akuma,
Yes, I think what you describe is probably the same thing as what I have experienced. I think your scientific explanation is sort of pointing to the correct thing from a scientific perspective but what I'm wondering about is how it might be explained by the Buddha's teachings. You add another dimension to this phenomena by saying that you could see your face in altered forms (like a lion)...this makes me think that your visual sense had possibly shut down and your mind made sense of vision took over....again....this might help in understanding how phenomena can help elucidate the Buddha's teachings.
chownah

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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby Akuma » Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:21 am


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daverupa
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:51 am

The eye can only see a small point directly in front of the retina (the fovea, about two arc degrees). Basically, the normal way of seeing is having the eyes move all over the field of vision while the mind stitches those pins of imagery into a larger, coherent view of the visual environment. By resting the eyes very still, as you mention, you let the stitching come apart and are reduced to processing only the input from the fovea, a very small area. This can be overwritten amidst the larger blankness, similar to how the blind spots are overwritten with surrounding visual information to provide a continuous arch-image. It can also be overwritten as the mind, bored with the plainness, avoids the visual field in favor of other qualia.

chownah
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby chownah » Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:01 pm

daverupa,
Good post. It inspired me to go to wikipedia and read some more about how the eye works and under the topic "Fixation (Visual)" I found this:
"............
In the current consensus, fixational eye movement contributes to maintaining visibility, by continuously stimulating neurons in the early visual areas of the brain, which mostly respond to transient stimuli. In the absence of retinal jitter (a laboratory condition called retinal stabilization), stabilized images as a visual percept rapidly fade out and completely disappear (provided the stabilization is good enough) (Pritchard, Heron & Hebb, 1960; Coppola & Purves, 1996).
............"
It seems to be pretty much in agreement with what you have said about stitching together the larger view when it talks about "continuously stimulating neurons in the early visual areas of the brain" but it also seems to indicate that if the stabilization of the eye is good enough "a visual percept rapidly fade out and completely disappear". This seems to imply complete cessation of perception but one wonders what exactly is meant by "completely disappear".

In term of how this fits with the Dhamma I have been pondering whether the condition is a result of the eye losing it's sensitivity (I'm assuming that vision is completely interupted which I do not think has been conclusively shown). If I remember correctly light must come together with the "sensitive part of the eye" (usually taken as the retina) as a necessary condition for eye consciousness to arise and result in contact. If someone could verify this that would be good. Anyway if the eye has lost its sensitivity then that means the eye is at least temporarily out of the game (I would say does not exist but don't want to start a discussion of "existence" vs. "non-existence") so that explains the phenomena at one level.

On the other hand if the eye must be moved for it to be sensitive or to become sensitive then might it be volition or intention which provides the impulse to keep the eye moving....some variation of this theme could very closely approximate the teaching about the cessation of the eye....it might be hypothesized that the eye arises when intention sends it impulses for movement without which the eye does not function.

Also, I don't know how to find the answer but during mediation (assuming eyes closed) does this same thing occur....i.e. does the eye stop moving resulting in its decomissioning?

chownah

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daverupa
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 28, 2011 4:24 pm

In terms of it fitting within a Dhamma worldview, I'm uncertain pursuing the anatomy of eye function is appropriate. The blankness you describe can be maintained by relaxation combined with attention directed elsewhere a la zazen. Alternatively, you can shortcut this scenic route by closing your eyes in order to ensure that the only visual input is comprised of phosphenes. The difference, of course, is that without practice closed eyes are strongly correlated with sleep, whereas without practice open eyes are strongly correlated with eye movement which can impinge on awareness.

Eyes open and stare at a wall or the floor, or eyes closed - either way, anapanasati doesn't bother with visual input, so whichever way assists you in setting it aside...

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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 28, 2011 6:37 pm


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daverupa
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby daverupa » Wed Sep 28, 2011 9:53 pm


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DarwidHalim
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Re: The ceasing of eye conscoiusness?

Postby DarwidHalim » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:12 pm

I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!


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