Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

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Re: Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:51 am

Ogyen wrote:
what is the consciousness that does not get destroyed then?

I understand it's free of aggregates, clearly these fall apart with the body that dies - but what is stored in the consciousness to move on - the delusion itself?

My understanding is that "consciousness", and by that I mean any level of cognitive awareness, whether it's arising as that of a rocket scientist or a moth, is not a single thing, but a series of separate simultaneous events, and those events trigger more separate simultaneous events which, because they are caused by particular ones, closely resemble the ones that cause them. It's sort of a domino effect.

"Consciousness" therefore only appears as a thing which is somehow stored.

One might ask, "well what about the alaya vijnana, or 'storehouse' consciousness?"
Or somebody might ask, "how does a person remember who they are after coming out of a coma where all streams of consciousness seem to have been temporarily cut off?"

But storehouse doesn't mean that there is a physical place. It too refers to an active series of events.
Why would thoughts, which exist only for durations of time, need a physical space?

Delusion is also not a thing. So, since it is not a thing, "it" doesn't move on.
If you can't find your house keys, and a minute later you still haven't found them, you don't say that not knowing where your keys are is some thing that moves on. So, delusion is like this.

If a person doesn't know something, or has a deluded understanding about something from one moment to the next, or from one "lifetime" to the next, it is simply because the delusion continues to be caused by the same cause. It has the same cause to continuously occur, But it is not a 'thing' which is delusion that is moving.

Consider the analogy of a flame burning down the length of a candle. it looks like the same flame from the moment you light it until the candle is gone. But in fact, the flame needs both oxygen and fuel (wax & wick), the molecules of which are being gradually, yet continuously consumed, one after another (or perhaps in great batches, like laundry).

The candle doesn't combust all at once. It only appears to be the same flame the whole time the candle is "lit".

From the view of somebody simply looking at the flame, it might as well be called the same flame. It functions for our needs as one continuous flame. But on the molecular level, the heat is just causing a seemingly endless parade of molecules to sort of burn up. The heat from one part of the candle warms up the next part to the point where it heats up the next, on and on and on, until the candle is gone.

So, you could say that one thought (you could think of it as a particle of thought) ignites another, in a seemingly endless parade of thoughts. The difference here, however, is that the causes of thoughts don't actually need physical substance the way a candle flame needs wax and wick. They aren't what we would even categorize as "thoughts" until they arise with a little help from the brain.

So, what are these "causes" of thoughts? Everything!
Everything appears as thought only when the circumstances are right.
That happens when your senses or imagination combine with an object.
Until then, it's like "out of sight, out of mind". The thought does not exist.

It's like reflections of things only appearing in mirrors when those things are placed in front of mirrors.
It's like putting the Mona Lisa painting in a room with no light source. Without light, there are no colors and without colors, there is no Mona Lisa. But the causes of Mona Lisa are there, so if you introduce a light source, Mona Lisa will appear again, because the same causes that made the image appear before are repeated.
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Re: Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:37 am

In the commentary to the Samdhinirmocana sutra Chapter Four it says that mind equals Alaya. The great Yogachara expounder Vasubandhu says the same thing in his Pancha Skandha Prakarana, i.e. that the fifth skandha, Vijñana, is the Alaya-consciousness. People create serious misconceptions when they start postulating that the Alaya-consciousness is someting other than their normal consciousness.
The Salistamba sutra says that the effects of actions are not lost, i.e. they are what transmigrates or what emerges and appears (in a new life). I have no difficulty in accepting that there is a clean break in the continuum of consciousness (at death). And still the effects of actions will appear.

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Re: Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

Postby muni » Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:52 am

Many hot discussions on internet are made in confused dialogues while our thinking mind/mental doing its' opinions about rebirth or no rebirth are just created ideations. In these is rejection or acception. Then habits are not cut and what we call rebirth is; the birth of the habits.

Many say there is no 're'birth, of course not when our nature, essence is understood.

Here the Vietnamese master:

Projecting onto others is projecting onto projections. The answer lies in us, not in the other.

Don’t investigate the root of things,
Investigate the root of Mind!
Once the mind’s root has been found,
You’ll know one thing, yet all is thereby freed.
But if the root of Mind you fail to find,
You will know everything but nothing
understand. Guru Rinpoche.

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Re: Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

Postby Mr. G » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:44 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Ogyen wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Prasangas accept transmigration, but they reject that any of the aggregates transmigrates. Svsatantrikas assert that consciousness transmigrates.

Prasangas assert that the mistaken imputation "I am" (which is actually a non-existent) appropriates the series of aggregates, generates action, and experiences its results.

As I said, all that transmigrates is delusion.


not to sound asinine - but what is the consciousness that does not get destroyed then?

I understand it's free of aggregates, clearly these fall apart with the body that dies - but what is stored in the consciousness to move on - the delusion itself?

Consciousness is an aggregate, and conventionally speaking, is momentary. There is no such a thing as a permanent consciousness. Ergo, there is a stream of moments of mind appropriated by the delusion of self-identity, but there is no consciousness, no entity at all that transmigrates per se. The continuum of rebirth is maintained solely by a delusion that appropriates the five aggregates, matter, sensation, perception, formations, and consciousness as a self.

    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu

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Re: Question about "what moves on" in rebirth

Postby Aemilius » Mon May 21, 2012 9:56 am

I agree that the above is an excellent posting.
There is an old metaphor of falling asleep in the evening and waking up next morning: The last moment of waking consciousness is different from the first moment of waking consciousness next morning. Sometimes it can happen that the first consciousness in the morning doesn't know where he is, or who he is? It is at loss for a short while.
This teaching says that dying and being reborn is similar to falling asleep in the evening and waking up next morning.
And further: Bardo state corresponds to the state of deep, dreamless sleep and the dreaming state, they correspond to the first Bardo of Dharmata and the next Bardo of the appearence of Sambhogakaya.

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