SN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta wrote:And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name.
Is identification with the witness as prime reference point enlightenment itself?
I would recommend drilling down into precisely what this so called "Witness" is.
In the Pali Suttas there is this... http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.htmlSN 12.2: Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta wrote:And what is name-&-form? Feeling, perception, intention, contact, & attention: This is called name.
I suspect you'll find this so called "Witness" amidst name and consciousness.
retrofuturist wrote:I would have thought de-identification of the witness would be enlightenment itself.
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings m0rl0ck,
I'm just mindful of encouraging you not to create some kind of Self through the process of reification.
Anders Honore wrote:Although 'witnessing' isn't explicitly taught in Buddhism like it is in vedanta, I think it is somewhat similar to the kind of meditation you find in the shurangama sutra, of turning one's attention to the nature of hearing/seeing, etc. as opposed the objects of hearing, seeing and such.
If you look at what Huineng says:
What is 'thoughtlessness'? 'Thoughtlessness' is to see and to know all Dharmas (things) with a mind free from attachment. When in use it pervades everywhere, and yet it sticks nowhere. What we have to do is to purify our mind so that the six vijnanas (aspects of consciousness), in passing through the six gates (sense organs) will neither be defiled by nor attached to the six sense-objects. When our mind works freely without any hindrance, and is at liberty to 'come' or to 'go', we attain Samadhi of Prajna, or liberation. Such a state is called the function of 'thoughtlessness'. But to refrain from thinking of anything, so that all thoughts are suppressed, is to be Dharma-ridden, and this is an erroneous view.
it shares a fair few characteristics with the witnessing state as a practise.
That said, it's still meditation 'with mind' so to speak, and hence a conditioned practise. Buddhist practice (disclaimer: mahayana perspective) culminates in emptiness, which is entirely non-local and doesn't apprehend any kind of knower, witness or agent. It is beyond mind in this sense.
I do think discovering and resting in the 'witnessing' part of the mind (which is basically just consciousness) is a quite useful state of practise though. When stabilised, It really does loosen up a lot of the strong habitual tendencies to identify with the grosser objects of experience and movements of the mind; while aviding a lot of the pitfalls of acceptance and rejection. You still have to go beyond this to clarify the question of consciousness however.
Astus wrote:In terms of practice, it is possible to separate objects from the subject. "I'm watching the thoughts." Then should come the turning of attention from thoughts to the watcher. Is there really something/someone watching? No. There is no witness, no self, anatma. Are there thoughts? Yes. Is there a thinker? No.
I wasn't making a philosophical but a practical observation. Nevertheless, if you think it's appropriate here to bring that up, there it is:
in the ultimate sense all the truths should be understood as void because of the absence of (i) any experiencer, (ii) any doer, (iii) anyone who is extinguished, and (iv) any goer. Hence this is said:
'For there is suffering, but none who suffers;
Doing exists although there is no doer;
Extinction is but no extinguished person;
Although there is a path, there is no goer'.
(Vsm. XVI. 90.)
That which is an agent
Does not perform an existent action.
Nor does that which is not an agent
Perform some nonexistent action.
But the next chapted of the MMK deals better with the "Witness" idea, examining the concept of a perceiver behind things perceived.
In terms of practice, it is possible to separate objects from the subject. "I'm watching the thoughts." Then should come the turning of attention from thoughts to the watcher. Is there really something/someone watching? No. There is no witness, no self, anatma. Are there thoughts? Yes. Is there a thinker? No.
Are there thoughts? Yes. Is there a thinker? No.
Through understanding the work of the aggregates it is easy to see why there is no agent but only the causally determined work of the aggregates. The concepts of being, person, agent is from not understanding the aggregates.
The dependent functioning of the dharmas is very much like a machine. Agent and action is nothing but a causal situation, like clouds blown by the wind. The wind has no will of its own but also determined by other factors.
Determinism is the idea that there is a person being controlled by other factors. Since there is no such thing as a person, how could it be determined by others? Same mistake when someone thinks there is a self disappearing in nirvana.
catmoon wrote:On the other hand, it's awfully close to an inherently existent ''I". The witness cannot be shown to exist. It's inferred from our beliefs about subject, object and observation, and that makes it an imputation of sorts.
"And what is dependent co-arising? From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
Huifeng wrote:Regards the "witness" in Chan, look in particular for the symbolism of the "moon", which shines on the flowing water.
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