Conditioned awareness?

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Conditioned awareness?

Postby undefineable » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:21 pm

From the 'front end' of the "Materialist View" debate:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:But any "we" is conditional.
So, any question that resembles something like,
"Why am I me and not somebody else?"
overlooks the conditional arising of the experience,
the conditions in fact defining what that experience is.

Maybe it's not the sort of question an enlightened being might have pondered in his or her lifetime, but for down-to-earth western metaphysics ( :lol: ) it looks pretty crucial.

I'm not clear, though, what you're trying to say, beyond "the experience of 'me' arose conditionally", which sounds like pretty fundamental dharma. Are you claiming that the nature of the awareness we experience before it becomes aware of anything is completely conditioned? Since many people (it seems to me) struggle to understand the "why are we we" question (pardon me :P ) to begin with, you can probably understand any confusion.

If, in the final analysis / realization :buddha1: , every feature of reality is fully defined by conditions, then there can be no going beyond the 'self' defined by those conditions -even if 'self' (in this case) is a conditioned arising rather than a substrate- and I will have to drop my online moniker :shrug: 8-)

If, on the other hand, our awareness as it is is untainted by the characteristics or 'shape' that conditions produce, then we may as well all define ourselves as undefinable (no spelling mistake this time :ugeek: ) and consequently grow egos the size of everyone else's put together.

Both scenarios seem to defeat the point of 'not-self'.

After I thought to post this as a new topic, I thought better of it, as it looks like an open-and-shut case of "middle path", but then who knows _ _ :popcorn:
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:21 am

Are you asking
what would cause awareness to arise (as mind)
with one set of characteristics over here, as "me"
and another set of characteristics over there, as somebody else?
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby undefineable » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:05 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Are you asking
what would cause awareness to arise (as mind)
with one set of characteristics over here, as "me"
and another set of characteristics over there, as somebody else?

That implies a single awareness arising in different places at the same time - I'm guessing you don't believe that, and that you were referring to awareness as a generic phenomenon, while recognising that for ordinary beings it's more of a single strand.

What I was pondering is the extent to which awareness is coloured by our unique personalities and the life situations that grow around them, albeit that they're all inseparable in reality. I'd suggest a limit be drawn, though, at the point by which we feel (in contemplation): "This self that I have seems to be random; equally as familiar and as alien as any other. I see no ultimate reason why I'm this way, rather than any other". {Hopefully it's clear that this reflection needn't be twisted into depersonalization or self-hatred.}
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby undefineable » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:32 am

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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby undefineable » Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:38 am

The thread at viewtopic.php?f=100&t=12004 seems to cover some ground I'm groping for (an unfortunate metaphor on so many levels :lol: )

asunthatneversets wrote:Rather than a 'self-aware presence that seems to underlie all of experience', the recognition you're looking for is that that very same 'self-aware presence' is precisely experience itself, inseparable from experience. The actual recognition will be a doubtless certainty to the degree that you won't require any confirmation about it (though it's good to confirm and talk about it with your teacher) You'll know that it's precisely what is being spoken of.

You're right that efforting is the wrong idea though... it is indeed uncontrived and naturally occurring, but mistaking it for the mere presence underlying experience is a common misconception. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche calls the state you're currently familiar with 'stable shamatha' but to have the recognition you're looking for the leap to 'released shamatha' is necessary. Released shamatha reveals the union of stillness and movement. When stillness and movement are realized to be nondual then it no longer seems as if there is a presence which underlies experience, but it's recognized that the presence is empty while appearing as the myriad forms of experience. The presence is neither the same nor different than experience, the two are primordially nondual.


Just identifying that 'un-coloured', uncontrived aspect of awareness (through 'stable shamatha' etc.) is deceptive and subtle enough if you're going solo, so I can see why going solo isn't possible on the level where one perceives the 'contrived' content of experience as manifested uncontrived awareness, rather than just trying to get one's head 'round the idea still.
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:06 am

If I stand near you and someone else yells "banana phone!", at the time where the sound leaves their mouth, vibrates through the air, enters your ear, enters my ear, are we not both experiencing a similar sound-consciousness "arising" due to this sound? Are we a "we" in a case like this, or is this a single shared "arising" sound-awareness due to the condition of this sound? That is to say, is this "we" now a singular response to the sound?

Like in the movie Fight Club, could it be phrased as "I am seb's hearing of this sound", "I am the seb half of the hearing of this sound by the me-you conglomerate"?

I wonder about things like this :shrug:
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:13 am

randomseb wrote: Are we a "we" in a case like this, or is this a single shared "arising" sound-awareness due to the condition of this sound? That is to say, is this "we" now a singular response to the sound?


Are you asking whether it is a single awareness of two sets of ears hearing
or two different awarenesses of two sets of ears hearing?
is that the question?
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:19 am

More like, from the unconditioned arises the awareness state of sound-hearer in two different locations at the same time, as a single response to the immediate condition of this one sound
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:26 am

randomseb wrote:More like, from the unconditioned arises the awareness state of sound-hearer in two different locations at the same time, as a single response to the immediate condition of this one sound


You don't need two people to do this.
Just one person with two ears, one on the left side and one on the right side.
In traditional Buddhism this is called stereo.
:rolling:
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.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:37 am

I meant in mind, in Mind! :jedi:

My mind is Sound-Hearing mind, his mind is Sound-Hearing mind, both arise as a caustic response to the condition of Sound transmission, in an interconnected arising of mind.

This Sound-Hearer dharma is born as the sound enters our awareness, grows old as the sound plays its course, starts falling apart and disintegrates as the sound ends, and finally dies back into the unconditioned no-mind

Let's say, like a firework, big blast in the middle (the sound), followed by sparkles twinkling off in every direction (the hearers), and the whole thing is one big apparent structure before it falls and fades away
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:51 am

randomseb wrote:I meant in mind, in Mind! :jedi:

My mind is Sound-Hearing mind, his mind is Sound-Hearing mind, both arise as a caustic response to the condition of Sound transmission, in an interconnected arising of mind.

This Sound-Hearer dharma is born as the sound enters our awareness, grows old as the sound plays its course, starts falling apart and disintegrates as the sound ends, and finally dies back into the unconditioned no-mind

Let's say, like a firework, big blast in the middle (the sound), followed by sparkles twinkling off in every direction (the hearers), and the whole thing is one big apparent structure before it falls and fades away


My understanding, which may be faulty,
is that awareness has no characteristics
but is experienced as
or you might say, becomes the experience of
mind arising
when coming into contact with an object of that awareness.

So, it's like if you close your eyes, or go into a totally dark room with your eyes open and let them get adjusted to that,
there is visual awareness, but no object of visual awareness
so, there is nothing to see, and you don't think "i see something"
(except until you begin hallucinating).
Thus, visually mind does not arise (not to be confused with visualizations)
but as soon as a little bit of light is introduced,
awareness comes into contact with an object (the light).
and mind arises as the event of awareness meeting with phenomena.

With hearing, it is different because we can't shut our ears.
However, we actually hear a lot more than we are aware of.
You notice this especially if you live in a house that has electricity, a furnace, a refrigerator,
and suddenly all of the electricity stops.
The house becomes totally quiet for a moment.
You suddenly become aware of all of the stuff you heard
that you didn't even know you heard.
.
.
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Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby randomseb » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:45 am

I believe it was Chan Master Hui Hai, in his On Sudden Illumination treatise ("The Essential Gateway to Truth by
Means of Instantaneous Awakening"), that went on about how whether there is a sound or there isn't a sound, the hearing nature is present, and so on with vision and other senses. When I close my eyes I see darkness, vision is still present!

Some of Hui Hai text is reprinted here, but not the part I mentioned.. Google book search has the whole book if one wants to dig for it!

http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/cmHuiHai.htm
And here:
http://ecbuddhism.blogspot.ca/2010/10/e ... ns-of.html

Tibetan kagyu mahamudra text I was reading the other day went on a bit about how mind doesnt "turn off", even when sleeping, citing how you wake up when your alarm clock goes off as an example showing how it is still aware and listening, even if you are not perceiving it..

I think there is the distinction between "hearing" and "listening", like your house example, or for example you may hear the tick tick tick of a wall clock, or the sound of constant passing traffic, but if you aren't listening to it you won't notice it, until you do and then you have trouble not listening to it!

I think this passive/active sensing applies to all our senses! To the entire Mind field, let's say, and that some part of awakening training involves shunting between total passive (void) and total active (aware, miraculously aware?), after removing obstacles.

:reading:

Oh yes, and in the case of my two people arising sound-hearing mindforms as a response to a sound, this fits what you said, the arising comes as a response to the sound, what I was wondering was if the two arisings could be considered a single entity with the sound, and that by extension everything arising in response to everything forms a "oneness" of codependant origination, or whatver the applicable term was
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Re: Conditioned awareness?

Postby undefineable » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:59 pm

randomseb wrote:If I stand near you and someone else yells "banana phone!", at the time where the sound leaves their mouth, vibrates through the air, enters your ear, enters my ear, are we not both experiencing a similar sound-consciousness "arising" due to this sound? Are we a "we" in a case like this, or is this a single shared "arising" sound-awareness due to the condition of this sound? That is to say, is this "we" now a singular response to the sound?

Like in the movie Fight Club, could it be phrased as "I am seb's hearing of this sound", "I am the seb half of the hearing of this sound by the me-you conglomerate"?

No, because for most of us, the important thing about the sound is not the physical sensation it makes, but what it means for us personally - the connotations we read into the sound given our mood at the time we hear it, how it slots into our train of thought, and so on. Small-brained animals may be more amenable to an 'us' than humans (hence ant colonies, perhaps), because there is simply 'less going on upstairs' that would separate one being from another.

Having said that, I feel you're right to bear in mind a basic separation that exists between the 'mind-streams' of unenlightened beings - If two people hear a sound, it makes little sense to say there's one hearing - or even (if you count the ears) two :tongue:
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