rachmiel wrote:Please help me understand the Buddhist takes on these key terms. I'm hoping they can be "defined" in just a few words, i.e. the essence sans ornamentation ... ?
It might be useful to provide some more explicit definitions of these terms from the perspective of the Indo-Tibetan Lorig teachings. Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche's The Presentation of the Classifications of Mind
, with commentary by Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen:
We're going to look at the first point, the definitions of mind.
There are definitions [of mind], because the definition of a mind is 'that which is clear and aware',
The definition of mind (lo, T. blo) is that which is clear, which means the nature or essence of mind is clarity. Then we have the second part 'aware' which is expressing the function or action of mind, which is to be aware or to know or to cognize. What possesses the nature of clarity is aware of objects or it knows objects, it cognizes objects. That is the definition of mind.
The definition of a consciousness is 'that which is aware of objects',
Consciousness (she pa; T. shes pa) is that which is aware of objects whether they are a specifically characterized phenomenon or a generally characterized phenomenon.
The definition of an awareness is 'that which experiences an object of comprehension'.
Awareness (rig pa, T. rig pa) is defined as that which experiences an object of comprehension which also can be either a specifically characterized phenomenon or a generally characterized phenomenon. These three: mind, consciousness and awareness, are synonymous but they are different names. And they each have their own definition.
And this understanding of these terms is situated in the context of functional things. This is explained in Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche's The Miraculous Key
, again with commentary by Acharya Sherab Gyaltsen:
[W]e're now talking about 'things'. And we're going to begin by looking at the divisions of things in terms of their nature, which is divided into matter and mind. And matter means materiality, material-physical matter.
The definition of matter is that which is made up of particles. That is synonymous with forms. The divisions [of matter] in terms of its nature are: external matter and internal matter.
External matter refers to forms, sounds, smells, tastes and tangible objects. Internal matter refers to the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body. Mind is not included among these material things. The Miraculous Key
and commentary continue:
Next we come to the second division here, that of consciousness.
The definition of consciousness is that which is clear and knowing [or aware], which is not matter. Mind, knower [or awareness] and consciousness are synonyms.
Consciousness is not matter. It is not composed of particles. It is that which is clear and knowing.
Thus, consciousness is not considered to be material and cannot be reduced to neurological brain processes.