Is Space Conscious?

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Is Space Conscious?

Postby Matt J » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:46 am

I was wondering what others think of this question, either from teachings or from your experience.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:55 am

The space-time that came after the Big Bang? No.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Ayu » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:00 am

From teachings: all phenomena are like an illusion within voidness. Conciousness is one of the phenomena...

Personally: If everything would be just a projection of the mind, then everything seems to have something like conciousness. There are many things happening in nature that make me think: 'How could it know?" For example the Venus fly trap: how could the plant know, that the fly is nutritious for it?
So i sense a kind of energy everywhere. But maybe this is my illusion.
And what is energy? What is conciousness?
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:57 am

Sherab wrote:The space-time that came after the Big Bang? No.

That is committing the fault of thinking that an independent space and time exists. There is no space or time independent of consciousness, independent of mind.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:06 am

Matt J wrote:I was wondering what others think of this question, either from teachings or from your experience.

You can view it in terms of the four Arupya dhyanas: In the first arupya dhyana the content of your mind is infinite space, that gives way to infinite consciousness, which leads to nothing at all, which leads to no perception nor nonperception
There is no limit to your consciousness, you can't say that your mind ends here, or at any given point or at any boundary or limit in space.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby lobster » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:22 am

I think the question is meaningless. :shrug: :consoling:

The word 'space', just like space has no independent consciousness. If consciousness was there it would be conscious space, rather than empty space.
What you perhaps are getting at is there a god consciousness, that permeates the machine, like a quantum ghost? An independent Buddha Nature? :heart:
If so I will say Nothing. :popcorn:
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:18 pm

Is the earth element air conscious? Is air conscious? Is fire conscious? Is water conscious?

So why would space be conscious?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Ayu » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:30 pm

Why not? I mean, who knows if air, water and fire are not conscious?
Earth, at least, is a living organism.
( :tongue: Sorry, i just like to discuss a little bit.)
But, honestly: WHY not?
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:34 pm

Ayu wrote:Why not? I mean, who knows if air, water and fire are not conscious?
Earth, at least, is a living organism.
( :tongue: Sorry, i just like to discuss a little bit.)
But, honestly: WHY not?
I am talking about the element of earth, not the planet earth.

Now, if the enlightened ones knew that the mahabhuta are conscious they would have told us so. They told us about 6 realms of existence.

Anyway, if you believe that the elements are conscious then the onus of responsibility is on you to prove they are conscious. I cannot prove that they are not conscious (albeit that they do not display any characteristics of consciousness).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Ayu » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:04 pm

So this is a standoff. I cannot prove it either.

And the element of earth is a living realm for various tiny animals and microorganisms, just like the ocean is a living realm for various forms of life.

The teaching is, there is no Atta. If we attribute an eternal soul to the things, that's wrong, it's said. But what about consciousness? Why does my car start its motor when I say "Come on, you'll make it!" ???

My assumption is: MAYBE, if my mind attributes consciousness to the wind, maybe there will be conciousness? This is just an idea. Please feel free to speak to the contrary....
:namaste:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:13 pm

Ayu wrote:So this is a standoff. I cannot prove it either.

And the element of earth is a living realm for various tiny animals and microorganisms, just like the ocean is a living realm for various forms of life.

The teaching is, there is no Atta. If we attribute an eternal soul to the things, that's wrong, it's said. But what about consciousness? Why does my car start its motor when I say "Come on, you'll make it!" ???

My assumption is: MAYBE, if my mind attributes consciousness to the wind, maybe there will be conciousness? This is just an idea. Please feel free to speak to the contrary....
:namaste:
Dear Ayu,

You are misinterpreting what is meant by the term "earth". Track down some Abhidharma (or Abhidhamma) texts for clarification.

By the way: tiny animals and micro-organisms belong to the animal realm.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:19 pm

According to the Abhidharmakosha when you take rebirth in the formless realm (Arupya dhatu) your "body" is infinite space, as an example of the four limitless spheres, in which case you are conscious infinite space.
In tantric meditations there is the meditation of five elements as five Female Buddhas. How do you understand it? And experience it?

In the general Dharma of Mahayana and Sravakayana we have the Earth goddess Vasudhara. Buddha Shakyamuni in the Bhumi sparsha mudra, Touching the Earth gesture, is calling the Earth goddess Vasudhara to witness his selfless acts during his many lives as a bodhisattva.

The nature of consciousness is not so straightforward and simple as it may seem.
I mean like the humans, animals and insects, that have sense organs, nerves, and brains or ganglia in the case of insects, which act as a basis for the consciousness of objects (and of self). But then there are some curious examples in the Abhidharma like in Buddhaghosha's Vishuddhimagga, which mentions an ocean and a bridge (sic!) as possible embodiments of consciousness. It all depends on your consciousness, if you meditate for years in the mountains or in the jungle or in forest, you begin to experience all kinds of things as sentient beings. It is quite common that such people have experienced mountains as conscious beings. They may have met the mountains and communicated with them, who have then appeared in the forms of mountain spirits or mountain gods, etc..
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Sep 09, 2013 4:37 pm

It is one thing to be composed of space (and all beings have some "quanitity" of the element of space as part of their make up) and another thing to say that space is conscious.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Ayu » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:08 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:Dear Ayu,
You are misinterpreting what is meant by the term "earth". Track down some Abhidharma (or Abhidhamma) texts for clarification.
By the way: tiny animals and micro-organisms belong to the animal realm.

Dear Sherab,
Abhidhamma says, earth is the first of four kinds (earth, water, fire, air) of rupa ( form).
Okay, it is a form, like a vase - and there are animals living in it, like if there is something in the vase. But it has also the other elements inside: space & air, water and warmth (fire) must be in a healthy soil. :) Just like in a human body there are also all these elements.
So the human body is "the vase", the form - and it has some kind of consciousness... :D So what about the vase "earth" or the element of space? Do these vases contain consciousness?
Did Buddha say, they don't? Or didn't he care about this question because it might be unimportant?
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Matt J » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:30 pm

Leaving aside Aemilius' comments for the moment (and I feel they are important), I can say the same thing about sentient beings. I know I am conscious, it is self-evident. However, it is not self-evident that you are conscious. For all I know, you are a merely a composite of flesh, bones, and organs, each of them insentient. Now the onus is on you to prove you are conscious. Simply put, I don't think it is possible. However, it would be a mistake (in my mind) to conclude that each of you is therefore not conscious because you can't prove it. If this example is too absurd on its face, then consider someone asleep or in a coma. At the time, they display no signs of consciousness, but I would not conclude they weren't conscious. And then think of sunflowers: sunflowers are organic and move to face the sun. Does this mean they are more conscious than the grass that doesn't move that way?

Space is like what I would call consciousness. It has no form, no color, no shape. Things arise in space just as thoughts, feelings (indeed, the whole world if you press me) arise in consciousness. Adding or subtracting objects does not add or subtract space, much like adding or deleting thoughts does not add or subtract consciousness.

Sherab Dorje wrote:Anyway, if you believe that the elements are conscious then the onus of responsibility is on you to prove they are conscious. I cannot prove that they are not conscious (albeit that they do not display any characteristics of consciousness).
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://zenanddao.blogspot.com/
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:23 pm

Matt J wrote:Space is like what I would call consciousness. It has no form, no color, no shape. Things arise in space just as thoughts, feelings (indeed, the whole world if you press me) arise in consciousness. Adding or subtracting objects does not add or subtract space, much like adding or deleting thoughts does not add or subtract consciousness.
Just because space is like consciousness doesn't mean that it is consciousness. Air is also like consciousness, is it conscious?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:16 am

Two things cannot be denied: Space, and Awareness.
Both are all-pervading, meaning that they form the basis in which all phenomena occur.
But space, itself, is not aware,
and awareness, itself, does not occupy space.
They are not the same thing.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:13 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Two things cannot be denied: Space, and Awareness.
Both are all-pervading, meaning that they form the basis in which all phenomena occur.
But space, itself, is not aware,
and awareness, itself, does not occupy space.
They are not the same thing.




There are meditations that attack the question/presumption of the location of consciousness. You will find them in Mahamudra instructions, there is something similar in the Zen/Chan tradition also. You can't understand this issue without personal effort in these meditations.
In Sravakayana too we have the meditations of the Four Infinitudes. If consciousness is infinite, where does it extend itself if not in space?

No phenomena exist by themselves.
This applies to space and awareness.
They are not independent or self-sufficient.
They are not independent from other phenomena.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Sherab » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:20 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Sherab wrote:The space-time that came after the Big Bang? No.

That is committing the fault of thinking that an independent space and time exists. There is no space or time independent of consciousness, independent of mind.

I guess your definition of space is different from my understanding of space-time.
I have no experience of your kind of space.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:22 pm

Correction: Previously the sources often didn't say that insects have brains, and they called them just ganglia. But now there are sites about insect anatomy where they have brains. Like this one http://www.earthlife.net/insects/anatomy.html
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