padma norbu wrote:
adinatha, if they are co-emergent, that is different than what you said before, which was that consciousness evolves from the elements. Co-emergent means like it says in prajnaparamita, for example, that where there is need for eyes, there are eyes and where there is need for ears, there are ears, etc. but in reality there is no eyes, no ears, etc. and in reality, also, there is no object being seen or heard. So. That doesn't really answer my question except to suggest that perhaps we can not really ever understand consciousness (ie. where a thought comes from). Stating that it arises with something else is not much of an answer at all because then we just ask, okay, well where does that something else come from and then we have circular reasoning because we say, "well, that arises with the thought."
Evolved from the elements and co-emergent means the same thing. One the one had I'm speaking from a scientific angle, and on the other from a dharma standpoint. You are confabulating ultimate and relative realities. Consciousness is dependently originated as one of the five elements, five skandhas, five poisons and twelve links. There's really not much more to it than that. Prajnaparamita is emptiness. Of course, emptiness and dependent origination are two sides of the same coin. That's why there is an eye and no eye, beings and no beings, buddhas and no buddhas, etc., etc., etc. A thought is consciousness because the three times are its object arising together with an imputation of a subject. When an imputed subject sees an object, light and eye gives rise to eye consciousness when the three poisons arise with the object. This is how consciousness is co-emergent with objects. The body and consciousness evolved from the elements. Namdrol mentioned that the universe arose due to ignorance. But that is a grand oversimplification. It's true, but that is does not mean the universe arose from mind, as if we are all in the dream of a great being like the Hindu myth of Brahma falling asleep and the universe rising up from a lotus in his navel. This level of ignorance is extremely primitive and not even close to what one would call a sentient being. It is basically a timeless void, and the universe burst open from basically nothing.