How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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Artziebetter1
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How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

If one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise?in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.I think that abhidharma teaches the former view of momentariness and that the latter is just a possible form I’ve given for the sake of argument in favor of the momentariness view but even that does not hold water because creation from other is still exnihilo creation.

I am trying to understand what is then meant by the momentariness of consciousness rather than the contents of that consciousness.

Because if arising out of nothing cannot be established it would seem that consciousness is not momentary in the way that is believed to be?

If you believe it’s a momentary flux the onus is on you to prove this view through logical arguments.because at the surface this view just seems impossible.

If I’m wrong I’m all open ears.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Queequeg »

We say it's momentary because there is no consciousness that we can point to that is in the past or the future; those are only constructs we project. We can only infer there is a consciousness in the present. However, when we examine the present, we find that it is perfectly fleeting, arising one to the next. Successive moments are neither causes nor not causes of the moment that follows.

If you've gotten to this conundrum, you've reached the end of logic and reason. The only path forward from here is to take up practice and come to know the mind directly.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by narhwal90 »

Thats one reason why some zen folks are fond of pounding on tables and pouring tea into overflowing cups and so on, to illustrate the difference between the experience right now in the moment vs immersion in view. The moment an arising is identified, you are now in a view; something has been identified, likewise when an appearance subsides and transience observed. "Before" is a view, "This" is grasping an appearance. Which views are correct, which are false? They are a thicket with no end. Can vs cannot likewise, who is prepared to state all the predicates of dependent origination?
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Astus »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 amIf one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise? in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness
Arising out of nothing could occur only if there were a gap between moments. Since no such gap is proposed, there is no place for any sort of nothingness to arise from.

You might also check out Ratnakirti's arguments, and von Rospatt's book.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Malcolm »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 am If one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise?in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.I think that abhidharma teaches the former view of momentariness and that the latter is just a possible form I’ve given for the sake of argument in favor of the momentariness view but even that does not hold water because creation from other is still exnihilo creation.
This is addressed in Madhyamaka: causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different. Further, this criticism you raise, applies only to moments that have parts. Partless moments are immune to Madhyamaka reasoning. So, 1) given that causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different, for example, milk and its curds; 2) given that moments are partless; and 3) given that nothing can arise from a single cause; and further, 4) given that when moment of mind ceases there nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind, your qualm is removed.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

Astus wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 5:02 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 amIf one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise? in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness
Arising out of nothing could occur only if there were a gap between moments. Since no such gap is proposed, there is no place for any sort of nothingness to arise from.

You might also check out Ratnakirti's arguments, and von Rospatt's book.
Okay,so do you believe that this new citta is not the same citta/vijnana/alaya as the former?because this type of arising is still arising from other wich actually doesn’t exist and is still exnihilo creation?

I see that rantakirti wrote a book defending kshanabhangavada,unfortunately I have to wait to order it before I can read it so can’t read it atm
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:34 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 am If one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise?in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.I think that abhidharma teaches the former view of momentariness and that the latter is just a possible form I’ve given for the sake of argument in favor of the momentariness view but even that does not hold water because creation from other is still exnihilo creation.
This is addressed in Madhyamaka: causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different. Further, this criticism you raise, applies only to moments that have parts. Partless moments are immune to Madhyamaka reasoning. So, 1) given that causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different, for example, milk and its curds; 2) given that moments are partless; and 3) given that nothing can arise from a single cause; and further, 4) given that when moment of mind ceases there nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind, your qualm is removed.
This is exactly what I’ve been saying and is also the vedantin view.materiality undergoes a change in substance or form but nothing new is ever created or destroyed(even light goes on into more subtle states).

With regards to chitta however,chitta is not substantial and doesn’t transform into anything apart yet same from it like milk to butter And to say there is nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind is false as this is still a arising from other wich is impossible ....and the sarvastavadin and Theravada abhidharmas do seem to say that a cause totally perishes before a effect can arise which I’m glad you don’t believe.

In any case It seems that there is only one chitta in the mind’stream’if arising from other also cannot be established and if it is also exnihilo creation.

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-ma ... -arguments

Seems to refute arising from other as impossible

This would really only be possible WITHIN consciousness like it’s possible within our dreams.
Last edited by Artziebetter1 on Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Artziebetter1
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 6:34 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 am If one chitta perishes and the next arises,from what does this next chitta arise?in a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.I think that abhidharma teaches the former view of momentariness and that the latter is just a possible form I’ve given for the sake of argument in favor of the momentariness view but even that does not hold water because creation from other is still exnihilo creation.
This is addressed in Madhyamaka: causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different. Further, this criticism you raise, applies only to moments that have parts. Partless moments are immune to Madhyamaka reasoning. So, 1) given that causes and effects are neither the same nor are they different, for example, milk and its curds; 2) given that moments are partless; and 3) given that nothing can arise from a single cause; and further, 4) given that when moment of mind ceases there nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind, your qualm is removed.
You say nothing can arise from a single cause,but nothing can arise from multiple causes either as arising in itself is not possible(except within awareness like In dreams for example),so shouldn’t there be only one Chita per sentient being?and if this is the case why argue for momentariness of self and other ?
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:01 pmOkay,so do you believe that this new citta is not the same citta/vijnana/alaya as the former?because this type of arising is still arising from other wich actually doesn’t exist and is still exnihilo creation?
Causality means that from a cause comes an effect. Madhyamaka, by saying that things do not arise from themselves, from others, from both, or from neither, means that causality is merely a conceptual fabrication. So there are conventional truths (dependent origination) and the ultimate truth (no birth), and these two truths are not opposites but inseparable.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Malcolm »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:09 pm
This is exactly what I’ve been saying and is also the vedantin view.materiality undergoes a change in substance or form but nothing new is ever created or destroyed(even light goes on into more subtle states).
That's not what saying "cause and effect are neither the same nor different" means. One thing does not change into another thing. For example, this flame does not become that flame when one lights one candle with another. They are not the same, and nothing is transferred, and nevertheless there is a serial continuity.
With regards to chitta however,chitta is not substantial and doesn’t transform into anything apart yet same from it like milk to butter And to say there is nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind is false as this is still a arising from other wich is impossible ....
Citta is supported by caittas, and vice versa, they arise together and support each other, being the supporting conditions for each others arising.
and the sarvastavadin and Theravada abhidharmas do seem to say that a cause totally perishes before a effect can arise which I’m glad you don’t believe.
There is no such thing as arising from a single cause. In Buddhadharma, at least in Indian Buddhadharma, there are six causes and four conditions. One of the six causes is the creative cause, karanahetu, which is the fact that all phenomena are a cause for all other phenomena apart from themselves.

In any case It seems that there is only one chitta in the mind’stream’if arising from other also cannot be established and if it is also exnihilo creation.
All cittas arise with caittas, as above. For example, vedana and samjñā are two dominant caittas given the status of skandhas. All sentient beings have five skandhas, though the number of caittas they possess varies depending what realm they inhabit; desire, form, or formless realm.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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Astus wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:00 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:01 pmOkay,so do you believe that this new citta is not the same citta/vijnana/alaya as the former?because this type of arising is still arising from other wich actually doesn’t exist and is still exnihilo creation?
Causality means that from a cause comes an effect. Madhyamaka, by saying that things do not arise from themselves, from others, from both, or from neither, means that causality is merely a conceptual fabrication. So there are conventional truths (dependent origination) and the ultimate truth (no birth), and these two truths are not opposites but inseparable.
How can there be dependent origination if origination is not at all established?what is dependent coarising in your view ?
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Artziebetter1 »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:15 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 8:09 pm
This is exactly what I’ve been saying and is also the vedantin view.materiality undergoes a change in substance or form but nothing new is ever created or destroyed(even light goes on into more subtle states).
That's not what saying "cause and effect are neither the same nor different" means. One thing does not change into another thing. For example, this flame does not become that flame when one lights one candle with another. They are not the same, and nothing is transferred, and nevertheless there is a serial continuity.
With regards to chitta however,chitta is not substantial and doesn’t transform into anything apart yet same from it like milk to butter And to say there is nothing to prevent the arising of the subsequent moment of mind is false as this is still a arising from other wich is impossible ....
Citta is supported by caittas, and vice versa, they arise together and support each other, being the supporting conditions for each others arising.
and the sarvastavadin and Theravada abhidharmas do seem to say that a cause totally perishes before a effect can arise which I’m glad you don’t believe.
There is no such thing as arising from a single cause. In Buddhadharma, at least in Indian Buddhadharma, there are six causes and four conditions. One of the six causes is the creative cause, karanahetu, which is the fact that all phenomena are a cause for all other phenomena apart from themselves.

In any case It seems that there is only one chitta in the mind’stream’if arising from other also cannot be established and if it is also exnihilo creation.
All cittas arise with caittas, as above. For example, vedana and samjñā are two dominant caittas given the status of skandhas. All sentient beings have five skandhas, though the number of caittas they possess varies depending what realm they inhabit; desire, form, or formless realm.
I can understand the subtle mind giving rise to Vedana and perception etc but not the other way around.if the caittas come from cittas then when one citta perishes how can its caittas give rise to another new subtle mind wich hosts the mental factors ?what I mean by this is that if caittas are dependant on cittas to exist,then when one citta perishes how can its caittas give rise to a new citta with its own caittas?if this happens in the case where one citta perishes only after its subsequent citta arises due to the former's caittas,there would be confused experience and multiple selves at once wouldn't there?

How does caitta create citta?how can something give rise to something else completely new?if arising cannot be established at all,then there must be only one citta.thats the point of OP.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 amin a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.
By that reasoning, mirrors could not exist:
Either the reflection couldn’t occur until you step away from the mirror, or you would disappear as soon as the reflection appeared. That’s basically your argument.
Yet, there are mirrors.
Is the reflection in the mirror a permanent image, like a photograph, or is the reflection in constant motion, reflecting my changing movements? It is constantly changing.

And the point to consider here is that in this metaphor, my movements are constantly changing, each movement giving rise to the next.

Citta is like that.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:59 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 amin a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.
By that reasoning, mirrors could not exist:
Either the reflection couldn’t occur until you step away from the mirror, or you would disappear as soon as the reflection appeared. That’s basically your argument.
Yet, there are mirrors.
Is the reflection in the mirror a permanent image, like a photograph, or is the reflection in constant motion, reflecting my changing movements? It is constantly changing.

And the point to consider here is that in this metaphor, my movements are constantly changing, each movement giving rise to the next.

Citta is like that.
I don’t think this analogy explains how a totally new citta can come about.or how anything totally new can come about(except within consciousness)
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Man, you just can't get past the idea that a citta is not some created "thing", I don't know why, but you can't.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Könchok Chödrak »

You need to ask yourself what time is along side of the question of what consciousness is to answer this question. And even without an existence with the time factor in Nirvana, you need to understand moments. These are very difficult questions to answer, but at the same time you already know the answer because you are living the answer. My answer is: Meditate on emptiness, because the answer is.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Part of the confusion seems to be the premise that a thought arises as a static thing that exists for a moment, like someone holding up flash cards, a thought pops up for a moment, “exists” in that moment, and is then subsequently replaced by another thought.

Of course, when we refer to thoughts, that’s how we generally imagine the process: One thought follows another. And in general terms, Buddhist teachings also refer to thought this way. In one sense, it’s accurate to think of thoughts in terms of this process. But, on the other hand, this is totally inaccurate.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:30 am Man, you just can't get past the idea that a citta is not some created "thing", I don't know why, but you can't.
Logically there can be only one alaya per sentient being not many alayas ceasing and arising is what I’m saying.this bothers you guys because it would mean that there exists a permanent something.

I am not a eternalist.a eternalist is someone that thinks you go from life to life and there is no nibbana,just endlessly wandering on.

But I do believe that the personhood is permanent because that is our experience and nothing would be coherent if it weren’t so.I couldn’t cohere this message if each moment there were a new person writing it.
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by Astus »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:21 pmHow can there be dependent origination if origination is not at all established?what is dependent coarising in your view ?
That is the only way there can be dependent origination. If there were anything established about it, it would be contrary to dependent origination itself.

'Those who understand the dependent origination
To be utterly devoid of arising and disintegration,
Those who have such knowledge will cross
The ocean of samsara of dogmatic views.'

(Yuktisastika, v 23, tr Thupten Jinpa)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: How exactly is there a momentariness of consciousness ?

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Artziebetter1 wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 5:02 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 11:59 pm
Artziebetter1 wrote: Tue Dec 08, 2020 10:58 amin a chain of chittas you would either have to have a chitta perishing and it’s subsequent chitta arising from nothingness,and thus there could be no conditioning of a chitta by another or you would have a chitta giving rise to another chitta and then perishing in wich case there would be confused experiences and such arising would fall under arising from other wich is still exnihilo arising and cannot really occur.
By that reasoning, mirrors could not exist:
Either the reflection couldn’t occur until you step away from the mirror, or you would disappear as soon as the reflection appeared. That’s basically your argument.
Yet, there are mirrors.
Is the reflection in the mirror a permanent image, like a photograph, or is the reflection in constant motion, reflecting my changing movements? It is constantly changing.

And the point to consider here is that in this metaphor, my movements are constantly changing, each movement giving rise to the next.

Citta is like that.
I don’t think this analogy explains how a totally new citta can come about.or how anything totally new can come about(except within consciousness)
Define:
“Totally new”
...as soon as you put pentameters around something, you fall into the illusion of solidity, and of self-arisen identity of objects.

You might say, “I’m thinking of a dog, meaning that you hold in your mind some concept of what you and I generally regard as the loyal pet.
Insofar as you are not imagining a sheep, or a car, or anything else, yes, in that respect you are imagining a dog.
However, upon examining the thought itself, the idea, the thought itself has no absolute beginning or end. It’s a mental reconstruction of parts. It’s only a mental image of the outside of the dog, for example. And it is a conditional thought: the dog is either sitting or running or lying down, eating or barking or whatever.
You can’t establish an absolute, ultimate thought of the dog (or of anything, really) because that thought can be refined infinitely. You might begin with a basic outline of a a dog, or you might be able to imagine every hair on its body. And as soon as you begin refining it, then it’s another arising thought. My point is, you are regarding thoughts as absolute things, and they aren’t. In regarding thoughts as absolute things, defined entities, you regard them as, like I suggested before, somewhat like flash cards, as a series of exactly defined objects, one arising after the next. And because of this view, you have an unresolvable dichotomy, which you keep presenting:
If one thought moment truly ends, it cannot give rise to the next, and if it doesn’t end, there isn’t a series of them at all, but rather just one continuous stream (the basis for the assertion of atman).
But as soon as you see that nothing arises (as a thought moment) that can be found to have an exact beginning or end, that dichotomy simply doesn’t apply any more.
As with any phenomena, it’s not saying that thoughts don’t arise... rather, nothing arises which is in any possession intrinsic “thoughtness”.

Relatively, casually, sure, we can say thoughts are happening all the time. But ultimately, nothing specific can be identified as thoughts... they have no beginning or end. This is why Buddhist teachings liken thoughts to clouds in the sky. From a distance, clouds appear as absolutely defined, as having edges. You can count separate clouds. But if you are flying in the clouds, you see they have no edges. No exact beginning or end to them. Thoughts are just like this. And there’s meditation that you can do, watching thoughts arise and pass away, where you can experience this truth directly.
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