Author Topic: Consciousness versus Awareness  (Read 446 times)

Matthew

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2020, 04:00:13 PM »
Quote from: Middleway
Obviously, these are two very different words but I often see these words are used interchangeably in a lot of spiritual books.

These are not "very different words".

Firstly both words have more than one meaning in the English language. In most contexts they are synonymous, and can be used interchangeably, but not all. Sometimes "consciousness" is defined as "awareness" of some object (in English). These words are not alone in being troublesome.

Similarly, Sati, "mindfulness" you note is "remembrance" or "to remember" in Sanskrit. It is not "loosely translated" into mindfulness in English, because in English, " to remember" and "to be mindful of" are also synonymous.

As both Nicky and you have noted there is no direct equivalent in Sanskrit/Buddhist terminology of the word "awareness". I think for the purposes of discussion it is probably best to assume the two words are synonymous, or not use the word awareness without precisely defining how you are using it. Anything else seems likely to lead to semantic argument for the sake of it.

All of the discussion above is blighted by differential meanings of words - and made worse by the imprecisions of translation, and the confusions and many-fold interpretations that have arisen over time.  There are many examples I could pick on in the comments above where my understanding and experience disagree with firm statements made by others, yet I won't, because I don't want to stoke divisions.

Please all remember (be mindful) of the fruits of compassion towards others in discussion, and that pointless speculative arguments aren't why we come here.

Text based interaction lacks the humanity and non-verbal clues that we have in physical space and interactions: it is easy to get lost in pointless debate, and equally easy to act like an arse online. It is harder to maintain compassion and equanimity, yet if you can't consistently do that, don't come here to score points against others. It's not why this forum exists.

Kindly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: November 15, 2020, 06:13:21 PM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2020, 04:17:41 PM »
You're right, still no aversion there in your post and I'm happy you checked your mind for greed, aversion and delusion before typing!

Do you truly think the above comment is utterly free of greed, aversion and delusion Phil? It seems you need to check your mind before posting as much as anyone.

Please keep it straight and compassionate, and don't be climbing on high horses - it's not a good look or what this forum is about.

Kindly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Middleway

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2020, 04:32:15 PM »
You're right, still no aversion there in your post and I'm happy you checked your mind for greed, aversion and delusion before typing!

I am not an arahant Phil. Of course I have greed, aversion and delusion in my mind. I watch it and I know i have it. I was sincere when I said that I do not have any aversion towards you. As I said I am pointing at your ego. And yes, I have ego too which I am working on.

When I see greed in my mind, I recognize greed in others. Greed is greed. It is universal. Same with aversion and delusion. These are not yours or mine. They are universal. So, this ego is also universal. It is not your ego or mine. Do you see that? So, when I recognize your ego, I am recognizing my own.

Let us get back to discussing Dhamma. When we see, we know. When we hear we know. When we touch we know. This is direct knowledge and not inferred. The mind does not interfere at that instant of the sense contact. After the direct knowledge, there is an echo in the mind as thought. This is where name and form appear as concepts and grasping takes place.

So, the seeing and knowing are practically inseparable. Meaning, consciousness and awareness are practically inseparable during the normal waking state. You can isolate them in deep Jhana. That was my point.

Warm regards,

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Nicky

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2020, 01:14:06 AM »
How do you understand the Dhamma very well? Do you just practice or do a lot of reading also? And also How do one verify that one's understanding is correct?

Thank you sir. If we study Pali sutta closely, we will find there are various words connected to meditation such as:

1. Sati - mindfulness, which means recollection, remembering or bringing to & keeping in mind.

2. Sampajana - clear-comprehension or ready wisdom or situational wisdom, which means applying the right wisdom for a certain situation

3. Anupassi - closely watching or contemplating

4. Pajānāti - to understand or know

5. Paṭisaṃvedī - to experience

6. Vinnana/Vijānāti - consciousness or to cognise directly via the sense organs

7. Vipassana - clear seeing

8. etc, etc, etc

None of these words mean the English "awareness".

In English, the word "awareness" can mean "to understand" (such as: "I am aware clouds cause rain") or can mean "to sense" or "to experience" (such as: "I was aware of the touch on my skin").

In the 1st example above (of understanding intellectually or having "awareness" that clouds cause rain), the Pali word for consciousness (vinnana) is not appropriate. In Buddhism, it not accurate to say: "I am conscious (with vinnana khandha) clouds cause rain". Instead, you would say: "I understand (with sankhara khandha) clouds cause rain".

In the 2nd example above (of sensing or having "awareness" of a touch on the skin), the Pali word for consciousness (vinnana) is appropriate.

 Therefore, the word "awareness" is too inaccurate for Buddhism because it has myriad meanings in English.

Kind regards and thank you  :)

Nicky

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2020, 01:25:45 AM »
How do you understand the Dhamma very well? Do you just practice or do a lot of reading also? And also How do one verify that one's understanding is correct?

To add to my previous post, if we combined the two English meanings of "awareness" to mean "being conscious of an object with understanding/wisdom" then we are possibly close to the meaning of the Pali word "sampajanna", often translated as "clear comprehension", which the monk named Sujato translates as "situational awareness".

However, this won't really work because "sampajanna" is a factor of wisdom where as "vinnana" ("consciousness") would probably be a factor of concentration.

Kind regards  :)

Matthew

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2020, 02:17:25 AM »
Nicky,

To add to my previous post, if we combined the two English meanings of "awareness" to mean "being conscious of an object with understanding/wisdom" then we are possibly close to the meaning of the Pali word "sampajanna", often translated as "clear comprehension", which the monk named Sujato translates as "situational awareness".

In the canon, if I have understood correctly, sampajanna specifically refers to faculties of knowledge (or mental processes) which provide insight into the states of body and mind.

Quote
However, this won't really work because "sampajanna" is a factor of wisdom where as "vinnana" ("consciousness") would probably be a factor of concentration.

Sampajanna would therefore be a factor of knowledge/wisdom specifically in relation to vinnana, or consciousness, of states of body and mind, and concentration is a factor of consciousness rather than the other way around (which concurs with experience). Thus concentration can penetrate deeper into sampajanna as the mind is refined and concentration developed.

Have I misunderstood something here?

Matthew
« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 02:37:44 AM by Matthew »
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Nicky

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2020, 07:22:47 AM »
In the canon, if I have understood correctly, sampajanna specifically refers to faculties of knowledge (or mental processes) which provide insight into the states of body and mind.

Hi Matthew

I would disagree with the above. To me, sampajanna is pre-learned knowledge brought by mindfulness to quality control meditation and particularly concentration. Sati & sampajanna support concentration (samadhi); and samadhi supports the development of direct insight (vipassana).

Regards  :)

Quote
Thus associating with good persons, becoming full, fills up hearing the good Dhamma. Hearing the good Dhamma, becoming full, fills up faith. Faith, becoming full, fills up careful attention. Careful attention, becoming full, fills up mindfulness and clear comprehension. Mindfulness and clear comprehension, becoming full, fill up restraint of the sense faculties. Restraint of the sense faculties, becoming full, fills up the three kinds of good conduct. The three kinds of good conduct, becoming full, fill up the four establishments of mindfulness. The four establishments of mindfulness, becoming full, fill up the seven factors of enlightenment. The seven factors of enlightenment, becoming full, fill up true knowledge and liberation. Thus there is nutriment for true knowledge and liberation, and in this way they become full.

Middleway

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2020, 05:05:30 PM »
This pre-learned knowledge that Nicky referring to is the previous understanding / clear comprehension of the mental process on how the desire arises in mind. This is to be remembered from moment to moment.

For example, we see and we know. Then thought arises that what we saw is a car. Then another thought that it is a BMW. Then another thought that rich and successful people drive it. Now we want to have that car. This is “becoming” followed by old age, sickness and death (suffering).

Having a clear comprehension of this mental process of becoming, old age, sickness and death should be remembered all the time. This remembrance allows us to cut the root of the desire and prevents it from arising. A desireless, unwavering, steady, still and alert mind is samadhi. This samadhi then leads to insight into reality.

Nicky’s quote “thus associating with good persons...” is a condensed version of the entire noble eight fold path. Beautifully said!
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

dharma bum

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2020, 06:04:15 PM »
"I am now aware of my breathing. Now I am aware that I am thinking of a quarrel I had with somebody yesterday. I am aware that I spent some time reliving my quarrel. Now I am aware of my breathing."

Isn't that how it goes?
Mostly ignorant

Middleway

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2020, 06:13:10 PM »
The moment thinking starts you have already “become”. You spent some time thinking of yesterday’s quarrel. This is old age sickness and death after becoming. You lost your sati while you spent time thinking. Otherwise, thought of yesterday’s quarrel is discarded as soon as it arises.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

dharma bum

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2020, 06:28:43 PM »
Sorry I'll skip the argument
« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 06:40:46 PM by dharma bum »
Mostly ignorant

Middleway

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2020, 06:43:43 PM »
I would not characterize this as an argument. No worries. You may and can skip the discussion anytime...  ;)
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

raushan

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2020, 01:48:44 AM »
Thanks, Nicky for the response. It was well explained and really helpful. Some of the pali words you described look like they are synonyms.  Like the word Sati and Anupassi. So, Why Buddha defined so many words regarding the mind faculties and so precisely?

By the way, did you learn the pali language to read the suttas? Is there a big difference between English suttas and Pali suttas?

Regards
Raushan
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 10:35:00 AM by raushan »

raushan

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #38 on: November 20, 2020, 01:56:29 AM »
Hi Middleway,

Thanks for explaining further. From these posts, I realize that reading suttas may help the practice further. Theoretical understanding can be a signpost for the journey as Matthew described in one of the posts.

"Thus associating with good persons" I find this subjective. Does this mean associating with people with integrity? Because In a professional world sometimes a highly intelligent person can be very annoying. And also not all who practice meditation can be good people.

Regards
Raushan
« Last Edit: November 20, 2020, 02:25:13 AM by raushan »

Nicky

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2020, 07:19:37 PM »
Thanks, Nicky for the response. It was well explained and really helpful. Some of the pali words you described look like they are synonyms.  Like the word Sati and Anupassi.

Sati & Anupassi are not synonymous.

Sati means to remember.

Anupassi means to watch or see.


Middleway

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Re: Consciousness versus Awareness
« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2020, 10:24:00 PM »
Hi Middleway,

Thanks for explaining further. From these posts, I realize that reading suttas may help the practice further. Theoretical understanding can be a signpost for the journey as Matthew described in one of the posts.

"Thus associating with good persons" I find this subjective. Does this mean associating with people with integrity? Because In a professional world sometimes a highly intelligent person can be very annoying. And also not all who practice meditation can be good people.

Regards
Raushan

Absolutely! Reading the suttas  and contemplating on them is definitely recommended. As you progress on the path, their deeper / subtler meaning will be revealed to you.

Good people in this context are those who understand Dhamma well and follow it diligently. If one understands Dhamma well and follow it, they cannot do anything bad at all. It is impossible.

Warm regards,

Middleway
« Last Edit: November 21, 2020, 01:08:56 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

 

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