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Is Consciousness Empty

Discussion in 'Dharmic Religions DIR' started by Brahman, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Brahman

    Brahman Paramatman

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    The more i look into this the more i think consciousness isnt empty of existence. Everything else is. So this would mean that everything arises from consciousness. So is consciousness empty? What is consciousness though? Its the Soul, Brahman. Consciouness cant be broken down can it? Consciousness is Reality and from it everything arises. That is my Philosophy.

    So does anyone else think Consciousness is empty of Existence. I really dont think it is. If you dissolve yourself into emptyness everything dissapears but Consciousness. I see only a Void from which i perceive from Consciousness. So if consciousness was empty wouldnt it dissapear too? And what i mean by dissapear is that it would not be conceptualized. but, i dont think of Consciousness as a concept but more of pure existence. Consciousness is above conceptualization, above the grasp of the mind. And, to me, that would mean that its above the grasp of Emptiness. but i dont know and thats why im asking you all.

    thanks!
     
    #1 Brahman, Jun 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  2. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    Everything that exists is both full and empty of form (conceptualized). Nothing that exists is empty of the form existence (else it doesn't exist --"would disappear too").

    (*Drops 2 cents in the glass.* Oh, look... it's half full.)
     
  3. Engyo

    Engyo Prince of Dorkness!

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    Hi Brahman -

    I think "empty" in this case indicates more impermanence and less "lack of existence". Maybe if we define emptiness as "lack of a permanent unchanging existence", then we are getting somewhere. Conciousness certainly doesn't lack existence, but it is ever-changing, subject to causes and conditions, arising and ceasing.
     
  4. Brahman

    Brahman Paramatman

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    I dissagree with this statement. I dont think consciousness ever does cease or arise, yet things arise from it. The reason why consciousness seems to do that is because we dont think we are consciousness so we lose it. Once you become consciousness, when you desolve into it, consciousness never goes away, its permanent. When the "I" is not consciousness but the mind is, then the mind never stops and consciousness seems to go away. but once you become consciousness, then the mind stops and consciousness is forever.
     
  5. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi Brahman, this is a starting point.

    Is the i that thinks consciousness isn't empty of existence, a separate consciousness from the one being thought about?
     
  6. Functionless

    Functionless Nothing

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    Well, of course consciousness is not empty of existence. What made you think that consciousness could be either empty or full of existence? I do not believe that consciousness is either full or empty of existence. I believe that consciousness is existence, simply because consciousness is not a possessor and existence is not possessable. Such a distinction appears to me as a false duality, so consciousness is neither empty nor full. Consciousness simply is.
     
  7. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    Nothing that is can possibly lack existence. Existence supersedes consciousness because without anything you can't have consciousness (and anything certainly includes consciousness).

    Now for whatever reason consciousness can alter the manner in which existence is applied (possibly including limited aspects of whether or not a certain object, space, time, dimension, etc exists), but still cannot be presupposed to precede existence completely. Consciousness may in fact be superior to existence if we are talking about a consciousness of a being of ultimate power, but I am not about to speculate about the consciousness habits or faculties of a being of ultimate power...

    MTF
     
  8. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi ManTime Forgot, welcome to RF and for your thoughtful post.

    It is said that with true understanding, it is seen that existence isn't just existence for it depends on consciousness, and consciousness isn't just consciousness for it on depends on existence.

    It is only consciousness that is aware of existence, and without existence there would be no consciousness to be aware. Consciousness and existence are complementary opposites as conceived by the mortal dualistic mind and they merge as one when the mind is still.

    When there is true vision, the concepts of existence and consciousness don't arise in the mind, when there exists in your mind concepts of existence and consciousness, true vision has disappeared.
     
  9. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    That is an interesting response, but of what necessity is there for anything to be aware of existence? Why is this important? A rock performs its purpose in reality without ever needing to be "aware" of its own existence.


    I think that in order for consciousness to be important there has to be a higher standard than merely aspiring to exist. I'm not exactly sure what that is... yet.

    MTF
     
  10. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi ManTimeForgot, its important because existence can only be proven to exist if there is awareness of it! This is not about the awareness of rocks, it is about the apparent interdependent relationsip of existence and awareness.

    However since you raised the matter of rocks, how did you ever conclude that the rock you refer to exists?....because you are aware of it as a rock, if you had no awareness that rocks exist, you would not start making statements about rocks, yes?

    Do you agree with me the proof that rocks exist is not because rocks aspires to exist, but because we are aware that they exist? It follows that what applies to the existence of the rock applies to all existence for which one has awareness of.
     
  11. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    You're an existencist. ;)
     
  12. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    I am quite willing to agree with you that our having a conversation about "rocks" is predicated on our awareness of the existence of rocks.

    However, without our knowledge that the rock exists, the rock would quite comfortably continue existing as it has done so for however long that particular rock has been around.

    Additionally, our awareness of a rock's existence is insufficient to prove the existence of the rock. When someone takes drugs they become "aware" of a great many things that almost certainly do not actually exist.

    Existence precedes consciousness and is superior to it. Consciousness is mutable whereas existence must by necessity be immutable (either something exists or it does not); that is to say there is no such thing as "half-existing."

    The mystery of reality is figuring out the laws of association between the two; reality seems to allow a certain amount of "feedback" from conscious beings... But beyond that what do we really know about the relationship between consciousness and existence?

    MTF
     
  13. ben d

    ben d Being

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    OK, now understand where you are coming from. So far as my understanding goes, there was never a beginning to existence, nor will there ever be a ending, for existence is eternal, omnipresent, and omniscient, and therefore remains beyond the mortal mind to know. There is just always the ceaseless present NOW.

    Though we seek to know this mysterious source of our existence, it is also my understanding that the mind will never know this source so long as it tries to seek for an answer using the mind,...a case of a house divided can not stand, it is like using consciousness to find consciousness!

    The great religious traditions all point the way out of this dilemma,... the kingdom you seek is within. The life source that vivifies the clay body is the same source that brings it self-consciousness,...this source is eternal and is immanent in all material existence, and simultaneously transcendent to it.

    For a human creature to truly know what and who it really is, the mind must be stilled so that revelation by grace illuminates its error of conceiving itself as being separate from the very source of its cosmic existence.

    Yes, agreed, it is in deed a mystery and for that reason it is appropriate to use the approach of a mystic rather than that of a rationalist.
     
    #13 ben d, Jun 27, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2009
  14. Functionless

    Functionless Nothing

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    What is an existencist? Do you have a link or is it a joke?
     
  15. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    Ben D: From my perspective you are conflating two terms: Reality and Existence. I think it would be fair to say that while: to be real and to exist are very probably synonymous that Reality and Existence are not exactly the same.

    I think that reality as an eternal thing is very probable, and altogether quite palatable, but existence as something eternal seems rather skewed to me. A rock exists, but are you really saying that that rock has always been since time immemorial? Surely not. So that rock's existence (it being real and being known as "rock") can only be traced back a certain amount of time.

    Ok fine: time is something of an illusion brought about by the transient perspectives of mere mortal humans. So what? I know I was born in the year 1982. The being known by the name I am called has had a finite existence. I may not be able to comprehend the infinity that is greater Reality, but I am certainly able to understand other things with finite existences (even if they are ancient compared to me).

    Ok fine: reality goes on ad infinitum; there will always be some deeper level of reality to probe, some greater truth to be learned. And? How does lend any greater or lesser truth to how much can be known about the relationship between finite existence and consciousness?


    Or am I to understand that I have always existed, and that I have merely "forgotten my past lives?" And that all existence is similarly eternal.


    MTF
     
  16. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi MTF, if something is considered 'real'. it follows that it also must exist, and conversely if something 'exists', then it follows it also must be real, however there is no suggestion that there isn't nuance in meaning depending on context.

    If reality as an eternal thing is very probable to your present understanding, then this eternal reality obviously exists, and it must exist for eternity, IOW reality has eternal existence.

    A rock is a temporary reality as you note, it is a construct of coalesced constituent particles that had a genesis, and will have and ending, but the concept of 'rocks' in the generic sense of coalesced elements, also coexist as constituent aspects of planets, which in turn are constituent aspects of stars systems, etc., and so is an integral aspect of the existing eternal reality.

    Good, our present understanding shares common ground.

    In suggesting that there will always be some greater level of reality to probe, some greater truth to be learned, there is a presumption that the reality that has eternal infinite existence is devoid of cosmic consciousness, i.e. omniscience. According to my understanding, the eternal reality, despite the illusionary transient perspectives of mere mortals of it as being comprised of many parts, in fact is an undivided whole, a unity, i.e. eternal reality is non-dual, and is therefore beyond the understanding of the mortal conceptualizing mind.

    It depends on your understanding of what and who you are, if you consider your body, heart, mind, and incarnate soul as you, then no, for these all had beginnings and therefore have endings, they are temporal in nature. However if one understands that the cosmic source of this body, this heart, this mind, and this incarnated aspect (though not discontinuous with) of universal spirit is eternal in nature, and that the soul aspect can reintegrate with the universal spirit of eternal reality, then there is potential for transfering identification from mortal reality to immortal reality.

    MTF, trying to express this is quite difficult, particularly the last area, so please feel free to continue to question those areas/points that violate your present understanding and perhaps a more clear picture will eventually emerge.
     
    #16 ben d, Jun 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  17. ManTimeForgot

    ManTimeForgot Temporally Challenged

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    No I think I understand where you are coming from now... You wax a little more mystical than I do; i.e. seeking connection to whatever ultimate truth there is to be found, but I think we largely agree on the "nature of things."


    If by existence you are talking about a function of "Greater Reality" then yes all things which exist transcend time, but if we "limit" our discussion to "temporal" objects then existence is similarly devoid of transcendental quality of timelessness as time has no meaning inside of an eternity (one moment to the next is meaningless as there is nothing to compare to; not static/not dynamic there simply isn't any way of saying this happened "yesterday" because "yesterday" stretches on into infinity and "tomorrow" does the same).

    And if we are talking about conceiving of "Greater Reality" (or whatever you want to call it), then certainly it exceeds anything resembling human ability to conceive. But I think where we fundamentally differ is in the assumption that a perspective attempting to encompass the "eternal nature of things" is actually a good or valid thing to do.


    When we limit our discussion to the transient existence of objects bound by time, then we must by a matter of course have existence come before consciousness. When we extend our conversation to include that which exceeds time and is bound up in eternity (the unified consciousness and "material" of Supreme Reality), then it is necessary that consciousness and existence are part of one and the same thing: conception, planning, doing, and consequence are all the same thing at that level. But I believe it is exactly because this level completely exceeds human understanding that I would rather restrict discussion of it. We can't really say for sure how any of this effects our actions or ideas. We can't really say for sure if our understanding is correct or even how to correct it if it is indeed wrong.


    I won't go so far as to say we shouldn't probe for answers; that would defeat the purpose of living in my mind, but I will say that I don't think attempting to place an eternal perspective on the transient aids most discussion.


    MTF
     
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  18. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    But Engyo was right that consciousness changes and is subject to causes. People lose consciousness whenever they go into a deep sleep. People who undergo general anesthesia for an operation become unconscious. You can be aroused from sleep or a trance, but not often from a coma. In general, we can prove that changes to the condition of a physical brain affect consciousness. It has nothing to do with just thinking that one is not conscious.
     
  19. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi MTF, enjoyed your excellent post, some very astute observations and agree with practically all you have said. Still, will add a few further comments.

    Yes, the mystical underlayings are indeed the 'what' and the 'who' of my mortal existence. However, my present understanding no longer includes any possibility of realization of 'ultimate truth' through seeking, for that implies a duality, a separation of seeker and of that sought, while the ultimate truth is unambuously one. Rather it a matter of first understanding that the mortal self-aware 'I' can't ever possess or possibly be 'ultimate truth', and then subsequently surrender all the content of one's heart, one's soul, one's mind, and one's will to be.

    To be what?...the dualistic mind demands. The mystic can't say, except to mutter that 'ultimate truth' is forever on the other side of the any and all concepts of ultimate truth.

    Of course.. it very well may turn out that the ancient religious traditions are correct and that immortal entities do indeed exist, but a mystic is well aware that intellectual enquiry alone will never bring about the realization of the truth or not of such concepts, so actually puts it to the test as in a life wholly dedicated to realization of enlightenment. IOW, the mystic is dying to find out directly, whereas the lukewarm is not prepared to go that far, but is content to merely probe the mysteries with the intellect.

    BTW, as a quick digression/elaboration, mystics have all come come through the lukewarm phase and do not lose the conceptual understanding developed there as a result of turning inwards. All learning proceeds from the simple level to the more complex 'higher' levels, and each level needs to be mastered to have the prerequisite understanding appropriate to be able to understand the more difficult next 'higher' level. But the first principles still remain the foundation throughout the whole as in,...a thousand precepts coalesce at some point to form a concept, a thousand concepts coalesce to make an idea, a thousand ideas coalesce to make a ...etc.. In religious mystical practice, which includes all learning, not just the intellectual, the same principles apply. Do not imagine that there are not also the equivalent of exams, in this case called initiations, through which students must pass before unfolding to the next level, teachers though invisible, etc..

    Overall there is so much that we share common understanding on that there is little else that arises thats begs expression for now, perhaps except to add appreciation for your post, thanks.

    P.S. Hope you don't consider this post an attempt to "place an eternal perspective on the transient" for am in full agreement with you, and nor does my contemplation try to place a transient perspective on the eternal as some anthropocentric religious and scientific theorists are wont to do, except as in the use of analogies, metaphors, parables, etc., as an expedient to communication.
     
    #19 ben d, Jun 28, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
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