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Mark Foote

Post title:  consciousness conditioned by ignorance, attachment, or aversion

(Oct 3 2010 at 12:03 PM)



As to the witness of the place of consciousness conditioned by ignorance, attachment, or aversion, this is as constant as the experience of suffering in our lives; the trick is to recognize a sense of location as consciousness occurs, and to do that it's necessary to accept that consciousness is not continuous. Hence the great wisdom of the Gautamid's teaching, that consciousness only exists with respect to sense organ and sense contact, and has no existence apart from that. Somewhere in the Pali Cannon he gives an example of a forest fire, where the flames leap from tree top to tree top on the wind and the fire seems to have an existence apart from the fuel that it burns. Nevertheless, he says, without fuel there is no fire, so this is an illusion, and similarly without the experience of sense organ-sense object there is no consciousness.

It's not necessary in my experience to look for consciousness to appear like an object under a strobe light; for me, it's more like my thought ends, or whatever I was occupied with ends, and very naturally I have a sense of my presence. Underlying this presence is a sense of pitch, yaw, and roll, just like a pilot flying a plane by the seat of their pants; all I have to do is try to follow the place my awareness occurs a little bit to realize the connection with balance, and location in space. If I can relax into this sense of place in awareness, it moves; if I get lucky, then I can notice that my aversion to pain, my attraction to pleasant sensations, and my ignorance of feeling can skew the place my awareness occurs. The witness is the release, that restores the spontaneous occurrence of awareness.

There's no doer in any of this, really.

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