Dharma Questions: Awareness / Consciousness

This irregular “Dharma Questions” series deals with “dharma” meaning both the truth of the nature of reality and some Buddhist teachings. Please see this post on the intensions for questioning and not questioning. Amongst other things these questions can be, but not necessarily:

  • thought experiments
  • borderline musings not meant to be answered
  • from laziness of not contemplating or researching them yet

Whatever [one] keeps pursuing with her thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of her awareness.

Two Sorts of Thinking
Dvedhāvitakka Sutta  (MN 19)
  1. What is the difference between mind, thoughts, thinking, cognition, consciousness, attention, remembering, knowing, realizing, mind objects, mental formations, mental phenomena, volition, mindfulness, awareness? And what is the relationship between each of these and with multiple combinations of the others?
  2. How does the waxing, maintaining and waning of awareness happen? What is the relationship of this to other processes?
  3. How do we know that knowing (in and of itself) is an existent phenomenon?‬
  4. How does the distraction/remembrance (away from then back to the meditation object) process function? If awareness doesn’t cease [for example, try to stop being aware for 30 seconds; just stop; cut it out], what happens to awareness — where does it go — when we say we realize we haven’t been aware for awhile after awareness has returned? Or is it we are always contacting (into) some object but not always aware of where there’s contact. Or a combination, or something else?
  5. With the exercise of “stop being aware” as a reference point, how can there be (the) non-mindfulness (of being “lost in thought”)?
  6. When lost in thought does awareness of any of the five senses exist?
  7. Without continual mindful awareness, how is it known that awareness isn’t destroyed and renewed over and over (on an individual and/or more collective level)?
  8. How were people such in a trance and spell they forgot about the act of remembering, or mindfulness, which the Buddha is said to have rediscovered? Today it’s a different kind of trance where people know of and remember the phenomenon of remembering but then quickly forget only to remember again later and so on. How and why does this happen? Do folks just fail to see the importance of this? If so how and why?
  9. How does one establish and maintain continuous bare awareness of the 4 main postures? (And what/how is the process (of remembering to do so if involved and challenging?)
  10. How does consciousness and energy sculpt the empty and essencelessness nature of (foam-like) form and matter? Or what does?
  11. What directs attention and how?
  12. Why does consciousness constantly seek an object and how?
  13. Doesn’t it take mindfulness to know that ‘the enlightenment factor of mindfulness is not in me’ mentioned in the 4th Foundation of Mindfulness?
  14. How do certain types of consciousnesses arise, align, and/or associate with various Saṅkhāra (or volitional formations, fabrications, constructions)?

Published by josh dippold


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