June 11, 2022 at 1:27 pm #37989
I have contemplated many different ways to ask this question. However before asking, I need to outline my though process of how I arrived at the final question.
Human beings are completely sensed-based and consciousness is the vehicle for experiencing the senses. When a human being is in a coma or is under anesthesia, the senses are dormant; no sensory input is being recorded by the brain. This is also true when we sleep.
When we awaken from a comatose state, anesthesia or sleep, sañña, vedana, and saṅkhāra (hadaya vathu) work in union to receive consciousness. The phrase: “Regain consciousness,” is a curious one. If we are subject to being “knocked out” temporarily or we go into a coma, it is said that the person has lost consciousness. But, our consciousness is not actually lost. We temporarily disconnect from consciousness, like turning off the TV or radio, but the energy to turn the TV or radio is still available. Another curious fact is that when we regain consciousness we regain our own consciousness. Why don’t we regain the consciousness of another person or a blank slate? When we awaken from an unconscious state, we awaken to ourselves, our lives; to the same person who had previously been disconnected from consciousness.
What is it that keeps us connected to what we perceive as our own consciousness during the time that we are disconnected? I do not think that it is kamma. However, while in a state of being unconscious, our brains are disconnected from our senses, our emotions, feelings and perceptions. Somehow, when we awaken nothing is lost. We reconnect with everything that we were before becoming unconscious.
Certainly, as long as we are alive, during an unconscious state, our brains, like the memory of a computer, keeps the specific information about our life in-tact. But, while we are disconnected from consciousness we are not at all aware of the information about our life. If we were to never re-connect with consciousness, we would not be aware of the specific information about our lives. Therefore, is the determining factor for being aware of our specific life, consciousness?
At the split second, when we are reconnected to consciousness, we experience sense input; we experience awareness; sañña, vedana, and saṅkhāra facilitates mind (hadaya vathu). Two things are evident here. One, the brain does not produce consciousness. Rather the brain connects TO consciousness. Secondly, does this not indicate that consciousness is there, waiting for a signal from the brain, like activating a TV or computer with the “on” switch? If the on switch is never pressed the TV will not come on. I posit that this is the identical case with the brain. We simply have not found the on switch in the brain.
These thoughts led me to the following cogent questions:
- 1) Which precedes which: hadaya vathu precedes sañña, vedana, and saṅkhāra OR sañña, vedana, and saṅkhāra precede hadaya vathu?
2) Does hadaya vathu facilitate sañña, vedana, and saṅkhāra OR is it the other way around?
3) In terms of Buddha Dhamma, what is it that keeps a human connected to what we perceive to be our own consciousness during the time that we are disconnected so that when we awaken from an unconscious state we recognize that we are the same person as before the unconscious state?
June 11, 2022 at 2:44 pm #37995
The key is to understand the relationship between hadaya vatthu and the brain.
The following are the key points:
1. Citta and thoughts (or consciousness) arise in hadaya vatthu.
2. But all six signals from the external world (sights through dhammā) come in via the brain.
3. While being unconscious the brain is totally inactive. Even while in deep sleep it is mostly inactive.
– For citta to arise in hadaya vatthu, there must be an arammana coming through one of the six senses.
– Thus, if the brain is not active, no citta vithi can be triggered, and thus no consciousness.
4. However, the gandhabba (hadaya vatthu plus pasada rupa) is alive at all times. But no citta vithi can arise until the hadaya vatthu is triggered.
5. Each citta has AT LEAST the seven universal cetasika: Phassa (contact); vēdanā (feeling); saññā (perception); cētanā (volition); Ekaggata (One-pointedness); jivitindriya (life faculty); manasikāra (memory).
– However, normally other cetasika also arise. There are 52 cetasika including vedana and saññā, and any citta with cetasika has saṅkhāra. Since “mano saṅkhāra” are defined as “vedana and saññā”
saṅkhāra are ALWAYS in a citta.
6. See, “Cetasika (Mental Factors)” for details on cetaiska.
7. Further details on the role of the brain at; “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body”
If not clear, please feel to ask questions.
June 11, 2022 at 3:23 pm #37996
Thank you for the response. I feel that I am a bit closer to an understanding.
Presupposing (as I do), that the brain is merely a receiver for consciousness, conscious awareness cannot be experienced without the presence of hadaya vathu, which means that neither can citta (including seven universal cetasika) be experienced. If this is correct, I got this far.
Since the gandhabba (manomaya kaya) combined with pasada rupa, are ON all the time, can I assume that this is the MEMORY circuit (so to speak)? AND that this memory circuit’s function is isolated to each individual person preserving who we perceive we are.
Is then, this gandhabba/pasada rupa THE thing…the thread that becomes activated when a person regains consciousness, such as with a comatose state?
If the brain does not produce consciousness (which I do not believe it does), why am I still me when I wake up in the morning or when a person who has been in a coma for 10 years regains consciousness and is the same person as before the coma?
Is the gandhabba directly responsible for this? If not, what is? I understand that the gandhabba may be like a memory storage device, and that it is always ON, but like a computer, the memory stored within it is of no use unless the ON switch is activated.
Let’s assume that consciousness is a field and the brain receives a consciousness signal. the gandhabba/pasada rupa keep track of who and what we are, BUT what is the link…the thing…that keeps us tethered to a specific ghandhabba/ pasada rupa?
I hope these questions are making sense.
June 11, 2022 at 4:22 pm #37997
Questions and answers:
“Since the gandhabba (manomaya kaya) combined with pasada rupa, are ON all the time, can I assume that this is the MEMORY circuit (so to speak)?”
I wrote that gandhabba is alive (i.e, not dead). But it is not “ON” until an arammana comes in. I think I explained that.
– It is like a drum is there, but there will be no sound until something strikes it.
– That sound is like the consciousness. No consciousness until an arammana hits the hadaya vatthu (either directly with dhammā or via the five pasada rupa.)
– There is no “memory circuit”. What would that be? There is no need for such a thing.
“If the brain does not produce consciousness (which I do not believe it does), why am I still me when I wake up in the morning or when a person who has been in a coma for 10 years regains consciousness and is the same person as before the coma?”
– You are the same you because the gandhabba (with the same anusaya, gati) is the same!
– Of course, anusaya and gati can change, but that happens over time, with understanding.
“Is the gandhabba directly responsible for this?”
Of course, it is. The gandhabba (hadaya vatthu plus pasada rupa) is you. The physical body with the brain lasts only about 100 years, but a human gandhabba may live for thousands of years.
– The bain dies with the physical body. Gandhabba comes out and waits for another womb to make another body.
– As we have discussed, gandhabba is created by kammic energy and will last until that kamiic energy is spent. That is the end of “human bhava” within which one is reborn with a physical body many times.
– When that gandhabba dies, another one will be created by kammic energy, unless one has attained the Arahant stage. That new gandhabba can be born in any of the 31 realms. Of course, we normally reserve the word gandhabba only for humans and animals. But Devas/Brahmas also have hadaya vatthu/pasada rupa, so it is the same concept.
I recommend going back and reading more posts on gandhabba:
“Search Results for: gandhabba”
– I do understand that it is a bit complex subject.
June 11, 2022 at 5:40 pm #38000
Okay. Your answer was very helpful. I appreciate your patience. Sometimes I feel as though I am in pre-school each time I tackle a Buddha Dhamma subject. For a teacher, the compassionate patience of the Buddha is certainly profound. Anyway, below is my summation. Let me know if it appears to you that I am beginning to understand correctly.
1. Gandhabba (containing anusaya gati) senses an available zygote (womb), one that is gati compatible with the parents.
2. Gandhabba enters the womb and triggers the body to grow.
3. The brain facilitates consciousness only when arammana (sensory stimulus/pasada rupa) is present, thus mind (hadaya vatthu) is established. The arammana corresponds to the strongest kamma from a person’s past.
4. It is a person’s individual gandhabba (containing anusaya gati) that is the thing that always keeps a person linked to who and what they are despite loss of consciousness or death.
Are these four points correct?
June 11, 2022 at 5:45 pm #38002
P.S. Just an idea, but I would find it immensely helpful for learning if there were a PRINT button at the end of a post. I always print the post and save it to a Subject Indexed directory. In PDF format, I always add notes to keep track of my thoughts and ah-ha! moments.
June 11, 2022 at 6:16 pm #38003
I will respond to your first post later. I need to reply to another comment first.
But regarding your most recent comment: You don’t see the PRINT/PDF button at the bottom of each page? You should be able to download a pdf of a post AND print a post.
June 11, 2022 at 6:21 pm #38004
I see the PRINT button at the bottom of the regular posts (subject) pages, but not the FORUM pages such as this one. That is what I was referring to.
June 11, 2022 at 8:37 pm #38008
Unfortunately, that option is not there for the forum. But you can always right-click on the page and print the needed pages. It is not as clean.
“1. Gandhabba (containing anusaya gati) senses an available zygote (womb), one that is gati compatible with the parents.”
No. Gandhabba does not have any control over that. A gandhabba is pulled into a matching womb by kammic energy. That is mentioned in several posts.
– It is not possible to write all the details in one post. That is why you should make a list and go through all available posts.
“2. Gandhabba enters the womb and triggers the body to grow.”
Again, gandhabba is not aware of this process. Once in a womb, it may not be conscious until the brain is developed. Brain development happens gradually and is complete around seven years of age. Even inside the womb, it is conscious to a varying degree.
“3. The brain facilitates consciousness only when arammana (sensory stimulus/pasada rupa) is present, thus mind (hadaya vatthu) is established. The arammana corresponds to the strongest kamma from a person’s past.”
Arammana is simply a sensory input. How do we hear a sound? That sound wave hits the ears and vibrates the eardrums. That signal goes to the brain where it is processed into a “sound signal” that is transmitted to the sota pasada rupa. That pasada rupa transfers the signal to hadaya vatthu (like a gong hitting a bell) and makes the hadaya vatthu vibrate 17 times (that is the citta vithi with 17 citta). The “sound sensation” arises in the hadaya vatthu with that citta vithi.
– That is explained in some posts including “Does any Object (Rupa) Last only 17 Thought Moments?”
“4. It is a person’s individual gandhabba (containing anusaya gati) that is the thing that always keeps a person linked to who and what they are despite loss of consciousness or death.”
June 11, 2022 at 8:53 pm #38009
Again, thank you. The first three answers gives me a springboard from which to further study. I am happy that I got one correct. LOL.
June 11, 2022 at 9:25 pm #38010
It is a bit difficult at first to grasp these concepts. But once you understand the fundamentals, it will be much easier.
– One big obstacle is our tendency to evaluate everything based on the physical world.
– In the Western world, the mind gets a “back seat”. We can see that only the five physical senses are recognized.
– But in Buddha Dhamma, the mind is primary and material phenomena are secondary.
– That is why it is hard to understand some mental aspects and laws of kamma. Gandhabba is “much smaller” than an atom in modern science, yet it is the essence of a human!
By the way, when I looked at the settings of the “PRINT/PDF” button, it is now possible to email a post too. I have added that capability. Thanks for that.
– I have also written to the people who make that software to ask whether it is possible to have that feature in the discussion forum.
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