Q: Consciousness is part of a sankhara involving a sense organ and a sense object. If either the sense organ or the sense object is missing, so is consciousness. Eckhart Tolle says: “God is undifferentiated consciousness.” Sabbe sankhara anicca; sabbe sankhara dukkha; sabbe dhamma anatta… Ergo, God is dukkha?

(When thinking stops there seems to be no distinction between consciousness and no consciousness. Does that resolve it and the rest is a question of using certain words and definitions?)

A: There are no sankharas in Nibbana. Therefore, there is no Viññāna: translated as “consciousness” but involving an object and therefore part of a sankhara. The Sanskrit root of Viññāna means “know”. There can be no knowing without something to be known.

In Buddha’s ‘Dependent Origination’(q.v.) Vijjā means “seeing” (cognate with “vision”) and implies the simultaneous arising of understanding. 

You quote Eckhart Tolle when he is using “Consciousness” in a way which seeks to reconcile God and his Creation – the Undifferentiated and the Differentiated.

The Buddha’s three characteristics is Buddha’s attempt to enable the thinking mind to let go of it’s grasping after phenomenal existence (and, with it, thinking itself) and revert to the state of no- suffering. (Compare the “red hot poker”).

It is not valid to string the two together and then “deduce” that “Ergo, God is dukkha”. This is just an unrelated thought which provides no entry point into Buddha’s Teaching for the salvation of beings.

When thinking stops, this needs to be the preliminary step to Vijjā. Otherwise, the egoic-forming stream of thinking resumes with all its karma-forming consequences, over and over, again and again.

This week’s project is: THE LESS I NAME, THE MORE I SEE.

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