Ok for starters allot of talk is about the mind in Buddhism... So the question I'm posting is there only really (truthfully ) awareness ? For example thinking has awareness.. Feeling has awareness... Seeking ..studying all have awareness as the common factor ...if there was no awareness non of the above is possible so is it really awareness in a conclusive form that is there and mind is just a term for it?

  • Consider the Nonduality Tag. There are said to be 3 ways of defining nonduality, and this refers to one of them. – user2341 Oct 28 '16 at 16:18

"Awareness" is a very poor or inaccurate word to use in relation to Buddhism, despite the fact that so many Buddhists use it. This is because, in English, "awareness" has many meanings, such as:

(i) mere sense awareness; e.g. He was aware of the sight of the plane in the sky

(ii) knowledge; e.g. He is aware that drugs are dangerous.

1. Having knowledge or discernment of something: was aware of the difference between the two versions; became aware that the music had stopped.

2. Attentive and well informed: "Most scientists are thoughtful, liberal-minded and socially aware people" (Armand Marie Leroi).

3. Archaic Vigilant; watchful.


In Buddhism, there are different words for the different types of mentality (nama), such as:

  1. consciousness ('vinnana'); that which 'experiences' sense objects via the sense organs

  2. 'citta' ('mind-heart'); that which generates emotions (greed, anger, love, etc) & thoughts

  3. 'mano' ('intellect'); that which makes decisions, generates intentions, develops wisdom

Therefore, to answer the original question, feeling, thinking, studying, etc, have consciousness ('vinnana') as the common factor.

Buddhism defines the composition of a human life into five aggregates, namely:

(i) body;

(ii) feelings (pleasant & unpleasant sensations);

(iii) perceptions (labels);

(iv) mental forming (emotions, thoughts, images, etc) &

(v) consciousness.

It is consciousness that allows each aggregate, including consciousness itself, to be experienced or known. Thus the common factor, in terms of 'experience', is consciousness.

However, if we take a scientific approach, in terms of how these different mental functions exist, we would say the common factor is the brain or neurology.

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  • Shall we say intelligent energy then? – user10244 Oct 28 '16 at 0:52
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    Still sounds like awareness divided into subcategories... Much like the disection of mind ... – user10244 Oct 28 '16 at 1:05
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    Mind or awareness upon reflection is not very physical to me .. As if we were to open the head space there is no mind ..or awareness however one could say there was some kind of energy there..awareness to me seems = to b energy € =MC °2 – user10244 Oct 28 '16 at 1:08
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    No. Forget about "awarenness". You are stuck on it. You can use the word "mentality" ("nama"; "arupa") as an umbrella term. Otherwise, you just create work for others. When discussing Buddhism, just like when using the English language, we need to agree on & conform to the meaning of various words. "Awareness" just creates confusions for students. – Dhammadhatu Oct 28 '16 at 1:09
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    Much appreciated!! – user10244 Oct 28 '16 at 1:38

If you take Namarupa according to the Skandha classification the following falls under Nama (mind)

  • feelings
  • perceptions
  • mental formations
  • consciousness.

You know or are aware due to consciousness but there other 3 items which form the mind. Also awareness is the function of consciousness and not consciousness itself. So awareness in itself is not mind. You are aware since partly due to conciousness, as you have to have an external stimuli, organ, and attention, Cha Chakka Sutta may help shed some light.

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  • Still waiting... But I don't think you are saying what you mean as my question is see above again please ! I'm saying awareness is pervading all mental / physical experience.. That is say for example nature is aware etc but does it have mind ?? – user10244 Oct 28 '16 at 7:26
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    @Sameasu, the answer to your query, lies in what Suminda said above, only if you look further into that line of thinking found in the Dhamma. Only in the Buddha Dhamma you will find the answer. If you look any other way, you will only go round in circles. In Dhamma, you will learn how when three elements come together awareness arises, and that consciousness is central to it. Also that consciousness cannot ever exist independent of the five aggregates of clinging - be it in humans, or others - I mean the animate, and not the inanimate things in the world that are void of any awareness. – Saptha Visuddhi Oct 28 '16 at 13:11

from what I know, you are absolutely correct. Awareness is an entity you can not isolate it by itself. It has to aware of something to be there. In other word, there cant be know without the known.

Buddha said, vinnana ends when name-form ends, and name-form ends when vinnana ends/

so I agree with you when you said

if there was no awareness non of the above is possible

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  • I agree. Nonduality says that there is only awareness. As far as we know, every elementary particle (such as a photon) responds to its environment (as in the 2 slit experiment) and makes 'choices', so every thing possesses some degree of 'awareness', or, if you prefer: awareness is the only thing that exists. We could continue to discuss this, but it would amount to defining words. Use words that work and take what comes. Words are not truth though. – user2341 Oct 28 '16 at 16:16
  • Buddhism does not teach there is only awareness (consciousness) or only one khandha. If there was only awareness then what is sensed would be subjective to each person. Therefore, for example, discrete things like Mt Everest would not exist, since each individual person would create their own sense objects. In Pali Buddhism, it is said: "consciousness depends on sense organs & sense objects" (rather than sense objects depend on consciousness). "Non-duality" ("advaita") is a word that can mean "one god". To believe there is only consciousness is the same as believing "God" creates everything. – Dhammadhatu Oct 28 '16 at 19:57
  • @Dhammadhatu If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? – user2341 Nov 4 '16 at 1:09
  • yes, it makes a sound, just as the earth has spun around the sun for longer than human existence. it is the Law of Nature than falling objects make sounds. in AN 3.138 or AN 3.139, it is explained conditioned things are impermanent, unsatisfactory & not-self even if there is no human being that comprehends this Law of Nature. in short, Buddhist disagrees with the western philosophy of "If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" It makes a sound based on the laws of physics – Dhammadhatu Nov 4 '16 at 10:14

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