So I understood Vinjana to be activated only when there is an object present to be aware of
Correct. That is why there is no such thing as the 'rebirth consciousness' taught by later Buddhist commentators.
I think that Is why in dependent origination it is said Vinjana
conditions nama rupa and nama rupa conditions vinjana
in other words without an object that we can be aware of with name and form (nama rupa) there cannot be conciousness.
Therefore it is clear that conciousness is an activity (of cognizing an object) not an entity so it cannot "cognize" itself.
Incorrect. As consciousness arises with sense objects, it also cognizes itself. For example, when the eye sees a sight, the mind knows it is conscious of that seeing.
Simply open your eyes, close your eyes, open your eyes, close your eyes. Continue this opening & closing of your eyes until you (the mind) understand the mind is conscious of the eye consciousness operating via the eye. It is not rocket science.
Therefore I am confused in the Jhana about infinite consciousness it
says consciousness is conscious of consciousness how is that possible
when consciousness only can be aware of an object not itself because
it is an activity not an entity as Vedanta says.
There are other mental factors operating in the jhana about infinite consciousness, which is why consciousness can cognize consciousness. It is these other mental factors, particularly perception, that allow consciousness to exist. The infinite consciousness jhana is described as follows:
Furthermore, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, [perceiving,] 'Infinite consciousness,' Sariputta entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. Whatever qualities there are in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness — the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, zeal, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention — he ferreted them out one after another.
Also please correct me if the meaning of nama rupa that I gave (name and form) is not correct in Buddhism this is the Vedanta view that I have read about , can someone describe the difference between the Vedanta view of nama rupa and the Buddhist view of nama rupa.
The correct Buddhist meaning of 'nama-rupa' is 'mind-body' or 'mentality-materially', as defined in the suttas as "feeling, perception, intention, contact, attention, the form comprised of earth, wind, fire & water", as follows:
Feeling, perception, volition, contact and attention — these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements — these are called materiality. So this mentality and this materiality are what is called mentality-materiality.
Sammaditthi Sutta: The Discourse on Right View
When samadhi is developed and when the mind is free from thoughts & naming activity; the mind can cognise how subtle underlying defilement tendencies & urges affect the mind-body and will know nama-rupa is not the name-form of Brahmanism, Hinduism & Vedanta; which is:
Nāmarūpa-vyākaraṇa (Sanskrit: नामरुपव्याकरण ), in Hindu philosophy, refers to the process of evolution of differentiation into names and forms i.e. to the unfolding of the primal state into the manifest world prior to which unfolding there was nothing that existed; it refers to the conditioned reality. In the Upanishads this term is used to indicate the self-willed manifestation of Brahman under visible and nameable aspects, to the said manifestation into the fictitious plurality of the phenomenal world owing to maya, the unreal adjunct. According to Hindu scriptures the world in each age emanates from Brahman mirrored upon maya.
The sage of the Chandogya Upanishad regarded the creation of the universe as a huge chest/egg from a Primeval Being existing as the undifferentiated whole, who alone existed without a second prior to the commencement of the process of creation which was the beginning of the differentiation of the undifferentiated.
Namarupa-vyakarana From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the Pali suttas, there are suttas (such as SN 7.6, DN 11 & MN 49) spoken to Brahmins in the language of Brahmanism, which include the term 'nama-rupa' as meaning 'name-form' or 'naming-form'. The puthujjana scholars and their puthujjana followers rely on these suttas to promote their alien ideas about 'name-form'. These puthujjana write post after post on Buddhist forums about a zombie state called 'consciousness without feature' (viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ) mistakenly believed to be Nibbana.
While the work-in-progress-diverse-ideas monk named Thanissaro Bhikkhu uses the translation 'name-form', his explanation below shows he is really referring to 'mind-body':
A. As you walk to the door of your parents’ house, thinking about the
situation (2b—verbal fabrication), you pull up memories of things your uncle
has done in the past (2c—mental fabrication). This provokes anger, causing
your breathing to become labored and tight (2a—bodily fabrication). This
makes you uncomfortable (2c—mental fabrication), and you are aware of
how uncomfortable you feel (3—consciousness). Hormones are released
into your bloodstream (4 f through 4i—Form). Without being fully aware that
you are making a choice, you choose (4c—intention) to focus (4e—
attention) on the perception (4b) of how trapped you feel in this situation.
Your consciousness of this idea (5 and 6—mental contact) feels oppressive
(7—feeling). You want to find a way out (8—craving). At this point, you can
think of a number of roles you could play in the upcoming dinner (9d and
10—clinging and becoming): You might refuse to speak with your uncle,
you might try to be as unobtrusive as possible to get through the dinner
without incident, or you might be more aggressive and confront your uncle
about his behavior. You mentally take on one of these roles (11—birth), but
unless you keep your imaginary role actively in mind, it falls away as soon as
you think of it (12—aging-&-death). So you keep thinking about it, evaluating
how your parents will react to it, how you will feel about it, and so on (2b—
verbal fabrication). Although the stress of step (12) in this case is not great,
the fact that your role has to be kept in mind and repeatedly evaluated...
Shape of Suffering
Below, Bhikkhu Buddhadasa provides an example of 'mind-body':
Again, several hours or days later, this young lady may simply begin to doubt the sincerity of
her boyfriend. No one has said anything to her, and she hasn't seen anything, but in her own
mind she begins to doubt [ignorance] whether or not her boyfriend has been going with another woman. She begins to make assumptions [sankhara] and so Dependent Origination begins to operate by way of
the mind door: a mental object comes into contact with the mind and mind consciousness
arises. This mind consciousness conditions a new mentality/materiality to arise: what was an
inert body/mind, not conditioned to experience suffering, is now the mentality/materiality that
conditions sense bases capable of experiencing suffering to arise. The sense bases condition
suffering prone contact to arise. Contact conditions feeling conducive to the arising of
suffering. Then follows restless craving and clinging attachment and the same kind of suffering
arises again. This is a case of Dependent Origination becoming active in that young lady by
way of mind consciousness.
Similar to the two examples above, I offer the following example.
Imagine you have an addiction to smoking cigarettes you wish to end however the urge to smoke cigarettes still arises.
- The urge that arises is ignorance.
- The internal thoughts & images that arise with that urge are sankhara.
- The knowing of the urge, thoughts & images is consciousness.
- The mind-body that then becomes impacted & agitated by that urge and fights & wrestles to stop that urge is nama-rupa.
- But when the mind-body cannot stop the urge, the sense organs then look for cigarettes to smoke.
- Finding cigarettes causes contact to arise.
- Contact causes excitement about cigarettes to arise.
- Contact and excitement causes more craving for cigarettes to arise.
- Choosing to smoke the cigarettes is attachment.
- Smoking the cigarettes and increasing the addiction is becoming.
- Being an addict is birth; that is, birth as an addict.
- The suffering that arises when you cannot smoke is aging-death-sorrow-grief-despair-suffering.
Therefore, try to comprehend when the mind-body are made restless & agitated by internal urges, this is the meaning of nama-rupa in Dependent Origination; which is a mind-body affected & poisoned by ignorance (rather than a mind-body free from ignorance).
Obviously, nama-rupa is not 'naming-form' because the naming of forms (such as cigarettes) is already occurring at the 2nd link called 'sankhara', when the mind thinks about & has images of smoking cigarettes.
'Naming-form' is unrelated to suffering. If I name a round object a 'wheel', this does not cause suffering. Therefore, it is unrelated to Buddhism and unrelated to Dependent Origination. 'Naming-form' is Creationism and not Buddhism.