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My Vijnana view from advaita Vedanta is deep and ingrained, it is false I know it but I need help to improve it because I read long time about conciousness the self I read much like these things like this : what about Consciousness. Have you ever experienced Consciousness without Being? For Consciousness to be known, it must be present. The reason we can say ‘I am,’ is because we know that ‘I am.’ And that which knows ‘I am’ is by definition, present, that is, being.

I ceary now undertand that all these views are wrong. Honestly I knew it then to!. But had no other option. To my questions ...

1 ) When one experiences Nibbana is Nibbana experienced as in subject object relationship from the perspective of a subject or maybe there is no subject nor object during Nibbana like a state that transends that duality, In short what is happening in Nibbana what is the correct undertanding of what is happening.

2) Also more clarification needed regarding vinjana from my last question. Conciousness can be aware of itself you said, When I see something I (the mind) know what I am seeing. Isnt the knowing of what I am seeing " the knowing of what is seen and not conciousness conciousness of itself. Is conciousness conciousness of conciousness just the fact that there is the knowledge of what is happening, and is this not a thought and not conciousness conciousness of conciousness. Maybe I do not know because of my advaita even what conciousness conciousness of conciousness is so what is it. Isnt conciousness only an activity of cognizing with no cognizer. What am I missing. In which way would the conciousness of seeing imply conciousness conciousness of conciousness.

3) Also the experience of conciousness being concious of conciousness in advaita they say to experience this the same way you cannot take a step towards yourself beacuse you are already standning where you are the same way your attention cannot find conciousness as an object "relax your attention from all objects and that nothingness is conciousness awareness of itself" or ask yourself am I aware. (Do you agree that this relaxing your attention from all objects into a objectless-nothingness state is conciousness awareness of itself?), they say it seems like nothing from the point of view of the mind which knows only objects in subject object relationship while conciousness knowledge of itself is without subject or object.

4) They describe the state of relaxing our attention from all objects to come to the nothingness state as aware-being or the presence of that which is aware so they say awareness is knowing but it also IS it exists the knowledge of our own existence the knowledge I AM is conciousnessnes knowledge of itself "I know that I am" I know this is wrong view but please clarify why this nothingness state has nothing to do with how it is described.

5) When you said infinite conciousness in your last answer I suppose that doesnt include something metaphysical like infinite in space ?.

6) Also what struck me from your answer and is different from what I read and you said in the Jhana of infinite conciousness there are mental factors participating or enabling the infinite conciousness Jhana which shows this is not a blank state of nothingness , but a state you "built" up with intention,attention,perception etc am I right about this. This means if I or the mind is percieving this state I think that means that while I am percieving this state of infinitude of conciousness I am aware percieving the state of infintude of conciousnes (it is tricky because ifinitude to me indicates a infinite state where there is no mind or subject to know it) (I may be wrong) but as you described it (if I understood it) percieving this Jhana is something while we do it we know that we do it. Not like in advaita where when we relax attention from all objects and come to a nothingness we dont know anything about that state of nothingness in Buddhism this state seems to be something that during that state we are in it and percieve that state as an object to us as opposed to advaita which says there is no subject nor object when we relaxed attention from all objects and come to that state of nothingness. Huh this was not easy to understand for you if you have any questions about what I said please I understand it is complicated I am more than willing to clarify.

please do not refer to me to other similar questions I saw other people having the similar question as I have but I couldnt find the satisfying answer. Once again thank you.

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    I feel you are asking questions whose answers will not be much use to you. There are too many inbuilt assumptions. For instance, you say 'when one experiences Nibbana...'. But experience is a dualistic phenomenon (experienced/experiencer) overcome in Nibbana. Both Advaita and Mahayana take us beyond experience. I find the questions raise to many such issues to be directly answerable. . – PeterJ Sep 11 at 12:28
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A quote from the book "Vedanta Treatise -The Eternities" by A.Parathasarathy, may be helpful. In the chapter on "The Theory of Perception" p.340, the author says "Before launching into the study of the theory of perception the two terms commonly used, subject and object, need to be defined. In the context, the word subject means the perceiver, knower, experiencer. While object means that which is perceived, known, experienced. Take the example of perceiving a landscape. You are the perceiver and the landscape, the perceived. You are the knower, experiencer and the landscape the known, experienced. You are the subject and the landscape, the object. Here again the concept of the subject varies. Western philosophers take the mind as the subject. Consider the mind to be the perceiver, knower, experiencer. Whereas, Vedanta states the mind itself to be an object, known, experienced. You can conceive your mind. Know it. Experience it. It fits into the definition of an object, not subject. Anything perceived or conceived, known or experienced ceases to be the subject in the true sense. Vedanta declares the inner Self, Atman to be the subject. To be the real perceiver, knower, experiencer. Hence, from the absolute point of view the Atman is the subject and the mind, the object. While in the relative sense, from a practical angle the mind becomes the subject and the rest of the world, the object". My understanding of the above, from a buddhist point of view is that the Atman referred to is the Life Continuum (bhavanga citta) while the mind referred to is mundane consciousness. Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for your answer. – NeewlearningBuddhism Sep 11 at 8:21
  • Excellent observation and it seems to answer various questions in the OP. – PeterJ Sep 11 at 12:21
  • @PeterJ Does it answer anything (about Buddhism)? It seems to me that almost the whole answer is a quote of Vedanta doctrine -- except one last sentence which says that, according to Buddhism, Atman is Bhavanga Citta. – ChrisW Sep 11 at 15:56
  • @ChrisW - I felt the point about Mind being the object dealt with some important issues in the the OP,. For instance the idea that Nirvana is a subjective experience. But on reflection I'd say your comment is mostly correct, My first comment above was better. – PeterJ Sep 12 at 11:28
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Have you ever experienced Consciousness without Being? For Consciousness to be known, it must be present. The reason we can say ‘I am,’ is because we know that ‘I am.’ And that which knows ‘I am’ is by definition, present, that is, being.

The Buddha taught there are five aggregates. Consciousness is consciousness aggregate. 'Being' is 'sankhara aggregate', i.e., craving & clinging. In Buddhism, the word 'a being' is the word 'satta', which also means 'to cling'; as explained in SN 23.2; as follows:

viññāṇe yo chando yo rāgo yā nandī yā taṇhā, tatra satto, tatra visatto, tasmā sattoti vuccati.

Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.'

SN 23.2

Therefore, consciousness & being are two distinctly different & separate things. The idea or thought of 'a being' cannot arise without consciousness. However, consciousness can arise without the idea of 'a being'. The only way to truly know this is to stop thinking and allow consciousness to clarify and expand until even the most subtle thoughts dissolve into the clear light of consciousness.


1 ) When one experiences Nibbana is Nibbana experienced as in subject object relationship from the perspective of a subject or maybe there is no subject nor object during Nibbana like a state that transcends that duality, In short what is happening in Nibbana what is the correct understanding of what is happening.

The Buddha did not teach about 'subject-object'. However, in Nibbana, there is 'subject-object'. However, the 'subject' is not a 'self' or 'a being'. The subject is 'the mind'. In Nibbana, 'the mind' ('citta') knows it (the mind) is liberated/free from greed, hatred & delusion and has been filled with peace. It (the mind) knows it (the mind) did nothing to create or reach Nibbana, apart from let go or surrender. Therefore, the mind knows Nibbana is an 'object', i.e., something that is not the mind but something that 'fills' the mind with peace; similar to how cool fresh rain water may fill an empty creek bed.

In Buddhism, the mind is a nama-dhamma or nama-dhatu (mental element), which is, ultimately, conditioned & impermanent. Nibbana is the unsankhata dhatu (unconditioned element), which is unconditioned & eternally existing. Given these two types of elements (dhatu) are of two different natures, there must be 'subject-object' in their relationship; even though 'the subject' ('the mind') is completely impersonal.

Nibbana is without self-views. Being so, in Nibbana, all things are empty of self as 'their inherent nature' ('sabhava'). The 'sabhava' ('inherent nature') of all things is 'emptiness of self' ('sunnata'). Therefore, subjects (such as internal sense organs) and objects (such as external sense objects) can exist in Nibbana. Nibbana itself is an 'external sense object' ('ayatana') as defined in Udana 8.1.


2) Isnt conciousness only an activity of cognizing with no cognizer. What am I missing. In which way would the conciousness of seeing imply conciousness conciousness of conciousness.

It seems you continue to assume the "cognizer" is a "self", "a being", "a person" or "a (personal) subject". In Buddhism, consciousness itself is the "cognizer". This "cognizer" is strictly impersonal, including for the puthujjana (the unenlightened).

For example, imagine you have never tasted or eaten a durian fruit. However, you go on a holiday to Thailand and meet all the rich Thai people who love durian fruit and they give you prime grade durian to show off how rich they are. What happens is:

  1. The taste of the durian registers on the tongue and is known by tongue consciousness.

  2. A few seconds later, your mind thinks: "I like it" or "I dislike it".

Therefore, the consciousness (knowing of the taste) occurred before the idea "I like it" or "I dislike it". The thought of "I" arises after the tasting. Also, thought of "I" is a brand new "I" because never before did an "I" exist that was a "liker" or "disliker of durian fruit". The consciousness of the taste is impersonal because it occurred before the thought of "I like it" arose.


3) Also the experience of conciousness being concious of conciousness in advaita they say to experience this the same way you cannot take a step towards yourself beacuse you are already standning where you are the same way your attention cannot find conciousness as an object "relax your attention from all objects and that nothingness is conciousness awareness of itself" or ask yourself am I aware. (Do you agree that this relaxing your attention from all objects into a objectless-nothingness state is conciousness awareness of itself?), they say it seems like nothing from the point of view of the mind which knows only objects in subject object relationship while conciousness knowledge of itself is without subject or object.

In Buddhism, "nothingness" is a perception rather than the inherent nature of consciousness. For example, the 7th jhana is the perception: "There is nothing".

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as "consciousness without an object". This being so, there cannot be conciousness without subject or object. The suttas say:

It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.' MN 38

Were someone to say, 'I will describe a coming, a going, a passing away, an arising, a growth, an increase, or a proliferation of consciousness apart from form, from feeling, from perception, from fabrications,' that would be impossible. SN 22.53



4) They describe the state of relaxing our attention from all objects to come to the nothingness state as aware-being or the presence of that which is aware so they say awareness is knowing but it also IS it exists the knowledge of our own existence the knowledge I AM is conciousnessnes knowledge of itself "I know that I am" I know this is wrong view but please clarify why this nothingness state has nothing to do with how it is described.

Yes. The Buddha taught Anapanasati or 'Mindfulness With Breathing'. This means the state of relaxing our (deliberate/intentional) attention from all objects (including the breathing) so to come to an unintentional awareness of breathing and later other profound objects.

It must be logically understood via experience the mind can relax deliberate attention towards objects however the mind cannot stop consciousness of objects. For example, if I decide to make a very loud noise, you will be unable to stop consciousness of that loud noise, even though you can relax attention from that loud noise.

Therefore, in Buddhism, when the state of relaxing our (deliberate/intentional) attention from all objects is practised, the result will be consciousness of and tranquillising of breathing (1st satipatthana), then consciousness of pleasant feelings (2nd satipatthana), then profound consciousness of the subtleties of the mind (3rd satipatthana), then enlightening insight into the impermanent, unsatisfactory & not-self nature of all conditioned things, which results in dispassion towards those conditioned things and nibbana.

More profound experiences that arise from the state of relaxing our (deliberate/intentional) attention from all objects include the jhanas, which can include the 7th jhana of the perception of nothingness.

However, throughout this process, there is no aware "being". The sense there is "a being" or "person" watching is "attachment" and clinging". In other words, incomplete relaxation.

In the mind that can truly relax (deliberate/intentional) attention from all objects, the sense of "self" or "being" will dissolve during the 3rd satipatthana.


5) When you said infinite conciousness in your last answer I suppose that doesnt include something metaphysical like infinite in space ?.

The spheres of infinite space and infinite consciousness are the 5th and 6th 'jhanas' in Buddhism. They are merely perceptions of experience when feelings dissolve. To reach the 3rd jhana, the feeling of rapture dissolves. The reach the 4th jhana, the more refined feeling of happiness dissolves. To reach the 5th jhana, the more refined feeling of equanimity dissolves. When the feeling of equanimity dissolves, then, based on the theory, the next natural meditation object becomes the experience of infinite space or pure spaciousness [of mind]. When the sense of spaciousness collapses, what is left is pure knowing or infinite consciousness. Then when pure consciousness collapses, perception (sensing something 'distinct') starts to collapse. Thus the last solid perception or experience is that of 'nothingness', before perception starts to fade in the 8th jhana then ceases in the "9th jhana" called Nirodha-Samapatti (which is unconsciousness).

So the spheres of infinite space and infinite consciousness are mental phenomena rather than meta-physical phenomena. They are called "arupa" or "immaterial" because they have no relationship to or awareness of the physical body or any phenomena (such as feelings) that originate from the physical body's nervous system.


6) Also what struck me from your answer and is different from what I read and you said in the Jhana of infinite conciousness there are mental factors participating or enabling the infinite conciousness Jhana which shows this is not a blank state of nothingness , but a state you "built" up with intention,attention,perception etc am I right about this.

I would not say infinite consciousness Jhana is "built up". It is the opposite. As previously posted, infinite consciousness Jhana comes from the dissolving of former grosser mental states, such as jhanas with feelings. However, when infinite consciousness Jhana occurs, it feels a certain way, it is perceived or distinguished (i.e., very subtly labelled), the mind maintains an interest in it rather than rejects it (which demonstrates the operation of compliant intention); thus the mind pays attention to it. These subtle mental co-factors of feeling, perception, intention, attention, zest for the experience, etc, allow consciousness to 'stand-up' or operate. If these other mental factors do not support consciousness, it cannot operate (per suttas SN 22.53 & MN 38 already posted).

This means if I or the mind is percieving this state

As posted, the mind perceives this state; not "I". If an "I" believes it is perceiving this state, that "I" is attachment or thinking.

infinitude to me indicates a infinite state where there is no mind or subject to know it)

I imagine the word "infinite" means "vast" or "expanded", such as when you look at the ocean to the horizon or look at the stars at night.

advaita where when we relax attention from all objects and come to a nothingness*

The above sounds like theory rather than reality. I doubt it is easy to come to an immediate "nothingness". When we relax attention from all objects, the mind automatically must first start to feel the breathing because the breathing is the grossest or most impacting sense object when we relax attention from all objects.

we dont know anything about that state of nothingness in Buddhism this state seems to be something that during that state we are in it and percieve that state as an object to us as opposed to advaita which says there is no subject nor object

Advaita is "oneness". It is the experience that consciousness and sense objects are not separate. Here, the mind is like a mirror that silently is the image of sense objects reflected in it.

However, this experience of "oneness" is not really real because obviously sense objects (such as a computer) will depart from consciousness when consciousness cognises another object (such as food).

when we relaxed attention from all objects and come to that state of nothingness. Huh this was not easy to understand for you if you have any questions about what I said please I understand it is complicated I am more than willing to clarify.

Thank you. As I already posted, I do not believe it is possible to relax attention from all objects and come to an immediate state of nothingness. The mind & body are not like this. The Buddha taught when we "let go" or "relax attention from all objects" (called "vossagga"), the mind will automatically be conscious of the breathing; then pleasant feelings, then purity of mind; then impermanence of phenomena; or more subtly be consciousness of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, etc. There are different teachings about this gradual calming, dissolving and purification, such as 16 stages of Anapanasati or the 4 jhanas or the 8 jhanas.

It is said to be like peeling an onion. The outer skins of the onion must be peeled off or gradually dissolved until nothingness comes to be. It is not possible to immediately go to 'nothingness' (unless you try to will it with willfulness).

  • As always amazing answers! – NeewlearningBuddhism Sep 11 at 8:20
  • Thank you friend. I will answer the other questions some time. Thank you for the excellent questions. – Dhammadhatu Sep 11 at 10:43
  • How do you relax attention from objects? Isn't the mind constantly having one mind object? So how'd you explain a newbie what to do in meditation, because everyone says focus on the breath, which is apparently wrong? If I sit for meditation where should the mind be? – Val Sep 11 at 15:07
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When one experiences Nibbana is Nibbana experienced as in subject object relationship from the perspective of a subject or maybe there is no subject nor object during Nibbana like a state that transends that duality, In short what is happening in Nibbana what is the correct undertanding of what is happening

Very briefly, I think that being conscious of something is like seeing it through glass.

If the glass is cloudy (i.e. visible) then you don't see through it very well.

It's possible to be conscious that the glass is clear, i.e. invisible, i.e. that the seeing is clear or unimpeded.

But I think that imagining there's self in any of this ("I see therefore I am") is just a distraction from the seeing.

And that trying to put your attention on consciousness ("I am the consciousness that is conscious of consciousness") is like putting focus on an imperfection in the glass.


Se also Huineng's poem, contrasting "keep the glass clean" with "there is no glass".


There are other noteworthy doctrines about nibbana -- i.e. self-view isn't the only "fetter".

Given that there is a doctrine about fetters, and about unwholesome tendencies, some schools teach that consciousness is primordially clear. These same schools emphasise that the things we're conscious of are empty and mind-made.

Another thing you didn't mention but which maybe shouldn't go without saying is that Buddhism begins with ethics. Or if ethics isn't the very beginning -- e.g. if liberation from personal suffering is the beginning -- then ethics is at least pretty early -- early in the doctrine and early in the practice.

Ethics might be one of the last stages of the practice too, e.g. the Buddha's compassion.

When you said infinite conciousness in your last answer I suppose that doesnt include something metaphysical like infinite in space?

I don't know what "infinite" means in Pali.

In Mathematics, "infinite" is a synonym for "unlimited" or "unbounded", perhaps "without a barrier".

I'm not sure, there might be something a bit like that in SN 12.64, which ends with talk of consciousness "not landing" somewhere:

In the same way, where there is no passion for the nutriment of physical food... contact... intellectual intention... consciousness, where there is no delight, no craving, then consciousness does not land there or increase.

I don't think that means that the arhat is unconscious, nor is it talking about a jhana state -- I think it's talking about not "attaching" and therefore avoiding the "becoming" (i.e. bhava), also the ending of kamma.

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