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Vedantist calls it Sunya or Sunyata. Buddhists calls it Void . If you once perceive that voidness , is “something”. They both get inside there and return back, saying that was Samadhi.

How can be Samadhi without Consciousness , isn’t it like susupti or just artificial?

  • Your question is unclear. What is susupti? Are you referring to nirodha samapatti (cessation of feeling and perception)? Or are you referring to Theravada emptiness i.e. all phenomena is empty of a self? Or are you referring to the Madhyamaka emptiness i.e. all phenomena is empty of intrinsic substance? And why must there be consciousness in whatever the state that you're talking about (which is also unclear)? And why must it be the super consciousness of a greater entity like God's consciousness? – ruben2020 Jul 2 at 17:24
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    @ruben2020 you can search susupti on the internet. Whatever is , the question is quite clear: if you can reach a state of emptiness , how can you state that Void is not part of a higher consciousness (aka God) but it is just Void? If you “feel” the Void during meditation and you call it nirodha samapatti for example, how do you know that it is just Void instead of being Void before or inside another greater Consciousness , which is perceived as Void (Sunyata, as the Vedantists think and argue with you) but is higher than that simple state of nothing ? (super consciousness pervading everything) – Doubtful Monk Jul 2 at 23:29
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The Void is sometimes implied differently than other times in English. Existential descriptioning isn't English's long suit.

Maybe Zen/ Chan discussions of the concept are generally more prominent overall.

Confusion etc isn't The Void.

In The True Void 'is' Reality. There isn't confusion. There isn't dukkha. There isn't cloudiness. There isn't any illusion. There isn't delusion. In The Void there is nonmisinterpretation.

Attempts to define The Void tend to be circular or inaccurate. The description of going into it or something isn't vague enough. The question does a quite good job of nonpigeonholing of it. Maybe lost something in translation: maybe more at based on reasonableness, logic is very limited by concrete things available for its processes & sometimes either cannot conclude because of insufficient information etc, or comes up with rather nonsensible conclusions because of the data available. Buddhism provides guidelines for addressing things which haven't necessarily become data yet, and how previously unencountered data can be reasonably addressed. Reasonable consideration may be more effective than logic only.

The Void mightn't be so like a temporary journey to someplace or other, real or existential, etc, as cited in the question. Maybe very nice spots, but they aren't descriptions of The True Void. Those sound more like heavens or something. And may be Impermanent.

Consciousnesses arent really so much part of The Void, consciousnesses are more at heavens etc. Logical typical word description doesnt do so well with trying to describe The Void. Despite many people writing books about it, giving things names etc, The Void is different from names or groups of words and most reference points. So fundamental description of The Void which uses words would tend to be circular/ misleading.

Some things can 'be' without being grounded in ordinary descriptioning.

That's sort of the answer to the question, in language. Which is a very

Good & nicely asked question.

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    Thank You. At least you tried to describe a Buddhist Concept with Logic. Logic is indeed the awareness that , with practice, can lead an aspirant to search for the truth. Using quotation of the Buddha is not enough. Vajrayana teaches a lot on it. – Doubtful Monk Jul 3 at 11:19
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    You are very welcome! yes! – M H Jul 3 at 11:49
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OP: Whatever is,the question is quite clear: if you can reach a state of emptiness , how can you state that Void is not part of a higher consciousness (aka God) but it is just Void? If you “feel” the Void during meditation and you call it nirodha samapatti for example, how do you know that it is just Void instead of being Void before or inside another greater Consciousness , which is perceived as Void (Sunyata, as the Vedantists think and argue with you) but is higher than that simple state of nothing ? (super consciousness pervading everything)

I think we should put the record straight here and avoid distorting the original teachings of the Buddha, as found in the Sutta Pitaka. There is no "higher consciousness (aka God)" or "super consciousness pervading everything" or Atman or Brahman in the original teachings of the Buddha.

I understand your premise - if in meditation, you attained a state of void, then there must be some higher consciousness (aka God) that is perceiving it. This higher consciousness is usually attributed to God as the Self or Super Soul (Atman) in Vedanta. This is described in the Hindu text Bhagavad Gita 13.14.

Advaitin gurus would suggest you to ask "Who am I?" and discover that the true "I" is Atman, which is Brahman (God). The Atman is also the Eternal Witness, or the Cosmic Consciousness, the "I" of every self-conscious being. After attaining Self-Realization (where the little ego-self drops away), one would remain existing forever as this one single Eternal Witness or Cosmic Consciousness, that witnesses through every self-conscious being and even witnesses directly without any beings.

What did the Buddha teach?

The self (atta or Atma) is the idea or thought that arises out of the inter-operation or inter-working of the five aggregates (form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness). This is similar to how music is created when different parts of a musical instrument works together. See Lute Sutta. How the five aggregates work together is described by Dependent Origination.

Sabbe dhamma anatta (Dhammapada 279) means that all phenomena (including Nibbana), is not self. If you break a musical instrument into pieces, you won't be able to find music in any of the constituent parts - Lute Sutta. If you look at the five aggregates, you cannot find the self there. The Buddha means here that there is no eternal and permanent core of one's being, that is the self, not even Nibbana.

Rather, the self is an impermanent changing idea, that arises and passes away from moment to moment, depending on the operation of the five aggregates, just as other mentally generated ideas.

And what about consciousness? The Buddha taught the following, from MN 38:

“Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the particular condition dependent upon which it arises. When consciousness arises dependent on the eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the ear and sounds, it is reckoned as ear-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the nose and odours, it is reckoned as nose-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the tongue and flavours, it is reckoned as tongue-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the body and tangibles, it is reckoned as body-consciousness; when consciousness arises dependent on the mind and mind-objects, it is reckoned as mind-consciousness. Just as fire is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it burns—when fire burns dependent on logs, it is reckoned as a log fire; when fire burns dependent on faggots, it is reckoned as a faggot fire; when fire burns dependent on grass, it is reckoned as a grass fire; when fire burns dependent on cowdung, it is reckoned as a cowdung fire; when fire burns dependent on chaff, it is reckoned as a chaff fire; when fire burns dependent on rubbish, it is reckoned as a rubbish fire—so too, consciousness is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it arises. When consciousness arises dependent on the eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye-consciousness…when consciousness arises dependent on the mind and mind-objects, it is reckoned as mind-consciousness.

Think about it. How can the silent witness witness anything except through one of these media: eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch or mind? There was never a time, when there was consciousness being aware of something except through the eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch or mind. There is therefore no independent consciousness.

Consciousness is dependent on and conditioned upon these six media. It does not exist independently connecting all beings. The consciousness in every being may be of a similar type, but it's not the same consciousness.

For example, I can say that every candle has a similar flame, but it's not the exact same flame that appears on every candle. Each flame is different.

This is the only consciousness that there is, in the original teachings of the Buddha. There's no super consciousness or higher consciousness.

Also from the same sutta (MN 38):

The Blessed One then asked him: “Sāti, is it true that the following pernicious view has arisen in you: ‘As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is this same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths, not another’?”

“Exactly so, venerable sir. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is this same consciousness that runs and wanders through the round of rebirths, not another.”

“What is that consciousness, Sāti?”

“Venerable sir, it is that which speaks and feels and experiences here and there the result of good and bad actions.”

“Misguided man, to whom have you ever known me to teach the Dhamma in that way? Misguided man, have I not stated in many ways consciousness to be dependently arisen, since without a condition there is no origination of consciousness? But you, misguided man, have misrepresented us by your wrong grasp and injured yourself and stored up much demerit; for this will lead to your harm and suffering for a long time.”

The Buddha states unequivocally that consciousness is dependently originated based on conditions. There is no independent standalone permanent consciousness. There's no super consciousness or higher consciousness.

Some people claimed that MN 49 talks about a super consciousness or infinite consciousness, but that turned out to be a mistranslation. The sutta was talking about Nirvana or Nibbana - please see this answer.

From The All Sutta (also see this question):

"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range.

Once again, there's no super consciousness or higher consciousness, outside the range of The All.

Now, what is shunya or shunyata (emptiness or void)? This is not a state of attainment or state of consciousness or state of reality or state of mind in Buddhism.

This is a statement of the fact of reality, by the Buddha in SN 35.85:

Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "It is said that the world is empty, the world is empty, lord. In what respect is it said that the world is empty?"

"Insofar as it is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self: Thus it is said, Ananda, that the world is empty. And what is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self? The eye is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Forms... Eye-consciousness... Eye-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self.

"The ear is empty...

"The nose is empty...

"The tongue is empty...

"The body is empty...

"The intellect is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Ideas... Intellect-consciousness... Intellect-contact is empty of a self or of anything pertaining to a self. Thus it is said that the world is empty."

This is a statement of the fact of reality that absolutely everything is empty of a self (Atman).

Now, what about that which is experienced?

We can talk about two different things which are experienced. One is Nirvana or Nibbana. This can be experienced by the Arahat (one who has become enlightened or awakened, or one who has become liberated from suffering) even outside of meditation.

Nibbana is described in this answer - please see that answer for sutta quotes:

Nibbana is not a thought of the mind, not a concept of the mind, not a state of the mind, not a state of consciousness and also not a feeling. However, when the mind experiences this Nibbana, which is not conditioned, not compounded, not suffering, not impermanent, not arising, not ceasing and not changing, it experiences bliss. The mind can therefore experience Nibbana, but it cannot feel it or think about it.

Sukha or happiness for an unenlightened person is experienced when encountering pleasant feelings (from the six senses) or when encountering the cessation of painful feelings (from the six senses). But for an arahat, sukha or bliss (in this context) is experienced when encountering neutral feelings, no feelings and Nibbana.

That is Nibbana, and not god or Brahman or any kind of Ultimate Reality. It is that which is experienced by the mind, when it is completely free of all fetters and defilements.

The second is nirodha samapatti. This is the state beyond the 8 jhana states. This is described on this page:

'attainment of extinction' (S. XIV, 11), also called saññā-vedayita-nirodha, 'extinction of feeling and perception', is the temporary suspension of all consciousness and mental activity, following immediately upon the semi-conscious state called 'sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception' (s. jhāna, 8). The absolutely necessary pre-conditions to its attainment are said to be perfect mastery of all the 8 absorptions (jhāna), as well as the previous attainment of Anāgāmī or Arahantship (s. ariya-puggala).

According to Vis.M. XXIII, the entering into this state takes place in the following way: by means of mental tranquillity (samatha) and insight (vipassanā) one has to pass through all the 8 absorptions one after the other up to the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception and then one has to bring this state to an end. If, namely, according to the Vis.M., the disciple (Anāgāmī or Arahat) passes through the absorption merely by means of tranquillity, i.e. concentration, he will only attain the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, and then come to a standstill; if, on the other hand, he proceeds only with insight, he will reach the fruition (phala) of Anāgāmī or Arahantship. He, however, who by means of both faculties has risen from absorption to absorption and, having made the necessary preparations, brings the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception to an end, such a one reaches the state of extinction. Whilst the disciple is passing through the 8 absorptions, he each time emerges from the absorption attained, and regards with his insight all the mental phenomena constituting that special absorption, as impermanent, miserable and impersonal. Then he again enters the next higher absorption, and thus, after each absorption practising insight, he at last reaches the state of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, and thereafter the full extinction. This state, according to the Com., may last for 7 days or even longer. Immediately at the rising from this state, however, there arises in the Anāgāmī the fruition of Anāgāmiship (anāgāmi-phala), in the Arahat the fruition of Arahantship (arahatta-phala).

With regard to the difference existing between the monk abiding in this state of extinction on the one hand, and a dead person on the other hand, M 43 says: "In him who is dead, and whose life has come to an end, the bodily (in-and-out breathing), verbal (thought-conception and discursive thinking), and mental functions (s. sankhāra, 2) have become suspended and come to a standstill, life is exhausted, the vital heat extinguished, the faculties are destroyed. Also in the monk who has reached 'extinction of perception and feeling' (saññā-vedayita-nirodha), the bodily, verbal and mental functions have been suspended and come to a standstill, but life is not exhausted, the vital heat not extinguished, and the faculties are not destroyed."

So, the question comes, who or what experiences nirodha samapatti?

The answer is no one and nothing. Why?

If all feeling, perception and consciousness is temporarily suspended, then it is not felt or perceived at all.

The Hindu notion of feeling stillness and bliss in meditation, applies to one or more of the conscious and semi-conscious states of jhana which are below nirodha samapatti. There are 8 such jhana (or dhyana) states explained in the suttas - 4 lower jhanas called rupa jhanas (or material jhanas) and 4 higher jhanas called arupa jhanas (or immaterial jhanas).

The 4 higher jhanas are the base of boundless space, the base of boundless consciousness, the base of nothingness, and the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception (see this essay). I speculate that the perception of all-pervading consciousness mentioned in Vedanta, is probably experienced in the 6th of the 8 jhanas - called the base of boundless consciousness. I also speculate that the perception of voidness may be experienced in the 7th of the 8 jhanas - called the base of nothingness. This is a semi-conscious state.

Ruslan is also right that according to the Buddha, "there are no contemplatives outside of the Buddha's path" (Dhammapada 254-255). In my opinion, this is because in other paths, the practitioners are not free from self-view or belief in a self (sakkaya-ditthi), which is one of the ten fetters (AN 10.13).

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    Thank You for your answer, but for my point of view is again forcing a concept = if you feel emptiness , you feel “something”. – Doubtful Monk Jul 4 at 9:47
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    @DoubtfulMonk Yes. in the 7th jhana, nothingness can be perceived - this is because the faculties or aggregates of feeling, perception and consciousness are still functioning in the 7th jhana. Mind or intellect consciousness (manoviññāṇa) is the type of consciousness that is functioning here. So, you are right. But it's not any kind of super consciousness or greater consciousness (aka God). – ruben2020 Jul 4 at 10:10
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In Buddhism, there is a state called "Nirodha Samapatthi" or Cessation of Perception and feeling. It is said that in this state you are not conscious but the body has not died. The maximum duration of this state is seven days and you emerge from it and understand it as empty.

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    this doesn’t answer my question. – Doubtful Monk Jul 2 at 10:04
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    Vedanta doesn't have a word for the principle of nirodha samapatti which is an attainment on the treshold of nibbana, it is cessation as entering into by which taints come to an end, that knowledge of destruction of taints is not found outside of Buddha's teaching and Buddha's disciples. – MAGA2020 Jul 2 at 12:23
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    @Ruslan that’s correct, this is why Vedantists and Buddhist argue. but your final reasoning is not based on logic. Are you arguing with religious statements only when you say “is not found outside of Buddha’s teaching and his disciples”? Can you really justify that Nirodha samapatti is not just susupti and so is part of a greater consciousness , like God’s one? – Doubtful Monk Jul 2 at 12:39
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    I don't know what susupti is, i'll just repeat what is in the Dhammapada; there are no contemplatives outside of the Buddha's path. I am sorry i can't help you with this question. I am just not trained in the vedic system of expression. – MAGA2020 Jul 2 at 13:57
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When I go to sleep, I wake up wanting coffee. I don't remember what happened when I slept, but somehow I wake up wanting coffee. I can even go to sleep thinking "arise at 6am" and I will arise at 6am, and I am still wanting coffee. Is there a super-consciousness there? I don't think so.

Consciousness is bound to choices and I certainly don't remember making any choices while sleeping. Alarm clocks don't make choices, they are conditioned to sound after a certain time. In the same way, I am conditioned to want coffee. I can condition myself to awake at 6am. In all of that, consciousness comes and goes.

MN102:7.3: But if any ascetic or brahmin should say this: ‘Apart from form, feeling, perception, and choices, I will describe the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and reappearing, its growth, increase, and maturity.’

MN102:7.5: That is not possible.

MN102:7.6: ‘All that is conditioned and coarse. But there is the cessation of conditions—that is real.’

MN102:7.7: Understanding this and seeing the escape from it, the Realized One has gone beyond all that.

Suffering is conditioned. The Noble EightFold Path is conditioned. May all sentient being condition themselves beyond suffering. That would be...super!


Regarding "super-consciousness", in MN38, the Buddha corrects the understanding of Sāti.

MN38:3.5: “Is it really true, Reverend Sāti, that you have such a harmful misconception: ‘As I understand the Buddha’s teachings, it is this very same consciousness that roams and transmigrates, not another’?”

In particular, he said:

MN38:5.12: “Silly man, who on earth have you ever known me to teach in that way? Haven’t I said in many ways that consciousness is dependently originated, since consciousness does not arise without a cause? But still you misrepresent me by your wrong grasp, harm yourself, and make much bad karma.

The Buddha addressed suffering and taught the role of consciousness in that suffering.

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    Have you ever experienced Voidness during meditation? – Doubtful Monk Jul 2 at 14:28
  • Even after forty years of meditation, that is difficult to answer directly. However, I think we both have experienced consciousness as the pachinko ball of contacts with nothing between. – OyaMist Jul 2 at 14:46
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    i don’t think is a difficult question. During Buddhist meditation you can reach the Void. Otherwise you will not do it. So my question, to simplify , is : if you perceive that Void, and when you finish your “Samadhi” you felt “that” voidness, how can you state , as a Buddhist , it is just void, while is part of a bigger , conscious , entity , (God) ? My question is obviously a provocation . Remember that Buddhism should be based on logic. – Doubtful Monk Jul 2 at 15:07
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    Your question is actually unclear. The suttas distinguish between: 1) space, 2) nothingness, 3) neither perception or non-perception, 4) cessation of perception and feeling, and 5) emptiness. All of these are void of form. These are perceived during meditation, not deduced logically. – OyaMist Jul 2 at 17:21
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    However, I've added MN38 to address "super-consciousness". Perhaps that might help? – OyaMist Jul 2 at 17:53
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There is a mind state called “void”, but it is not Nibbana. This void is of the mind, when it is void of perceptions, feelings, thinking, everything that makes up what we understand as the Thinking conscious mind. What is left is knowing. But knowing of the void implies that it is not beyond mind. Mind, and consequently, knowing are created. To be in mind is to not be in Nibbana. IOW, you can’t realize Nibbana if you are stuck in mind, but you can experience a state of void.

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