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As I underestand, buddhists beliefe there is no-self, means no permanent soul in creatures like us humans.

Would a buddhist say, we all are part of one absolute consciousness?

If so, is the degree of enlightenment someone has equivalent to the area of the absolute consciousness someone experiences? In other words: A buddha is 100% enlightend and thus he is equal to absolute consciousness?

Sorry this sounds way to mathemetical, but I'm relatively new to buddhism, so I don't know the right words.

Hope you can help me.

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  • You mean non duality?
    – enRaiser
    Jun 17 at 14:57

4 Answers 4

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I say - as I say to many I speak with - "abandon the idea of oneness, my friends, or else it will carry you off in the same way a lion carries off the lifeless carcass of an impala." Some listen, but some don't! Lol

Having said that, there is what one might call a 'region' along the way where the sense of an all encompassing oneness captivates you, but if you notice, very carefully, there are very tenuous fragments of an objectified 'self' claiming the oneness. In the Theravada tradition, this usually occurs around the six and seventh fetters, and is often called the 'I AM'. It may have been what Ven. Khemaka was struggling with when he said, "Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession." It is the case that, in some traditions, this is seen as somewhat of an endpoint, but, no! it is not! Ven. Khemaka was clearly on the ball!

The mind can make objects of the world appear luminous, bright and enchanting, and borders between the body and the outside world begin to fall away. In this state of oneness, the sense of self falls under its spell. One may walk around for decades pretending they are enlightened, trying to hanker onto that very luminosity and all the other interesting things that occur in that region. Fools!

"But, lord, might there be agitation over what is internally not present?"

"There might, monk," the Blessed One said. "There is the case where someone has this view: 'This cosmos is the self. After death I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity.' He hears a Tathagata or a Tathagata's disciple teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. The thought occurs to him, 'So it might be that I will be annihilated! So it might be that I will perish! So it might be that I will not exist!' He grieves & is tormented, weeps, beats his breast, & grows delirious. It's thus that there is agitation over what is internally not present."

"But, lord, might there be non-agitation over what is internally not present?"

"There might, monk," the Blessed One said. "There is the case where someone doesn't have this view: 'This cosmos is the self. After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity.' He hears a Tathagata or a Tathagata's disciple teaching the Dhamma for the elimination of all view-positions, determinations, biases, inclinations, & obsessions; for the stilling of all fabrications; for the relinquishing of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. The thought doesn't occur to him, 'So it might be that I will be annihilated! So it might be that I will perish! So it might be that I will not exist!' He doesn't grieve, isn't tormented, doesn't weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. It's thus that there is non-agitation over what is internally not present."

Abandoning Possessions & Views "Monks, you would do well to possess that possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity. But do you see that possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, monks. I, too, do not envision a possession, the possession of which would be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, that would stay just like that for an eternity.

"Monks, you would do well to cling to that clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. But do you see a clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, monks. I, too, do not envision a clinging to a doctrine of self, clinging to which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair.

"Monks, you would do well to depend on a view-dependency (ditthi-nissaya), depending on which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair. But do you see a view-dependency, depending on which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, monks. I, too, do not envision a view-dependency, depending on which there would not arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair.

"Monks, where there is a self, would there be [the thought,] 'belonging to my self'?"

"Yes, lord."

"Or, monks, where there is what belongs to self, would there be [the thought,] 'my self'?"

"Yes, lord."

"Monks, where a self or what belongs to self are not pinned down as a truth or reality, then the view-position — 'This cosmos is the self. After death this I will be constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change. I will stay just like that for an eternity' — Isn't it utterly & completely a fool's teaching?"

"What else could it be, lord? It's utterly & completely a fool's teaching."

Alagaddupama Sutta

Khemeka Sutta

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SN 35.23 - Sabba Sutta: The All

"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. [1] 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."

(translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)

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Would a buddhist say, we all are part of one absolute consciousness?

There's no Sutta references that I know of that mention such concept.

If so, is the degree of enlightenment someone has equivalent to the area of the absolute consciousness someone experiences? In other words: A buddha is 100% enlightend and thus he is equal to absolute consciousness?

Instead of seeing it as part of some abstract absolute consciousness, try to see it in a more pragmatic lense, ie. 100% enlightenment means 100% removal of defilements/impurities of the mind, or 100% perfection of Sila/Samadhi/Panna ( perfection of Moral Virtues/Meditation/Wisdom ).

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I used to admire and subscribe to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta of Hinduism which speaks of a cosmic consciousness.

Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he is a butterfly flying through a garden. When he woke up, he wondered whether Chuang Tzu dreamt that he is a butterfly, or whether the butterfly is dreaming that it is Chuang Tzu. The only thing common between the two is "I" (consciousness), hence this "I" must be the "permanent" thing?

There are many beings, but only one "I" (consciousness) according to Advaita. The "I" (consciousness) is identical between beings that Advaita says is the same Supreme Consciousness, that is the silent witness behind and beyond all beings. And this is also the Atman, the Self, which manifests as the Supreme Consciousness through all beings.

As nice as that sounds, when I read the Buddha's description of consciousness, it met my observation of my own consciousness more accurately than Advaita's.

"Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.
MN 38

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 was a "aha" moment for me when I read that, and realized that the Buddha's analysis of consciousness is more accurate than Advaita's.

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