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What is difference between consciousness and awareness

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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 Some people think that awareness the metaphysical substance giving rise to manifestations. Or some might think that awareness is the non-dual reality, while consciousness is dualistic perception.

The first would be the view of some Advaita followers. The latter is being taught by some Buddhist teachers, however, this is not the definition of it in the early scriptures, however.

The reason I prefer the original scriptures description is because, there is no 'The Non-dual Awareness' as a single reality. Awareness/Consciousness is simply the self-luminous cognizance (The six consciousnesses) which arises dependent on the six sense organs and six sense objects.

These manifestations are already non-dual by nature, but there is no inherent, independent 'substance' underlying all things. These manifestations are self-luminous in essence.

If we say that there is a single underlying Awareness, then even though we might discover the non-duality of subject and object, Awareness is still seen as something inherent with substance.

But if we comprehend Awareness as simply these six modes of cognizance, then there is nothing inherent about it. Manifestations of cognizance arise via dependent origination. Awareness/Consciousness is empty by nature.


If anything, I'd call Awareness the wisdom that comprehends the nature of all consciousnesses thereby transmuting them into wisdom. (as per the explanation of Awareness transmuting dualistic consciousness into wisdom)

Important to note there is that there is no Awareness apart from the six consciousnesses. The six consciousnesses comprehended well, is awareness, otherwise it is ignorance.

There is no teaching in Buddhism higher than dependent origination. Whatever originates in dependence is empty. The view of Dzogchen, according to ChNN (Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche) in his rdzogs chen skor dri len is the same as Prasanga Madhyamaka, with one difference only - Madhyamaka view is a result of intellectual analysis, Dzogchen view is not. Philosophically, however, they are the same. The view of Madhyamaka does not go beyond the view of dependent origination, since the Madhyamaka view is dependent origination. He also cites Sakya Pandita "If there were something beyond freedom from extremes, that would be an extreme."

Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway.

Dzogchen teachings also describe the process of how sentient being continue in an afflicted state (suffering), what is the cause of that afflicted state (suffering), that fact that afflicted state can cease (the cessation of suffering) and the correct path to end that suffering (the truth of the path). Dzogchen teachings describe the four noble truths in terms of dependent origination also.

Ergo, Dzogchen also does not go beyond Buddha's teaching of dependent origination which Nagarjuna describes in the following fashion:

I bow to him, the greatest of the teachers,
the Sambuddha, by whom dependent origination --
not ceasing, not arising
not annihilated, not permanent,
not going, not coming,
not diverse, not single,
was taught as peace
in order to pacify proliferation.

Further, there is no rigpa to speak of that exists separate from the earth, water, fire, air, space and consciousness that make up the universe and sentient beings. Rigpa is merely a different way of talking about these six things. In their pure state (their actual state) we talk about the radiance of the five wisdoms of rig pa. In their impure state we talk about how the five elements arise from consciousness. One coin, two sides. And it is completely empty from beginning to end, and top to bottom, free from all extremes and not established in anyway. The six consciousness is a view that appears in awareness. The six consciousness themselves have no substance.

Consciousness or vinya is what tells us how to react to pain, feelings, emotions, and our surroundings. Awareness is what we can see or feel within and outside of our senses. No, consciousness cannot appear in awareness. That would imply awareness have substance. Awareness is simply a manifestation of cognizance without substance. In fact, I'd say that awareness (if you mean luminous clarity) is simply the six consciousnesses in Pali's definition of it. There is nothing permanent, independent about awareness. Awareness is manifestation, not a substance, not a substratum.

 Consciousness is more related to our being. It defines how we act and react to everything as in being "conscious". It is correct to say that they are similar, but only to an extent. Because there is no need to be conscious of your awareness once you know that your awareness can take over "what you are conscious of" and also take over where your conscious stops. Awareness (mindfulness) is like two part collaboration painting, one part is us, what we perceive, and our understanding of how everything is. The other part is the awareness that already existed before, during, and after how we came to being, and the higher truth to everything, as when we are expanding our mindfulness.

 if the question arises as to what is the difference between mindfulness and awareness, I would say that they are the same thing to an extent. The difference is that you are building on your mindfulness when your expanding your awareness. You would have to be aware of something first before you can be mindful of it. You can say that awareness is the eye and mindfulness is the vision, or you can say that awareness is the seed which sprouts mindfulness both are correct.

Source

newbuddhist.com