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Mind and Craving 29 nandi- atthi tanha pattitthitam tattha vinfia^am virulham) , "personality" arises, volitions grow, and in the future is becoming and rebirth, grief, despair and trouble. Monks, it is further just as if there were a house or wall having windows on the north, or the south or the east. When at sunrise a stream of light enters the window, where does it fall upon? "On the west wall, lord." If there be no ground, monks, where does it fall? "On water, lord." If there be no water, monks, where does it fall? "It falls nowhere, lord." Monks, even so if there be no passion, no delight, no craving as to any of the four foods, there consciousness is not placed or is fruitful, there volition does not grow, there in the future is no becoming and rebirth, nor decay and death, grief, despair, and trouble. S.2.102 Now there is a need to examine the two other aspects of consciousness specified at the beginning of this section. We still lack a clear understanding of how consciousness and craving are involved with the rebirth factor of becoming (bhava). And there is also the demand of understanding why Buddhists place such strong emphasis on the correct development of consciousness (and therefore with all the dynamic factors involved in the arising of consciousness) in their pursuit of nirvana. Although the soteriological significance of this latter function of consciousness will be set forth in the next chapter, this perspective, at least in outline, must be provided at this point. 2. Craving, Consciousness, and Rebirth The Theravada Buddhist theory of causality affirms that a process of consciousness contributes to a state of "becoming" in the next life. But this does not mean that a self or soul transmigrates in the form of consciousness , nor that consciousness proceeds from life to g life without change of identity (ananna). The question 30 Craving and Salvation now to be asked: if consciousness is not the equivalent of a soul, how is it a vehicle or agency that transmits an accumulation of its own energy^ and the deeds of previous lives (kamma) into new life (bhava) ? Some scholars think that the idea of consciousness as an agency of transmigration is a later one, that it is not compatible with the "empirical" emphasis of the function of consciousness in the Series of Dependencies. Saratchandra, for example, thinks that consciousness as a "transmigrating factor" is a later metaphysical view which came about because of a "gap in the original teaching" and because of the "influence of the Brahmanical factor" under which this new idea was fostered . He further suggests that the Buddha left no statement about this. There are problems with this argument. Jayatilleke has demonstrated that one cannot assume that there was a prevalent belief in reincarnation during the Buddha's lifetime. Furthermore, Saratchandra1 s contention that the Buddha left no statement about consciousness and rebirth is not consistent with the usual reading of the Sutta Pitaka. One can agree with Saratchandra in his concern lest consciousness be wrongly assumed to have soul (attan) properties, that it might be misinterpreted as a kind of spiritual entity which subsists unchanged from life to life. Clearly, consciousness (vinnana) is not soul in the attan sense. On this point Buddhists concur with Saratchandra. But this does not necessarily imply that consciousness is not involved with rebirth. Many texts indicate a relationship between consciouness and becoming or "birth" (bhava) . In Sn. 1055 one is urged not to set his consciousness on becoming ("viuTianam bhave na titthe"). In S.2.13 consciousness is cited as the direct cause of rebirth ("the food called y£finana...is the cause of renewed becoming, of birth in the future" — "vin&anaharo. . . punabbhavabhinibbattiya paeoayo") . In M.2.262 we are introduced to the unusual term samvattanika (from samvattati—"conducive to, involving") vinnana, which 10 11 Mind and Craving 31 12 Wijesekera translates as "the survival factor," and 13 Horner as "evolving consciousness." From this text alone it can be argued that consciousness evolves after dying, that its causal energy is not checked except in nirvana. Another way of looking at the role of consciousness in the process of rebirth is to see how it is related to karma (kamma). In Buddhism karma has a distinct volitional aspect which prevents it from being 14 the deterministic doctrine some may think it is. Thus it comes to indicate the thought or intention behind a deed or action, as...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780889207103
Print ISBN
9780889201477
MARC Record
OCLC
1016791410
Pages
150
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
N
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