The Origin of Consciousness
In order to understand the origin of Consciousness, we have to first understand The Wheel of Causation / Creation.
As illustrated, the volitional formations (Stored-up Karma, desires of the ego, mental impressions, etc) cause the arising of Consciousness.
“When there is ‘I’ who wants to ‘see’, ‘eye-consciousness’ arises. When there is ‘I’ who wants to ‘hear’, ‘ear-consciousness’ arises. When there is ‘I’ who wants to ‘smell,’ nose-consciousness arises. When there is ‘I’ who wants to taste, tongue-consciousness arises. When there is ‘I’ who wants to touch, body-consciousness arises. When there is ‘I’ who wants to know, feel, etc, mind-consciousness arises. Consciousness thus arises from the desires of the ego, from I-ness.”
“Wholesome consciousness arises from wholesome volitional formations. Unwholesome consciousness arises from unwholesome volitional formations and so on. The quality of consciousness depends upon the quality of volition.”
“Volitional formations are like the stored-up karma and the arisen consciousness is like the resultant of that karma. Just as an echo arises out of sound, consciousness arises like an echo or an impression of this karma and not as a ‘self’ or an ‘individual soul.’ It arises here and now (just like the echo arises here and now) from the cause which is here and now and not from the past or previous life or from some individual-permanent-soul. It arises here and vanishes here and arises again depending upon the stored-up karma. It is continuous in this manner and not otherwise. It has no eternal identity. It simply arises and vanishes dependent on volitional conditions in a stream of continuity.”
“Just as a fruit arises on a tree, consciousness arises as an experience out of the conditions of stored-up karma. The arising of consciousness is the arising of the phenomenon of experience and its passing away is the passing away of experience. There is no ‘experiencer.’ It is just a ‘phenomenon of experience’ which is like a fruit that has arisen on a tree of karma. It is a phenomenon which is fueled by the stored-up karma.
Just as a candle flame vanishes when the candle-fuel is used up, the phenomenon of experience vanishes when the stored-up karma is used up. If there are no volitional formations, i.e. no stored up karma, then consciousness does not arise.”
How Consciousness causes Mind-Matter (Mentality-Materiality)
“As the consciousness arises from the desires of the ego, mentality also arises with it because the ego wants to ‘feel’ and ‘perceive’ the consciousness. It wants to know itself by bending on its ‘I-ness.’ It wants to experience itself as ‘self’ by feeling it and perceiving it thus. Mind arises whenever consciousness arises and colors the consciousness with ‘I-ness.’ Now, it is the ‘I’ who feels and it is the ‘I’ who perceives.”
“Now, the ‘I’ who wants to ‘feel’ and ‘perceive’ needs matter to do so, thus making the matter to arise with the mind. Because materiality always arises with mentality, the ‘I’ clings to materiality as soon as it arises with mentality.
Materiality is basically the four essential elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. The ‘I’ clings to these elements and forms ‘my’ materiality. Thus, there is now ‘my’ mind-matter. This ‘my’ mind-matter is eye-sensitivity, ear-sensitivity, nose-sensitivity, tongue-sensitivity, body-sensitivity, and mind-sensitivity.” These sensitivies eventually give rise to senses. Read further..
The word "I" and I-Consciousness
The word ‘I’ is simply a designation for the assembly of body-mind-consciousness. It is used merely as an expression for the bundle of ‘materiality-mentality.’ It is just a word, a linguistic mean to communicate. It is similar to using the word ‘house’ for the assembly of walls, windows, doors, and roof which encloses the space. The house structure is similar to ‘materiality’ and space is ‘similar’ to mentality.
If we were to search for the ‘house’ in the house by breaking it, we would not find it. We might remove every single part of the house and thoroughly examine it for the presence of something called ‘house.’ But we would still not find it anywhere. Instead, we would realize that, as soon as we start breaking apart the structure of the house, the house would start dissolving and only the parts and the space would remain. We would then realize that it was the particular structure and shape, the assembly of all those parts that created the illusion of an entity called ‘house.’
Similarly, if we were to dissect the body, what we would find is a bundle of bones, muscles, tissues, tendons, blood, etc, shaped in the form of various parts such as head, neck, hands, abdomen, feet, etc. If these parts were cut into pieces and scattered randomly, then what we would see is just the organic matter. There would be no ‘body’ left even though same amount of organic matter would be present. Thus, ‘body’ ‘hand’ foot,’ etc were just words for denoting a particular form. They were really just the words for denoting illusions created by the form.
If we were to continue this investigation further by penetrating deeper and deeper, we would realize that, ultimately, there are only Earth, Water, Fire, and Air elements, and nothing else. Beyond these elements, there is no further penetration possible. So, these elements are the ultimate material realities and body is just a name, a designation used for their particular manifestation. Same is true for a tree, a table, or a tissue paper. Everything in the material world is ultimately a bundle of four elements.
If we were to conceptually and contemplatively dissect the mind, what we would find is a bundle of mental elements (intrinsic mental phenomena) such as Feeling, Perception, Volition, Attention, Mental-life, etc. A common word for all these phenomena is ‘mind’ which itself does not exist besides being just a name.
Similarly, the word ‘I’ is just a common word in our linguistic usage for the bundle of body-mind-consciousness. Ultimately, what really exist are the three phenomena of Body, the Mind, and the Consciousness. However, due to our ignorence, when we cling to these three phenomena as my body, my mind, my consciousness, then, ego is formed. This ego is none other than the I-Consciousness. It is also known as the 'Unconsciousness.'
It is the arising of ‘delusion’ along with the consciousness which creates the ‘I-ness.’ This ignorance or delusion is conditioned by the stored-up karma and manifests as the ignorant or deluded-consciousness. So, whenever there is a sense of 'I' ‘self’ or ‘ego’ it is simply the arising of deluded-consciousness. Some spiritual traditions call this ‘unconsciousness.’ Ego is none other than this unconsciousness. Ego is an ‘unconscious- consciousness.’
We should understand ignorance and stored-up karma as the parents of ego (or unconsciousness). Both are needed for its’ birth. That is why, it is important to practice the SOUL Meditation (which burns up stored-up karma and purifies the consciousness) and SOUL Contemplation (which eradicates ignorance). Many spiritual traditions work on just concentration/meditation or on just contemplation because of which total eradication of ego does not occur. SOUL Meditation and SOUL Contemplation, on the other hand, achieve a perfect balance between concentration/meditation and contemplation practices thereby perfecting both. Please understand that concentration/meditation cannot be perfected without contemplation and vice a versa, and unless they are perfected, the ego - the unconsciousness - the ‘I’- cannot be eradicated.
Majority of readers will have doubts about all this. They will not able to accept the fact that ‘I’ do not exist. Such readers should practice SOUL these specific Meditations and Contemplations.
(Seeing Consciousness "As It is")
Once has to first learn to experience (or see) 'Body as Body' and then 'Mind as Mind.' A contemplator who is established in such spiritual vision can see the "Consciousness As It Is by" practicing a specific SOUL Contemplation Technique No.