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Awareness Is Not Perception

Isaiah,
Hi I'm back - after a work deadline has been met - a hugely rajasic period!
I've reviewed your arguments for the permanence of awareness - and it is not resolved
for me.
Let me imagine another scenario;
Jack is in deep sleep in his bedroom, but there are some bugs, microbes, maybe a
spider walking across Jack's hand - so there is some awareness, just none from the
"Jack" viewpoint. (also, maybe the world is kept in existence by awareness devoted to
that purpose - isvara) so we can say that there is always some awareness, just not
always Jack's.
Maybe it is a question of viewpoints, when the human viewpoint switches off in sleep,
because it is so fantastically rich, it seems like all awareness is gone.
What do you think?
Jack

Hi Jack,
There is not more than one type of awareness, nor is awareness a collection of parts. It
is non-dual, part-less, and not spatially limited. It is never associated with the objects
appearing in it. Whatever objects appear in it, or disappear in it, leave it completely
unaffected and unchanged. Yes, the individual minds and their perceptions that appear
in awareness are varied. Awareness isn't. Yes, one mind can disappear from awareness
while others remain. This does not mean that awareness disappeared or changed.
Jack is: awareness with a human body and mind appearing in it. A bug is: awareness
with a bug body and mind appearing in it. Isvara is: awareness with maya appearing in
it. When Jack disappears from awareness, a bug may still be there, but it appears in the
same awareness that Jack did. If the bug disappears from awareness, Isvara is still
there, but it appears in the same awareness as Jack and the bug. If Isvara disappeared

(not actually possible), then awareness would still be there illumining the absence of
Isvara. The point is, there is only one awareness with objects periodically appearing
and disappearing in it. You are the awareness, not the objects.
Yes, the world and it's contents still exist when Jack is in deep sleep because the
creation and maintenance of the world do not depend upon the perception of Jack's
mind. It depends on Isvara's mind. But both Jack's mind and Isvara's mind depend
upon you, awareness. Neither of them are conscious, but they appear to be because
they reflect the light of awareness, similar to the way the moon reflects the light of the
sun.
The bottom line is that you are still confusing awareness to be the perceptions of the
mind. You think that when perception disappears, that awareness disappears. You
think that different perceptions equal different awareness, that bug awareness is
different than Isvara awareness. This isn't true because awareness cannot be any of
these objects. Why? Because the objects are known to awareness, but the objects
don't know awareness. Awareness is conscious, the objects are not. Any mind, Jack's,
a bug's, or Isvara's, is an object in awareness. So whether those objects are present or
not in no way affects awareness.
The distinction between the subject and the object is the basics of Vedanta and critical
to understanding it. I can tell that this isn't clear to you right now. Honestly, Jack, I can
tell you are a very sharp guy. You ask good questions. But you are trying to work on
the third floor of a building without laying the foundation first. No matter how smart
you are, this won't work. So, please start carefully reviewing the book from the
beginning. Do not move past a single paragraph until the logic is perfectly clear. I'm
serious. At each step you must work out your doubts. If you don't, then the next steps
will not be clear. When you can't figure something out, please tell me.
Sincerely,
Isaiah

Hi Jack,
After re-reading our last exchange, I thought that, although you should start reviewing
the book, that I should have explained the subject / object distinction. It's absolutely
critical to self-inquiry.

For the purpose of analyzing experience and discriminating the self from the 'not-self',
Vedanta posits two categories: subject and object. The subject (the self) is awareness /
consciousness. The objects (the 'not-self') are anything that can be experienced: the
external world, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, memories. The mind itself, along with
all of it's functions is an object. The rule for discriminating between the two is simple:
you cannot be what you see. If an object is known to you, then it is 'not-self'. The first
reason is because the objects are not conscious, while the self is. A rock is insentient.
A thought is insentient. The mind, which is just a collection of thoughts, is insentient.
You, the self, know the objects, but they do not know you. The second reason the
objects are 'not-self' is because they are continuously coming, going, and changing. The
self does not begin, end, or change.
So, anything that is known to you, or anything that changes is 'not-self'. Knowing what
is 'not-self' is crucial to knowing the self, because it points out what the self isn't.
Conversely, knowing what the nature of the self is is crucial to objectifying the 'not-self'.
A handy definition of the self is: non-dual, ever-present, unchanging, eternal (unborn /
undying), limitless consciousness. Anything that does not fit this description is 'notself'.
It would be helpful to re-analyze your questions in light of these definitions. For
instance, if you say that awareness seems to change, then you must be mistaking
something to be awareness when it isn't, because awareness is changeless.
Furthermore, if you point to something and say, "That changed," then it immediately
becomes an object known to you, and thus, it isn't awareness. A good example is Jack.
How can you say he's there? Because his body and mind are known to you, the
conscious subject. That means he is an object, and thus, 'not-self'. So if Jack is 'notself', then whether he is present (in the waking state), or absent (in sleep), it has no
effect on awareness.
As mentioned above, the mind and all of it's functions, is an object. It is 'not-self'. So
when you refer to the mind in any manner, you cannot be talking about awareness.
Going back to your last scenario, when you refer to "Jack's viewpoint," you are referring
to his mind and his organs of perception, which are objects; they cannot be awareness.
So yes, that perspective can definitely disappear, but awareness is completely
unaffected. Awareness is still present, and the absence of Jack's mind is an object
known to it.
When "Jack's perspective (his mind)" disappears, there may be any number of other
perspective's (minds) still appearing in awareness (like the bug in your scenario). But

the bug's mind, like Jack's mind, is just another object. However, the awareness they
appear in is one and the same. It is similar to the way that one single sun illumines the
presence or absence of all things on earth.
On another note, it seemed like you may be wondering, "Does the world exist when
Jack doesn't perceive it (like in sleep)?" To say that the world only exists when Jack's
mind is perceiving it presupposes what? The assumption is that Jack is the creator,
sustainer, and destroyer of the world; that the creation depends upon him to exist. This
of course is obviously not true because Jack is part and parcel of the creation, an effect
of the creation. Therefore, he cannot be the cause; only Isvara can be the cause, as
well as the sustainer, and the destroyer. This is why, when you go to sleep in Canada,
you do not wake up in Brazil: because Isvara is maintaining the relative continuity of
the empirical world without you. This is also why your friend can tell you that you were
snoring like a dragon while you were asleep, and why a second friend can corroborate
this event. Even though your body does not exist for you, it can still be perceived by
someone else. Another person can also attest to this because they see the same thing:
they are not experiencing two different worlds. There is an empirical level of reality,
maintained by Isvara, that is independent of an individual mind. The only thing that an
individual mind 'creates' is it's own personal interpretation of it's experience of the
empirical world. For instance, you and I may both experience the same person
simultaneously, but feel differently about them. But for self-inquiry, the most
important thing to remember is this: both Isvara and the empirical reality (which are
actually non-separate), are both ever-changing, unconscious objects. So whether or
not there is a world when Jack's mind perceives it is of no consequence. It is simply an
object and therefore, 'not-self'. It has no bearing on awareness.
One last point: if the mind is an object, it is unconscious. But why does it seem
conscious? It is because it is composed of the sattvic component of the five elements.
Sattva is a revealing energy. This means that it allows the mind to reflect the 'light'
(consciousness) of the self. This reflection of the self in the mind is called chidabasa or
pratibimbha. It is like the self is a face, the mind is a mirror, and the chidabasa is the
reflection of the face in the mirror. The reflection of awareness in the mind, in turn,
lends consciousness to the sense organs. The sense organs, in turn, reveal the gross
objects, and in the case of the body, make it seem conscious. But neither the mind nor
body are conscious. They are merely reflecting the consciousness of the self. Another
example, that I used before, was likening it to the sun and the moon. The moon has no
light of it's own, but it appears to because it reflects the light of the sun. Similarly,
although the mind has no consciousness of it's own, it appears to because it reflects the
consciousness of the self.

I hope this clarifies things a bit.


Sincerely,
Isaiah