Page 43

sketch for a proof of rebir th

a field does not change I am conscious of that field—in other words, I am self-conscious—, and this consists precisely in my being conscious of the changing of subordinate fields, in my being conscious of being conscious of those fields—in other words, in my cognizing them (for cognition is essentially consciousness of consciousness). (appendix vii will show that this account is rather simplified: consciousness of a field is consciousness of all probable changes of subordinate fields. We need not consider this here.) But consciousness of each of these more particular fields, until it changes, is in turn consciousness of consciousness of still more particular fields, and so on indefinitely. (Note, however, that it is only with the running up and down of this change from one level to another that the hierarchical structure of experience becomes explicitly manifest to reflexion; and reflexion, in any case, since its attention will at any time be directed to one part rather than another, never sees the entire hierarchy all at once except in a kind of recognitive synthesis.) From this it should be clear that experience-ofan-object at any level of generality, being at once both consciousness and cognition (or consciousness of consciousness at a lower level), can always be described as consciousness of experience-of-an-object of a lower level of generality, or rather, as consciousness of a number of such experiences. And, correspondingly, the object of an experience-of-an-object (of a going, an eating, a breathing, a speaking, a thinking), that is to say an object-tobe-experienced (a road-to-be-journeyed, a cake-to-be-eaten, a breath-tobe-inhaled, a talk-to-be-delivered, a thought-to-be-developed), can be described as a number of experiences-of-objects (of lower order) to be conscious of. But in order that we should have consciousness observing consciousness of consciousness, consciousness observing experience-ofan-object, an appropriate attitude (which can, however, never be totally absent if cognition, which is synthesis (composition), is to be possible) will be necessary: an object-to-be-experienced must be approached no longer simply in its capacity as a number of experiences-of-objects (of lower order) to be conscious of, but also and at the same time as a structure-tobe-observed. There is then one complex reflexive experience-of-an-object comprising consciousness of a number of experiences-of-objects and at the same time observation as a single structure, namely consciousness, of those same experiences-of-objects by that same consciousness. There is consciousness as consciousness. The word observation, however, implies a total detachment that has found no place in our description: in cognition (consciousness of consciousness) there is no more than a semi-detachment, and in reflexive consciousness (consciousness ‘observing’ itself) the separation is very small. (The expres-

361

Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...

Advertisement