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Fosdick · in its eye are mirrored far off mountains · Veteran


Alaska, USA
Last Active
Alaska, USA
  • Re: My Top 5 Meditations

    Shikantaza is at the top of my list, but if just sitting is too elusive, some kind of concentration meditation is substituted - usually involving intense focus on breath or on hearing. Ten minutes of that and shikantaza seems like a vacation in the countryside, and it has the added benefit of seeming to easily and naturally carry over into mindfulness in subsequent activities - just washing dishes, just paying the bills, etc.

  • Re: Is sentient same as conscious?

    Volition or will is the cognitive process by which an individual decides on and commits to a particular course of action. It is defined as purposive striving and is one of the primary human psychological functions. Wikipedia

    One could certainly do that, I guess. As I think consciousness itself spans a wide scale from very simple to very complex, so also would volition. But when does either one reach the point of simplicity where consciousness or volition ceases, and responses become merely biochemical ? We have no way of determining that, so far as I can see.

    I'm certainly willing to accept that viruses - the most abundant type of biological entity according to Wikipedia - are neither conscious nor sentient, but cell-based life forms are a little more problematic. In the end, I hold all life to be worthy of respect and compassion, sentient or not.

    I was a little uneasy using the word sentient in that post. Perhaps sapient would have been a better choice.

  • Re: Is sentient same as conscious?

    @Federica said > thanks for coming back to it.

    When I wrote the initial offending post, I had a blood sugar level around 60, and was no longer sentient, mayhap. Apologies to @person

  • Re: Is sentient same as conscious?

    @Federica says

    you need to be able to ... back 'em up

    Merriam Webster defines sentient thusly: > responsive to or conscious of sense impressions •

    By this token, I understand that all life is sentient because all life responds to external stimuli. I would also infer that consciousness requires sentience, but sentience does not require consciousness.

    On the other hand, @Shoshin makes the excellent point that :

    "Sentient beings are composed of the five aggregates, or skandhas: matter, sensation, perception, mental formations and consciousness"

    which would seem to say pretty clearly that, by the Buddhist definition, all sentient beings are also conscious.

    The Dalai Lama says:

    Every sentient being—even insects—have Buddha nature. The seed of Buddha means consciousness, the cognitive power—the seed of enlightenment.

    So for Buddhist purposes, consciousness and sentience, though not the same thing, would seem always to go together.

    @person: Amoebae are, so far as I know, never mentioned in Buddhist literature, and in the Buddha's time were not even known to exist, so perhaps it would be best to exclude them from consideration solely on the grounds of convenience.

    You've raised some other issues with my ramblings - I'll try to address some of them as time allows.

  • Re: Is sentient same as conscious?

    @person says

    What does that mean for your Buddhism? Buddhism generally refers to sentient beings, so does treating a wound with antibiotics or eating a carrot create negative karma in your book?

    Life feeds on life, and we do the best we can. Karma too finely minced becomes an entanglement.

    Does an amoeba have Buddha nature?


    ... explain more about how you do define it?

    I wouldn't even try. It seems a bit like the self to me, nothing I can grasp or point to and say this is my consciousness. I seem to have it, others seem to have it, but I've no idea what it is.