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Aug 26, 2023Liked by Ruben Laukkonen

Do you think this is could be akin to a deliberate, extended attentional blink? Or something to do with being able voluntarily to press an attentional ‘master switch’ ? Maybe the meditator is able, with enough practice, to sufficiently flatten the phenomenological landscape such that no one thing has any greater importance/weight than any other thing and can then go one step further and voluntarily ‘de-attend’ to the landscape altogether? Or the consequence of achieving complete parity of all phenomenal experience is to trip the switch? Could the blue spot locus coeruleus-noradrenaline be involved?

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Aug 5, 2023Liked by Ruben Laukkonen

Thanks for the article Ruben and spreading nirodha. The five aggregates can also be formulated the other way round as refractory stages of awareness, posing a view that nirodha might be akin to experiencing the non-refracted advaita notion of the "Self", unclothed of illusory forms.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Ruben Laukkonen

Thanks

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Ruben Laukkonen

Interesting read

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I am skeptical of a brain shutting off. Even hibernation doesn’t do that. Neurons rely on spiking for survival as well since they exchange many necessary resources when they do. I guess a primitive state that just refreshes the state of all neurons isn’t unlikely but I am left wondering when and how do they wake up from this state. Thanks for the essay , I will check the pdf as well.

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I find your research fascinating and come at it from the point of view of a Buddhist and a scholar of the Prajñāpāramitā literature. I would add that nirodha is cessation and the subsequent state is variously called "extinction" (nirvāṇa) or "absence" (śūnyatā). Nirodha is a process, nirvāṇa is a resultant state.

The skandhas are tricky because they are never really defined. I've proposed an epistemic reading.

Its most basic sense, rūpa is to the eye as sound is to the ear (and as touch is the body). Rūpa-skandha refers to the *appearance* of any sensory experience. To translate this as "body" is wrong, and as "matter" is grossly wrong.

Vedanā is what Lisa Feldman-Barrett calls *valence*. The positive or negative hedonic quality of experience that occurs before we even identify the experience

Saṃjñā in ordinary Sanskrit means refers to identification and naming. As a skandha it refers to recognising that we are having a particular type of experience.

Saṃskāra is a term drawn from Vedic religion. A man has various rites of passage (saṃskāra) in which a priest performs a series of ritual actions (karman). Ergo, in Buddhism, a saṃskāra is an opportunity to perform karma, which is also associated with conscious intentions (cetanā).

Vijñāna refers to discriminating the object of the sensory experience.

Thus the skandhas reflect a process of objectification of experience (an epistemic process, not a metaphysical process). If the acme of Buddhism is precisely the cessation and absence of sensory experience, then objectifying experience is missing the point. It only leads to proliferation of concepts (prapañca).

The skandhas are concerned with sensory experience and they are entirely absent in the general absence following cessation. There is no sensory experience to objectify. Note that I don't say that the skandhas don't exist. Rather, we are unaware of the processes that contribute to sensory experience, because sensory experience itself is absent.

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