Q: Dennis, I have deep question that in fact no one can answer to me. I can accept that I am consciousness in which appearances take place that are in fact manifestations of my own consciousness. I can accept that unbounded universe of my consciousness is in fact my consciousness. This phenomenal universe exists in my waking state and disappears in deep sleep.
I am consciousness all the time. It is OK and understood. BUT I also understand that all these experiences and states belong to ONLY MY INDIVIDUAL CONSCIOUSNESS.
I mean that others have other experiences. They have their own phenomenal universes, their own states in their own consciousnesses! And I have no access to them.
There is existence of many various individual consciousnesses perceiving various things. So can we say that there is no SINGLE Absolute I and no SINGLE consciousness?
A: All problems of understanding in this sort of question arise because of a confusion between ‘absolute reality’ and the ‘apparent world’.
You begin by saying that “I have a deep question“. This ‘I’ refers to the mind of the person (Fred) in the world. All these things – mind, person, Fred, world – are mithyA. They have no absolute reality. They depend upon the absolute reality for their existence. They are name and form of the non-dual Consciousness.
You then say: “I can accept that I am consciousness in which appearances take place“. The only way in which this can make any sense is if the first ‘I’ is the mind already mentioned above; the second ‘I’ is who-you-really-are – Brahman or Consciousness. This second ‘I’ is absolute reality and must not be confused with the first ‘I’!
Your third sentence is: “I can accept that unbounded universe of my consciousness is in fact my consciousness.” Here, you start to become even more confusing. ‘I can accept’ is the mithyA mind. ‘universe of my consciousness’ is presumably intended to refer to the absolute Consciousness. Not sure what you intend by ‘is in fact my consciousness’. You see, as soon as you say ‘my’ consciousness, the implication is that you are referring to your mind being ‘aware’. Really, you should always use a capital ‘C’ – Consciousness – if you want to refer to the absolute, non-dual reality and avoid confusion. If I could rephrase this sentence completely, I would write: “My mind can accept that its awareness is possible only by virtue of the absolute Consciousness.” (This then coincides with the teaching of chidAbhAsa – read my articles https://www.advaita-vision.org/chidabhasa/ and https://www.advaita-vision.org/continuing-reflections-on-reflections/.
So, yes, you are correct when you say that “others have other experiences. They have their own phenomenal universes, their own states in their own consciousnesses! And I have no access to them.” This is because each person has his or her own mind and each mind is reflecting the one, non-dual Consciousness. Each mind has its own chidAbhAsa, which illuminates different objects and ideas according to its own particular vAsanA-s or conditioning. But remember that ALL minds, persons, objects, ideas are mithyA. All of them are dependent upon Consciousness for their existence (in the same way that all rings, necklaces, bangles depend upon gold for their existence).
So the answer to your question: “So can we say that there is no SINGLE Absolute I and no SINGLE consciousness?” is a very definite ‘NO!’
Q: Now, the question is: do you call individual consciousness that includes individual reflected phenomenal world ‘MIND’? Do you mean that world is percieved by mind, not consciousness and phenomena take place in mind? Do you mean that the individual phenomenal world arises as mind in nonindividual (impersonal) Conscioussness?
A: Did you read the articles on chidAbhAsa? These should explain.
The ‘individual consciousness’ is reflected Consciousness in the mind. The phenomenal world is perceived by the senses and interpreted by the mind. You could say that, in a sense, our mind ‘determines’ the world that we see. It ‘decides’ how to separate out forms from the mass of perceived ‘stuff’ and it gives names to these forms. This is why different people perceive the world differently. But remember that even the mind is just inert stuff without Consciousness to ‘animate’ it.
From the perspective of absolute reality, there is no world at all – there is only Consciousness. So a world does not actually ‘arise’ anywhere.
These questions that you are asking are quite ‘deep’. I suggest that you read my book ‘A-U-M: Awakening to Reality’. All is explained there by my commentary on Gaudapada’s kArikA on the Mandukya Upanishad. This is the ultimate explanation of the nature of reality.
Q: Yes they are deep. But I already wasted a lot of time searching answer in books including yours…
Main thing is I have my phenomenal world in my consciousness, you have yours.
So there are two consciousnesess! Two, so to say, spaces with phenomenona.
Not sure if you call them ‘minds’… Because I read your mind definition on your website.
A: ( I don’t know which ‘definition’ you are referring to but…) your mind is inert. ‘Your’ consciousness is one reflection. ‘My’ consciousness is another reflection. There is only one Consciousness. Just as there can be many mirrors but there is only one sun.
Q: OK, I accept that. Thank you for your answers, Dennis!