alex watson ball0332 at SIFY.COM
Wed May 18 23:17:00 UTC 2005

According to Saa"nkhya and Advaita Vedaanta one remains conscious (caitanyasvaruupa, j~naanaatma) in liberation, but ceases to experience any objects of consciousness.  For Nyaaya and Vai"se.sika one's aatman becomes devoid even of consciousness; and one branch of Buddhism seems to hold that the stream of consciousness actually ceases to exist, so that there is no part of oneself that continues.  Could people point me to things that have been written on why such 'empty', cognitionless, sleep-like goals were considered so desirable in India (the existence of satires of them by Indian authors notwithstanding) but not in the West?
The only thing I can remember reading on this question is Andre Bareau's remark (in 'La Personne dans le Bouddhisme') that a state of complete unconsciousness, though it has always terrified people in the West, is desirable if one believes that one passes ceaselessly from one life to another, and has always done so.

Alex Watson

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