I think it is hard to accept -but nevertheless true - that there is nothing at all in this samsara that does not vanish . What is more it vanishes as soon as it appears, faster than we could imagine. However, because phenomena including 'knowing' (citta,vinnnana, mano consciousness)are immediately replaced with no gap between it seems that the knowing does not fall away. Citta is the chief in knowing .
Howard: Just one point: Under the assumption that there are, indeed, no gaps, there is a *sense* in which it could be validly said that the function of consciousness is continuous - changing, but continuous. For what would 'continuous' mean other than there being no gaps? (Just a point.)
With metta, Howard
Ha ha. Yes in that sense consciousness is continuous. But it is always a different consciousness, formed by different , although sometimes similar, conditions. The Buddha compared consciousness to fire: the fire that burned dependent on sticks, the one that burned dependent on dried dung, the one that burned dependent on oil,.. Different fires but still having the same characteristic of fire; in the same way he said seeing-consciousness is different from hearing consciosness is different from smelling .....But still all having the same charactersitic of knowing. It is because of continuity and because the different consciousness's have the same general nature that we take it as lasting and 'mine'. The Visuddhimagga(XV3)
The aspect of anatta is also hard: As you know I've been considering Paticcasamuppada recently: in the Mahanidana sutta atthakatha it says that this is such a deep matter: "Its depth of penetration should be understood ..Deep is the meaning of consciousness as emptiness, absence of an agent.." The tika continues: "Consciousness's meaning of emptiness is deep because consciousness is said to be the distinctive basis for the misapprehension of self. As it is said "for a long time the uninstructed worldling has been attached to this, appropriated it, and misapprehended it thus; 'This is mine this I am , this is self'"(samyutta XII 61 ii94)(bodhi p66)
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