Research Study

Ignorance And Conditioning
Six Sense Bases / Cognition /
Karma And The Ending Of Karma
'I' And The Ending of 'I'
Cause-Effect (Paticca Samuppada)


Sensation is ever a reaction and it wanders from one reaction to another. The mind is memory which alters all in reaction.... As you know and as I know every sensation comes to an end and so we proceed from one sensation to another and every sensation strengthens the habit of seeking further sensation....cause and effect are inseparable ; in the cause is the effect. To be aware of the cause-effect of a problem needs certain swift pliability of mind-heart for the cause-effect is constantly being modified, undergoing continual change...ever changing cause-effect....Karma is this bondage to cause-effect. Karma is not an ever enduring chain....there's no permanent continuance of anything....conditioning itself is impermanent....


So long as I do not know myself, the ways and compulsions of my own mind, unconscious as well as conscious, there must be suffering. After all, we suffer because of ignorance - ignorance in the sense of not knowing oneself.

-Talks by Krishnamurti in Europe 1956 p. 103

By your own acts you are being conditioned, but at any moment you can break the chain of limitation. So you are a free agent at all times but you are conditioning yourself through ignorance, fear....

-K, 7th talk Ommen, Aug 1936

We are conditioned and that conditioning is our consciousness.

-K, 1st public Talk, San Francisco May 1984

This consciousness which is conditioning itself through it's own volitional activities, this ''I''-process of ignorance, wants, fear, illusion-is the centre of action. This centre is continually reforming itself, and creating anew it's own limitations through it's own volitional activities and so there is always conflict, pain, sorrow. There must be a fundamental change in consciousness, in this very centre of action..., you have to discern that the "I" process, with it's fear and illusion is transient, and so can be dissolved.

-K, 8th Talk, Ommen, Aug 1936

And what is consciousness? To be conscious of something, to be aware of, to be able to recognise, to understand, that is the whole field in which the mind is in operation, and that is more or less what we mean by consciousness.

-K, Q/A, Brockwood Park, Sept 1980

We began with the words consciousness, thought, brain, and mind. We discussed consciousness, and K asked, "How do you define it?". I said that consciousness was the sense of existing, of being. The sense that one "is." We then explored the relationship of thought to consciousness. "Thought is not concerned with the totality of consciousness, but with parts of it," Krishnaji said.

"But is it through thought that consciousness reveals itself ? The part is revealed in the 'now' as the fragment," I responded.
"Does thought reveal the part ? Thought is a fragment. Can thought, which is a fragment, see the whole of consciousness?. 'I am hurt'-that feeling is a part of consciousness. Thought is a broken piece in movement. That fragment, that thought, cannot see the whole. Thought does not see it is hurt; it says,'I am hurt'." Krishnaji was elaborating.

"But that is a thought formation," I said.

"The name-the form-the envirorment are the structure of the 'I.' Thought does not say it is hurt."

"Who says it?" I queried.

"Look at it factually," said Krishnaji. "I am hurt-in explaining that hurt, thought thinks it is different from the structure it has built, which is hurt. Thought can never be aware of the total content of consciousness. It can only be aware of the fragment. What is the total content of consciousness? You say consciousness implies existence-what will give holistic meaning to consciousness?" Krishnaji asked.

''Has it a holistic meaning?"

"Consciousness is the totality of life. Not only my life, your life, but the life of the animal, the tree; the totality of all life,'' said Krishnaji....

Do you mean consciousness is the whole phenomenon of life-of existence?"

''What do you mean by phenomenon?" Krishnaji was still looking into the question.

"That which can be perceived by the senses."

"That is only part of it," said Krishnaji.

"What is the other part?" I asked.

"All accumulated knowledge, experience, the psychological agonies of man which you cannot touch or taste. Psychological turmoil, anxiety can affect the organism of man and plant. That is the process of mankind. It is global. It is the common fate of man.''....

''You are using mind as if it were an instrument. You say it can perceive. Is the mind an instrument or a field?''

"Is the mind the field? Is it the whole field-or part of the field?"

''Does the mind include intellect, and what part do the senses play?" I asked.

I don't think emotions-sensation-can possibly bring about a perception of the whole."

"Would you rule out the place of the senses as such?"

"No, I don't rule them out."

"Are they being wrongly used?" I asked.

"When thought identifies itself with sensation, then it becomes the 'me'," said Krishnaji. "You say the mind is the field, the matrix. A field circumscribed. The mind includes the brain. thought, emotion, intellect. Is time part of the field-part of the mind?"

Krishnaji was extending the area of investigation. "If time is not part of my mind, is sensation part of mind?"
"Are we discussing senses identified with desire building up the structure of the self, or have the senses any other role?" I asked.

"Yes. I see the germ of what it is. To observe with all your senses-in that there is no identification, The question is, can you look with all your senses awakened?"

''Can you look and listen in one instant of time?" I asked. "Is it possible to observe with all your senses, and in that state is there any movement of thought at all?"

Krishnaji continued to probe as he questioned. "When there is movement of thought, then it is one particular sense operating. Can I find out if there is a totally different dimension? A state where consciousness as we know it ceases?"

''You have examined and negated all the known instruments we have. The only instrument you do not negate is the movement of the sensory.''

"How can I negate the senses?" Krishnaji spoke.

"It is the senses that may have the capacity to be free from illusion."

"This is only possible when the sensory as identification with thought is understood. Then the senses do not produce the psychological structure, as the 'me'. The movement of thought, emotions, as fear, hate, attachment, are going on in the brain endlessly. We want to bring about order in it. What instrument or quality is necessary to move out of this enchaining circle of consciousness?" Krishnaji asked.

"The last question is very valid."

"I am trying to convey that there must be total order for the cosmic to be. I see that there is total disorder in everyday life. Order is necessary. What will bring order?"

"There is only one instrument which has a possibility of being free of taint."

"The senses?" asked Krishnaji.

"Otherwise you have blocked every instrument the brain has."

"Have we not also blocked the senses?" asked Krishnaji.

-dialogue between K and Pupul Jayakar, Summer 1978, Brockwood Park. (Pg 376-379 Biography of K by Pupul Jayakar)

What is sensation? If one may go into it now. The actual meaning of that word is "the activity of the senses" Right? - touching, tasting, seeing, smelling, hearing, mind is part of the senses.

So what is the origin of desire? We live by sensation Right? We live by sensation. If I observe the whole process of desire in myself I see there is always an object towards which my mind is directed for further sensation. There is perception, contact, sensation and desire and the mind becomes the mechanical instrument of all this process. So sensation becomes monstrously important and it's problems overwhelming and if we do not penetrate deeply and comprehend its processes our life will be shallow and utterly vain and miserable ...and the habit of seeking further sensation....and is there an end to sorrow?.
If there was no sensation both biologically and psychologically we would be dead human beings. Right? we live by sensation. That crow calling that is acting on the ear drum-nerves-and translating the noise into the cry of a crow. That is a sensation. You see a nice sari and shirt. You see it, touch it and there is the sensation of touching it, you say "By Jove, what a lovely material that is". There is perception, contact, sensation and desire. My mind is always experiencing in term of sensation. It is the instrument of sensation.

So I am saying when there is time in between sensation and interval, you understand the nature of desire, the way desire begins-then you know what to do with it. This identification through recognition sets going a process of thinking like a vibration or a wave which has its own continuity. Thought continues as a vibration which may manifest itself afterwards. The vibration of the word takes time to reach your ear and the nervous response as well as the brain response have a split second.

-Collection of K teachings from the KFT CD-ROM

(Please refer to the K teachings quoted under ''Sensations-the root of misery and sorrow and the key to insight and freedom'')

Face the fact don't move away from the fact. Thought identifies itself with that sensation and through identification the 'I' is built up, the ego and the ego then says "I must'' or "I will not". Thought has given shape to sensation. Desire is born when thought gives shape to sensation, gives an image to sensation. If there is no identification is there a self ? You understand sir ?. So you examine this very carefully not to identify yourself with anything....with sensation...with an experience. Thought tries to take over to make it permanent. Permanent ? That's right which means memory, a rememberance. It is now conditioned. Why it cannot give it up. That's our whole problem. Thought wants to hold on to memories which have created the image. Why has it made the image so valuable ? The whole process of identification-my house, my name, my possessions, what I will be, the success, the power, the position, the prestige-the identification process is the essence of the self.

Thought creates the thinker. Thought is always seeking a permanent state seeing its own state of transition or flux or impermanence, thought creates an entity which it calls the thinker, the atman, Paramatman, the soul-a higher and higher security. That is thought creates an entity which it calls the observer, the experiencer, the permanent thinker as distinct from the impermanent thought and the wide distance between two creates the conflict in time.


Everything about us, within as well as without-our relationships, our thoughts, our feelings-is impermanent in a constant state of flux. Being aware of this, the mind craves permanency, a perpetual state of peace, of love, of goodness, a security that neither time nor events can destroy; therefore it creates the soul, the Atman, and the visions of a permanent paradise. But this permanency is born of impermanency, and so it has within it the seeds of the impermanent. There is only one fact impermanence.

-Commentaries on Living (Third Series) p.253

Is there a permanent thing in you? You are changing, your body changes, unless you are dead. Everything is in a movement, but you refuse to accept that movement. And to say there is a soul, an atman, means that thought has thought about it, or has invented it.

-Talks by Krishnamurti in India 1966 p.97

There is a life in which there is no centre as 'me', a life, therefore, walking hand in hand with death ; and out of that sense of ending totally, time has come to an end. Time is movement, movement is thought, thought is time. When one asks: "Can one live in that eternity?" -one cannot understand. See what one has done. "I want to live in eternity, to understand immortality" -which means the 'I' must be part of that. But what is the 'I'? A name, a form, and all the things that thought has put together; that is what the 'I' actually is, to which one clings. And when death comes, through disease, accident, old age, how scared one is.

-K, Q/A, Saanen, July 1980

...The idea of becoming arises only when there is a sense of insecurity..., the inward void. If you are aware of that process of thought and feeling, you will see that there is a constant battle going on, an effort to change, to modify, to alter what is. This is the effort to become, and becoming is a direct avoidance of what is. Through self-knowledge, through constant awareness, you will find that strife, battle, the conflict of becoming, leads to pain, to sorrow and ignorance. It is only if you are aware of inward insufficiency and live with it without escape, accepting it wholly, that you will discover an extraordinary tranquillity, a tranquillity which is not put together, made up, but a tranquillity which comes with understanding of what is. Only in that state of tranquillity is there creative being.....

-Pg 70, First and Last freedom

If you become fully aware of one hindrance, whether it be a guru, memory, or class consciousness, that awareness will uncover the creator of all hindrances, the creator of illusions, which is self-consciousness, the ego. When mind awakens intelligently to that creator, which is self-consciousness, then in that awareness the creator of illusions dissolves itself. Try it, and you will see what happens.

-Verbatim Reports of Talks and Answers ...Adyar, India, 1933-34 p.84

When a machine is revolving very fast, as a fan with several blades, the separate parts are not visible but appear as one. So the self, the me, seems to be a unified entity but if its activities can be slowed down then we shall perceive that it is not a unified entity but made up of many separate and contending desires and pursuits. These separate wants and hopes, fears and joys make up the self. The self is a term to cover craving in its different forms. To understand the self there must be an awareness of craving in its multiple aspects.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 & 1946 ... p.99-100

The self is put together, made up, and the self is not when the parts are dissolved. But in illusion the self separates itself from its qualities in order to protect itself, to give itself continuity, permanency. It takes refuge in its qualities through separating itself from them. The self asserts that it is this and it is that; the self, the I, modifies, changes, transforms its thoughts, its qualities, but this change only gives strength to the self, to its protective walls. But if you are aware deeply you will perceive that the thinker and his thoughts are one; the observer is the observed. To experience this actual integrated fact is extremely difficult and right meditation is the way to this integration.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945 & 1946 ...p. 114-115

The self, the "me" and the "mine", is very strong in most of us ; sleeping or waking, it is ever alert, always strengthening itself. But when there is an awareness of the self and a realization that all its activities, however subtle, must inevitably lead to conflict and pain, then the craving for certainity, for self-continuance comes to an end.

-Education and the Significance of Life p. 60-61

The mind seeing it's own impermanency, it's own transiency, craves a permanent state and the very craving creates the symbol, the sensation, the idea, the belief to which we cling.

-9th public Talk, Ojai 1952

All craving and any experience born from it, makes up the self sustaining process of the ''I'' first begin to discern for yourself the process of craving which distorts perception and maintains the ''I'' process and nourishes fear....when you deeply discern that the ''I'' process is maintaing itself through it's own limitations, it's own volitional activities of craving, then your action, your morality, your whole attitude towards life undergoes a fundamental change. In that there is reality, bliss.

-3rd Talk, Pennysylvania, June 1936

Every living thing is force, energy-unique to itself. This force or energy creates it's own materials which can be called the body, sensation, thought or consciousness. This force or energy in it's self acting development becomes consciousness. From this there arises the ''I'' process, the ''I'' movement. Then begins the round of creating it's own ignorance. The ''I'' process begins and continues in identification with it's own self created limitations. The ''I'' is not a separate entity, as most of us think, it is both the form of energy and energy itself. But that force, in it's development, creates it's own material and consciousness is a part of it; and through the senses, consciousness becomes known as the individual. This ''I'' process is not of the moment-it is without a beginning. But through constant awareness and comprehension, this ''I'' process can be ended.

-2nd public Talk Ojai, April 1936.

So from birth to death we are caught in an endless struggle and we have accepted this battle of becoming as worthwhile, as noble, as an essential part of existence.

-8th public Talk,, Bombay, 1948

I think there is a way of understanding the whole process of birth and death, becoming and decaying, sorrow and happiness....we see around us this continual becoming and decaying, this agony and transient pleasure, but we cannot possibly understand this process outside of ourselves. We can comprehend this only in our own consciousness, through our own ''I'' process and if we do this, then there is a possibility of perceiving the significance of all existence.

-3rd public Talk,, Ojai, 1936

What is our consciousness? It is to be conscious of, to be aware of, what is going on, not only outside but inside; it is the same movement. Our consciousness is the product of our education, our culture, racial inheritance and the result of our own striving. All our beliefs, our dogmas, rituals, concepts, jealousies, anxieties, pleasures, our so-called love - all that is our consciousness. It is the structure which has evolved through millenia after millenia - through wars, tears, sorrow, depression and elation: all that makes up our consciousness.... Without the content, consciousness, as we know it, does not exist.

-K, Q/A, Saanen, July 1980

The brain has been registering for millennia. Therefore, registering has become part of it. The brain has become mechanical. I say: Can that mechanical process stop? That is all. If it cannot be stopped it becomes merely a machine, which it is. This is all part of tradition, part of repetition, part of the. constant registration through millennia. I am asking a simple question which has great depth to it, which is: Can it stop? If it cannot stop, man is never free.

-Pg 167, exploration into insight

Cause and effect are inseparable; in the cause is the effect. To be aware of the cause-effect of a problem needs certain swift pliability of mind-heart for the cause-effect is constantly being modified, undergoing continual change. What once was cause-effect may have become modified now and to be aware of this modification or change is surely necessary for true understanding. To follow the ever changing cause-effect is strenuous for the mind clings and takes shelter in what was the cause-effect; it holds to conclusions and so conditions itself to the past. There must be an awareness of this cause-effect conditioning; it is not static but the mind is when it holds fast to a cause-effect that is immediately past. Karma is this bondage to cause-effect. As thought itself is the result of many causes-effects it must extricate itself from its own bondages.

-Authentic Report of Sixteen Talks given in 1945-1946, ...p.62

Karma is not an ever-enduring chain; it's a chain that can be broken at any time. What was done yesterday can be undone today; there's no permanent continuance of anything. Continuance can and must be dissipated through the understanding of its process.

-Commentaries on Living (Third Series) p.280

You say action is the outcome of the past. Such action is not action at all, but only a reaction, is it not? The conditioning, the background, reacts to stimuli; this reaction is the response of memory, which is not action, but karma. For the present we are not concerned with what action is. Karma is the reaction which arises from certain causes and produces certain results. Karma is this chain of cause and effect.

Is the background, the past, a static state? Is it not undergoing constant modification? You are not the same to-day as you were yesterday; both physiologically and psychologically there is a constant change going on, is there not?.

One form of conditioning can be substituted for another, but it is still conditioning. The response of this conditioning is karma, is it not?. The response of memory is called action, but it is only reaction; this 'action' breeds further reaction, and so there is a chain of so-called cause and effect. But is not the cause also the effect? Neither cause nor effect is static. To-day is the result of yesterday, and to-day is the cause of tomorrow; what was the cause becomes the effect, and the effect the cause. One flows into the other. There is no moment when the cause is not also the effect.

With the understanding of its conditioning, with the choiceless awareness of its own responses as thought and feeling, tranquillity comes to the mind. This breaking of the chain of karma is not a matter of time; for through time, the timeless is not.

-Pgs. 79-81, Commentaries of Living Vol II.

Are cause and effect fixed, stationary? When you use the word "and" between cause and effect, does it not imply that both are stationary? But is cause ever stationary? Is effect always unchangeable? Surely, cause-effect is a continuous process, is it not? Today is the result of yesterday, and tomorrow is the result of today; what was cause becomes effect, and what was effect becomes cause. It is a chain-process, is it not? One thing flows into another, and at no point is there a halt. It is a constant movement, with no fixation. There are many factors that bring about this cause-effect-cause movement.

-Pg 180, Commentaries of Living VOL I

(Please refer to the K teachings quoted under'' Journey from sensations to sacred-state beyond mind and matter'' and ''Nibbana-sacred-freedom'' in this study)

IMPORTANT: Please refer to the Teachings as quoted in PART III

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