Fresh and Non-Fresh Apprehensions
Subsequent cognition is defined as an invalid awareness that apprehends what has already been apprehended. When divided, there are three (types): the subsequent cognitions that come about in a continuum of (1) a bare cognition or (2) an inferential cognition, and (3) the subsequent cognitions that are neither of those two.
For a cognition to apprehend its involved object, it must take it both accurately and decisively. For it to be fresh means that it takes its involved object by its own power. The pervasion between the two sets is that of four possibilities, a tetralemma. A cognition may be:
- Both fresh and an apprehension, as with a valid cognition
- Fresh but not an apprehension, such as with presumptive cognition
- An apprehension but not fresh, as with subsequent cognition
- Neither fresh nor an apprehension, such as with the recollection of a distorted cognition.
A valid way of knowing something, therefore, apprehends its object freshly – that is, by its own power. This does not mean, however, that it arises independently of its various conditions. If a cognition is non-conceptual, its arising requires beforehand:
- The externally existing object as its focal condition (dmigs-rkyen) to serve as the object with which it will cognitively engage
- The cognitive sensors (dbang-po) as its dominant condition (bdag-rkyen) on which it will rely to empower its essential nature (ngo-bo) as a visual, mental and so forth cognition to cognize this object
- The immediately preceding moment of consciousness as its immediately preceding condition (de-ma-thag rkyen) that will give rise to the appearance-making (gsal, clarity) and cognizing (rig, awareness) in this next moment of its continuum.
If a cognition is conceptual, it requires only the latter two. But in either case, arising dependently from a network of conditions, the valid cognition apprehends its involved object by the empowerment of its own dominant condition alone. With subsequent cognition, however, the mode of apprehension is different.
Consider the case of a subsequent cognition that follows directly after a valid one. Like the valid way of knowing that immediately preceded it, the subsequent cognition also arises dependently on its various conditions and also apprehends its involved object. But this object is said to be the same as that which has already been apprehended. What does that mean?
Only objective entities can be explicitly apprehended, while among metaphysical entities, absences can be implicitly apprehended by bare cognition and inferential cognition, and categories can be implicitly apprehended by reflexive awareness. Absences are imputedly knowable and cannot be cognized unless the objective entities that are their bases for imputation are explicitly cognized first and then simultaneously with them. In the case of the categories implicitly apprehended by valid bare cognition by reflexive awareness, the categories share the same essential nature as the mental consciousness with which they are cognized and cannot be cognized separately without that mental consciousness, an objective entity, being simultaneously explicitly apprehended. Although these implicitly apprehended metaphysical entities, being static phenomena, do not undergo moment-to-moment change, the objective entities explicitly apprehended simultaneously with them are all nonstatic phenomena that do undergo moment-to-moment change. Thus, taken as a whole, the entire “package” of explicitly and implicitly apprehended objects undergoes moment-to-moment change.
Since the objective entity explicitly apprehended by a valid cognition changes from moment to moment, subsequent cognition of it does not apprehend once more the exact same moment of the object that was already apprehended. Remember, according to Sautrantika, each moment of a nonstatic phenomenon is substantially established. It is not that these presently-happening moments of subsequent cognition are cognizing the no-longer-happening immediately preceding moments of the clay jug. Rather, they apprehend as their object the next moment in the continuum that is maintaining the identity of that object in the same class of item. Thus, moment “one” of the valid bare visual cognition of a clay jug takes as its object moment “one” of the clay jug, while moment “two,” which is the subsequent bare cognition of the clay jug, apprehends moment “two” of the clay jug, and so forth.
This is only a rough description, however, because the Sautrantika school also asserts that the involved object of a sensory bare cognition, acting as its focal condition, must immediately precede the cognition that arises as its result. A cause comes before its effect. Thus, moment “one” of the clay jug specified above is explained as the “own object” (rang-yul) of moment “one” of the bare visual cognition of it. Although this moment “one” of the cognized clay jug arises in sequence from the immediately preceding moment of the clay jug, nevertheless, unlike subsequent cognition of the clay jug, moment “one” of the bare cognition of moment “one” of the clay jug does not arise from the immediately preceding moment of bare cognition of the clay jug. This is because, in the immediately preceding moment, the clay jug was not yet cognized. The appearance-making and cognizing of moment “one” of the bare cognition of the clay jug arise in sequence from the functioning those characteristics in the immediately preceding moment of consciousness cognizing some other object, not cognizing the clay jug, as its immediately preceding condition.
The reason why the Sautrantika tenets disqualify subsequent cognition from being valid is because it is not fresh. It does not apprehend its object “by its own power.” But what does “by its own power” mean? The essential nature (ngo-bo) of a way of cognizing something is that it is the appearance-making and cognitive engagement with an object. But that essential nature – if we limit our discussion just to consciousness – may be, more specifically, the visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, tactile or mental appearance-making and cognitive engagement with an object. But, for consciousness to perform its function of cognizing something, its essential nature of being a visual, auditory, mental and so forth appearance-making and cognitive engagement with something must be empowered to function in this cognitive sphere. The cognitive sensors (dbang-po) – literally, “that which empowers” – are the dominant condition that empowers (dbang) the essential nature.
Subsequent cognition does not take its object by means of “own power,” then, means that its essential nature is not empowered by its presently-happening cognitive sensors that are newly functioning to cognize a newly cognized presently-happening object, but by ones that are subsequent moments of previous moments of the same cognitive sensors cognizing previous moments of the same cognitive object. In this sense, its empowerment by its cognitive sensors is not fresh, but “stale” in the sense that it is in sequence from previous moments of the same cognitive sensors functioning as the dominant condition of previous moments of the same type of cognition of previous moments of the same object. Note, however, it is not that the essential nature of subsequent cognition is being empowered by the no-longer-happening immediately preceding moments of the same cognitive sensors.
For a cognition to be “empowered by its presently-happening cognitive sensors alone,” then, means that it has been immediately preceded by a moment of cognition empowered by the immediately preceding moment of either the same or a different type of cognitive sensor to cognize the immediately preceding moment of a different cognitive object. Thus, subsequent cognitions are invalid apprehensions because they are not fresh in this above sense: they do not apprehend their objects through the empowerment of the presently-happening moment of newly functioning cognitive sensors.
To apprehend what has already been apprehended, however, is not pervasive with being stale. Otherwise, it would absurdly follow that you would only be able to know something validly but once and also that the second moment of a Buddha’s omniscience would have to be invalid. After a suitable length of time, therefore, following your valid bare and then subsequent visual cognition of a clay jug, during which you have cognized many other objects, it is possible for you once more to apprehend the clay jug freshly and validly. Your first phase of bare visual cognition will be valid again because it relies on empowerment from its cognitive sensors newly functioning. The immediately following phase of subsequent visual cognition will not be valid because it relies on empowerment from cognitive sensors that are in immediate sequence from previous moments of those cognitive sensors cognizing immediately preceding moments of the same object. This type of process occurs in the continuums following the valid cognitions of ordinary beings, aryas and arhats. For Buddhas, however, each moment of their omniscient awareness apprehends its object freshly, by its own power. Therefore, only they can continue to apprehend validly what they have already apprehended.
First-Phase and Second-Phase Apprehensions
As noted just above, the pervasion between fresh cognitions and apprehensions is a tetralemma. Furthermore, the differentiation of first and second phase cognitions is a sub-set division applicable within the exclusive domain of apprehensions. Non-apprehensions, such as presumptive cognitions, are not divided into first and second phases. Thus, a first phase is the period of time required for the process of apprehension to be decisively established. In the case of ordinary beings, this will require a varying number of tiniest moments of cognition depending on their ability, intelligence and reflexes. In the case of aryas, since each tiniest moment of their reflexive awareness has the ability to be attentive and determining, their apprehensions are established instantly. A second phase apprehension is what ensues from the first phase, after the decisiveness has been initially established.
The pervasion between first-phase apprehensions and fresh apprehensions involves four possibilities. An apprehension may be:
- First-phase and fresh, as with valid cognitions
- First-phase and stale, as with the initial phase of a recollection of a valid cognition
- Second-phase and stale, as with subsequent cognitions immediately following valid ones
- Second-phase and fresh, as with the second moment of the apprehension of an object by the omniscient mind of a Buddha.
Fresh non-apprehensions, such as presumptive cognition, and stale non-apprehensions, such as recollections of distorted cognitions, have no common locus with first- and second-phase cognitions, because they are not apprehensions. Further, they have no common locus with subsequent cognitions, also because they are not apprehensions. Therefore, whether you have a fresh presumptive cognition that takes its object anew by its own power, or a stale recollection of one, from its first moment until it ceases it will remain in the same category of way of knowing without a first and second phase or generating a subsequent cognition. Moreover, since it is conceptual, it will not end with a non-determining moment.
As for non-determining cognition, indecisive wavering and distorted cognitions, the issue of their being fresh or stale, in other words whether or not they take their objects anew by their own power, is not at stake because they arise primarily from the power of additional conditions besides their cognitive sensors. Nevertheless, these three, as well as recollections of the latter two, also do not have first and second phases or subsequent cognitions, because they too are not apprehensions. Like presumptive cognitions and their recollections, they remain in their same category throughout the duration of their occurrence.
Types of Subsequent Bare Cognition
Further, as for the first, there are many (kinds), such as the subsequent cognitions of sensory, mental, reflexive and yogic bare cognitions. Examples of each progressively are the second phases of (1) the five types of sensory bare cognition, (2) advanced awareness cognizing someone else’s mind, (3) reflexive awareness having a continuum and (4) bare yogic cognition still needing further training.
Subsequent cognition, therefore, follows any initial or first phase of valid visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory or tactile bare cognition when these have continuums. This is true for all limited beings, from ordinary ones to Hinayana arhats, but is not the case for Buddhas, who are not classified as limited beings (sentient beings).
Subsequent cognition follows mental bare cognition only when the mental bare cognition is valid and has a continuum. Thus, it does not occur after the tiniest moment of mental bare cognition that follows a sequence of sensory bare cognition. This is so when such occur in the mental continuum of ordinary beings, because these instances of mental bare cognition not only have no continuity, lasting only one-sixty-fifth of the time of a finger snap, but also because they are non-determining and, therefore, not apprehensions. In the mental continuums of aryas, such tiniest moments of mental bare cognition are valid apprehensions, as has been seen, but as they have no continuity, they too do not induce this type of subsequent cognition. The type of mental bare cognition that does have subsequent cognition, therefore, is advanced awareness (mngon-shes), such as cognizing someone else’s thoughts, when such mental cognitions are valid and have continuity.
All instances of bare cognition by reflexive awareness likewise do not necessarily induce subsequent cognitions, only some do. Those cognizing the tiniest moment of mental bare cognition following a sequence of sensory bare cognition in the mental continuum of an ordinary being are disqualified because they are both non-determining and have no continuity. But even some valid initial phases of the bare cognition of reflexive awareness may have no continuity. An example would be that which witnesses the last moment of valid conceptual mental cognition of the selflessness of persons on the mental continuum of an ordinary being just before they attain valid bare yogic cognition of it for the first time and become an arya. Their reflexive awareness lacking the ability to comprehend its object non-conceptually comes to an end and generates no subsequent moments, while the next instance of the functioning of this mental faculty becomes qualitatively different. It now both witnesses and comprehends their bare yogic cognition of the selflessness of persons.
After an initial valid phase of bare yogic cognition, subsequent cognition of such cognitions and of the reflexive awareness cognizing them will ensue in the mental continuums of aryas, even Hinayana arhats, except Buddhas.
Subsequent Cognition of a Bare Cognition in General
The second phase of a bare cognition can be included as a subsequent cognition that is not (specifically) any of those four.
Valid sensory bare cognition is a valid bare cognition, and so are valid bare cognitions that are mental, yogic and those of reflexive awareness. These are only one-way pervasions, however, because valid bare cognition is not necessarily sensory. It may be mental. Therefore, valid bare cognition itself cannot be limited to or specified as being any of its four types. This does not mean, however, that it constitutes a fifth category unto itself. Although valid bare cognition is neither sensory, mental, yogic or that of reflexive awareness in the sense of being limited to one of them, still there are no instances of it that exceed the boundaries defined by these four.
As explained above, within the context of a cognition, that which empowers the essential nature the consciousness to cognize an object visually, auditorily, or mentally and so forth is known as its dominating condition:
- For a sensory bare cognition, this is the physical cognitive sensor that it relies on – for instance, the photosensitive cells of the eyes
- For mental bare cognition, it is the mental sensor – namely, the immediately preceding moment of consciousness
- For bare cognition by reflexive awareness, it is the same dominating condition as that which generated the cognition it is aware of
- For bare yogic cognition, it is the force of combined shamatha and vipashyana.
Suppose you argued that valid bare cognition itself does not exist, because if it did, it would have to rely on one of these above dominating conditions and, if it did so, then it would be either sensory, mental and so forth, depending upon that on which it relied. Well, there is no such fault, otherwise the absurd conclusion would logically follow that a valid sensory bare cognition is not a valid bare cognition because there is no such thing. As seen above in the discussion of what qualifies a cognition as being fresh, a valid cognition is that which apprehends its object by its own power. Therefore, for valid bare cognition, the valid cognition itself can be cited as its own dominating condition. Thus, there is no fault in speaking of valid bare cognition as a valid way of knowing that does exist and is functional, not merely a theoretical, metaphysical entity or generalization. Nevertheless, it is not specifically in any of its own four types. If it has a continuum, its second phase, for instance, would be a subsequent cognition.
Subsequent Inferential Cognition
As for the second (type), it would be like the second phase of a valid inferential cognition.
You see smoke on a mountain. The first phase of your bare visual cognition is valid and, as an ordinary being, is followed by a sequence of a second phase of subsequent visual cognition still apprehending the place where there is smoke and then two non-determining moments, first one of visual bare cognition and then one of mental bare cognition continuing to assume the aspect of the smoke on the mountain.
Next, while your mind is still giving rise to a mental hologram of the smoky place on the mountain, although you may no longer be having visual cognition of it, you consider the syllogism, “The place that has smoke on that mountain is a place that has fire, because there is smoke present.” Your mind now conceptually gives rise to a mental hologram representing smoke and cognizes it through the categories of “smoke” and, sequentially, the categories of the three components (tshul-gsum) necessary to prove this syllogism:
- “Being something present on that mountain”
- “Being something present only at places that have fire”
- “Being something never present at places that do not have fire.”
The first phase of the conceptual cognition of each of these three components of the proof is a valid inferential cognition. Once you have apprehended any of the three components of this line of reasoning, if you continue to apprehend the next moment of that same component while relying on the power of the next moment of the mental sensors of the first phase of this inference, this is the subsequent cognition of an inferential cognition. When you go on to cognize the next component of the line of reasoning, this step in the proof does not end with a non-determining last moment of inference since an inferential cognition, being conceptual, cannot be non-determining.
Following this sequence of inferential cognition of each of the three components, you may then have the inferential cognition of fire as something present on the mountain. This can occur either while your conceptual mental cognition is still giving rise to a mental hologram of the smoky place on the mountain together with a fire present there – either with or without also visually cognizing that smokey place – or while your mental cognition is giving rise simply to a mental hologram of a fire present on the mountain. In either case, however, your mental consciousness will freshly and conceptually assume the aspect of a fire there.
The first phase of this fresh apprehension is also a valid inferential cognition, this time of fire, not smoke. Although it is based on a valid line of reasoning already apprehended, still because it applies this line of reasoning by the power of its mental sensors in order to cognize a new mental object, namely the fire, it is valid. It too can be followed by a second subsequent phase of cognition of the same. If you become inattentive after all of this, for instance because of mental wandering, your inferential cognition is terminated, and your inattentive state would be in one of a variety of other categories of mental cognition.
Recollection as a Type of Subsequent Cognition That Is Neither a Bare Cognition Nor an Inferential Cognition
As for the third, it would be like a decisive cognition induced by a specific (previous) bare cognition or inferential cognition
A cognition with which you are once more attentive of something is synonymous with a recollection (dran-pa). As mentioned in the previous chapter, you cannot remember non-determining cognitions or items that you do not pay attention to within the cognitive field of the appearing object of a cognition. But you can recall both valid and other types of invalid cognitions with which you paid attention to some object. If your recollection is of something you did not originally apprehend when you attentively cognized it, such as with a presumptive cognition, indecisive wavering or distorted cognition, this remembrance cannot be considered as a subsequent cognition because it too will have no apprehension. But if your recollection is induced by a prior valid bare cognition or valid inferential cognition of something, it is a subsequent cognition because it validly apprehends what has already been apprehended. This is quite different, however, from a subsequent cognition following immediately after either type of valid cognition.
Consider the above example involving seeing smoke on a mountain. The first phase of bare visual cognition of it, free from all conceptualizations, is a valid cognition of it, while the subsequent second phase still apprehending it is not valid because it does not do so under its own power: it is not fresh. It is, however, a type of bare cognition because it does not rely on the medium of concepts; it is non-conceptual. You may go away for a while and upon returning, look once more at the mountain and still see smoke. The first phase of that, which apprehends the smoke by its own power through reliance on the eye-sensors, is again a valid bare visual cognition of the smoke. It can again have a subsequent second phase in the category of bare cognition.
The situation is not at all the same when you go away and then remember seeing the smoke. This is a cognition of what you were already certain of because you previously had validly cognized it with bare visual cognition. Your recollection of it, however, is by a conceptual, mental cognition through the medium of an object category, “smoke.” It is not bare cognition and, although a mental hologram of smoke on the mountain arises in your conceptual cognition, it does not arise from the smoke being present as the focal condition for this cognition.
The recollection apprehends what has been previously apprehended, namely the smoke, both accurately and decisively. However, even its first moment is invalid because it does not cognize the smoke empowered simply by the mental sensors that are its dominant condition. To arise, it must rely on your previous valid bare cognition of some previous moment of the smoke. It is therefore a subsequent cognition of the smoke, but because it is conceptual, it cannot be considered bare cognition. And because it does not rely on a line of reasoning, whether valid or not, it cannot be in the category of inferential cognition either. Thus, it is an example of a subsequent cognition in neither category. Even its first phase is an invalid, subsequent cognition. This is because although it arises with a new involved object different from that of its immediately preceding moment of consciousness and establishes decisive awareness afresh, nevertheless, it does not apprehend its object from its own power. Therefore, it is not pervasive that if a cognition apprehends a new object, it does so freshly by its own power.
Next consider the case of the inferential cognition of the presence of fire at the place on the mountain where there is smoke. The first phase of this cognition which depends directly on the previously apprehended valid line of reasoning, “Where there is a smoke there is fire” and which apprehends the new object, fire, freshly by its own power is valid and conceptual. The second phase of subsequent cognition immediately following upon it is still a type of inferential cognition because it too relies on this line of reasoning, although not directly as in the former case, but only indirectly. It does not apprehend the fire by its own power and thus is invalid.
Later you may again cognize the fact that there was fire on the mountain. If you do so by directly relying on the valid line of reasoning once more, the first phase of your cognition will be a valid inferential cognition as before, followed by a second phase of subsequent cognition in the category of inference. You may, however, merely remember that there was fire on that mountain, without this apprehension actually arising by reliance on the line of reasoning at all. Previously, you had relied upon it and that is how you gained decisiveness that there must have been fire there. But now, with subsequent cognition, you simply apprehend once more this fact that you have already apprehended, but without reasoning it out logically again. Like your initial inferential cognition, this cognition is also conceptual and therefore not a type of bare cognition. However, since it does not rely on a valid line of reasoning, not even indirectly, it cannot be a type of inferential cognition either. And even its first phase is invalid because although it apprehends a new object accurately and with certainty and establishes decisive awareness anew, it does not do so by its own power. Therefore, this too is an example of a subsequent cognition that is neither of a bare cognition nor an inferential cognition.
The Second Phase of a Valid Cognition in General
and, for example, the second phase of a valid cognition.
Like the discussion of bare cognition, specific valid ways of knowing may be included as a type of either bare cognition or inferential cognition. A bare cognition is a valid way of knowing, as is an inferential cognition. But the pervasion is only one-way. A valid way of knowing is not a bare cognition, because if it were it would absurdly follow that an inferential cognition is a bare cognition because an inferential cognition is a valid way of knowing. Therefore, a valid way of knowing, itself, is neither a bare cognition nor an inferential cognition. Likewise, the subsequent cognition of a valid way of knowing having continuity is of neither of these two categories.
Although cognitions of what you were already certain of because of a previous valid knowing of it and second phases of continuums of a valid way of knowing itself are both subsequent cognitions of neither bare cognitions nor inferential cognitions, one major difference should be noted. The former, as recollections, constitute a separate category different from subsequent cognitions of bare cognition and inferential cognition. The latter, however, while not fitting specifically into either of these two categories, do not exceed their boundaries and so do not qualify to be placed in a third alternative from the two.
In short, they may be condensed into two: (1) conceptual subsequent cognition and (2) non-conceptual subsequent cognition.
Bare cognition and inferential cognition are non-conceptual and conceptual respectively. Therefore, so are their subsequent cognitions. Recollections are always conceptual, whether their certainty was induced by a bare cognition or by an inferential cognition. Thus, if it is a bare cognition, it is non-conceptual, and if it is a conceptual cognition it is mental. But if it is mental, it is not necessarily conceptual, as in the case of mental bare cognition. Furthermore, if it is inferential cognition it is conceptual, but if it is conceptual it is not necessarily inferential, as in the case of recollection.
Specific valid ways of knowing must be either conceptual or non-conceptual. There is no third alternative. But a valid way of knowing itself, is neither of the two, because if it were synonymous with being one of them, many absurd conclusions would follow as illustrated before. The same holds true for subsequent cognitions of valid way of knowing with continuity. Therefore, the text says, In short, (all these varieties of subsequent cognition) may be condensed into two. It does not say that all may be of only two sorts.