Generally speaking, when I have been involved in debates, discussions and research projects involving the concept of human consciousness over the years, the general consensus
According to neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert, the brain has evolved simply to move the body through the evolutionary environment in a manner that efficiently enhances the chances of survival.
Given that the Buddha’s theory of mind is purely materialistic (with conscious awareness being a special arrangement of matter due to the evolutionary process as described by the Buddha in the Agganna Sutta), why is Buddhism still often misrepresented as a ‘religion’?
The psychological and the material are inherently linked at source, with one influencing the other, but with human intention (as structured and directed thought) having the decisive factor for modern human beings. This is despite the fact that during the millions of years of human evolution it has been physical change that has had the upper hand. This change, premised entirely upon environmental pressure and the need to survive, has created the physical structure of the brain that eventually became aware of its own existence.
The only reason we take suffering over inspirational thought is because we have been trained to do so by those who would capitalise on our self-imposed limitations.
‘The physical material of the universal itself is not necessarily morally corrupt as it exists, but rather is made so by a mind projecting a distorted meaning onto, and into it. However, as the karmic fruits of an individual actually ‘pull’ a physical world into place, even morally inert matter is designed, through circumstance, to create experiences relevant to the karmic root actions themselves. Early Buddhism envisages 31 such states of existence that are only transcended through the experience of enlightenment at the point of the death of the last karmically inspired physical existence. Until that time, the mind appears to ‘burn’ with sensation and obsessive thought patterns that inspire actions that inevitably lead to further effects. This mechanism that sees the mind fabric intimately entwined with the physical world, has to be prevent from functioning in an unquestioned manner. The power of habit moves in one perpetuating direction, as like a piece of metal drawn to a strong magnet. Habitual tendencies appear ‘normal’ because they are familiar. Delusion is a comfortable state that ‘hurts’ those residing within it. The pain of delusion is never associated with the ‘delusion’ itself. The human will (cetana) is the Buddha’s key to suffering and its over-coming.’