Originally posted by lucifershammer
Is the pure consciousness aware of the existence of illusion?
"Pure consciousness" is simply a fancy term for the mind when at rest -- that is, undisturbed by choatic or deluded thought. A good analogy is that of a lake at night time that is perfectly calm, when the Moon is shining.
A calm lake can reflect the image of the Moon in a clear and stable fashion. If the lake is wavey, or choppy, or otherwise agitated, then what is reflected from the night sky is not one Moon, but many -- fragmented, divided -- multiplicity, the universe of division.
But the clear lake doesn't choose whether or not to reflect the Moon. It simply reflects it if the Moon is there.
And even better analogy is perhaps that of a mirror. A mirror simply reflects what is put before it. If the mirror is clean and clear of dust, it reflects clearly.
Consciousness is something like a mirror (and in Zen, the term "empty mirror" is commonly used as an expression for the clear mind).
The calm mind, the mind at rest, does not mean that the mind has no thoughts. It simply means that thoughts are clear, economical (that is, not racing or jumbled or chaotic). The idea there is that when one needs to think, one thinks, and when not, the minds relaxes. Sort of like how we use our legs to walk; but if we are sitting watching TV, and our legs are still moving as if we are walking, then we are probably insane. Similarly, for the mind to be churning out chaotic thoughts unrelated to anything is basically the source of illusion, or illusory views of reality. A kind of socially acceptable madness, you might say.
For a calm/disciplined mind, or a mind trained by meditation, the "pure consciousness" that is always present "in the background" (so to speak) is simply aware of whatever arises within
it -- including all thoughts. These thoughts could be based on illusion or reality. So yes, I'd say that "pure consciousness is aware of illusion", but it doesn't identify with it. If we (as consciousness) identify with illusion, then we're no longer awake. Essentially, we've fallen asleep, even if to the world we seem to be "normal" or awake.