What does "cessation of consciousness" mean?

There is a lot of controversy around interpreting this phrase, including

The Pali is viññāṇassa nirodhena built from the words

So "cessation of divided knowing" would be my preferred translation. So what does that mean? If we look at the advice to Bahiya (Ud 1.10), "In seeing, let there be only seeing, in hearing only hearing, in sensing only sensing, in cognizing only cognizing", it implies experiencing sensory input without chopping it up into discrete objects. This fits well with the verses at end of that sutta:

In other words, an escape from duality. This same teaching is found in the verses at Ud 8.1 and at the end of DN 11. Furthermore DN 11 ends with "With the cessation of viññāṇa [divided-knowing], all this come to an end."

So I'd say "cessation of consciousness" implies to "stop believing your conceptualizing." Experience reality 'raw' and don't be fooled by your (necessary) conceptualizing.

As I'm sure you have noticed during this crazy political season, so many people are lost in their concepts without ever analyzing why they are holding these concepts. Well, we do that all the time with our concepts! The Buddha says "don't do that - see beyond the dualities, especially the duality of pleasure and pain (vedana) so you won't fall into craving and clinging."

This is not an orthodox interpretation! It's my interpretation based on my study and practice. And I feel comfortable enough with it that I'd be willing to debate anyone on this matter. But you are unlikely to find anyone else who would agree with me right off the bat. So there's your caveat.

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