Several years ago, to the shock of French doctors, a man in 2003 who had gone to a hospital complaining of a slight weakness in his left leg was discovered to have what can only be likened to a black hole for a brain! He was a 44 year old, tax official, married with two children with an IQ of about 75. Judging by the man’s day to day life he was normal. He faced no major neurological problems in his life despite the fact that he had no normal human brain. He managed his life with only a thin sheet of actual brain tissue which was on the inner walls of the cranium.
For the vociferous advocates of "our mind is created from brain cells" this is like someone falling off the Empire State building and walking away from it. No extant scientific models can explain it. We also have to keep in mind something the late Carl Sagan said about consciousness. He said in his book, Cosmos, on page 229, that the cerebral cortex transforms matter into consciousness! (Nobody has ever proved Sagan’s incredible claim.) But where was the cerebral cortex in our French tax official’s skull?
Maybe it is time for our neuroscientists to go back to the drawing board. This brings me to Donald Hoffman’s theory of “conscious realism” that can be found in his paper, “Conscious Realism and the Mind-Body Problem” which underscores the fact that we are not our brain. Not wishing to oversimplify his work, what I get out of it is that he turns upside down the present theory that mind or consciousness arises from brain cells. He proposes that “consciousness creates brain activity, and indeed creates all objects and properties of the physical world.” The thrust of conscious realism is that our world consists of conscious agents, not a world of unconscious particles and fields. Consciousness is first; matter and fields depend on it for their very existence. (I have not gone into Hoffman’s Multimodal User Interface or MUI. It is much too heady for this blog. I shall leave it up to the reader.)
This is about as close as it gets to the Lankavatara Sutra via Western science. By the way, think of Hoffman's "conscious agents" a sattvas and all this term implies (which is a lot).