If I am a function of the brain, are my eyes seeing or am I seeing through my eyes?
Who would it be, exactly, that is seeing through your eyes? This is not just a philosophical question, but an issue that goes to very heart of modern neuroscience as well as the Buddhist tradition.
We tend to think of our body as some sort of vehicle occupied by a "manikin" or homunculus sitting in the brain. He constantly monitors two video screens coming from the eyes, speaks into a microphone going to the mouth, and directs the movement of our limbs. But this is not the case (and it begs the question as to who or what is sitting in the "brain' of the homunculus).
What we call "sight" is not a passive recording of the scene "out there" but a gestalt of our awareness that gets processed continually at many different levels perceptually and neurologically. It is greatly influenced by our interests and needs, our conditioning, and the imperative to survive.
_Written by J. Trevor Woodhams, M.D. - Chief of Surgery, Woodhams Eye Clinic