Hello, I'm new here and have been lurking in this thread for some time, because I find all this very interesting. I would like to comment on the question of whether consciousness could be somehow generated by our nervous system. Although I did read most of this thread, I don't exactly remember all of it so perhaps this has been mentioned before. I Guess most people on this forum seem to have come to the the insight or conclusion that consciousness itself is not “made up” of any forms of matter, be it physical or subtle (“chi”, or whatever else), and I agree on this. I also see it as the formless in which all these forms appear. If this is true, then it is not logically possible that consciousness is generated by our body. Forms can only generate forms, something that is not form has no causality with forms, rather, it has no causality at all. Or simply put, since our bodies are made up of matter, they are not able to generate something (consciousness) which is not matter at all. This then also explains why we all share the “same” consciousness, because for multiple separate consciousnesses to exist, it has to be limited by space and time. Obviously something which is formless has no such limitations, because per definition they only apply to that which is form.
Besides this I saw a few other good pointers in the thread about consciousness ultimately being independent on a working brain, like the occurrence of NDE ‘s, and the fact that consciousness is like an eye, seeing itself. This implies that it is both observer and observed, integrated as one whole, which somehow I don't think is a property that can be ascribed to forms/matter.
An other interesting issue which presents itself is, why consciousness seems to appear in conjuncture with the body (and how could that be if they are not causally related?). The experience of consciousness and the body going hand in hand (most of the time, anyway), probably gave rise to the idea that consciousness could be "created" by it in the first place. If I had to guess and use a few sentences to put this into words (which is quite hard), I would say that to me it appears that the nature of both forms and the formless is one, which means that in essence, everything is consciousness (or Tao/God or whatever we like to call it). Also, it takes form for consciousness to realize itself, hence both forms and the formless need to exist. In our human day-to-day case, it is our nervous system that allows consciousness to focus on itself. But the nervous system is a limited form (as are all forms), which means that we are limited in what we can be conscious of. This creates the illusion of separation, and may well also fuel the idea that there are multiple consciousnesses, appearing to be somehow connected to each individual's body. I may be a little vague here, and not really giving much of a true explanation, but this idea is kind of still developing for me (and perhaps others could comment on this).
On a side note, I have always found the original question of this thread to be a very fascinating one myself also (what am I?). Though I agree that in language we couldn't get much closer as to pointing out that we are consciousness (or whatever term one likes to use), I also get the feeling that when one does not pose this question at all, the “need” for an identity seems to fade to the background. Lately in my experience, at times the feeling has come that “life is”, without the need to conceptualize it, and this also feels sufficient... even much more than that. Though this doesn't in any way negate the fact that pondering on the nature of our existence can be very interesting. I'm quite sure the last word on this issue hasn't been written yet.