tobes wrote:The issue of controversy here seems to be something like: is it possible to establish a materialist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without making any discursive/conceptual imputations?
I don't think that is the controversy. To establish any view requires concepts. The issue is should we use Buddhists ones or the ones we are familiar with? If we use Buddhist ones we can get a bit stuck. Especially through the adoption of Buddhist cosmology. If we use materialist ones we can relax. We understand evolution and don't have to substitute a Buddhist concept. We understand that causality is not always personal.
On a conventional level, causation is not always personal, only karmic causation is personal.
We understand that objects obey laws that weren't made by beings.
Beings don't make up laws; if you think this, you have not understood anything.
We understand that there is a past and a future.
The past no longer exists, the future hasn't yet occurred.
There is space/time. Light from the sun takes millions of years to get to the surface of the sun and when it does it takes a mere 8 minutes to get to us on Earth. All of these things are readily accepted.
This is all merely conventional.
We can let go of our concepts much sooner than those who take the mind to be the source of everything. Or who have the idea that the essence of mind is emptiness.
It does not appear that way from where I sit.
What Thigle has been saying is that non-fixation is a fact. Or needs to be a fact. It needs to be absolutely obvious. The sooner concepts are dropped regarding mind, then the sooner the factual status of non-fixation can come about. Milarepa sang that appearances were his texts. This is an extraordinarily important point. But if we hold to a Buddhist view regarding the primacy of mind, it is very hard to see appearances as texts. We are always adding to the appearances rather than just letting them be in their own nature whilst we are also in that nature.
Milarepa also understood that are appearances existed as mind.
The Mahamudra instruction regarding locating the mind (in this case mental consciousness) is not really weakened by saying that mental consciousness is in the brain.
Of course it is -- you've just given the mind a location.
Those who adopt Buddhist views of the pre-eminence of mind (and I have done this), are not able to let go of subtle concepts regarding mind. Since they cannot let go of these subtle concepts regarding mind, they are not able to progress. That is the long and short of it. If you understand consciousness is located in the brain then go with that. The sooner you are able to have a direct experience of reality not mediated through concepts then the better you'll be.
Consciousness is not located in the brain. It is located, conventionally, in the center of the body.