thoughts vs. emotions

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Johnny Dangerous
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thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am

For the Mahamudra/Semde instructions which involve looking at the color, shape, coming and going etc. of thoughts, does one practice with what we term "emotions" in the same way? There is no distinction made here between emotion and thought is there? Meaning, if I perceive a jolt of sadness arising, as an example (rather than what i'd think of as a discrete "thought" - something involving language or labeling) the instruction stays the same right?

To get into why I am asking this:

In the western world (hell maybe all of it) we all meditate (well, I do, and I assume lots of others do too) with incorrect assumption of mind/body dualism to some degree. Which means that I (perhaps erroneously) perceive emotions as being "in my body" and thoughts "in my mind". I can think of a number of ways to approach this, but I am wondering if it's best to just treat all phenomena I experience as "thoughts", recognize all phenomena are indeed mind intellectually, and to simply realize these distinctions are incorrect, or whether I should make a practice of examining the arbitrary distinctions themselves, as they themselves are "thoughts".

So actually, I would ask for the same reason whether in this particular instruction, sense data can also count as "thoughts".



Feel free to PM if you feel public explanation is inappropriate.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Simon E. » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:04 am

PM sent Johnny.

:namaste:
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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:29 am

I’ve always thought of it as ‘the wheel of thought and emotion’. They’re both viscerally connected. I suspect that this is what is meant in the traditional texts by ‘the passions’.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by heart » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:59 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am
For the Mahamudra/Semde instructions which involve looking at the color, shape, coming and going etc. of thoughts, does one practice with what we term "emotions" in the same way? There is no distinction made here between emotion and thought is there? Meaning, if I perceive a jolt of sadness arising, as an example (rather than what i'd think of as a discrete "thought" - something involving language or labeling) the instruction stays the same right?

To get into why I am asking this:

In the western world (hell maybe all of it) we all meditate (well, I do, and I assume lots of others do too) with incorrect assumption of mind/body dualism to some degree. Which means that I (perhaps erroneously) perceive emotions as being "in my body" and thoughts "in my mind". I can think of a number of ways to approach this, but I am wondering if it's best to just treat all phenomena I experience as "thoughts", recognize all phenomena are indeed mind intellectually, and to simply realize these distinctions are incorrect, or whether I should make a practice of examining the arbitrary distinctions themselves, as they themselves are "thoughts".

So actually, I would ask for the same reason whether in this particular instruction, sense data can also count as "thoughts".



Feel free to PM if you feel public explanation is inappropriate.
Yes, emotions are thoughts, at least according to CNR. Sense data are considered non-conceptual in their raw form but of course they are immediately labeled.

/magnus
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"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Astus » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am
For the Mahamudra/Semde instructions which involve looking at the color, shape, coming and going etc. of thoughts, does one practice with what we term "emotions" in the same way?
It could be said that when it comes to analysing appearances on the mental side, also called the moving mind, then generating strong emotions is the recommended way at the beginning.
There is no distinction made here between emotion and thought is there?
Only to the extent of their obvious nature, of how strong they appear. That's why first using anger and lust is easier.
So actually, I would ask for the same reason whether in this particular instruction, sense data can also count as "thoughts".
Check out the 9th Karmapa's instructions on meditating on appearances. Step one: appearances are mind.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by LastLegend » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 pm

Thought is more of imprint habits from multiple past life characterized as delusion sustained and perpetuated by discriminating consciousness and intention. Emotion is more on the side of fruits or effects. All together is roughly called ignorance.
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that is not relying on anything.

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:59 pm

Guys, thanks for all the responses. I'm interested in how this question functions in practice in Mahamudra. practice instruction, not the larger philosophical question so much. Astus: seems like establishing that all appearances are mind is the standard direction, thanks.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by LastLegend » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:18 pm

🤙
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that is not relying on anything.

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Grigoris » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:33 pm

My limited grasp of Abhidharma leads me to believe that emotions are just mind sensations, or sensory objects of mind. So that means they are no different to thoughts. Emotions like fear or anger, for example, seem to take place in the body, they actually belong to mind; although they influence the body.

Painful or pleasant sensations occur through the body, but the suffering or joy (mental/emotional states) that arises from them, occurs in the mind.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
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"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by LastLegend » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:59 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:33 pm
My limited grasp of Abhidharma leads me to believe that emotions are just mind sensations, or sensory objects of mind. So that means they are no different to thoughts. Although emotions like fear or anger, for example, seem to take place in the body (feeling), they actually belong to mind; though they influence the body.

Painful or pleasant sensations occur through the body, but the suffering or joy (mental/emotional states) that arises from them, occurs in the mind.
Hi,

I was informed a realized being (who passed the gate of samsara) still feels physical pain but they don’t have mental afflictions.
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that is not relying on anything.

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Astus » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:48 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:59 pm
seems like establishing that all appearances are mind is the standard direction
Yes, that it is. It should also be kept in mind that emotions fall under the category of samskara within the five aggregates, and under the mental concomitants (caitasika) within the abhidharma systems, often as primary and secondary afflictions (klesa & upaklesa). As for the basic feelings (vedana) of pleasant, painful, and neutral, they too exist as mental phenomena. But all that is basic Buddhism, not particularly Mahamudra, however, it serves as the fundamental perspective on what is what. I recommend this teaching on Bringing Obstacles to the Path that gives a practical perspective.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by conebeckham » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:05 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am
For the Mahamudra/Semde instructions which involve looking at the color, shape, coming and going etc. of thoughts, does one practice with what we term "emotions" in the same way? There is no distinction made here between emotion and thought is there? Meaning, if I perceive a jolt of sadness arising, as an example (rather than what i'd think of as a discrete "thought" - something involving language or labeling) the instruction stays the same right?

To get into why I am asking this:

In the western world (hell maybe all of it) we all meditate (well, I do, and I assume lots of others do too) with incorrect assumption of mind/body dualism to some degree. Which means that I (perhaps erroneously) perceive emotions as being "in my body" and thoughts "in my mind". I can think of a number of ways to approach this, but I am wondering if it's best to just treat all phenomena I experience as "thoughts", recognize all phenomena are indeed mind intellectually, and to simply realize these distinctions are incorrect, or whether I should make a practice of examining the arbitrary distinctions themselves, as they themselves are "thoughts".

So actually, I would ask for the same reason whether in this particular instruction, sense data can also count as "thoughts".
In Mahamudra, we work with the mind, and sensations and emotions, wherever they are "felt," are in fact arising for us mentally, in the mind. In that sense, they are equivalent to "thoughts." All these are arising conditioned phenomena.

From the POV of practice, discussions or techniques regarding "creating" or "Stimulating" strong emotion are indeed valuable methods, but they are not for beginners. For beginners, one should simply recognize their arisal, and not attach. It is only with some stability that the active stimulation of emotional states is useful.
དམ་པའི་དོན་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
རྟོག་གེའི་ཡུལ་མིན་བླ་མའི་བྱིན་རླབས་དང་།
སྐལ་ལྡན་ལས་འཕྲོ་ཅན་གྱིས་རྟོགས་པ་སྟེ།
དེ་ནི་ཤེས་རབ་ལ་ནི་ལོ་རྟོག་སེལ།།


"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:22 pm

Just rereading through Pointing Out The Dharmakaya, speaking of Thrangu Rinpoche; and there's a whole section on ascertaining whether the body and mind are different or the same, seems like a good starting point for me.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:23 am

conebeckham wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:05 pm
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am
For the Mahamudra/Semde instructions which involve looking at the color, shape, coming and going etc. of thoughts, does one practice with what we term "emotions" in the same way? There is no distinction made here between emotion and thought is there? Meaning, if I perceive a jolt of sadness arising, as an example (rather than what i'd think of as a discrete "thought" - something involving language or labeling) the instruction stays the same right?

To get into why I am asking this:

In the western world (hell maybe all of it) we all meditate (well, I do, and I assume lots of others do too) with incorrect assumption of mind/body dualism to some degree. Which means that I (perhaps erroneously) perceive emotions as being "in my body" and thoughts "in my mind". I can think of a number of ways to approach this, but I am wondering if it's best to just treat all phenomena I experience as "thoughts", recognize all phenomena are indeed mind intellectually, and to simply realize these distinctions are incorrect, or whether I should make a practice of examining the arbitrary distinctions themselves, as they themselves are "thoughts".

So actually, I would ask for the same reason whether in this particular instruction, sense data can also count as "thoughts".
In Mahamudra, we work with the mind, and sensations and emotions, wherever they are "felt," are in fact arising for us mentally, in the mind. In that sense, they are equivalent to "thoughts." All these are arising conditioned phenomena.

From the POV of practice, discussions or techniques regarding "creating" or "Stimulating" strong emotion are indeed valuable methods, but they are not for beginners. For beginners, one should simply recognize their arisal, and not attach. It is only with some stability that the active stimulation of emotional states is useful.

That's interesting Cone, I've seen some teachers teach this kind of thing "right out of the box", but I can see some reasons it wouldn't be useful to beginners.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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