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thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:02 am
by Johnny Dangerous
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:04 am
by Simon E.
PM sent Johnny.

:namaste:

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:29 am
by Wayfarer
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’.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:59 am
by heart
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

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 pm
by Astus
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:26 pm
by LastLegend
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:59 pm
by Johnny Dangerous
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:18 pm
by LastLegend
🤙

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:33 pm
by Grigoris
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:59 pm
by LastLegend
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:48 pm
by Astus
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:05 pm
by conebeckham
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:22 pm
by Johnny Dangerous
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.

Re: thoughts vs. emotions

Posted: Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:23 am
by Johnny Dangerous
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.