What is the location of the mind

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Punya
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Punya » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:38 pm

I admit to simplification too. I'm familiar with the Yogacara presentation and if I'm understanding it correctly they say that the 8th conciousness gets extinguished upon reaching Buddhahood. What I'm not clear on is what the Madhyamika Prasangika's presentation is.
We follow a spiritual path because we want to defeat our emotions and attain enlightenment, and to achieve that goal we need discipline, guidance and the courage to confront everything we have spent many lifetimes trying to avoid.
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Matt J
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Matt J » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:18 pm

That is actually the third extreme. The fourth is to say neither.

Ambrosius80 wrote:Yes, the mind both exists and then again doesn't really exist at the same time, as is evident by my presentation. The aggregates that form it change from moment to moment.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Aemilius » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:37 am

Punya wrote:I admit to simplification too. I'm familiar with the Yogacara presentation and if I'm understanding it correctly they say that the 8th conciousness gets extinguished upon reaching Buddhahood. What I'm not clear on is what the Madhyamika Prasangika's presentation is.

Madhyamaka doesn't use the idea or concept of 8th consciousness. But they say if consciousness gets extinguished in the attainment of nirvana, who would there be to experience nirvana? (-Nagarjuna in Reason Sixty with Chandrakirti's commentary). This can't be the case because people like Buddha have attained and experienced Nirvana!
svaha

Punya
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Punya » Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:03 pm

Thank you Aemilius, this is very helpful. I will put this book on my reading list. Happily, I am about to begin some further Madhyamaka studies.
We follow a spiritual path because we want to defeat our emotions and attain enlightenment, and to achieve that goal we need discipline, guidance and the courage to confront everything we have spent many lifetimes trying to avoid.
~Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

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Supramundane
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:26 am

I think this topic didn’t go the way I wanted because I lack the vocabulary to express my thoughts. Without the theoretical Buddhist framework with which to structure my writing, a lot of things I say miss the mark. I think what I have to do is read a lot of sutras in order to couch my language in the proper forms. In any case, let me give it another shot.

I think that life on earth originally came from the ocean; this is the intuition (as of yet unproven) of most scientists. But I would like to go a step further and say that life on earth didn’t only come from the ocean but IS the ocean. The ocean is alive. Water is a magical substance that conducts trillions of interactions on a molecular level, unlike anything else. One could almost say it is alive. And you wouldn’t be far off. I have always wondered about the status of water; it is inorganic and yet we can ingest it. ingesting any other inorganic material would kill us or make us very sick. So is water organic or inorganic?? It is the anomaly that allows life. (and this is why I predict we will never find life on Mars, etc. there is no ocean there)

I think that once there was an ocean, that ocean came alive and is the one and only life form on this planet. We are loath to admit this, as we have to arrogance to believe that we are the Masters of this planet, and it was made for us by some distant God who conveniently resembles us and mirrors us. the truth is nothing like this: and incrementally, thinkers like Copernicus and Darwin have demonstrated to us that we are not the center of the universe; we are not even the king of the animals…. Freud showed us we are not even masters of ourselves (the unconscious mind determines many of our actions).

The astounding truth could be that all forms of life are part of the one great life form, the ocean. We are reflections of it, billions and trillions of entities, different faces of one entity with only one mission: to survive, taking on whatever form is most efficient and splitting into different species and life forms simply in the name of diversification…. This is why we cannot create life in the lab. there is only one life on Earth and will only ever be one form of life.

The Buddha came to this conclusion, not through a study of evolution, but through a study of the Mind. Through self-examination and reason, he was able to pin down the very nature of our existence: emptiness, selfless-ness, impermanence, with desire as the controlling factor. Desire leads to suffering and delusion. We are unable to see our true nature. Compassion is the only way forward because we are all interconnected, all living beings. more than our egos let us realize.

There is no collective mind or shared mind: otherwise the Buddha would have said this outright without reservation. Our minds are all clearly individual but they are interdependent in a way I find hard to express, overlapping in some ways, but not shared. I used the metaphor of language because it seemed the closest one I could find: language is a shared infrastructure to communicate thoughts and although it is shared, this “sharing” does not permit telepathy, etc. One mind does not exist alone, nor could it. It is like a computer hooked up to a vast network.

Four of the five aggregates are mind. And all of them are anicca. Samjna, sankhara, vijnana, vedana, all are skandhas of the mind. What we are is mostly mind. Rupa is our material form and it is only one of five. We can speak of citta, manno and vinnana…. All are impermanent… But is there not a diamond core of the mind that we all have? A diamond core that is not dependent and which is not empty?

Is there an ‘original mind’ to be distinguished from the ‘originating mind’? is this original mind the Buddhakaya?

When I ask about the location of the mind, this is what I am asking about.
Thx

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Supramundane
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:26 am

I think the main problem of Buddhism is that i feel you virtually need a Phd to understand it (and a degree in Philology would help too!). I am 51 years old.... not much time left on this earth. i have to figure it out fast. The truth of our existence is that we are born in a world where there seems to be no intrinsic meaning, only that we know we will soon die. when I read Buddhism and astrophysics they are the only disciplines that ring true. my time is running out...

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Ayu
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Ayu » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:19 am

Supramundane wrote:I think the main problem of Buddhism is that i feel you virtually need a Phd to understand it (and a degree in Philology would help too!). I am 51 years old.... not much time left on this earth. i have to figure it out fast. The truth of our existence is that we are born in a world where there seems to be no intrinsic meaning, only that we know we will soon die. when I read Buddhism and astrophysics they are the only disciplines that ring true. my time is running out...

Let me simply disagree, without getting deeper.
There are people without Phd, who understand Dharma well, because it is a science of the heart also.
And how much time you (or I) have... nobody knows. We do not know, for how long or short we'll live and how long it takes to understand something.
Time is short and on the other hand there will be enough of it always, because time has no "intrinsic existence" as well.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:20 am

Supramundane wrote:Is there an ‘original mind’ to be distinguished from the ‘originating mind’? is this original mind the Buddhakaya?


I liked your post and your writing, it is both poetic and metaphorically engaging. But it's not that closely related to Buddhism as such. It's like you're trying to reconcile evolutionary biology with spirituality, which is much more characteristic of what's happening generally in Western culture. Also the idea of there being a 'one mind' is much nearer Hindu or some forms of Greek philosophy (like Neoplatonism) or the search for the or a 'holy spirit'. Nothing that matter with that, but it's a different kind of quest to the Buddhist quest, which is clearly focussed on the nature of experience, cause of dukkha and ending of dukkha. Maybe it would help to be critically self-aware of the various sources of the ideas you're exploring.

As regards 'where is the mind' - it's important to understand that when you ask this question, you are trying to spatially locate the mind, to say where exactly it is - perhaps in the head? the chest? - at least, that seems the question you're asking.

There is an principle in the Upanisads (and you won't generally encounter it in Buddhist literature, but I think it is relevant). It is expressed as follows: the eye can see another, but it can't see itself. A knife can cut another, but it can't cut itself. The hand can grasp another, but it can't grasp itself.

That also applies to mind itself - the mind can see objects of awareness, but it can't make itself an object. It is the unknown knower, the unseen seer, the unthought thinker. So where is it? Common sensically, the mind is 'in the brain' but at the same time, the brain, and everything else, is known to the mind as the subject of experience. So asking where it is, or trying to locate it, is like 'the hand trying to grasp itself'. So it follows that:

Is there an ‘original mind’ to be distinguished from the ‘originating mind’?


Where is that question being posed, if not in the mind already? So asking the question 'where?' is exactly like the hand trying to grasp itself.

Our minds are all clearly individual but they are interdependent in a way I find hard to express, overlapping in some ways, but not shared.


But, we inhabit a common linguistic and cultural world, and we share a great deal through kinship, and even 'mirror neurons'. Consciousness is in some sense collective. I don't think that was articulated in early Buddhism, but it is very close to the meaning of 'alayavijnana', the store-house consciousness of Yogācāra. (There are also similar ideas in Western sources, e.g. Jung, and Hegel.)

But, as Ayu says, 'Buddhism is a science of the heart also'. That is something to be learned through 'just sitting'. Actually wrestling with 'where is the mind' is like a Zen koan, and maybe that's not co-incidental. It's not so much that it's complicated, but it takes the ability to see deeply into oneself, it takes self-knowledge.

The truth of our existence is that we are born in a world where there seems to be no intrinsic meaning, only that we know we will soon die.


That is definitely a 'cultural meme'. Many people in the modern Western world believe that to be true, but it's simply a narrative. You are also the universe waking up to itself, as we all are. The fact that you're asking the questions has great significance. Just stay with it.
Last edited by Wayfarer on Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby muni » Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:22 am

The Buddha came to this conclusion, not through a study of evolution, but through a study of the Mind. Through self-examination and reason, he was able to pin down the very nature of our existence: emptiness, selfless-ness, impermanence, with desire as the controlling factor. Desire leads to suffering and delusion. We are unable to see our true nature. Compassion is the only way forward because we are all interconnected, all living beings. more than our egos let us realize.


Yes, perhaps, like teachings explain; we cannot realize that because we identify with the wrong thing? Even we read or listen to the teachings, we are used to trust the thinking conceptual mind and it’s ideations and think when that one understands the Buddha’s teachings, understanding follows? Maybe when that one is becoming a bit tired, maybe then there is a chance? I don’t know.

Four Reliances? And yes, examinating, looking within.
http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/Cttb_B ... mplete.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPB75kgZ64

Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace. — Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Supramundane
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:27 am

muni wrote:
The Buddha came to this conclusion, not through a study of evolution, but through a study of the Mind. Through self-examination and reason, he was able to pin down the very nature of our existence: emptiness, selfless-ness, impermanence, with desire as the controlling factor. Desire leads to suffering and delusion. We are unable to see our true nature. Compassion is the only way forward because we are all interconnected, all living beings. more than our egos let us realize.


Yes, perhaps, like teachings explain; we cannot realize that because we identify with the wrong thing? Even we read or listen to the teachings, we are used to trust the thinking conceptual mind and it’s ideations and think when that one understands the Buddha’s teachings, understanding follows? Maybe when that one is becoming a bit tired, maybe then there is a chance? I don’t know.

Four Reliances? And yes, examinating, looking within.


thank you for your comment. the danger is that when we read or listen to teachings, as you say, people tend to hear whatever they want to hear. the deeper i go into Buddhism the more confused i get. it is like the heads of a hydra where i go into one concept and it breaks down into four more concepts; so i patiently go into those four new concepts and they in turn lead to four more ....!

and everything is in various dead languages... when i read posts from people here such as Malcolm, i really think the equivalent of a Phd is required. it is quite amazing how from Four Noble Truths a veritable web of concepts is derived. and yet the logic is inescapable, which is what i find compelling and which, i guess, keeps me coming back to learn more.

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:37 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Supramundane wrote:Is there an ‘original mind’ to be distinguished from the ‘originating mind’? is this original mind the Buddhakaya?


I liked your post and your writing, it is both poetic and metaphorically engaging. But it's not that closely related to Buddhism as such. It's like you're trying to reconcile evolutionary biology with spirituality, which is much more characteristic of what's happening generally in Western culture. Also the idea of there being a 'one mind' is much nearer Hindu or some forms of Greek philosophy (like Neoplatonism) or the search for the or a 'holy spirit'. Nothing that matter with that, but it's a different kind of quest to the Buddhist quest, which is clearly focussed on the nature of experience, cause of dukkha and ending of dukkha. Maybe it would help to be critically self-aware of the various sources of the ideas you're exploring.

As regards 'where is the mind' - it's important to understand that when you ask this question, you are trying to spatially locate the mind, to say where exactly it is - perhaps in the head? the chest? - at least, that seems the question you're asking.

There is an principle in the Upanisads (and you won't generally encounter it in Buddhist literature, but I think it is relevant). It is expressed as follows: the eye can see another, but it can't see itself. A knife can cut another, but it can't cut itself. The hand can grasp another, but it can't grasp itself.

That also applies to mind itself - the mind can see objects of awareness, but it can't make itself an object. It is the unknown knower, the unseen seer, the unthought thinker. So where is it? Common sensically, the mind is 'in the brain' but at the same time, the brain, and everything else, is known to the mind as the subject of experience. So asking where it is, or trying to locate it, is like 'the hand trying to grasp itself'. So it follows that:

Is there an ‘original mind’ to be distinguished from the ‘originating mind’?


Where is that question being posed, if not in the mind already? So asking the question 'where?' is exactly like the hand trying to grasp itself.

Our minds are all clearly individual but they are interdependent in a way I find hard to express, overlapping in some ways, but not shared.


But, we inhabit a common linguistic and cultural world, and we share a great deal through kinship, and even 'mirror neurons'. Consciousness is in some sense collective. I don't think that was articulated in early Buddhism, but it is very close to the meaning of 'alayavijnana', the store-house consciousness of Yogācāra. (There are also similar ideas in Western sources, e.g. Jung, and Hegel.)

But, as Ayu says, 'Buddhism is a science of the heart also'. That is something to be learned through 'just sitting'. Actually wrestling with 'where is the mind' is like a Zen koan, and maybe that's not co-incidental. It's not so much that it's complicated, but it takes the ability to see deeply into oneself, it takes self-knowledge.

The truth of our existence is that we are born in a world where there seems to be no intrinsic meaning, only that we know we will soon die.


That is definitely a 'cultural meme'. Many people in the modern Western world believe that to be true, but it's simply a narrative. You are also the universe waking up to itself, as we all are. The fact that you're asking the questions has great significance. Just stay with it.




one thought leads to another thought... all thoughts have a cause. but you're right: there is an awareness that is beyond our thought-chain. is that Mindfulness something special?

as you point out, i started from the standpoint of evolution because it seems to me to be unavoidable. i think it is valid to simply consider ourselves as we are ----here and now--- but consideration of how we got here does not undermine but strengthens the Buddha's original intuitions: everything is interconnected; everything is empty, constantly changing; desire is at the heart of all suffering.

perhaps the day we renounce our egoism and realize we are nothing but a nameless faceless animal, that is the day "we" die and wake up to a new reality.

thx for your comments btw

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:50 am

Ayu wrote:
Supramundane wrote:I think the main problem of Buddhism is that i feel you virtually need a Phd to understand it (and a degree in Philology would help too!). I am 51 years old.... not much time left on this earth. i have to figure it out fast. The truth of our existence is that we are born in a world where there seems to be no intrinsic meaning, only that we know we will soon die. when I read Buddhism and astrophysics they are the only disciplines that ring true. my time is running out...

Let me simply disagree, without getting deeper.
There are people without Phd, who understand Dharma well, because it is a science of the heart also.
And how much time you (or I) have... nobody knows. We do not know, for how long or short we'll live and how long it takes to understand something.
Time is short and on the other hand there will be enough of it always, because time has no "intrinsic existence" as well.


trust me, it is the equivalent of a Phd from where i'm sitting. Pali, Sanscrit terms, critical thinking: the hundreds of technical terms to memorize are not the main problem but the skill in knowing how to apply them and the importance of each, with everything being checked and cross-checked by logic and supported by reference to various arcane sutras - not to throw the Buddha out with the bathwater- but i would say it's a tall order for a prole such as myself.

if someone can understand the Dharma intuitively, it is not me. i just seem to come up with more and more questions. Reason and common sense can take you a long way in Buddhism; but not all the way.

as for not knowing when the end will come, i can tell you my friend, that i am closer to the end than to the beginning. i have to speed up the learning process. our lives are over in an instant. we are like quantum foam popping up and disappearing. most of us will die and leave no mark we ever existed. most of my life is spent working for other people, hammering away on my plastic keyboard like a mad pianist, so my boss can retire in the Caymans. the time i can devote to quiet thought and trying to figure everything out is limited. and the end is getting nearer and nearer. i am very conscious of it now.

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Matt J » Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:23 pm

You don't need a PhD or in-depth education to be a yogi--- that is for scholars. You need access to the teachings from some one who can provide practice instructions and resolve doubts, i.e. a teacher. Higher practices are often simpler, not more complicated. Hui Neng was traditionally presented as illiterate. Ju Mipham, a scholar's scholar, says that without much study or training, an ordinary village yogi can become realized.

Supramundane wrote:trust me, it is the equivalent of a Phd from where i'm sitting. Pali, Sanscrit terms, critical thinking: the hundreds of technical terms to memorize are not the main problem but the skill in knowing how to apply them and the importance of each, with everything being checked and cross-checked by logic and supported by reference to various arcane sutras - not to throw the Buddha out with the bathwater- but i would say it's a tall order for a prole such as myself.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/

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Wayfarer
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:24 pm

Supramundane wrote:perhaps the day we renounce our egoism and realize we are nothing but a nameless faceless animal...


In Buddhism, it is understood that humans are different from animals. Humans are capable of hearing the teachings and striving for liberation, which animals are not.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:09 am

Matt J wrote:You don't need a PhD or in-depth education to be a yogi--- that is for scholars. You need access to the teachings from some one who can provide practice instructions and resolve doubts, i.e. a teacher. Higher practices are often simpler, not more complicated. Hui Neng was traditionally presented as illiterate. Ju Mipham, a scholar's scholar, says that without much study or training, an ordinary village yogi can become realized.

Supramundane wrote:trust me, it is the equivalent of a Phd from where i'm sitting. Pali, Sanscrit terms, critical thinking: the hundreds of technical terms to memorize are not the main problem but the skill in knowing how to apply them and the importance of each, with everything being checked and cross-checked by logic and supported by reference to various arcane sutras - not to throw the Buddha out with the bathwater- but i would say it's a tall order for a prole such as myself.


Interesting! Maybe i just need one for dharmawheel hehe :tongue:

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Supramundane
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Sat Feb 11, 2017 1:12 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Supramundane wrote:perhaps the day we renounce our egoism and realize we are nothing but a nameless faceless animal...


In Buddhism, it is understood that humans are different from animals. Humans are capable of hearing the teachings and striving for liberation, which animals are not.


True!

But i think you get my drift.

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby muni » Mon Feb 13, 2017 9:31 am

You don't need a PhD or in-depth education to be a yogi

Maybe i just need one

Yogi? I am not sure about that. Even we would be surrounded by a million of yogis, would this help, when we are locked in the head-mind, even filled by nice phd's? 'Be' yogi to be open, benefitting... Just 'be' I remember a Master saying once.

We can easy be entangled by the variety of Buddhist teachings “to be free”. Not?

Perhaps recognizing that is not bad at all? Enlightened Guidance can help when there is faith, devotion.
http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/Cttb_B ... mplete.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPB75kgZ64

Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace. — Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

muni
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby muni » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:50 pm

There is a story about a frog who dwells in a well ( metaphor) and one day he gets visit by a frog living by the ocean (metaphor). The last one cannot explain, even with whatever which skills, the vastness of the ocean. Since the well-frog knows only its well, which is its’ entire world, there is nothing beyond that for him. But then the ocean frog takes the well frog with him to the ocean where the poor well frog gets a heart-attack/or other, by seeing such vastness. This frog is like mind and without appropriate guidance on the right moment, in the needful way, it is possible we turn even more confused when we explore the Buddha’s teachings within our own limitations. Therefore I see only one way out in such case and repeat myself ( that is becoming old, people say.): enlightened guidance together with our faith. :smile:

I found this: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/against ... -buddhism/
http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/Cttb_B ... mplete.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPB75kgZ64

Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace. — Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

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Supramundane
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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby Supramundane » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:23 am

muni wrote:There is a story about a frog who dwells in a well ( metaphor) and one day he gets visit by a frog living by the ocean (metaphor). The last one cannot explain, even with whatever which skills, the vastness of the ocean. Since the well-frog knows only its well, which is its’ entire world, there is nothing beyond that for him. But then the ocean frog takes the well frog with him to the ocean where the poor well frog gets a heart-attack/or other, by seeing such vastness. This frog is like mind and without appropriate guidance on the right moment, in the needful way, it is possible we turn even more confused when we explore the Buddha’s teachings within our own limitations. Therefore I see only one way out in such case and repeat myself ( that is becoming old, people say.): enlightened guidance together with our faith. :smile:

I found this: https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/against ... -buddhism/


thanks for your comments, muni. the frog in the well is good, but i once read a really good one using the moon as an analogy: it tells the story of a man stumbling around in perfect darkness on the dark side of the moon his whole life; crawling over rocks, stumbling down hill and craters, he lives in inky blackness. then one day he discovers the bright side of the moon, and in a moment of realization, it dawns on him not only that there is a place of light and clarity but that the dark and light sides are both parts of one single object and are inseparable.

i wish i had saved that link.

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Re: What is the location of the mind

Postby muni » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:00 pm

thanks for your comments, muni. the frog in the well is good, but i once read a really good one using the moon as an analogy: it tells the story of a man stumbling around in perfect darkness on the dark side of the moon his whole life; crawling over rocks, stumbling down hill and craters, he lives in inky blackness. then one day he discovers the bright side of the moon, and in a moment of realization, it dawns on him not only that there is a place of light and clarity but that the dark and light sides are both parts of one single object and are inseparable.


:idea: :meditate: Thanks, Supramundane.
http://www.tenzinzopa.com/Ebooks/Cttb_B ... mplete.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drPB75kgZ64

Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helplessly by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace. — Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche


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