Is the nature of mind a fiction?

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Temicco
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Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 12:13 am

The Atthakavagga of the Sutta Nipata talks about how if you relax and don't cling, you'll reach a state where nobody can define you and nothing you experience bothers you by being there. This also appears in Chan texts. The only difference between the two, really, is that Chan texts discuss the nature of mind. A similar thing seems to happen in Mahamudra texts. But then several Zen masters just say you're fine as you are, that there's no realization, and if only you become independent and stop seeking then you'll see that you lack nothing. So, what then of the nature of mind? It seems like this state can be entered without having to cognize or realize anything in particular, but just by chilling out and ceasing to seek outside. Are Chan and Mahamudra really adding anything substantial to the teaching of the Sutta Nipata by discussing the nature of mind?
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

AlexMcLeod
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by AlexMcLeod » Fri May 13, 2016 2:35 am

Chan teaching has to be directly shown by a teacher capable of doing so. I would imagine the same is true of Mahamudra. The descriptions they give are very often meant for initiated disciples.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 2:48 am

AlexMcLeod wrote:The descriptions they give are very often meant for initiated disciples.
One of Huangbo's main disciples was a layman, and I know of no initiation process in Chan. There were no preliminaries and no empowerment in classical Chan; graduated gong-an study didn't come till later.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

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Dan74
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Dan74 » Fri May 13, 2016 2:53 am

Temicco wrote:The Atthakavagga of the Sutta Nipata talks about how if you relax and don't cling, you'll reach a state where nobody can define you and nothing you experience bothers you by being there. This also appears in Chan texts. The only difference between the two, really, is that Chan texts discuss the nature of mind. A similar thing seems to happen in Mahamudra texts. But then several Zen masters just say you're fine as you are, that there's no realization, and if only you become independent and stop seeking then you'll see that you lack nothing. So, what then of the nature of mind? It seems like this state can be entered without having to cognize or realize anything in particular, but just by chilling out and ceasing to seek outside. Are Chan and Mahamudra really adding anything substantial to the teaching of the Sutta Nipata by discussing the nature of mind?
I don't think any Chan or Zen masters say 'you are fine as you are" in the sense of 'there is no realisation' or delusion is OK. Chilling out is not it either. Realisation doesn't come from a chilled-out 'the Dude abides' state, but quite the opposite. The huge tangle of self-seeking delusion and ignorance is not cut through by getting comfy and not giving a damn.

_/|\_

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 3:05 am

Dan74 wrote:I don't think any Chan or Zen masters say 'you are fine as you are" in the sense of 'there is no realisation' or delusion is OK. Chilling out is not it either. Realisation doesn't come from a chilled-out 'the Dude abides' state, but quite the opposite. The huge tangle of self-seeking delusion and ignorance is not cut through by getting comfy and not giving a damn.

_/|\_
I don't think so either, but more like "why are you seeking for perfection with a teacher instead of settling into your inherent perfection". Basically just telling people not to seek whatsoever, in such a way that they wouldn't get wrapped up in form anymore either, being completely independent and grounded in themselves.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

AlexMcLeod
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by AlexMcLeod » Fri May 13, 2016 3:26 am

Temicco wrote:
AlexMcLeod wrote:The descriptions they give are very often meant for initiated disciples.
One of Huangbo's main disciples was a layman, and I know of no initiation process in Chan. There were no preliminaries and no empowerment in classical Chan; graduated gong-an study didn't come till later.
No, I'm talking about heart-to-heart transmission. Or mind-to-mind, however you want to call it.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 3:36 am

AlexMcLeod wrote:No, I'm talking about heart-to-heart transmission. Or mind-to-mind, however you want to call it.
Do you think this is the kind of question that's only suitable for / answerable by a master?
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

AlexMcLeod
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by AlexMcLeod » Fri May 13, 2016 3:54 am

No, I think the writing you are referring to is meant for those nearing mastery. It is not really relevant until you have exhausted the possible cultivation in the realm of phenomena.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 4:16 am

AlexMcLeod wrote:No, I think the writing you are referring to is meant for those nearing mastery. It is not really relevant until you have exhausted the possible cultivation in the realm of phenomena.
I find no evidence for that in the majority of classical Chan literature. Huangbo makes it very clear that you just need to realize no-mind and then the truth will become manifest. Whether you are close or far to that realization makes no difference, as you're still in delusion either way.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by seeker242 » Fri May 13, 2016 4:46 am

Is the nature of mind a fiction?
I find it highly unlikely that Chan teachers would teach fiction, so I'm going with no. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Dan74
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Dan74 » Fri May 13, 2016 4:54 am

Temicco wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I don't think any Chan or Zen masters say 'you are fine as you are" in the sense of 'there is no realisation' or delusion is OK. Chilling out is not it either. Realisation doesn't come from a chilled-out 'the Dude abides' state, but quite the opposite. The huge tangle of self-seeking delusion and ignorance is not cut through by getting comfy and not giving a damn.

_/|\_
I don't think so either, but more like "why are you seeking for perfection with a teacher instead of settling into your inherent perfection". Basically just telling people not to seek whatsoever, in such a way that they wouldn't get wrapped up in form anymore either, being completely independent and grounded in themselves.
The trouble is that we generally have no idea what this inherent perfection is. We've all had some less burdened more clear experiences and we tend to mistake them for kensho or whatnot. This, among many other reasons, is why we need a guide.

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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 4:55 am

seeker242 wrote:I find it highly unlikely that Chan teachers would teach fiction, so I'm going with no. :smile:
They were mischevious -- I wouldn't put it past them! I'm just wondering if "realization" is really the most salient feature of whatever bodhi is actually experienced as. I probably should be asking this to a master, I guess; but I just gotta find one first...
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 13, 2016 4:57 am

Prajnaparamita and the two truths pretty much answer this question, regardless of the particular school of Mahayana.

Of course ultimately there is no attainment and non attainment etc., but relatively (which is where we are at) we have no choice but to engage in the illusory activity of "practice", even when we know it's an illusion intellectually. Of course there is whole spectrum of methods involving effort and those involving very little.

Buddhist practice IS a fiction of a kind, and this is acknowledged.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Fri May 13, 2016 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
"...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

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 4:58 am

Dan74 wrote: The trouble is that we generally have no idea what this inherent perfection is. We've all had some less burdened more clear experiences and we tend to mistake them for kensho or whatnot. This, among many other reasons, is why we need a guide.
That's a good point. My rule of thumb is "if you think it's kensho, it's not".
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by randomseb » Fri May 13, 2016 6:19 am

If you can think of it, you are wrong. If you make it into a concept, you are wrong. There is no such thing.
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!

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Dan74
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Dan74 » Fri May 13, 2016 10:44 am

Temicco wrote:
Dan74 wrote: The trouble is that we generally have no idea what this inherent perfection is. We've all had some less burdened more clear experiences and we tend to mistake them for kensho or whatnot. This, among many other reasons, is why we need a guide.
That's a good point. My rule of thumb is "if you think it's kensho, it's not".
That's a good rule of thumb.

Are you a lone practitioner, without a teacher? Why?

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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Astus » Fri May 13, 2016 3:04 pm

Temicco wrote:The Atthakavagga of the Sutta Nipata talks about how if you relax and don't cling, you'll reach a state where nobody can define you and nothing you experience bothers you by being there.
Which sutta?
This also appears in Chan texts. The only difference between the two, really, is that Chan texts discuss the nature of mind.
No attachment is certainly the essential teaching of the Buddha, and that is also the ultimate nature of mind.
So, what then of the nature of mind?
No nature is the true nature.
It seems like this state can be entered
That's already a wrong approach. If there is a state to enter, it is just another delusion.
Are Chan and Mahamudra really adding anything substantial to the teaching of the Sutta Nipata by discussing the nature of mind?
Probably not.
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: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 6:20 pm

Dan74 wrote: That's a good rule of thumb.

Are you a lone practitioner, without a teacher? Why?
I don't really jive with modern Zen for a variety of reasons, so I'm currently waiting on an opportunity to find a Tibetan master.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

Temicco
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Temicco » Fri May 13, 2016 6:29 pm

Astus wrote:
Temicco wrote:The Atthakavagga of the Sutta Nipata talks about how if you relax and don't cling, you'll reach a state where nobody can define you and nothing you experience bothers you by being there.
Which sutta?
Kind of the whole thing, really. Particularly some of the latter suttas, IIRC.
This also appears in Chan texts. The only difference between the two, really, is that Chan texts discuss the nature of mind.
No attachment is certainly the essential teaching of the Buddha, and that is also the ultimate nature of mind.
So, what then of the nature of mind?
No nature is the true nature.

Why then discuss it using positive formulations? It seems potentially misleading, no?

It seems like this state can be entered
That's already a wrong approach. If there is a state to enter, it is just another delusion.
Fair, but I think conventionally a state can still be talked about, even if to "enter a state" is deluded.
Are Chan and Mahamudra really adding anything substantial to the teaching of the Sutta Nipata by discussing the nature of mind?
Probably not.
It just throws me for a loop when the nature of mind is so frequently discussed as if it's a thing that can be cognized, even if such a view is explicitly shot down. If it's not adding anything on, then why add it on?
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

ཚེ་འདི་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ཆོས་པ་མིན། །
འཁོར་བ་ལ་ཞེན་ན་ངེས་འབྱུང་མིན། །
བདག་དོན་ལ་ཞེན་ན་བྱང་སེམས་མིན། །
འཛིན་པ་བྱུང་ན་ལྟ་བ་མིན། །

Malcolm
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Re: Is the nature of mind a fiction?

Post by Malcolm » Fri May 13, 2016 6:45 pm

Temicco wrote: It just throws me for a loop when the nature of mind is so frequently discussed as if it's a thing that can be cognized, even if such a view is explicitly shot down. If it's not adding anything on, then why add it on?
The cittatā of citta, the so called "nature of the mind," is something that can be recognized. And once recognized, it can be cultivated. This why we have direct introduction in Mahāmudra and Dzogchen.

Astus is speaking from a Chan point of view. Direct introduction does not exist in Chan.

M

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