Lifespan of a thought

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alfa
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Lifespan of a thought

Post by alfa » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 am

:namaste:
Everything is impermanent, but still they all last for certain duration. A mosquito only lives for a day or two. A turtle can live for even 200 years. Humans can live for 80 years or even more. But these are the lifespans of FORMS. What about names? These are the lifespans in the world of matter. What about the world of abstractions?

So my question is: what is the lifespan of a thought or feeling? sensation or idea?
:anjali:

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Wayfarer
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:51 am

Thoughts and sensations can be said to have a duration. You might have a headache lasting several hours. There are constant streams of fleeting thoughts that come and go, but you might concentrate on a single idea for days or weeks or even years. They all nevertheless have a duration.

As for the lifespan of names and ideas - I think the Buddhist response to that was, they persist as long as there is someone around to use them. They too came into existence when a name was coined, or an idea came about - like the idea of a chariot - but they also have a lifespan, even if (like the wheel, or the use of fire) it can be a very long lifespan.

But let's also consider the meaning of anicca, impermanence, in the context of Buddhist principles. It is said that all of elements of experience - thoughts, sensations, mental formations, and so on - are impermanent (as well as being non-self and dukkha.) It is true that some things can last a very long time, but whatever has a beginning also has an end.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

Simon E.
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by Simon E. » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:54 am

It might be useful to ponder who or what is timing these thoughts? Or are they simply self-generating?
I know nothing. This is not false modesty.

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weitsicht
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by weitsicht » Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:09 pm

@Simon - exactly. This is a Schrödinger's cat challenge. The presence of the clock / timer already disturbs the flow the thought originally would have had.
I think we all know from experience that perceived time is relative - sometimes flowing slowly sometimes fast. That goes along with the thought span.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

Simon E.
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by Simon E. » Tue Apr 02, 2019 3:14 pm

weitsicht wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 2:09 pm
@Simon - exactly. This is a Schrödinger's cat challenge. The presence of the clock / timer already disturbs the flow the thought originally would have had.
I think we all know from experience that perceived time is relative - sometimes flowing slowly sometimes fast. That goes along with the thought span.
Not quite what I was getting at.
I know nothing. This is not false modesty.

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Rick
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by Rick » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:04 pm

Interesting question: How long is a thought?

Here's a quote from this article by David Holmes:
The unit of measure for the duration of a thought-process is a thought-moment (cittakkhaina),
which is also an infinitesimally small division of time. All thought-moments rise up in the
conscious vithi citta, remain there for just a fleeting moment and then sink down to the
unconscious bhavanga citta, just as waves of the ocean rise up, remain there for a fleeting
moment and then subside. Thought-moments therefore have the following three stages: (1) The
genetic stage or nascent stage (uppada); (2) the continuing stage (tithi) (3) the cessant stage
(bhavanga). These three stage also occur within, the shortest possible time. A thought-moment
does not persist by itself but runs most rapidly from the first to the second stage and from the
second to the third.
In meditation it is possible to catch a glimpse of these thought micro-moments coming and going in a dense high-speed sequence, like flashbulbs popping on and off in a stadium ... and to watch how your mind joins the dots into an appearance of seamless flow.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

stevie
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by stevie » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:24 pm

alfa wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 am
:namaste:
Everything is impermanent, but still they all last for certain duration.
From my empirical perspective the prerequisite for conceiving of duration is the imputation of a substance, essence or substratum. But since the world usually does not bother about that to view it your way is ok.
alfa wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 am
What about names?
Here the convention of Gelug Sautranika holds that names are meaning generalities and as such they are non-momentary, i.e. not impermanent and therefore permanent.
From my empirical perspective this convention may hint at the deception that may occur if I label impermanent particulars using names.

alfa wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 am
What about the world of abstractions?
From my perspective abstractions are concepts and thus the world of abstractions is the sphere of conceptuality.
alfa wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:25 am
So my question is: what is the lifespan of a thought or feeling? sensation or idea?
Applying the convention mentioned above: as particulars thoughts, feelings, sensations or an ideas are impermanent and compounded and have arising, abiding and perishing and an indefinite lifespan. From my empirical perspective their lifespan may be prolonged through concentration.

dude
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by dude » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:42 pm

I don't know the sutra it's from, so this is just a thought, no pun intended.
The Buddha is said to have stated that several thousand thoughts transpire in the time it takes for a blink of the eye.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by SunWuKong » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:57 pm

dude wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:42 pm
I don't know the sutra it's from, so this is just a thought, no pun intended.
The Buddha is said to have stated that several thousand thoughts transpire in the time it takes for a blink of the eye.
LOL maybe in his mind they did.

:zzz:
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

Sādhaka
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Re: Lifespan of a thought

Post by Sādhaka » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:06 am

dude wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:42 pm
I don't know the sutra it's from, so this is just a thought, no pun intended.
The Buddha is said to have stated that several thousand thoughts transpire in the time it takes for a blink of the eye.

It is either the duration of a moment or of a thought that is said to be 1/64 or 1/65 of a finger-snap.
“...we should try to acquire clairvoyance. Without it, we are like a baby bird whose wings are undeveloped and has not yet grown feathers and remains stuck in its nest, unable to fly. Without clairvoyance, we cannot work for other sentient beings.” — Khunu Lama
“Just as a bird can not fly without both wings,
The welfare of others cannot be accomplished without the higher faculties of perception,
So diligently strive for your own wellbeing, whilst mentally considering the welfare of others.” — Longchenpa

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