Where is ‘Mind’?

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PadmaVonSamba
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Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm

A well-known analytical practice determines that no “self” can be found to exist inside or outside the body.

Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?

Does consciousness (‘Mind’) arise only as sensation?

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Virgo » Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:13 am

The physical basis for mental consciousness is within the organ of the heart itself. The other types of consciousnesses have physical bases in their sense organs.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Feb 04, 2020 10:39 am

As I understand it, in the Abhidhamma system, 'mind' is 'manas' which is one of the sense-gates (along with eye, ear, touch etc). In that use, 'mind' has a very specific and rather narrow definition, namely, that which grasps ideas. 'Citta' is a much broader term with many more connotations and shades of meaning. Interestingly in some translations, 'citta' can be translated as either 'mind' or 'heart' or even 'being' (as in bodhicitta, which is equally wisdom-being, wisdom-heart or wisdom-mind.)

From a contemporary perspective, mind comprises much more than sensation, as it also embraces reason, meaning, intention, and conceptualisation, none of which can be equated with or reduced to 'sensation', although those are not topics which are much elaborated in Buddhist philosophy of mind.

I think the 'where is the mind to be found' is something like a koan.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:42 am

Really there's a very simple but elusive principle in Buddhist teaching which ought to be spelled out. This is the principle of 'non-objectification'. What this means is this: generally speaking, we think in terms of objects. Thought just does this, human beings, as primates, with hands for grasping and eyes for seeing, instinctively tend to think in terms of objects. I mean, scientific thought is practically wholly definable in terms of objects and the relationships between objects. Language itself does this, as so much of it is grounded in naming objects.

As a consequence of this, humans have a deep tendency to 'objectify'. Whenever we ask what something is, we are basically asking 'what kind of thing/object is it'? And we do that unconsciously, as it's an innate tendency.

Now a lot of early Buddhist polemics are explicitly aimed at undoing this objectifying tendency. Read Kotthita Sutta which spells it out in very few words.
However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes. However far objectification goes, that is how far the six contact media go. With the remainderless fading & stopping of the six contact-media, there comes to be the stopping, the allaying of objectification.
(Bhikkhu Thanissaro translation.)

Look at the question Ven. Maha Kotthita asks:
"With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?"

[Sariputta:] "Don't say that, my friend."
In very terse language, Sariputta then rejects all of the possibilities given by logical analysis: is, is not, neither is or is not, both is and is not.

Why? Because in all of these questions, Ven Maha Kotthita is trying to posit an object, or the absence of an object - something that is, or is not.

So in the case of 'the mind' - the mind is not an object at all. This is an empirical statement, a statement of fact. Search high and low using all the powers of the six sense gates (including their modern scientific enhancements like electron microscopes or brain scanners), you will never find an object that corresponds to the term 'mind'. How baffling! But actually it's not baffling at all, as mind is simply not an object of perception. Yet we all instinctively know what it is, or rather, it is the mind which is knowing. But you can't grasp it, because it's never an object. Trying to do so is like trying to catch your own hand or see your own eye. But what is it? What kind of object? :shrug: we continue to insist. Not an object! So abandoning that effort to make an object of it, is a fundamental part of Buddhist training. That is the meaning of negation or the negative method of the path of un-knowing.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by muni » Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:36 pm

:anjali:
The nature of phenomena abides in mind, space abides nowhere at all, mind itself abides in space.
Jamgon Kongtru Lodro Taye
(This quote is perhaps more for the meditation topic.) :meditate:
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by smcj » Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:40 pm

Virgo wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 6:13 am
The physical basis for mental consciousness is within the organ of the heart itself.
I know that’s the way my Tibetan teachers see it.

However when i was a little kid i used to get into fights with my brother. When he’d punch me in the chest I’d get the wind knocked out of me. When he’d punch me in the head I’d get confused.

So my own investigation and experience says that mind is in the head, not the heart region.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:36 pm

Having pondered this again, it occurs to me that talking about mind and body is like talking about space and a cup.
Space has no shape of its own.
And on the one hand, everything is contained in space, including the cup.
At the same time, the space inside the cup takes on the shape of the inside of the cup.
In the same way, mind arises with that specific physical body but is not part of that body.
You smash the cup, the space no longer takes the shape of the cup.

I have been thinking about this a lot in relation to death,
Because, if mind doesn’t exist anywhere in the body, then how can one say it leaves the body when one dies and the body separates (the cup breaks)?
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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:40 pm

smcj wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:40 pm

However when i was a little kid i used to get into fights with my brother. When he’d punch me in the chest I’d get the wind knocked out of me. When he’d punch me in the head I’d get confused.

So my own investigation and experience says that mind is in the head, not the heart region.
No, the brain governs sense organs. So being confused just means you have had the senses knocked out of you. Mind is not in the brain.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Virgo » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm
A well-known analytical practice determines that no “self” can be found to exist inside or outside the body.

Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?

Does consciousness (‘Mind’) arise only as sensation?

.
.
.
Who are you anyway? The Pixies? :rolling:

Virgo

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by smcj » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:34 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:40 pm
smcj wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 1:40 pm

However when i was a little kid i used to get into fights with my brother. When he’d punch me in the chest I’d get the wind knocked out of me. When he’d punch me in the head I’d get confused.

So my own investigation and experience says that mind is in the head, not the heart region.
No, the brain governs sense organs. So being confused just means you have had the senses knocked out of you. Mind is not in the brain.
I’ve had ample experience of altering my brain chemistry to conclude that cognitions happen in the brain. However since the nature of mind is not subject to change, I’ve always assumed that Nature refers to something other than cognitions.

And yes, I know about Mahamudra and the like.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:34 pm

smcj wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:34 pm

I’ve had ample experience of altering my brain chemistry to conclude that cognitions happen in the brain. However since the nature of mind is not subject to change, I’ve always assumed that Nature refers to something other than cognitions.

And yes, I know about Mahamudra and the like.
The nature of the mind is its clarity and its emptiness; the former is mutable and the latter is not.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:18 am

Virgo wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:12 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm
A well-known analytical practice determines that no “self” can be found to exist inside or outside the body.

Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?

Does consciousness (‘Mind’) arise only as sensation?

.
.
.
Who are you anyway? The Pixies? :rolling:

Virgo
You is crackin’ me up!!!
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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Astus » Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:40 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm
Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?
Right, through both reasoning and direct insight one can search for the mind's location, or abiding, and eventually conclude that it cannot be found anywhere. It might also be of interest regarding this topic the analysis of the relationship between body and mind as presented for instance in chapter 9 of Pointing Out the Dharmakaya by Thrangu Rinpoche.
Does consciousness (‘Mind’) arise only as sensation?
Consciousness arises as awareness, as being aware of things, a.k.a. clarity.
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: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:28 am

Astus wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:40 am
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm
Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?
Right, through both reasoning and direct insight one can search for the mind's location, or abiding, and eventually conclude that it cannot be found anywhere.
Who or what is it, that is finding it anyway?
Because the finder itself is mind, how could it find or see the mind or its location?

If I am in a supermarket looking at tomatoes or fruits, I can safely conclude that my mind right now is not in South Africa, and it is not on planet Venus. There are large areas where it certainly is not.
It is the mind that sees the tomato or the fruit, how could it then be somewhere else?
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Astus » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:31 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Feb 04, 2020 11:42 am
So in the case of 'the mind' - the mind is not an object at all. This is an empirical statement, a statement of fact. Search high and low using all the powers of the six sense gates (including their modern scientific enhancements like electron microscopes or brain scanners), you will never find an object that corresponds to the term 'mind'. How baffling!
'A hidden thing is something that you cannot know directly, like a fire that you cannot physically see, so you must determine its existence by the presence of smoke, which can be seen. In the case of something that is hidden, you need inferential valid cognition to determine its existence or absence. But in the case of the opposite type of thing, called an evident thing, you have no need to apply inference, since you can use direct valid cognition or direct experience. For example, I do not need to infer the presence of a bell on the table in front of me, since I can see it. I do not need to speculate about what possible evidence the bell might have left of its presence since it is right in front of me. I do not need to use reasoning at all. Now, with regard to meditation on the mind’s nature, the mind is not a hidden thing; it is an evident thing. It is your mind. Therefore, you can know it directly and experience its nature directly, and for that reason it is not necessary to use inferential valid cognition in determining the mind’s nature.'
(Pointing Out the Dharmakaya by Thrangu Rinpoche, p 64; highlight added)

'Not finding anything, you initially think that you have somehow failed. Either you misunderstood how to look, or you just haven’t looked enough. But in fact this is not true. The reason you didn’t find anything is that the nature of your mind is utter insubstantiality, which is why, according to the Buddha, it is empty. To thoroughly comprehend this emptiness, we need to experience this directly in meditation.'
(An Introduction to Mahamudra Meditation by Thrangu Rinpoche, p 33)
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: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by smcj » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:53 am

Is it just me, or are those two Thrangu R. quotes incompatible?
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by muni » Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:57 am

Aemilius wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:28 am

Who or what is it, that is finding it anyway?
Because the finder itself is mind, how could it find or see the mind or its location?

If I am in a supermarket looking at tomatoes or fruits, I can safely conclude that my mind right now is not in South Africa, and it is not on planet Venus. There are large areas where it certainly is not.
It is the mind that sees the tomato or the fruit, how could it then be somewhere else?
The seeing of tomatoes or fruits and the not being in South Africa or Venus; are all playing-abiding in 'Mind'. But how can 'Mind' be located?
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Astus » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:05 pm

smcj wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 9:53 am
Is it just me, or are those two Thrangu R. quotes incompatible?
How so? Both state that knowing the mind directly is very much possible.
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: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:54 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:22 pm
A well-known analytical practice determines that no “self” can be found to exist inside or outside the body.

Is it asserted that, using the same analytical approach, likewise, consciousness (‘mind’) cannot be found to exist inside or outside the body?

Does consciousness (‘Mind’) arise only as sensation?

.
.
.
Are we talking about ‘ consciousness’ or are we talking about ‘mind’?
If the latter then we need a definition of ‘mind’.
I have requested such a definition many times on DW and it has seldom resulted in a coherent response.
I think there is an apriori assumption that there is a consensus definition on the forum...
Folks...there ain’t.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

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Re: Where is ‘Mind’?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:09 am

Is an experience, such as waking up, an object?
It isn’t an object in the same way a physical thing is an object.
However, when we talk about an object of awareness it refers to something of which one is aware.
Awareness is the subject, and whatever one is aware of is the object.

The mind is perhaps unique in that it can be simultaneously subject and object.
You are aware that you are aware.
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