Is Mind Fundamental?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Sherab
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Sherab » Sun Mar 04, 2018 10:34 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 12:23 am
Sherab wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:44 pm
This looks like mind-body distinction/dualism.
Ummmm... Yes and no. The Buddha described human existence as the combination of mind and form. Was he also a mind-body dualist? But, realistically speaking: if there can be formless existence, then it means that there can be a mind-body dualism, right? Mind may not be an emergent quality of the brain but, for humans, it seems you do need both.
I personally think that the ontology taught by the Buddha is some form idealism, an idealism where mind and matter is undifferentiated ultimately. Matter and mind-as-we-know-it then are emergent properties. After all, he did said "mind is foremost" if I am not mistaken. Just to avoid misunderstanding, this is completely speculative of course.

SunWuKong
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:59 am

To be precise, your trying to make a broad generalization about all human minds? In Buddhism, it’s thought that there is a commonality that the entire species shares. So if by “mind” you refer to the sentient knowing, understanding that takes place you might call that mind. But it doesn’t define the difference between the knower and the known. To say that matter is really only mind is an unprovable statement. There are empirical tests that can betermine the presence of matter independent of ones mind. In fact science itself is all about empirical proof. So the theory crumbles. And m not sure why this question is important. If it’s to posit some kind of short cut to Nirvana by putting forth that matter is really only mind, the answer is no, it doesn’t work that way.
"We are magical animals that roam" ~ Roam

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Malcolm
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Malcolm » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:14 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:59 am
To be precise, your trying to make a broad generalization about all human minds? In Buddhism, it’s thought that there is a commonality that the entire species shares. So if by “mind” you refer to the sentient knowing, understanding that takes place you might call that mind. But it doesn’t define the difference between the knower and the known. To say that matter is really only mind is an unprovable statement. There are empirical tests that can betermine the presence of matter independent of ones mind. In fact science itself is all about empirical proof. So the theory crumbles. And m not sure why this question is important. If it’s to posit some kind of short cut to Nirvana by putting forth that matter is really only mind, the answer is no, it doesn’t work that way.
It's a question of method —— different conventional truth frameworks have differing applications—none are universally effective, otherwise they would not be methods.

Science is good for blowing shit up. Buddhadharma is good for liberation.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:56 am

The mind-body dualism is like deer in the forest.
Is the deer the same as the woods?
Deer evolve, are deer, have the coloration of deer and eat what grows in the forest,
because they are not separate from the forest. They themselves are not trees, but they are part of the forest.
At the same time, a deer can be isolated. If you take a deer out of the forest, for example, to an animal hospital,
it continues to be exactly what it was before.
Both the deer and the trees in the forest lack intrinsic (self) existence.
Likewise, body and mind.
The problem with discussing their relationship to each other is that
nothing can be said to exist that is intrinsically either body or mind.
:rolling:
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Matt J
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Matt J » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:23 am

Grigoris wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:36 pm
Yes. The phenomenon known as Antarctica continue to exist when you are not perceiving it. Ask the penguins, they will tell you.
The question is when no one is looking. I would like to experience your colorless, silent, unfelt, Antarctica. I think you are basically positing naive realism. Even conventional science and neurology agrees that the world we experience is mentally generated--- in the case of science, by the brain.
What is an unseen color, anyway? Now you are making the mistake of confounding the object with it's designation.
So you experience objects apart from colors, sounds, feeling sensations, etc.? I doubt it.
The Buddha was happy to do it so I cannot see what the problem is. Apparently he was omniscient.
Every Buddhist teacher I've had has taught non-duality. I'm a little surprised to hear the claim that the Buddha was a dualist/naive realist. But I am not as well acquainted with the Buddha since he died some time before I was born.
If everything is empty, then so are boundaries, walls, divisions, and so on. Second, if things were truly separate, they could not interact or have any relationship. If they did, they wouldn't be separate. Two Truths, remember?
I don't think even conventionally you can establish absolute boundaries. And there are many variations of the two truths--- which one are you using?
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Matt J
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Matt J » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:25 am

Not sure what you're getting at here.
Malcolm wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 4:19 pm
Matt J wrote:
Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:17 pm


The problem with positing a mind-matter duality are many: first, the essence of everything is the same (i.e. emptiness), so there is no foundation upon which to posit a duality.
Ultimately, not conventionally.

If everything is empty, then so are boundaries, walls, divisions, and so on.
Ultimately, not conventionally.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:39 am

Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:23 am
The question is when no one is looking. I would like to experience your colorless, silent, unfelt, Antarctica. I think you are basically positing naive realism. Even conventional science and neurology agrees that the world we experience is mentally generated--- in the case of science, by the brain.
Give me a quotation where science says that things only exist when a consciousness is perceiving them. I dare you.
So you experience objects apart from colors, sounds, feeling sensations, etc.? I doubt it.
You can doubt whatever you like. Buddhist models of perception posit three factors: the sense organ, the object of perception and the sense organ's mind. Notice how the object of perception is one of the three and not included in the sense organ's mind? I wonder why?
Every Buddhist teacher I've had has taught non-duality. I'm a little surprised to hear the claim that the Buddha was a dualist/naive realist. But I am not as well acquainted with the Buddha since he died some time before I was born.
Yeah, well, I was having beers with him yesterday and he told me I am correct. :tongue:
I don't think even conventionally you can establish absolute boundaries. And there are many variations of the two truths--- which one are you using?
Where did I say there were absolute boundaries? All I am saying is that I do not believe that the mind-to-form relationship is a one way street, as you are implying. Non-dualism does not mean that one overrides the other, but that they mutually influence each other.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Wayfarer
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:45 am

Buddhists were never scientific realists. In fact the possibility of being a ‘scientific realist’ never really existed before the age we live in. It now seems obvious to us, but that is because we’re brought up in it. But in traditional cultures, the whole idea of reality is different to our own in ways that are very hard to fathom from our P.O.V. ‘The past’, it was once said, ‘is another country. They do things differently there’.

Mind-only Buddhism is exactly that - only mind is real. But I would add, ‘mind’ is never an object of perception, it is not ‘something’ that the world is ‘made from’, which is how a realist will naturally try and interpret it. But understanding it requires a literal gestalt shift, a change in perception. Not that anything is really changed by that, other than how we understand what everything is.

That’s my two bob’s.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:49 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:45 am
Buddhists were never scientific realists. In fact the possibility of being a ‘scientific realist’ never really existed before the age we live in. It now seems obvious to us, but that is because we’re brought up in it. But in traditional cultures, the whole idea of reality is different to our own in ways that are very hard to fathom from our P.O.V. ‘The past’, it was once said, ‘is another country. They do things differently there’.

Mind-only Buddhism is exactly that - only mind is real. But I would add, ‘mind’ is never an object of perception, it is not ‘something’ that the world is ‘made from’, which is how a realist will naturally try and interpret it. But understanding it requires a literal gestalt shift, a change in perception. Not that anything is really changed by that, other than how we understand what everything is.

That’s my two bob’s.
Mind is a sense organ too, in the eight consciousness model. It's objects of perception are thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:07 am

THat is perfectly true, but it’s not all there is to it. That is ‘manas’ as an organ of perception, but ‘citta’ has a different meaning in Yogācāra. And the point remains that no schools of Buddhism were realist in the way we tend to be and take for granted nowadays. Even the Dharmas of abhidharma are ‘elements of experience’ - they’re not conceived of as self-existent entities, like atoms, that exist independently of any act of cognition. Buddhists aren’t ‘natural philosophers’ in the way the Greeks were.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:10 am

“Malcolm” wrote:Science is good for blowing shit up.
Also for making useful devices, such as those used by yourself to make that remark on the global network of interconnected users. :smile:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Malcolm
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:51 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:10 am
“Malcolm” wrote:Science is good for blowing shit up.
Also for making useful devices, such as those used by yourself to make that remark on the global network of interconnected users. :smile:
As I said, good for blowing shit up.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:42 pm

Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:23 am
Even conventional science and neurology agrees that the world we experience is mentally generated--- in the case of science, by the brain.
The experience is mentally generated.
The world, itself, is not.

If one argues that outside of personal experience, nothing occurs,
there could be nothing that one doesn't already know.

That is easily refuted.
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:47 pm

There are things that cease to be (occur) due to conditions, even though some of the cause of their arising persists.
If you put a painting, such as the Mona Lisa, in a light proof box, that image will cease to be.
It isn't just that it's there and can't be seen. Without light, it isn't even there, light being a condition for its arising.
But the other conditions for the arising of the image are there.
It's like a person who is allergic to bee stings: the allergy is there, whether they are ever stung by a bee or not.
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Matt J » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:11 pm

Yes, this does seem to be the tripping point.

As well summarized by Andrei Linde, Stanford Physics professor:
According to standard materialistic doctrine, consciousness, like space-time before the invention of general relativity, plays a secondary, subservient role, being considered just a function of matter and a tool for the description of the truly existing material world. But let us remember that our knowledge of the world begins not with matter but with perceptions. I know for sure that my pain exists, my “green” exists, and my “sweet” exists. I do not need any proof of their existence, because these events are a part of me; everything else is a theory. Later we find out that our perceptions obey some laws, which can be most conveniently formulated if we assume that there is some underlying reality beyond our perceptions. This model of material world obeying laws of physics is so successful that soon we forget about our starting point and say that matter is the only reality, and perceptions are only helpful for its description.
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:42 pm

The experience is mentally generated.
The world, itself, is not.

If one argues that outside of personal experience, nothing occurs,
there could be nothing that one doesn't already know.

That is easily refuted.
.
.
.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Matt J
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Matt J » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:24 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:39 am
Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:23 am
The question is when no one is looking. I would like to experience your colorless, silent, unfelt, Antarctica. I think you are basically positing naive realism. Even conventional science and neurology agrees that the world we experience is mentally generated--- in the case of science, by the brain.
Give me a quotation where science says that things only exist when a consciousness is perceiving them. I dare you.
Should I? Should I? Tempting, but I don't want to go down the quantum physics road. But as pointed out, stating that all of our experience is mind doesn't mean that mind is a substratum or that my individual mind generates the universe and so on. It is a statement about what we know.
So you experience objects apart from colors, sounds, feeling sensations, etc.? I doubt it.
You can doubt whatever you like. Buddhist models of perception posit three factors: the sense organ, the object of perception and the sense organ's mind. Notice how the object of perception is one of the three and not included in the sense organ's mind? I wonder why?
An object is nothing more than a bundle of perceptions plus a conceptual label. Unless some one can show me an object apart from perceptions.

Where did I say there were absolute boundaries? All I am saying is that I do not believe that the mind-to-form relationship is a one way street, as you are implying. Non-dualism does not mean that one overrides the other, but that they mutually influence each other.
What I'm positing is that mind is fundamental because that is what we experience--- we never experience matter. Again, if I'm wrong, please point out what matter is like independent of mind and perception. "Matter" is usually based on some sort of enduring, underlying substance--- in ancient Buddhism, it is the atom-like Dharmas. In the modern West, it is atoms. Both have been refuted.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Malcolm
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:54 pm

Matt J wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:24 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:39 am
Matt J wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:23 am
The question is when no one is looking. I would like to experience your colorless, silent, unfelt, Antarctica. I think you are basically positing naive realism. Even conventional science and neurology agrees that the world we experience is mentally generated--- in the case of science, by the brain.
Give me a quotation where science says that things only exist when a consciousness is perceiving them. I dare you.
Should I? Should I? Tempting, but I don't want to go down the quantum physics road. But as pointed out, stating that all of our experience is mind doesn't mean that mind is a substratum or that my individual mind generates the universe and so on. It is a statement about what we know.
So you experience objects apart from colors, sounds, feeling sensations, etc.? I doubt it.
You can doubt whatever you like. Buddhist models of perception posit three factors: the sense organ, the object of perception and the sense organ's mind. Notice how the object of perception is one of the three and not included in the sense organ's mind? I wonder why?
An object is nothing more than a bundle of perceptions plus a conceptual label. Unless some one can show me an object apart from perceptions.

Where did I say there were absolute boundaries? All I am saying is that I do not believe that the mind-to-form relationship is a one way street, as you are implying. Non-dualism does not mean that one overrides the other, but that they mutually influence each other.
What I'm positing is that mind is fundamental because that is what we experience--- we never experience matter. Again, if I'm wrong, please point out what matter is like independent of mind and perception. "Matter" is usually based on some sort of enduring, underlying substance--- in ancient Buddhism, it is the atom-like Dharmas. In the modern West, it is atoms. Both have been refuted.
There are two Buddhist models of perception: Model A is externally triadic, that is, a percept arises based on the contact of a sense organ with an external sense object. Model B is internally triadic, holds that percepts are the actually the activation of traces that provide the content of the world that we perceive as external.

Madhyamaka is happy with either model. Both are relative, not ultimate.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:06 pm

Matt J wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:24 pm
An object is nothing more than a bundle of perceptions plus a conceptual label. Unless some one can show me an object apart from perceptions.
And so you "mistakenly" assume that it cannot exist outside of perception...
What I'm positing is that mind is fundamental because that is what we experience--- we never experience matter.
We do experience matter. Our eyes see visual forms. What happens afterwards is a completely different ballgame, but you seem to think it is the only ballgame.
Again, if I'm wrong, please point out what matter is like independent of mind and perception. "Matter" is usually based on some sort of enduring, underlying substance--- in ancient Buddhism, it is the atom-like Dharmas. In the modern West, it is atoms. Both have been refuted.
Again you seem to confound what we perceive, with what exists. Now, just because I am saying that I believe matter can exist independently from mind does not mean that I believe there is self-existing matter, matter arises (or is destroyed) based on cause and condition; all I am saying is that I believe that mind is only one of the conditions for the existence of matter, and it is not a necessary one, as perception=/=creation, as far as I am concerned.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Matt J
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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Matt J » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:00 pm

Without a doubt, Model B is much cooler. 😎
Malcolm wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:54 pm


There are two Buddhist models of perception: Model A is externally triadic, that is, a percept arises based on the contact of a sense organ with an external sense object. Model B is internally triadic, holds that percepts are the actually the activation of traces that provide the content of the world that we perceive as external.

Madhyamaka is happy with either model. Both are relative, not ultimate.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

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Re: Is Mind Fundamental?

Post by Way-Fun » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:48 pm

Matt J wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:24 pm
What I'm positing is that mind is fundamental because that is what we experience--- we never experience matter. Again, if I'm wrong, please point out what matter is like independent of mind and perception. "Matter" is usually based on some sort of enduring, underlying substance--- in ancient Buddhism, it is the atom-like Dharmas. In the modern West, it is atoms. Both have been refuted.
Do you experience mind or do you experience experience? Or does experience experience you (whoa...)? :rolling:

Dharmas (particular phenomena [not the 'atom-like' dharmas (I think you mean kalapas(?))]) are the basis for and expression of any conception of reality. The direct cognition of dharmas is the verification of reality itself. Dharmas directly cognized are self-verifying. Dharmas are the extent to which anything is anything. The entire universe is exhaustively disclosed/confirmed in/as all dharmas. Each dharma is the culmination of reality as each dharma. To see the emptiness of dharmas is just to see without any conception that dharmas are reducible to or representative of anything more fundamental than this sight, this sound, this thought, and so on.

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