Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Simon E. » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:55 pm

Exactly Cone.. :namaste:
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:20 pm

Mental consciousness is in the brain. That's its location. Reality or Mind or life itself has no location. That's its characteristic.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:27 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Mental consciousness is in the brain. That's its location. Reality or Mind or life itself has no location. That's its characteristic.


What say you, Andrew108, about the Indo-Tibetan location of "mind" at the heart center?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:42 pm

Mental consciousness is not at the heart center. Rational mind is not there.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Simon E. » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:43 pm

In what sense are mind , life, or reality, interchangable terms ?

How can each or any of them have a location ?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:48 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Mental consciousness is not at the heart center. Rational mind is not there.


Why not?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:58 pm

Simon - they can't have a location. There is no when or where to life/reality/mind. The mind that is referenced in Mahamudra has none of the qualities of consciousness. Meaning that realization is not an experience or rational explanation or series of experiences or rational explanations.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:01 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:Mental consciousness is not at the heart center. Rational mind is not there.


Why not?


Seriously?
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:05 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:Mental consciousness is not at the heart center. Rational mind is not there.


Why not?


Seriously?


Yes, of course.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:21 pm

There are many ways to prove that the heart is not the location of the mental consciousness. One such proof is that those who have impaired mental consciousness do not have impaired cardiac function.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:37 pm

Your statement was that the mental consciousness "resides" in the brain.
Is this "mental consciousness" a term that has the same usage as "mental consciousness" when we discuss the 6, 7, or 8 consciousnesses of various Buddhist models? I.e., "Olfactory Consciousness, taste consciousness, tactile consciousness, auditory consciousness, visual consciousness, mental consciousness, etc."

You also stated that this "mental consciousness" is not the consciousness that is "worked with" in Mahamudra meditation. Is that an accurate restatement of your views?

(Edited to clarify)
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:13 pm

We need to look at what is real past thinking mind. For some there is nothing outside of thinking mind. For others there is life itself. Thinking mind is a small thing. Life is pervasive. When we look at life, without thinking how it should be, then we become aware of it's characteristics. This direct appreciation of the characteristics of life/reality/mind is what counts as realization in Mahamudra.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:23 pm

Mental consciousness in the model you posted is the 6th consciousness. It is what we use when we do formal meditation. It is brain-based. The reality that we want to understand isn't brain-based. When we say that we want to understand the nature of mind we are talking about mind as being pervasive and not brain-based. Mind in this case is no different than life or reality.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:38 pm

Okay, good.

In Mahamudra meditation, we work with "mental consciousness." That is true. I don't think positing it as "in the brain" is helpful, though, in the context of Mahamudra practice. Frankly, there are methods of practice which place the mental consciousness, that which we use or work with, in other places....

As for what we are "discovering," Mahamudra terms it "Ordinary Mind," among other terms....Primordial Wisdom, Bare Awareness...etc. You're calling it "life," or "Reality," I guess. But when practicing Mahamudra, we're not initially concerned with locating that, or "examining" it, usually.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby monktastic » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:53 pm

To the OP, here's a thought experiment I invented to help me through this at one point.

Locate a particular experience that is in your "mind" (this could either mean experience-at-large, or the more specific mental consciousness, which consists of thoughts, emotions, memories, etc.). Really visualize and pin down where it is "located."

Now, imagine that someone (secretly) removes your brain from the back of your head, and down to your feet so that you don't notice. It's still connected, of course, and don't worry about neural transmission speeds or anything.

Did the location of that experience "move"? If it's really located in the brain, then doesn't that mean it has to move when the brain does?

Of course, it's not very easy to actually do this experiment, but I'll share my conclusion: when the brain moves, no part of experience changes in any way -- which also means that none of it "moved" in any meaningful sense (other than one I have to contrive to maintain my irrational belief that those experiences were "located in" the brain).
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:58 pm

Andrew is a die hard proponent of physicalist materialism, so the notion of consciousness being anywhere but the brain is no doubt blasphemous in that context.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby monktastic » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:08 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:Andrew is a die hard proponent of physicalist materialism, so the notion of consciousness being anywhere but the brain is no doubt blasphemous in that context.


The other argument I like to use is this one: it's easy to imagine being in a dream where instead of brains, we have jelly beans in our skulls. Jellyscientists have proven that consciousness is irrefutably caused by jelly beans. Honestly, if I go to a cocktail party in the dream, I may be polite and acknowledge this obvious fact (depending on how cheap the cocktails are, and how many I've gotten down, of course). Same for other practical purposes. But deep down, I know it's all just a bit of fun. There's taking physical materialism seriously, and then there's taking it seriously.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby smcj » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:30 pm

So are we saying that there is a StarTrek type holodeck inside everybody's skull? How does one fit the awareness of so much that is exterior into the interior of the skull?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:07 am

It is the same as trying to pin down whether the chicken or the egg came first. If consciousness is allegedly located in the brain or skull, yet brains and skulls (including your own skull which supposedly contains your own brain) appear to consciousness, then there's no way to make any definitive statements as to what comes first.

And when it comes down to it neither can be found apart from conventionality, so attempting to make a definitive statement regarding either is choosing to be bias about one of two equally unfounded illusions as it is.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:45 am

smcj wrote:So are we saying that there is a StarTrek type holodeck inside everybody's skull? How does one fit the awareness of so much that is exterior into the interior of the skull?


"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."


Rohitassa Sutta
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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