Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:25 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:
conebeckham wrote: For without mind, how can we discuss? How measure? How postulate?


All the while I'm asking myself where is that mind, that we could be with or without.


Good! Keep asking!
That's a necessary step in Mahamudra, and brings us right back to the beginning of the thread.
Eventually there will come a certainty........
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:24 pm

Again, from 3rd Karmapa's Mahamudra Prayer:

"It can not be shown by saying "This is it."
It can not be refuted by saying "This is not it."
the true nature of phenomena is beyond concept, unconditioned.
May we definitely know the perfect, ultimate truth."

And a few shlokas later:

"Both appearance is mind, and emptiness is mind.
Both realization is mind and confusion is mind.
Both birth is mind and cessation is mind.
May all doubts about mind be resolved."
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:27 pm

conebeckham wrote:From Rangjung Dorje's Aspiration Prayer of Mahamudra:

"It is not existent-even the victorious ones have not seen it.
It is not nonexistent-it is the basis of all samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction, but the middle path of unity.
May we realize the true nature of mind, which is free from extremes."


I know you think this makes sense but actually it doesn't. The position outlined in the statement 'it doesn't exist but it exists' can't be a position that is able to be understood intellectually. You should then explain from your direct experience what 'freedom from extremes' means. And then I'll explain what I have come to directly realize 'freedom from extremes' to mean.
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 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:38 pm

There is no intellectual explanation that can satisfactorily answer the question, Andrew108. Would that there were. Karmapa's prayer is, to me, the most succinct and practical instruction I can think of at the moment.

I will say that, in my personal experience, there is no intellectual explanation that can satisfactorily answer the question, "what does it mean to be free from extremes?" There is merely mind, in a state of being free from extremes. So much ink has been used, over the centuries, to attempt to describe this--words like "bliss/Emptiness," Coemergent Awareness/Emptiness," Self-Arisen Wisdom," "Ordinary Mind," "Presence," "Bare Awareness," "Clear Light Luminosity," etc.

None of those is satisfactory. Sorry.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:08 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Well then what is mind? Is it a substance? No. Does it have a shape? No. A colour? no. And so on. It seems like there is no mind.
Now we are getting somewhere.
It makes more sense if you are a practitioner of Mahamudra to swap the term 'mind' with the term 'reality'.
Did somebody say that they two different things?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:21 pm

conebeckham wrote:There is no intellectual explanation that can satisfactorily answer the question, Andrew108. Would that there were. Karmapa's prayer is, to me, the most succinct and practical instruction I can think of at the moment.

I will say that, in my personal experience, there is no intellectual explanation that can satisfactorily answer the question, "what does it mean to be free from extremes?" There is merely mind, in a state of being free from extremes. So much ink has been used, over the centuries, to attempt to describe this--words like "bliss/Emptiness," Coemergent Awareness/Emptiness," Self-Arisen Wisdom," "Ordinary Mind," "Presence," "Bare Awareness," "Clear Light Luminosity," etc.

None of those is satisfactory. Sorry.


Freedom from extremes means not mediating reality through concepts. It is a direct experience where concepts are not applied. If you have the idea that you need to realize 'freedom from extremes' then our intellectual tendencies will tend to imagine that this is something they either have realized or should realize, or is a position they should promote and defend.

The term mind is redundant. Useless. Because the practice is the practice of not mediating reality through concepts. The concept - 'it can't be found' is as useless as any other concept - as useless as the contradictory idea that 'it doesn't exist but it exists'.

I guess this thread has gone way off topic. The reason I have posted so much is because I think a realist/materialist view is more conducive to this practice of 'direct experience not mediated through concepts'. The tendency for westerners is that they think they should take on wholesale a belief system that is actually alien to them. They needn't bother with that. Buddhism will fail in the West if it stays as it is. It is failing. The Dalai Lama's dialogue with western science has been really useful.

In the end you have this cognition - just that - and that cognition is not separate from reality. It belongs in reality. If you see this reality as belonging to mind, as being in the mind, then reality is resting on a concept that stands between you and direct experience.
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 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:23 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Andrew108 wrote: It makes more sense if you are a practitioner of Mahamudra to swap the term 'mind' with the term 'reality'.
Did somebody say that they two different things?


Yes they were saying that reality is within the mind. That reality is made by the mind. The made (reality) has a maker (the mind).
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 Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:11 pm

And the essence of mind is???
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby smcj » Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:37 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:And the essence of mind is???

Love, wisdom, and freedom (usually translated as "unimpededness".
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:03 pm

smcj wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:And the essence of mind is???

Love, wisdom, and freedom (usually translated as "unimpededness".
Try emptiness.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Gwenn Dana » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:16 pm

conebeckham wrote:
Gwenn Dana wrote:All the while I'm asking myself where is that mind, that we could be with or without.


Good! Keep asking!


That question was rhetoric. There is no mind without thought, nothing to be found. Just as there is no empty space universe with nothing experienced and no time without anything happening.

Some people here were handling the term "mind" as if there was.

Best wishes
Gwenn
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby asunthatneversets » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:20 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Freedom from extremes means not mediating reality through concepts. It is a direct experience where concepts are not applied. If you have the idea that you need to realize 'freedom from extremes' then our intellectual tendencies will tend to imagine that this is something they either have realized or should realize, or is a position they should promote and defend.

The term mind is redundant. Useless. Because the practice is the practice of not mediating reality through concepts. The concept - 'it can't be found' is as useless as any other concept - as useless as the contradictory idea that 'it doesn't exist but it exists'.

I guess this thread has gone way off topic. The reason I have posted so much is because I think a realist/materialist view is more conducive to this practice of 'direct experience not mediated through concepts'. The tendency for westerners is that they think they should take on wholesale a belief system that is actually alien to them. They needn't bother with that. Buddhism will fail in the West if it stays as it is. It is failing. The Dalai Lama's dialogue with western science has been really useful.

In the end you have this cognition - just that - and that cognition is not separate from reality. It belongs in reality. If you see this reality as belonging to mind, as being in the mind, then reality is resting on a concept that stands between you and direct experience.

Freedom from extremes means that so-called conditioned phenomena are recognized to be fabrications of ignorance. Like Nāgārjuna's example where he discusses the unreality of the world, paraphrased; like a child who is born and dies in a dream, this world is also unborn, having never truly arisen in the first place. So the world is nothing which has ever occurred in the way we think it has, it is nothing that has originated, nothing that abides, nothing which will cease, and so it is free from origination and therefore free from extremes.

Your views on the rest of the points you mentioned are equally inaccurate in my opinion, the materialist view is so limiting.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:34 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
Freedom from extremes means not mediating reality through concepts.


No, it means that when things are examined their existence and their non-existence is no where to be found.

I guess this thread has gone way off topic. The reason I have posted so much is because I think a realist/materialist view is more conducive to this practice of 'direct experience not mediated through concepts'.


You may think so, but it merely shows that you are fixated.

In the end you have this cognition - just that - and that cognition is not separate from reality. It belongs in reality. If you see this reality as belonging to mind, as being in the mind, then reality is resting on a concept that stands between you and direct experience.


This is the problem with your view: you see reality as a container in which are contained cognitions and things. This is an inherently dualistic view; it is also essentialist.

In fact, there is no reality at all, apart from the reality that is constructed by minds acting together. The great Dzogchen master Shabkar reports in canto 11 of his famed Flight of the Garuda:

When a devaputra asked the Buddha:
“Who made Meru, the sun and the moon, and so on?”
The Buddha said:
“There is no other creator here.
The attachment of the traces of one’s conceptuality
imputes them, grasps them and then they appear in that way.
Everything is created by one’s mind.”
When the devaputra asked the Buddha again:
“How can the attachment of my concepts
make the hardness and stability of
Meru, the sun and moon, and so on?”
The Buddha said:
“In Varanasi, an old woman
meditated her own body as a tiger.
Since the villagers saw her
as a tiger, they evacuated the village.
If one is able to appear like that for a little while,
if one cultivates mental traces for beginningless lifetimes,
one will be able to appear like this for a year.”
Therefore, everything is created by the mind...
therefore, whatever is imputed by the concepts of the mind
can be perceived by others.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:38 pm

Gwenn Dana wrote:
conebeckham wrote:
Gwenn Dana wrote:All the while I'm asking myself where is that mind, that we could be with or without.


Good! Keep asking!


That question was rhetoric. There is no mind without thought, nothing to be found. Just as there is no empty space universe with nothing experienced and no time without anything happening.

Some people here were handling the term "mind" as if there was.

Best wishes
Gwenn


From 3rd Karmapa's Mahamudra Prayer:
"Great bliss free from attachment is unceasing.
Luminosity free from clinging to concept is unobscured.
Nonthought beyond conceptual mind is spontaneity."
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:53 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
"The question of whether there is an external physical reality independent of sentient beings' consciousness and mind has been extensively discussed by Buddhist thinkers. Naturally, there are divergent views on this issue among the various philosophical schools of thought. One such school [Cittamatra] asserts that there is no external reality, not even external objects, and that the material world we perceive is in essence merely a projection of our minds. From many points of view, this conclusion is rather extreme. Philosophically, and for that matter conceptually, it seems more coherent to maintain a position that accepts the reality not only of the subjective world of the mind, but also of the external objects of the physical world."

I agree with the Dalai Lama's position here. Acceptance of the reality of external objects is not a denial of dependent origination.


I accept the existence of 'external objects'. But they are 'external' relative to what? Where is this division between 'external' and 'internal' established if not in the mind? According to sunyavada, objects are not non-existent, but their reality is imputed and conventional rather than inherent. And as I have observed a number of times already, physics is still unable to establish an ultimate entity on the basis of which we can claim that objects are grounded in some fundamental material reality.

So what does it mean to say that objects are 'empty of inherent existence'? Why is this such an important idea in Mahayana Buddhism? I know elsewhere in that same book (Universe in a Single Atom) you will find H.H. spelling out exactly how scientific materialism attributes 'inherent existence' to material entities and why he differs with it.

I think you are grasping external objects to establish your sense of reality. That is OK as far as it goes, but it is characteristic of a certain cultural mentality. That is not a personal slight by any means as we are all wrestling with these issues.

I am going on vacation with my wife and have promised her I won't be sitting in the motel room posting to the Forum, so I am off for a few days. In parting, one more salient quotation, from a non-Buddhist writer, albeit one who was greatly influenced by Buddhism, namely E.F. Schumacher, of 'Small is Beautiful' fame. This is from a lecture of his on 'The Insufficiency of Liberalism':

The first great leap was made when man moved from Stage One of primitive religiosity to Stage Two of scientific realism. This is the stage modern man tends to be at. Then some people become dissatisfied with scientific realism, perceiving its deficiencies, and realize that there is something beyond fact and science. Such people progress to a higher plane of development which he called Stage Three. The problem was that Stage One and Stage Three looked exactly the same to those in Stage Two. Consequently, those in Stage Three are seen as having had some sort of relapse into childish nonsense. Only those in Stage Three, who have been through Stage Two, can understand the difference between Stage One and Stage Three.


:namaste:
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Gwenn Dana » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:57 pm

@conebeckham: As if anything unceasing there was. Do you believe?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:04 am

Gwenn Dana wrote:@conebeckham: As if anything unceasing there was. Do you believe?


That which is unborn is also unceasing, but this Nature of Mind (not "Mind" or "mental consciousness") is not a thing. Yes, I believe. Or, rather, I am confident. Belief implies, to most, attachment to some concept or doctrine. I have that, too.....unfortunately! I'm confident that's limiting, too, though.......for some, "belief" may be born of experience and Faith. I have that, too.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Gwenn Dana » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:18 am

And who paints up the image of "that which is unceasing" or "that which is unborn"?
Can it exist without him?
How should it survive him?
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:39 am

No need to paint, and not possible anyway.
No survival needed, no existence indicated.

No further sense in talking, at this point, I anticipate.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:48 am

jeeprs wrote:
I am going on vacation with my wife ..


Hope you have a good time. :smile:

jeeprs wrote:
The first great leap was made when man moved from Stage One of primitive religiosity to Stage Two of scientific realism. This is the stage modern man tends to be at. Then some people become dissatisfied with scientific realism, perceiving its deficiencies, and realize that there is something beyond fact and science. Such people progress to a higher plane of development which he called Stage Three. The problem was that Stage One and Stage Three looked exactly the same to those in Stage Two. Consequently, those in Stage Three are seen as having had some sort of relapse into childish nonsense. Only those in Stage Three, who have been through Stage Two, can understand the difference between Stage One and Stage Three.


:namaste:


Interesting passage. I would add a Stage Four. Stage Four is when someone who has been in Stage Three, rather than perceiving deficiencies, starts to appreciate the beauty of naturalism and scientific method (Stage Two) as a result of the wisdom uncovered in Stage Three. Those still in Stage Three regard those in Stage Four as heretics.
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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