Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sönam » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:38 am

Andrew108 wrote:
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.


Do you real think that Buddha state could be explained by mind ? ... what can be explained has to be within the scope of the explainer. Buddha state is not in the scope of mind ... otherwise is right.
That should end this interminable discussion ... but it will not. Mind trip.

Sönam
By understanding everything you perceive from the perspective of the view, you are freed from the constraints of philosophical beliefs.
By understanding that any and all mental activity is meditation, you are freed from arbitrary divisions between formal sessions and postmeditation activity.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby thigle » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:33 am

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.


It's based on direct experience where reified-concepts doesn't matter naturally from itself. If you just say: .."are not applied", it sounds a little bit like the fruit of practiced nonpractice or the fruit of speculation like: "There's nothing to do". You can also say: .."it's based on direct experience where reified-concepts (and states of mind, which are the expression of reified-concepts) are from itself .. completely natural .. not applied." The term "from itself" doesn't mean automactic .. and the term "it doesn't matter" is just a description of the immediate and obvious fact: "it doesn't matter". In other words, it's not just a thought or insight in which one knows: "It doesn't matter". Knowledge is not in any way to understand trough consciousness.

Andrew108 wrote:The term mind is redundant. Useless. [...] 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'.


Yeah, I agree with all of that :cheers: . Particulary: When nothing can be found, the only factual consequence is: You can't find nature trough searching for nature. And this has another consequences. But some practitioners create pseudo-insights like: "There's no form, no colour .. there's no reference point .. therefore I rest in this nature and don't focus on anything" . They just create a reified concept (expresses itself as fabricated state of mind) out of the simple fact, that their can't find anything. That's grasping. There's a difference. With different fruits: knowledge or ignorance. Therefore it's important to understand this difference, based on direct experience.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:54 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
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.



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.


No need for a Stage Four, IMO, as Stage Three recognizes the "deficiencies" of the "hard science objectivist Realist" Stage Two and the "Blind Faith" or "primitive religiosity" of Stage One, while accepting that Truth or Reality cannot be defined either as purely Objective or as purely Subjective. To say otherwise is to imply that the Wisdom of Stage Three (which I assume is a True Wisdom, an understanding of the Two Truths, and is what I perceive as, for example, HHDL's position) has limits which are surpassed by an Objective Assertion of what is "real," according to Scientific Method. Or, more simply put, this Stage Four you speak of implies that the Scientific Method of Stage Two will, in the end, lead to the Enlightenment equivalent to the Buddha's, and that this enlightenment can ultimately, objectively, be found.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby monktastic » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:24 pm

I am in agreement with cone. To go from stage three to four would be to say "I used to see that all concepts are empty, but now I again prefer to grasp this specific set of concepts regarding appearances" (namely, that they must be "backed" by "real objects"). This doesn't sound like progress.

In stage three (as I understand it), the person fully well appreciates the beauty and value of naturalism and the scientific method, but doesn't insist that they are absolute truth. Instead, there is a kind of fluidity: if circumstances change, then my model is free to change with it. Although objects have followed well-defined patterns thus far, there is no inherent reason why they must continue to do so. If I wake up one day into a universe that has entirely different apparent rules, I am not forced to interpret them in terms of present rules (e.g., matter; energy; brains), any more than I'm forced to interpret present observations in terms of a dream I had last night.

The way I like to think of it is that although there may be scientific "laws", there is no executive branch anywhere to "enforce" them. Or: past performance is no guarantee of future results. :tongue:
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby monktastic » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:43 pm

I would also like to apologize, because my tone comes across as more confrontational and haughty than intended. I should be thanking others with differing views, as they help me reflect on my own. So: thank you :smile:.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:41 am

Sönam wrote:
Do you real think that Buddha state could be explained by mind ? ... what can be explained has to be within the scope of the explainer. Buddha state is not in the scope of mind ... otherwise is right.
That should end this interminable discussion ... but it will not. Mind trip.

Sönam


It pretty much depends on what you mean by the term "mind". There are plenty of Dzogchen texts that assert buddhahood cannot be found outside of the mind.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby dude » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:49 am

I reject that wholesale.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:57 am

dude wrote:I reject that wholesale.


What are you rejecting wholesale?
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby dude » Sat Apr 19, 2014 3:02 am

oops, I committed a dreadful error.
I misread your post to mean the opposite of what it says.
Yes, Buddhahood is not found outside the mind.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby conebeckham » Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:36 am

Well, it depends on what you mean by "mind." :shrug:

I mean, Buddhahood ain't found in the body....so, the alternative....

oh, never mind. Someone will soon enough tell me that Buddhahood is, indeed, found in the body and I'm just misunderstanding the use of the word "Body."
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:39 am

conebeckham wrote:Well, it depends on what you mean by "mind." :shrug:

I mean, Buddhahood ain't found in the body....so, the alternative....

oh, never mind. Someone will soon enough tell me that Buddhahood is, indeed, found in the body and I'm just misunderstanding the use of the word "Body."

From http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.045.than.html:
The Buddha wrote: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.
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:41 am

Back to Nagarjuna!

Enlightenment is in this body and mind.

Enlightenment is not in this body and mind.

Enlightenment both is and is not in this body and mind.

Enlightenment neither is nor is not in this body and mind.
"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."
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:11 am

Conebeckham wrote:No need for a Stage Four, IMO, as Stage Three recognizes the "deficiencies" of the "hard science objectivist Realist" Stage Two and the "Blind Faith" or "primitive religiosity" of Stage One, while accepting that Truth or Reality cannot be defined either as purely Objective or as purely Subjective. To say otherwise is to imply that the Wisdom of Stage Three (which I assume is a True Wisdom, an understanding of the Two Truths, and is what I perceive as, for example, HHDL's position) has limits which are surpassed by an Objective Assertion of what is "real," according to Scientific Method. Or, more simply put, this Stage Four you speak of implies that the Scientific Method of Stage Two will, in the end, lead to the Enlightenment equivalent to the Buddha's, and that this enlightenment can ultimately, objectively, be found.


I am in agreement with your view.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sönam » Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:48 am

Malcolm wrote:
Sönam wrote:
Do you real think that Buddha state could be explained by mind ? ... what can be explained has to be within the scope of the explainer. Buddha state is not in the scope of mind ... otherwise is right.
That should end this interminable discussion ... but it will not. Mind trip.

Sönam


It pretty much depends on what you mean by the term "mind". There are plenty of Dzogchen texts that assert buddhahood cannot be found outside of the mind.


In this case, sems ... not sems nyid, sems ngo.

Sönam
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby thigle » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:15 am

Malcolm wrote:buddhahood cannot be found outside of the mind.


Because of the consequence, when there's nothing to find outside of the mind. Nature can't be found trough searching for nature. Therefore it's not about ontology or philosophical phenomenology, it's just about the end of suffering.
Last edited by thigle on Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby tobes » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:19 am

The issue of controversy here seems to be something like: is it possible to establish a materialist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without making any discursive/conceptual imputations?

From a western point of view, such a possibility was destroyed by Kant's First Critique well over 200 years ago. One can still be a realist materialist, but only on the back of some very nuanced and subtle conceptual thinking. People who assume that it's possible to arrive at that position without doing that simply haven't looked into the matter (no pun intended). In other words, you have to do metaphysics to get anything like a tenable materialism. And so it follows that advocates of materialism well understand that they are in metaphysical terrain. i.e. you can't get a materialist theory of brain-mind-consciousness without acknowledging the epistemological status of the theory.

Now there seems to be an argument of the kind: maybe the freedom from conceptuality promoted by various forms of Buddhism gives us a way of arriving at a materialist view without the necessity for doing metaphysics. i.e. maybe we can sidestep the Kantian problem that our conceptions and impressions about the phenomenal world can never be the world itself.....because we can get rid of conceptuality, and just have mind/consciousness as it is (which is brain).

Two points about this:
1. It doesn't escape from the Kantian problematic if it posits reasons and evidence to support itself - because those reasons and that evidence are necessarily conceptual.
2. Maybe there is some possibility of moving through a conceptual process and into a phenomenological experience which could be characterised as 'materialist.' But in doing so, there is nothing that could be coherently said about the experience.

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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby thigle » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:50 am

tobes wrote:(v1) is it possible to establish a materialist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without making any discursive/conceptual imputations?


tobes wrote:(v2) is it possible to establish a eternalist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without grasping?


Without grasping, reified-concepts like eternalism and nihilism doesn't matter from itself. In this context, a materialist view can be just like a metaphor.
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:51 am

tobes wrote:The issue of controversy here ... there is nothing that could be coherently said about the experience.
:good:
"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."
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Re: Mahamudra meditation problem: locating the mind

Postby Andrew108 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:05 pm

tobes wrote:The issue of controversy here seems to be something like: is it possible to establish a materialist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without making any discursive/conceptual imputations?


I don't think that is the controversy. To establish any view requires concepts. The issue is should we use Buddhists ones or the ones we are familiar with? If we use Buddhist ones we can get a bit stuck. Especially through the adoption of Buddhist cosmology. If we use materialist ones we can relax. We understand evolution and don't have to substitute a Buddhist concept. We understand that causality is not always personal. We understand that objects obey laws that weren't made by beings. We understand that there is a past and a future. There is space/time. Light from the sun takes millions of years to get to the surface of the sun and when it does it takes a mere 8 minutes to get to us on Earth. All of these things are readily accepted. That is a blessing. We don't need to change things around. We can let go of our concepts much sooner than those who take the mind to be the source of everything. Or who have the idea that the essence of mind is emptiness.

What Thigle has been saying is that non-fixation is a fact. Or needs to be a fact. It needs to be absolutely obvious. The sooner concepts are dropped regarding mind, then the sooner the factual status of non-fixation can come about. Milarepa sang that appearances were his texts. This is an extraordinarily important point. But if we hold to a Buddhist view regarding the primacy of mind, it is very hard to see appearances as texts. We are always adding to the appearances rather than just letting them be in their own nature whilst we are also in that nature.

The Mahamudra instruction regarding locating the mind (in this case mental consciousness) is not really weakened by saying that mental consciousness is in the brain. After all, the brain is pervaded with space as well as all of the 'stuff' of the universe and it obeys natural laws too. One might say that naturally the brain is not fixated. Not in a state of conceptual definitiveness - reality isn't in a state of conceptual definitiveness either. But even without applying concepts to reality, reality has it's characteristics - it is definite. You needn't do anything but still something happens. This 'happening', even without an agent doing something, is for some people a display of inherent ignorance. I couldn't disagree with this more. I think instead that this is what wisdom is.

But we'll know how this all pans out when we come to die. Regarding death, nature tells me that it is normal and somewhat necessary. Without my death there would be no room for other life. And that since billions of people have died, then it's a fact that I will also have to make way for life. That's in my future. Some may say that death doesn't happen - it's all in the mind. Yes that is true to an extent. There is no actual point of death. It seems to be a process. But I wonder if it doesn't help more to see the experience of death as absolutely natural and then without concepts relax into that. Or should we see death as something going on in the mind that we may have some control over? You see how a conceptual residue can remain with those who haven't accepted that death, like life, is entirely natural and valuable to itself. That death should be overcome.

Those who adopt Buddhist views of the pre-eminence of mind (and I have done this), are not able to let go of subtle concepts regarding mind. Since they cannot let go of these subtle concepts regarding mind, they are not able to progress. That is the long and short of it. If you understand consciousness is located in the brain then go with that. The sooner you are able to have a direct experience of reality not mediated through concepts then the better you'll be.
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"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 Malcolm » Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:33 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
tobes wrote:The issue of controversy here seems to be something like: is it possible to establish a materialist view (in this case, about the nature of mind or consciousness) without making any discursive/conceptual imputations?


I don't think that is the controversy. To establish any view requires concepts. The issue is should we use Buddhists ones or the ones we are familiar with? If we use Buddhist ones we can get a bit stuck. Especially through the adoption of Buddhist cosmology. If we use materialist ones we can relax. We understand evolution and don't have to substitute a Buddhist concept. We understand that causality is not always personal.


On a conventional level, causation is not always personal, only karmic causation is personal.


We understand that objects obey laws that weren't made by beings.


Beings don't make up laws; if you think this, you have not understood anything.

We understand that there is a past and a future.


The past no longer exists, the future hasn't yet occurred.

There is space/time. Light from the sun takes millions of years to get to the surface of the sun and when it does it takes a mere 8 minutes to get to us on Earth. All of these things are readily accepted.


This is all merely conventional.

We can let go of our concepts much sooner than those who take the mind to be the source of everything. Or who have the idea that the essence of mind is emptiness.


It does not appear that way from where I sit.

What Thigle has been saying is that non-fixation is a fact. Or needs to be a fact. It needs to be absolutely obvious. The sooner concepts are dropped regarding mind, then the sooner the factual status of non-fixation can come about. Milarepa sang that appearances were his texts. This is an extraordinarily important point. But if we hold to a Buddhist view regarding the primacy of mind, it is very hard to see appearances as texts. We are always adding to the appearances rather than just letting them be in their own nature whilst we are also in that nature.


Milarepa also understood that are appearances existed as mind.

The Mahamudra instruction regarding locating the mind (in this case mental consciousness) is not really weakened by saying that mental consciousness is in the brain.


Of course it is -- you've just given the mind a location.

Those who adopt Buddhist views of the pre-eminence of mind (and I have done this), are not able to let go of subtle concepts regarding mind. Since they cannot let go of these subtle concepts regarding mind, they are not able to progress. That is the long and short of it. If you understand consciousness is located in the brain then go with that. The sooner you are able to have a direct experience of reality not mediated through concepts then the better you'll be.


Consciousness is not located in the brain. It is located, conventionally, in the center of the body.

M
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