Appearances and mind

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Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:56 pm

Some points for discussion:

• the mind rules over everything like a king, the body is the servant for all good or evil deeds

• when under the influence of datura (a plant that makes you unable to distinguish fantasy from reality), all the various experiences you have, whatever they may be, are, in fact, mistaken images without existence.

Likewise, understand that under the influence of a confused mind, all the mistaken experiences of the six classes of beings, whatever they may be, are all empty images, nonexistent yet appearing.

Since they appear in your mind and are constructed by your mind, exert yourself in taming this mistaken mind.

• Recognize directly, yourself, that appearance is mind and understand that your mind is the root of all phenomena. In this context, you must distinguish between appearance (nangwa) and the perceived object (nang-yal). Without doing this, you will be like the Great Omniscient One stated:

"ignorant people claim that everything is mind.
They are deluded about the three types of appearance,
Have many shortcomings, mix things up and overexaggerate.
Meditators, give up such unwholesome ways!"

The mere presence of visible forms, sounds, and so forth, that are the objects of the six types of consciousness is called "perceived objects." Thoughts of attachment, anger, or delusion based on the "perceived objects" are "appearances," for example, the feeling of attachment to a pleasant object, the feeling of anger toward an unpleasant one and the indifferent feeling toward something neutral. You must understand that such appearances are the functions of your own mind.

Perceived objects, such as form, sound, and so forth, have appeared due to mind, but they are not mind--they are the shared appearances of sentient beings and do not possess any true existence, besides being phenomena of dependent origination.

• The mind is not existent since even the victorious ones do not see it

• The mind is not nonexistent since it is the basis of samsara and nirvana

• This is not a contradiction, but the middle way of unity. May we realize the nature of mind, free from extremes.

Agree/disagree? Elaborate, clarify?
Last edited by padma norbu on Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:18 pm

These points above come verbatim from Vivid Awareness pages 223 - 225 (although not in bullet point format). I am surprised nobody has anything to say about it.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby Heruka » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:44 am

acquiescence is wonderful.


........sometimes.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby justsit » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:48 am

padma norbu wrote:• The mind is not existent since even the victorious ones do not see it

• The mind is not nonexistent since it is the basis of samsara and nirvana

• This is not a contradiction, but the middle way of unity. May we realize the nature of mind, free from extremes.

Agree/disagree? Elaborate, clarify?


It's perfect, as it is. No elaboration or clarification needed.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:40 am

justsit wrote:
padma norbu wrote:• The mind is not existent since even the victorious ones do not see it

• The mind is not nonexistent since it is the basis of samsara and nirvana

• This is not a contradiction, but the middle way of unity. May we realize the nature of mind, free from extremes.

Agree/disagree? Elaborate, clarify?


It's perfect, as it is. No elaboration or clarification needed.


Yes, these 3 points you've quoted are easiest to grasp even just intellectually. I thought everything prior was more more interesting to think about and dissect, however. I think I have witnessed many discussions and disagreement centered around these issues. Part of the problem is vocabulary, of course. But, I have read this whole thing at least 6 times since I copied it into my iPhone:

appearance is mind and understand that your mind is the root of all phenomena. In this context, you must distinguish between appearance (nangwa) and the perceived object (nang-yal).

The mere presence of visible forms, sounds, and so forth, that are the objects of the six types of consciousness is called "perceived objects." Thoughts of attachment, anger, or delusion based on the "perceived objects" are "appearances," for example, the feeling of attachment to a pleasant object, the feeling of anger toward an unpleasant one and the indifferent feeling toward something neutral. You must understand that such appearances are the functions of your own mind.

Perceived objects, such as form, sound, and so forth, have appeared due to mind, but they are not mind--they are the shared appearances of sentient beings and do not possess any true existence, besides being phenomena of dependent origination.


Here it distinguishes between "appearances" and "perceived objects" but then turns around and calls the perceived objects as "shared appearances of sentient beings." Bad choice of words in double-using "appearances" two different ways or...?

Apparently, "appearances" are here described as personal feelings regarding perceived objects and perceived objects are "shared appearances" (whatever that is*) of sentient beings which do not possess any true existence, besides being phenomena of dependent origination.

Well, sentient beings fit that description as well; they are dependently originated and do not possess any true existence beyond being phenomena of dependent origination. So, dependently originated beings are dependently originating perceived objects (which are not mind) and then appearances (which ARE mind) arise in relation to these perceived objects.

*Where does all the sentient beings and perceived objects dependently originate from if not ultimately mind?

Is there not a semantic distinction between Mind and mind, one referring to dharmakaya and one referring to conceptual mind?

I don't mean to get all nitpicky about it, but it seems that the Great Omniscient One was kind of getting all nitpicky about it when he said:
"ignorant people claim that everything is mind.
They are deluded about the three types of appearance,
Have many shortcomings, mix things up and overexaggerate.
Meditators, give up such unwholesome ways!"

While specifics are important for understanding, at times I am inclined to agree with a poster here who recently said that it is difficult to determine one's level of understanding as they might just be expressing themselves poorly. Yeah, or just with different words that seem poor descriptions.

What are these perceived objects and appearances if not ultimately some type of mind stuff? They arise and are perceived entirely by the mind, the minds of sentient beings which are ultimately all one thing, dharmakaya, at the root, which is called Absolute Mind (sems nyid).

Perhaps part of my problem is also a western way of quantifying things and not being familiar enough with the kayas to accept these classifications as explanation enough. It seems like the distinction between dharmakaya and the other kayas is practically the same as subject and object except that within the dharmakaya there is no distinction. I was just reading earlier that in dharmakaya there is no separation of anything, but in the rupakaya there is and this is where the Buddhas form (comparison was made to multiple rainbows). I think of the sambogakaya as like the energy being "thrown off" from the dharmakaya, so I think of it as "mind-stuff" or something. When you really think about it, it doesn't seem to explain what the stuff really is, but I suppose that could be because it doesn't have an essence. Seems funny, though, to think about all the minutiae science has discovered in the physical realm and then boil it down to the three kayas... it is almost like going back to a primitive kind of thought, if you try to stretch your brain to see it that way (I know you are used to seeing it as the most high knowledge).
Last edited by padma norbu on Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:48 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:26 am

Eh, I just walked to the store to get cat food and along the way I was pondering the various responses I might get.

I thought of dreams, which are the perceived objects of just a single sentient being, if I'm not mistaken. Within a dream, we have the perception of other sentient beings (perceived objects) as well as dream tables and chairs (also perceived objects) and we also have dream appearances (feelings in relation to dream perceived objects). So, these perceived objects are not shared appearances of sentient beings in a dream since there is only one person dreaming... or ARE they? There is the interesting phenomena of comingled dreams in which two or more people share a dream experience simultaneously, each within their own personal dreamspace. I have had this experience, so please do not try to persuade me this is not possible.

There is also the very interesting life of Emanuel Swedenborg, a very accomplished scientist in his day (no joke), who spent the last third of his life from age 53 onward to the private investigation of the soul. I won't get into his work much, but many claim it jibes with Buddhism (I personally don't really understand enough about Buddhism or his work to make that judgement, personally). Point being: Swedenborg said that all thoughts were literally living beings. He said that man was the "free space" between heaven and hell. Oh, and he recorded many visions of various afterlife places, too. His work inspired the movie What Dreams May Come. As I was thinking about dreams and comingled dreams, I remembered Swedenborg and I remembered the many lamas who have compared waking life to the dreamworld and I thought perhaps maybe dreams are just as alive as we are. After all, when I fight with a dream monster, I am not intentionally tormenting myself for kicks.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby heart » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:44 am

"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:50 am

heart wrote:If you want more detail

http://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Trove-Sc ... 1881847306


/magnus


No, I would rather hear specific responses to points I'm bringing up.

Also, I have the Basic Space of Phenomena. Not the 518 page commentary, but the text itself translated by the same group in the same series. I also have The Precious Treasury of The Way of Abiding. All in all, I would say they were clear as mud. Couldn't finish them. Certainly not going to plunk down $188 to buy the book you are recommending of the same series. ...Uh, but in case that sounded harsh, I didn't mean it to... thanks for the rec.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:52 am

:tongue:
Wow! So many points to discuss. I just saw this a few minutes ago and it will take me awhile to think about what and how to reply.
First of all, let me make it clear I am approaching this from my viewpoint as a Zen practitioner...and whatever I do say will come from that perspective and is my opinions only.
But the first thing I would say is:

• the mind rules over everything like a king, the body is the servant for all good or evil deeds

I would call this mind the "Ego Mind", that mind that generates a sentient being"s "world view". This Ego Mind is the mind that controls the , I am, I want, I feel, I love, I hate....and all such "I" illusions.
From the day a sentient being is born this Ego Mind tries to understand and interpret the sense world...and by that interpretation establish control and domination over that sentient being.
So while I agree with that statement, I would amend it slightly to this:
• the mind rules over everything like a king, the body is it's servant for all good or evil deeds

more when I have time to consider my answers.
:smile:
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:25 am

:smile:
• when under the influence of dhatura, all the various experiences you have, whatever they may be, are, in fact, mistaken images without existence.

Likewise, understand that under the influence of a confused mind, all the mistaken experiences of the six classes of beings, whatever they may be, are all empty images, nonexistent yet appearing.

Since they appear in your mind and are constructed by your mind, exert yourself in taming this mistaken mind.

----------------------------
I'll admit to not understanding the exact meaning of the term "dhatura"....if that is somewhat equivalent to ignorance, mis-understanding, or a confused view... I certainly agree.

Likewise, understand that under the influence of a confused mind, all the mistaken experiences of the six classes of beings, whatever they may be, are all empty images, nonexistent yet appearing.

I agree....but in my terms...I would call these "images" not non-exixtant...but arising from ethier "dependent origination" or "dependent arising"...whichever term you feel more comfortable with, I guess.
What's important to realise however is that these "images" are NOT "non-existant"...they, in fact have "no independent self-existant nature".
In English, at least, the difference is crucial. Non-existant implys they do NOT EXIST, "no independent self-existant nature" speaks to the crucial point....that their percieved exitsance comes from their "dependent arisng" or "dependemt origination" nature and therefore they have no reality outside that "dependent origination"
That's a crucial point in my opinion.

Since they appear in your mind and are constructed by your mind, exert yourself in taming this mistaken mind


THAT is PRECISELY the first stage of enlightened understanding...not Elightenment, that's something different....but enlightened understanding that is the first stage of Zen practice....only we might call it "overcoming the Ego Mind".
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:33 am

Sorry, I spelled it wrong... it's a plant: datura. I was going to say it makes you hallucinate, but apparently that's not exactly correct...

From wikipedia:

Effects of ingestion

Due to the potent combination of anticholinergic substances it contains, Datura intoxication typically produces effects similar to that of an anticholinergic delirium (as contrasted to hallucination): a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy; hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect.[12]

No other psychoactive substance has received as many "train wreck" (that is, severely negative experience) reports as has Datura. The overwhelming majority of those who describe their use of Datura find their experiences extremely mentally and physically unpleasant and often physically dangerous.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:09 am

Well, this is comical. Stumbled upon this by accident and it addresses pretty much everything I was thinking about. It doesn't exactly "solve" my thought problems just yet, but I haven't really invested a lot of time thinking about it yet. I will reread more carefully tomorrow, but I noticed that right off the bat that this book starts right off discussing all the exact things I was thinking about here in this thread in VERY simply language. I didn't get around to discussing the appearance of Buddhas much yet in this thread, but I had planned on getting there, eventually.

Check it out: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=JNNF1G4N

This kind of thing happens to me all the time and I don't know what to make of it, exactly. I did not stumble upon this Googling for answers to these questions. Rather, I stumbled upon it by accident through an Amazon recommendation while purchasing Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's "Skillful Grace." This book is by someone I never heard of before, but after a bit of research I think it is a good book for me to read. :)
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby heart » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:22 pm

padma norbu wrote:
heart wrote:If you want more detail

http://www.amazon.com/Treasure-Trove-Sc ... 1881847306


/magnus


No, I would rather hear specific responses to points I'm bringing up.

Also, I have the Basic Space of Phenomena. Not the 518 page commentary, but the text itself translated by the same group in the same series. I also have The Precious Treasury of The Way of Abiding. All in all, I would say they were clear as mud. Couldn't finish them. Certainly not going to plunk down $188 to buy the book you are recommending of the same series. ...Uh, but in case that sounded harsh, I didn't mean it to... thanks for the rec.


If you don't understand or accept the teaching of Khenpo Ganshar you should try to go to the bottom of that doubt. Longchenpa is a possibility. Else I suggest you take this subject up with a Lama of the tradition that speaks English well such as Khandro Rinpoche. I will not question the teaching of Khenpo Ganshar.

/magnus
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:43 pm

heart wrote:If you don't understand or accept the teaching of Khenpo Ganshar you should try to go to the bottom of that doubt. Longchenpa is a possibility. Else I suggest you take this subject up with a Lama of the tradition that speaks English well such as Khandro Rinpoche. I will not question the teaching of Khenpo Ganshar.

/magnus


Hmm, well I guess I can see how my comments could be interpreted that way, but honestly I was not questioning or doubting anybody. I liked this book very much for it's clarity right up until the end. This is the second time I've read it. This suddenly stood out for me because of the quote from Great Omniscient One, so I read and re-read trying to make sure I understand.

Oddly, enough, since you mentioned that commentary, I decided to pull out the Basic Space of Phenomena text and open wherever the bookmark was and begin reading where I left off, which was page 68. On page 69, it said something which I think applies to whatever it is I'm trying to figure out here: "To hold that one cannot realize the inexpressible without relying on specific means to characterize it is a fool's attitude."

Also, this is not something that would ordinarily concern me too much. I think about stuff like this for whatever reason (curiosity, fun, itching need), but basically I just try to relax and get in the natural state as much as possible without worrying about all this conceptual stuff. The reason I decided to try to really figure this out was because of the many quotes that made it sound as if you don't know jack squat and are just an "ox" sitting there dumbly thinking you 'get it' if you don't understand these things. That is what Vivid Awareness says: that if you don't understand this, you are clueless and ignorant like an ox.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:53 pm

The other thing I got from my reading of the Basic Space of Phenomena from pg 68 through to the end of that section is this: holy crap, it really uses strong language in relation to effort and practice which is certainly confusing given that pretty much all modern Dzogchen teachers I know of give methods and point out that "nothing to do" does not literally mean you don't have to put effort into your practice. I am positive that if Namkhai Norbu commented on this text, he would explain it much differently in a way that actually made sense to non-masters. I suppose this is why the commentary is necessary, but $188 is too rich for my blood.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby heart » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:31 pm

padma norbu wrote:The other thing I got from my reading of the Basic Space of Phenomena from pg 68 through to the end of that section is this: holy crap, it really uses strong language in relation to effort and practice which is certainly confusing given that pretty much all modern Dzogchen teachers I know of give methods and point out that "nothing to do" does not literally mean you don't have to put effort into your practice. I am positive that if Namkhai Norbu commented on this text, he would explain it much differently in a way that actually made sense to non-masters. I suppose this is why the commentary is necessary, but $188 is too rich for my blood.


http://www.namsebangdzo.com/Treasure_Tr ... /10551.htm

$ 39.95 for a very big and wonderful book?

/magnus
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:39 pm

Thanks for the link, but it's actually out of stock there, too. I would pay $39, sure. Not $188, though.

EDIT: just snagged a PDF online for free, so that takes care of that problem. Stealing? Meh. Like taking a book out of the library, really. Reading intro now... if it was not out of print, I would definitely buy it, but there is no reason to pay some guy $188 for a used book since it will not profit the authors or publishers.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:33 am

Help me out here...

From Vivid Awareness, page 224:
Ignorant people claim that everything is mind.
They are deluded about the three types of appearance,
Have many shortcomings, mix things up and overexaggerate.
Meditators, give up such unwholesome ways!


Vivid Awareness, page 227:
Everything's not true, not false,
Like moons in water, say the wise.
This ordinary mind itself
Is dharma expanse, the victor's essence.


[The comment says, "Thus, mahamudra is also nonfixation." So, ordinary mind = nonfixation = dharma expanse/victor's essence.]


There is a contradiction here I see and which I am going to point out. I would be happy to be corrected, but please finish reading before you attempt a correction because I am sticking to the quotes here and below and will belabor the point indefinitely repeating myself if I see something that is not addressed (and nobody wants that!)...

It says "ordinary mind" is the dharma expanse, the victor's essence... but it says "everything is not mind" on p.224...

But dharma expanse is everything:

Basic Space of Phenomena, page 83:
It is the ordinary confused mind that perceives sensory appearances to be something other than oneself...
The true nature of confusion is the realm of equalness, the natural state of rest—the natural expanse that is unwavering and primordially pure.
There is nothing to do and no effort to make—whether or not you are resting is irrelevant.


So, this is saying that ordinary confused mind does not realize that the true nature of confusion is the natural expanse that is unwavering and primordially pure.

Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, 16th Karmapa:
Unconditioned primordial wisdom, the expanse of your mind, sees without hindrance into the three times.


So... how is the dharma expanse, which is "ordinary mind" according to Vivid Awareness and "the expanse of your mind" according to Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, not everything? This is nonduality we're talking about.

I'm trying to figure out where the ignorance comes in when people say "everything is mind." <-- This is the point of this thread and post.

Since the illusion of dualism is a misperception and the true nature of this confusion is the dharma expanse, unwavering and primordially pure, how can it be that everything is not mind when, as stated above...

true nature of ordinary confused mind = natural state of rest—the natural expanse that is unwavering and primordially pure = ordinary mind = nonfixation = dharma expanse/victor's essence = unconditioned primordial wisdom, the expanse of your mind.

???

Seems to me that by the law of equivalency, everything is mind. If not, where is the flaw in my logic? And please don't tell me the problem is trying to conceptualize the nonconceptual because I just am using the very definitions/explanations provided by the authors themselves and trying to interpret how it is not a contradiction.

I am looking forward to being corrected. I want to understand this. Since I do want to understand this, I will be a pain in the butt about extracting an answer that satisfies these points entirely, which is why I asked for you to please read the whole thing before correcting. I really want to stick to what is written here and not introduce a lot of other texts and explanations of mind, etc. because I want to examine these exact words and find out where the problem lies in my misunderstanding.
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:47 am

padma norbu wrote:
It says "ordinary mind" is the dharma expanse, the victor's essence... but it says "everything is not mind" on p.224...




Mind [sems] and ordinary mind [tha mal gyi shes pa] are two entirely different things. The latter is a yogi's term for wisdom [ye shes].

N
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Re: Appearances and mind

Postby padma norbu » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:56 am

Namdrol wrote:
padma norbu wrote:
It says "ordinary mind" is the dharma expanse, the victor's essence... but it says "everything is not mind" on p.224...




Mind [sems] and ordinary mind [tha mal gyi shes pa] are two entirely different things. The latter is a yogi's term for wisdom [ye shes].

N


So, to recap briefly with your new terms: if the true nature of confusion [sems] is wisdom [tha mal gyi shes pa], then all is wisdom.

That, of course, makes sense. "Confusion dawns as wisdom." But, is Vivid Awareness actually refuting an idea that all is confused mind? Who in the heck has ever put forth such a notion that it would actually need to be refuted?! Why wouldn't this be translated as "wisdom" rather than "ordinary mind?" I don't understand the way things are translated sometimes...
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