The brain and Dzogchen...

The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:59 am

I'll like to start a debate about the brain in Dzogchen. The brain has long been seen as being something like an office, home of the consciousness but not home of the mind. And yet you can see that the larger the brain the more reflexive self-awareness a being has. Enlightenment seems possible for us with large brains but not for smaller animals who have mind but lack the capacity. Then there are a series of questions which might be useful for the debate:
Is the brain being changed when we do meditation? Can awareness be tied to a type of brain activity? What would we perceive without a brain? What is the difference between a brain-based awareness and an experience of the true nature of mind? How would we distinguish the two?
If a master suffers from a stroke or a brain disease would that effect their 'realization'?
Recent studies have shown how experienced meditators access and use a different part of their brain during meditation. In light of this, is meditation brain-based? With the difference between good meditation and bad meditation biologically based. In dream yoga what is seen? Is it merely that we activate a part of our brain that wouldn't normally be activated when we sleep? How is it that we 'see' things in the bardo without a brain? And so on.....
I think this is a particularly important debate and in away is related to how far we can separate ordinary mind from nature of mind. How far does the activity of ordinary mind reach into our real nature?
I hope we can discuss these things. It would be of great benefit to me personally.
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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:56 am

I wonder a lot about this too. I don't have the answers though.

This might shed a bit of light on the experience of consiousness when the brain and body is conventionally dead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOeLJCdHojU
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby muni » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:27 am

A so called near death experience shows at that moment very clearly that a consciousness is not merely claustrophobical in the brain but the body is consciousness' free reflection, so without 'possesing' it at all! It is a "teaching" which showes vastly: no book can express our nature. I had later a few nice talks with an openminded family member who studied western medicines. He said we will talk next time more. But this never happened, he passed away.
Now what this doctor tells, is amazingly explaining the missed talk. Dzogchen is clearly visible in this. All encompassing, no any need to give a name/label.
Scientifical investigations can show "believing in or not", has nothing to do with our nature like it is, rather is our limited fabrication, rejection or acception only.

Wonderful!

Thank you very much for this topic and interesting youtube. _/\_
There is only nature and all is nature. Any discrimination is ones’ own delusion.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:00 pm

Thanks for the replies so far but I would rather not turn this into a debate about NDE's or in fact about whether consciousness is material or not. Lets assume that consciousness has a non-material base that is some how tied to a material conditioning factor (the brain). The point here is this: how far can we move away from the brain as a conditioning factor in our experiences in order to get at our real nature? In what sense can an experience be genuine or realization be genuine and trusted if only ever understood perceptually?
If our basic nature is like space then space pervades even the brain. But in what sense does this basic space have authentic awareness within it - awareness that is not just perceptual? Integrating into the experience in a non-dual way (the presence of GY for instance) can mean doing something in the brain or letting the brain relax - so how is it a genuine experience? Where does brain-based presence stop and space-based presence start?
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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby muni » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:28 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Thanks for the replies so far but I would rather not turn this into a debate about NDE's or in fact about whether consciousness is material or not. Lets assume that consciousness has a non-material base that is some how tied to a material conditioning factor (the brain). The point here is this: how far can we move away from the brain as a conditioning factor in our experiences in order to get at our real nature? In what sense can an experience be genuine or realization be genuine and trusted if only ever understood perceptually?
If our basic nature is like space then space pervades even the brain. But in what sense does this basic space have authentic awareness within it - awareness that is not just perceptual? Integrating into the experience in a non-dual way (the presence of GY for instance) can mean doing something in the brain or letting the brain relax - so how is it a genuine experience? Where does brain-based presence stop and space-based presence start?

Dual-nondual. If we can talk about a genuine experience it is a talk about. If there is no talk possible, the arising is spontaneous of itself... "Where" no sem is, there about sem is very interested. Not descridable nondual is the answer.
By the way, recognizing in ND experience later back in practices is amazing example which of course I understand cannot be taken blindly in case of not such experienced. But it can strongly encourage.
There is only nature and all is nature. Any discrimination is ones’ own delusion.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Sönam » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:38 pm

About, in his last teaching, ChNN said : "Mind is not in the head, but office of mind is in the head" and "Brain is used to store informations from sense consciousness".

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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:49 pm

Sönam wrote:About, in his last teaching, ChNN said : "Mind is not in the head, but office of mind is in the head"

Sönam

Yes I know ChNN says that but that still doesn't stop me questioning.

muni wrote:Dual-nondual. If we can talk about a genuine experience it is a talk about.


How do we know that the non-dual experience is genuine even if kleshas diminish? The point here is that one is still making an effort to rest in non-duality which is brain-based. Isn't it the case that true enlightenment goes beyond the brain - in that buddhas don't have a brain. But then the sun doesn't have a brain, it's nature is luminous emptiness, it is pervaded by space. It doesn't see it's own light. How is a buddha different from both a human and the sun? I think this gets to the point I'm trying to make.
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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The Buddha had no brain?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:04 pm

Andrew108 wrote: in that buddhas don't have a brain.


Really? The Buddha had no brain?

(Awesome!)
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:19 pm

Namdrol wrote:Really? The Buddha had no brain?

And Buddha Amitahba's brain is where?
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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:25 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:Really? The Buddha had no brain?

And Buddha Amitahba's brain is where?


Which type of Buddha are you talking about?

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:27 pm

Any type of buddha.
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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:31 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Any type of buddha.


I am pretty sure that Sakyamuni had a brain, just like he had a heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, etc.

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http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:31 pm

Does a rock have Buddha nature? Kidding, I'm kidding ...
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Paul » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:33 pm

The last retreat I was on with Tsoknyi Rinpoche had one of his students, who is a neuroscientist, explain her resaerch on Dzogchen meditation and the brain.

From what I remember, scans showed a dramatic reduction in activity in the prefrontal medial cortex and an increase in the hypothalamus.

The prefrontal medial cortex is apparently responsible for the sense of self, especially in a social context. It is also the 'home' of abstract thought. She showed us that you can actually feel it being activated if you feel all tense and nervous. You can aslo feel it 'release' in certain meditational states.

The hypothalamus is involved in the filtering of sensory data and the data showed that the sensory floodgates were basically widely open.

It was pretty cool. I'll see if I can find her contact details later.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby neverdowell » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:40 pm

Hayagriva wrote:The last retreat I was on with Tsoknyi Rinpoche had one of his students, who is a neuroscientist, explain her resaerch on Dzogchen meditation and the brain..


Very interesting, thanks.

To develop bodhichitta, which is the actual practice, you need to develop such compassion that you simply cannot bear others being tormented by suffering. But in order to develop this compassion, you must know exactly how you yourself are plagued by suffering. And you must understand that the whole of samsara is by nature suffering. But first you must fear the lower realms, for without this you will have no repudiation of celestial and human happiness. You must therefore train your mind in the small- and medium- scope parts of the path. -- Pabongka Rinpoche
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:22 pm

Hayagriva wrote:The hypothalamus is involved in the filtering of sensory data and the data showed that the sensory floodgates were basically widely open.

Right. Very interesting. More and more of this research is coming out showing that the brain structure is altered in advanced meditators. The obvious question for me is - how far does this different brain wiring go to explaining experiences such as non-dual awareness and so on.
I find this almost revolutionary. It means for me that genuine reality is way beyond brain-based experiences. Any thoughts held onto or view held on to or experience held onto is not really the final point. Any explanation as to what it is or maybe is not definite either. The difference between a normal being and a buddha seems to be that the normal being takes the contents of brain-based experience to be true regardless of how refined or 'open' they are whereas the buddha does not. Buddhas seem to have awareness as an 'adornment' as a natural consequence of going beyond the way a normal being operates.

Also at
Namdrol wrote:I am pretty sure that Sakyamuni had a brain, just like he had a heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidney, etc.
. His enlightenment was not brain-based. Also all of the tantras etc have not been transmitted by 'beings with brains'. Interesting.
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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:42 pm

The 16th karmapa could teach meditation to birds. Apparantly Thaye Dorje has also demonstrated this.

I honestly think some birds are more advanced meditators than I am :)

Point being, a bird with it's little brain can enter a state of samadhi apparrantly.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:54 pm

Andrew108 wrote:His enlightenment was not brain-based.


The Hevajra Tantra states the following:

Vajragarbha asked:
    “This yoga of the completion stage,
    its bliss is called great bliss,
    completion is not a meditation,
    so why do creation?”
The Bhagavan replied:
    “Incredible, the great bodhisattva
    has lost the power of faith.
    Where does bliss come from without the existence of the body?
    Such a bliss cannot be spoken of.
    Bliss pervades all migrating beings
    in the form of pervaded and pervader;
    just as the fragrance present in a flower,
    cannot be known without the flower’s existence.
    In the same way, since form and so on won’t exist,
    also bliss itself won’t be perceived.


The Vajrayāna view of awakening is that awakening is very much based in the body as this passage from the Hevajra Tantra shows. The key to awakening in Vajrayāna in general is embodiment. The mind/matter dualism (ala Decartes) we find in sutra is superceded in Vajrayāna, that is the key to why Vajrayāna is more rapid.

N
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Malcolm » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:56 pm

AlexanderS wrote:The 16th karmapa could teach meditation to birds. Apparantly Thaye Dorje has also demonstrated this.

I honestly think some birds are more advanced meditators than I am :)

Point being, a bird with it's little brain can enter a state of samadhi apparrantly.



Samadhi is a mental factor present in all beings in the desire realm. So this is nothing suprising at all.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby AlexanderS » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:30 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:His enlightenment was not brain-based.


The Hevajra Tantra states the following:

Vajragarbha asked:
    “This yoga of the completion stage,
    its bliss is called great bliss,
    completion is not a meditation,
    so why do creation?”
The Bhagavan replied:
    “Incredible, the great bodhisattva
    has lost the power of faith.
    Where does bliss come from without the existence of the body?
    Such a bliss cannot be spoken of.
    Bliss pervades all migrating beings
    in the form of pervaded and pervader;
    just as the fragrance present in a flower,
    cannot be known without the flower’s existence.
    In the same way, since form and so on won’t exist,
    also bliss itself won’t be perceived.


The Vajrayāna view of awakening is that awakening is very much based in the body as this passage from the Hevajra Tantra shows. The key to awakening in Vajrayāna in general is embodiment. The mind/matter dualism (ala Decartes) we find in sutra is superceded in Vajrayāna, that is the key to why Vajrayāna is more rapid.

N


So is awakening possible in Dewachen? Of course I could suppose one has a body there too.
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