The brain and Dzogchen...

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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Virgo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:28 am

I guess what I've been meaning to say here, is the brain is tsal.

That's about all we need to get.

Kevin
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Heruka » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:38 am

Virgo wrote:I guess what I've been meaning to say here, is the brain is tsal.

That's about all we need to get.

Kevin


dont give in to astonishment, go beyond.

feel.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby heart » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:17 am

Acchantika wrote:Not sure, I can't remember the last time I died :smile:

When HHDL talks about the bardo and so on, he always infers that there is still brain activity going on after "clinical death", albeit subtle activity. E.g. (my bold):

    " ...the body of another senior Tibetan lama...remained fresh for almost three weeks after he had died. As soon as I heard that this master's body was remaining in this naturally fresh state, I asked a medical center in Dharamasala, the village in northern India where I live, to carry out an investigation. This medical center had a simple machine for measuring brain activity. They sent a team with the machine and placed electrodes on the lama's head. Although a very detailed analysis of the results of these tests has yet to be completed, it seems that even a few days after he had been declared clinically dead, some very weak electrical signals could be detected in the lama's brain. This, I was told, is very unusual. We believe that these findings indicate that the lama's innermost subtle mind was still present and having a measurable influence on the body. "
~ HHDL

So, perhaps the bardo experience is not something that happens apart from a brain.


This is not bardo, it is called tukdam. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Tukdam

The bardo happens to all sentient beings from they are dead until they for an other body. No brain necessary for that experience.

/magnus
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Virgo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 6:39 am

Heruka wrote:
Virgo wrote:I guess what I've been meaning to say here, is the brain is tsal.

That's about all we need to get.

Kevin


dont give in to astonishment, go beyond.

feel.

Thank you for elaborating.

Kevin
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:04 am

Acchantika wrote:The struggle of the brain trying to process itself ends with the realisation that it can't, because it is not the progenitor of "that which knows".

Right. This is why I have doubts that buddhas have brains in that enlightenment is beyond 'that which knows'. A buddha not as a human being but as an embodiment of the state beyond brain cognition. I appreciate your views on this subject.
@Virgo There is no reifying of a state that can't be reified. The brain being tsal? Yes that would be one way of explaining it in that all we know about the brain is understood within the senses.
In Dzogchen, which is a complete path in itself, it seems crucial that one not just accept but really try to work through the issues. I mean if we look at the transmission of Dzogchen with Garab Dorje - the transmission was given by Vajrasattva to Garab Dorje who at a young age passed on this transmission to experienced scholars who all went on to realize rainbow body. Vajrasattva isn't a sentient being with a brain (this much is obvious). The transmission to Garab Dorje wasn't dependent on his brain since Garab Dorje was an infant and his brain hadn't developed fully in a conventional way (hence the doubts from his students). Then his students went on to replace their scholarly knowledge with an experience of the inconceivable.
In the bardo when child clear light and mother clear light meet one might wonder why hasn't mother clear light shown itself before. I would speculate that this is because the brain is a limiting factor in someway. So really and truly I think it is essential to take an appreciation of the inconceivable into practice because otherwise how could we truly relax or do GY in an authentic way? If GY is just brain-based then we have problems I think. In fact I think if we don't consider these issues then we won't get at the definitive meaning of Dzogchen - the 4 visions will just be created experiences and there are a few people who think they have already realized this because they have had an 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: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Sönam » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:10 am

Andrew108 wrote:
Acchantika wrote:Within the nervous system of a sentient being such as a human, a mental process called "reflexivity" occurs, such that they can recognise their own state which is not seperate from the state of all things ("omniscience").

This is interesting but seems to suggest the brain can cognize outside of it's immediate condition in the sense that it can know the state of all things through knowing the state of itself.
Then you state:
Acchantika wrote:Like a voltmeter is both powered by and can measure the current running through it, but is not the source of the current itself.

So in this scenario it seems the brain can channel a state that is not internal to it but that exists objectively or independently. What would happen after death in this scenario?
With an absence of brain would there still be cognition?
Personally I have a problem with traditional descriptions of the bardo - with it seeming that we have some phantom brain and perceive forms and so on. But in your scenario what would account for the bardo?


You speak like if "the brain" can act and do things ... but the brain is a piece of hardware folks !

Image

:rolleye:
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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 muni » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:36 am

Andrew108 wrote:
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.


How do we know? I don't know.
The one making the effort to rest in non-dual brainbased?
I don't know. But maybe when I isn't, knowing reveals.
Imagined "I"-consciousness, my dear. then kleshas are free nature.
Falling down into thoughts' stream, identification arises.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:51 am

One crucial point here is that a reality that is not brain-based would be pervasive. It would have to be everywhere - like space. It would also have to be pure in that it is unborn - not created. The fact that it is not created by the brain is for me the most important point of all. It's the 'place' where ego can't stand to be.
The ego does really well in the brain - eeks out an existence and sometimes gets to play at being king for the day - or buddha for the day.
This reminds me of part of a song my teacher sang - ''let go and go where no-mind goes'....Let go into spaciousness - go as far as the brain can go - then leave it there. Then where are you? Where is ego? So the brain and it's cognitive scope only goes so far but nature of mind goes much further in that it collapses whatever view or experience we want to hold onto. I do hope that I can avoid brain-based, ego-based meditative experience. I don't want Dzogchen to be a creation of my brain.
This has been a very interesting discussion for me and very useful thanks.
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 Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 11:38 am

heart wrote:
Acchantika wrote:So, perhaps the bardo experience is not something that happens apart from a brain.


This is not bardo, it is called tukdam. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Tukdam

The bardo happens to all sentient beings from they are dead until they for an other body.


You are right, but perhaps there is still brain activity during bardo as there may be during tukdam. Why not?

No brain necessary for that experience.


As above, the quote I posted may suggest otherwise. It doesn't really challenge that it happens, just how it happens.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:11 pm

Virgo wrote:I can understand where you are coming from. I hope everyone also realizes that I am not accusing anyone in this thread of doing anything wrong by participating are thinking about these questions. As I said "I think this conversation can "potentially" lead to (to paraphrase myself). I am not saying that it does. I also don't want to appear like the jerk of the thread (my usual role). I guess what I'm really saying is this is the Dzogchen forum, I see no kind of place for this reification, maybe in the Tibetan Buddhist forum yes, but not here. I am probably just overreacting as usual anyway. :D But I think you got what I was saying, that is all that counts.


I do, and I am sure no-one thinks you are a jerk for stating what is ultimately the case. :smile:
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby heart » Wed Sep 21, 2011 2:52 pm

Acchantika wrote:
heart wrote:
Acchantika wrote:So, perhaps the bardo experience is not something that happens apart from a brain.


This is not bardo, it is called tukdam. http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Tukdam

The bardo happens to all sentient beings from they are dead until they for an other body.


You are right, but perhaps there is still brain activity during bardo as there may be during tukdam. Why not?

No brain necessary for that experience.


As above, the quote I posted may suggest otherwise. It doesn't really challenge that it happens, just how it happens.


Are you saying that you need a body to be able to reincarnate?
Anyway, the quote sure doesn't support what you suggest. In tukdam the mind is in the natural state, as soon as the meditation finish the person becomes an ordinary corpse. Only very advanced practitioners are in tukdam for a few hours or a few days or even longer. So it is a sign of realization, ordinary people just die.

/magnus
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 3:54 pm

heart wrote:Are you saying that you need a body to be able to reincarnate?


You need to incarnate at least once in order to re-incarnate.

Anyway, the quote sure doesn't support what you suggest.


The quote is suggesting that the experience of bardo and/or tukdam may not be independent of brain activity.

The quote says: "Look, here is a corpse, which is clinically dead, which should be experiencing either tukdam or bardo around now. When we measure this corpse's brain, we find subtle electrical activity. Since this suggests a correlation between tukdam/bardo and brain activity, perhaps tukdam and/or bardo experiences involves brain activity".
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby heart » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:45 pm

Acchantika wrote:
heart wrote:
Anyway, the quote sure doesn't support what you suggest.


The quote is suggesting that the experience of bardo and/or tukdam may not be independent of brain activity.

The quote says: "Look, here is a corpse, which is clinically dead, which should be experiencing either tukdam or bardo around now. When we measure this corpse's brain, we find subtle electrical activity. Since this suggests a correlation between tukdam/bardo and brain activity, perhaps tukdam and/or bardo experiences involves brain activity".


No, it doesn't say that. You are jumping to conclusions. Tukdam is not a bardo experience it is a sign of realization. In the Tibetan tradition everyone assumes that a Lama that is in tukdam is still present, because of the stability of their meditation, even if the body is dead.

I am positive that a person that is dead and not in tukdam have no subtle electrical activity at all. You really think all western scientist would miss that?

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 5:58 pm

heart wrote:The quote is suggesting that the experience of bardo and/or tukdam may not be independent of brain activity.

No, it doesn't say that. You are jumping to conclusions. Tukdam is not a bardo experience it is a sign of realization.


I realise this. The quote suggests, at least, that the experience of tukdam may not be independent of brain activity. One can infer, by extension, that it is plausible that bardo experience may not be independent of brain activity, since the two are related albeit not equatable. Just as a possibility to consider, that's all.

I am not jumping to conclusions, as I said, "I don't know". This simply seems more plausible than talking about experience without a brain.

I am positive that a person that is dead and not in tukdam have no subtle electrical activity at all. You really think all western scientist would miss that?


According to western(?) scientific theory, the brain organizes sensory information into a cohesive continuum we call "experience". In addition, we can't experience anything without memory, which is surely related to the brain. Everything we experience is actually a memory of what the senses registered a millisecond ago. So, it easy to say "experiences can happen without a medium i.e. a brain" but not so easy to say coherently. You are only "positive" of this because someone told you it was so, and someone told them it was so, and so on.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:42 pm

Acchantika wrote:In addition, we can't experience anything without memory, which is surely related to the brain. Everything we experience is actually a memory of what the senses registered a millisecond ago. So, it easy to say "experiences can happen without a medium i.e. a brain" but not so easy to say coherently. You are only "positive" of this because someone told you it was so, and someone told them it was so, and so on.


Exactly, this is why Dzogchen should be/could be used as a tool to cut through these assumptions. It's extremely difficult to overcome attachment to the brain and the head BUT it is vital if one wants to progress in a genuine way. I've said before that I wouldn't want a brain-based dzogchen and if a person just follows blindly repeating doctrine then that's what they get. We don't have any limits in dzogchen so there is a real need to 'progress past thinking mind'. This is what I have learnt through this discussion and I am very grateful to have thrashed this out.
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 Virgo » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:00 pm

Andrew108 wrote:
Acchantika wrote:The struggle of the brain trying to process itself ends with the realisation that it can't, because it is not the progenitor of "that which knows".

Right. This is why I have doubts that buddhas have brains in that enlightenment is beyond 'that which knows'. A buddha not as a human being but as an embodiment of the state beyond brain cognition. I appreciate your views on this subject.
@Virgo There is no reifying of a state that can't be reified. The brain being tsal? Yes that would be one way of explaining it in that all we know about the brain is understood within the senses.
In Dzogchen, which is a complete path in itself, it seems crucial that one not just accept but really try to work through the issues. I mean if we look at the transmission of Dzogchen with Garab Dorje - the transmission was given by Vajrasattva to Garab Dorje who at a young age passed on this transmission to experienced scholars who all went on to realize rainbow body. Vajrasattva isn't a sentient being with a brain (this much is obvious). The transmission to Garab Dorje wasn't dependent on his brain since Garab Dorje was an infant and his brain hadn't developed fully in a conventional way (hence the doubts from his students). Then his students went on to replace their scholarly knowledge with an experience of the inconceivable.
In the bardo when child clear light and mother clear light meet one might wonder why hasn't mother clear light shown itself before. I would speculate that this is because the brain is a limiting factor in someway. So really and truly I think it is essential to take an appreciation of the inconceivable into practice because otherwise how could we truly relax or do GY in an authentic way? If GY is just brain-based then we have problems I think. In fact I think if we don't consider these issues then we won't get at the definitive meaning of Dzogchen - the 4 visions will just be created experiences and there are a few people who think they have already realized this because they have had an experience.

Hi Andrew,

Whether the brain functions normally, whether one is an Idiot-Savant, or whether one is brain dead, some fundamental things are still the same.

Kevin
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:55 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Exactly, this is why Dzogchen should be/could be used as a tool to cut through these assumptions. It's extremely difficult to overcome attachment to the brain and the head BUT it is vital if one wants to progress in a genuine way. I've said before that I wouldn't want a brain-based dzogchen and if a person just follows blindly repeating doctrine then that's what they get.


Dzogchen isn't brain-based anyway, though. Dzogchen = a primordial intelligence that is not conditioned and not a product of anything, such as the brain.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby heart » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:59 pm

Acchantika wrote:
heart wrote:The quote is suggesting that the experience of bardo and/or tukdam may not be independent of brain activity.

No, it doesn't say that. You are jumping to conclusions. Tukdam is not a bardo experience it is a sign of realization.


I realise this. The quote suggests, at least, that the experience of tukdam may not be independent of brain activity. One can infer, by extension, that it is plausible that bardo experience may not be independent of brain activity, since the two are related albeit not equatable. Just as a possibility to consider, that's all.

I am not jumping to conclusions, as I said, "I don't know". This simply seems more plausible than talking about experience without a brain.

I am positive that a person that is dead and not in tukdam have no subtle electrical activity at all. You really think all western scientist would miss that?


According to western(?) scientific theory, the brain organizes sensory information into a cohesive continuum we call "experience". In addition, we can't experience anything without memory, which is surely related to the brain. Everything we experience is actually a memory of what the senses registered a millisecond ago. So, it easy to say "experiences can happen without a medium i.e. a brain" but not so easy to say coherently. You are only "positive" of this because someone told you it was so, and someone told them it was so, and so on.



Face it, even if there "subtle electrical activity" (whatever that is) in the body for a master in tukdam the brain will not work if the heart don't beat. A person in tukdam is dead in any way we define it here in the west. You are actually inventing science that don't exist. You don't want to believe in reincarnation, that is fine with me, but there is no reason to beat around the bush about it.


/magnus
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Acchantika » Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:24 pm

heart wrote:Face it, even if there "subtle electrical activity" (whatever that is) in the body for a master in tukdam the brain will not work if the heart don't beat. A person in tukdam is dead in any way we define it here in the west.


Yeah, you are probably right.

You are actually inventing science that don't exist. You don't want to believe in reincarnation, that is fine with me, but there is no reason to beat around the bush about it.


I said several times that these ideas are not opinions or beliefs of mine, just ideas I am playing with. A Buddhist that doesn't believe in reincarnation is like a Biologist that doesn't believe in life.

Just keep in mind that if the Buddha hadn't earnestly challenged the notions presented to him, he'd still be a Hindu.
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Re: The brain and Dzogchen...

Postby Heruka » Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:55 am

Virgo wrote:
Heruka wrote:
Virgo wrote:I guess what I've been meaning to say here, is the brain is tsal.

That's about all we need to get.

Kevin


dont give in to astonishment, go beyond.

feel.

Thank you for elaborating.

Kevin


always fixated on the mind, as if that is only the root to enlightenment.

arrogance blinds and ignores the body.


good day. :namaste:
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