Mind versus Self?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:38 am

SittingSilent wrote:Thanks for the leads on some good articles to read. I'll definitely be checking those out. However, nobody has yet addressed the second part of my question, which is; if there is nothing such as a self, soul, etc. that exists from one incarnation, life, etc. to the next, what carries the accumulation of karma? Does a bundle of karma simple exist on its own? :thinking:


Karma isn't really boxed up and shipped anywhere.
karma is more of a ripple effect, a chain reaction, a sort of replication.
You set something in motion.
You blow on a dandelion, the seeds scatter everywhere, take root and produce more dandelions.

Suppose you have a truck full of loose lumber
and you are driving along a river road
and you hit a bump
and the truck tips over and the lumber spills into the river.
the wood floats downstream, scattering itself along the shore here and there.
But suppose, instead, you had taken that lumber and built a raft out of it.
In that scenario, the same lumber would have floated down the river all together, as a raft.
So, even though it is composed of component parts
and thus actually empty of any intrinsic "raftness"
it still retains some of the same characteristics it had when washes up somewhere downstream
as it did when it was in the truck.

Likewise, "there is nothing that exists which can be called a self"
is a little different than saying "no self exists".
So, what you put together in this lifetime,
even though it lacks any inherent reality,
still retains some of its characteristics
in the next moment
or in the next life.

That's why you can read this post and the experience is that
you are the same person who wrote the post I am replying to.

The experience of that nailed-together "raft" we call "me"
has an apparent continuity
even if ultimately, there is none.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:42 am

SittingSilent wrote:Okay, so what is the Buddhist conception of consciousness, how does it relate to my concept of the me I experience everyday, and how does it relate within Buddhism to the self, the mind, and this thing I've just read about called the mind-stream?

(This is interesting to learn about because some or most of these terms have very different meanings in my psychology classes).

:woohoo:


Have you read this passage before?

"Just as a silkworm makes a cocoon in which to wrap itself and then leaves the cocoon behind, so consciousness produces a body to envelop itself and then leaves that body to undergo other karmic results in a new body." ~ Maharatnakuta Sutra
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:51 am

SittingSilent wrote:I found a member named PadmaVonSamba said the following in a thread "Thoughts on Consciousness". This finally makes the concept of no-self as well as the stream of consciousness and everything make sense to me, so I'm quoting him or her here to offer to everyone else the wonderful insight that was so helpful to me!

Ultimately, there is no self
yet the experience of self is real...it is pretty much all we have!
so that is what we work with.

But strictly speaking, there is no actual continuity of consciousness
rather, there is the constant replication of the causes of consciousness
which recreate the sensation of continuity over and over again
with minor changes, of course.



:thanks: :woohoo: :thumbsup:

:namaste:


If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature.

All beings possess a Buddha Nature: this is what the âtman is. This âtman, from the start, is always covered by innumerable passions (klesha): this is why beings are unable to see it." ~ Mahaparinirvana-sutra (Etienne Lamotte, The Teaching of Vimalakirti, Eng. trans. by Sara Boin, London: The Pali Text Society, 1976, Introduction, p. lxxvii.)

(edit) The full quote from the book says:
79-5cdae7a872.jpg
79-5cdae7a872.jpg (63.05 KiB) Viewed 142 times


Ultimately, there is no psycho-physical body (pañca-skandha). It is fundamentally unreal.

"Manjusri said, "The five aggregates (pañca-skandha) constitute what we call the mundane world. Of these, the aggregate of form has the nature of accumulated foam, the aggregate of feeling has the nature of a bubble, the aggregate of concpetions has the nature of a mirage, the aggregate of impulse has the nature of a hollow plantain, and the aggregate of consciousness has the nature of an illusion. Thus, one should know that the essential nature of the mundane world is none other than that of foam, bubble, mirages, plantains, and illusions; in it there are neither aggregates nor the names of aggregates, neither sentient beings nor the names of sentient beings, niether the mundane world nor the supramundane world." ~ Maharatnakuta Sutra
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Edited misquote
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby SittingSilent » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:17 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Karma isn't really boxed up and shipped anywhere.
karma is more of a ripple effect, a chain reaction, a sort of replication.
You set something in motion.
You blow on a dandelion, the seeds scatter everywhere, take root and produce more dandelions.

Suppose you have a truck full of loose lumber
and you are driving along a river road
and you hit a bump
and the truck tips over and the lumber spills into the river.
the wood floats downstream, scattering itself along the shore here and there.
But suppose, instead, you had taken that lumber and built a raft out of it.
In that scenario, the same lumber would have floated down the river all together, as a raft.
So, even though it is composed of component parts
and thus actually empty of any intrinsic "raftness"
it still retains some of the same characteristics it had when washes up somewhere downstream
as it did when it was in the truck.

Likewise, "there is nothing that exists which can be called a self"
is a little different than saying "no self exists".
So, what you put together in this lifetime,
even though it lacks any inherent reality,
still retains some of its characteristics
in the next moment
or in the next life.

That's why you can read this post and the experience is that
you are the same person who wrote the post I am replying to.

The experience of that nailed-together "raft" we call "me"
has an apparent continuity
even if ultimately, there is none.
.
.
.



So, I think I'm starting to get this, which is always nice. To further help me along (and by me, I hope you realize I'm just using convention English, I know that the me is just a series of events occurring that create my experience) could you please explain what happens to the wood aka karma and how does it happen that it stops floating down the river and is freed from the repeating cycle of rebirth and can reach enlightenment?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:32 am

Any simile is going to have its limits :)

It may be helpful to think from the particular to the general. In my small understanding, karma is as much a product of karma as samsara. That is, it's self-sustaining, and once enlightenment is reached, karma is understood as a process, but we aren't bound to its influence anymore. I may be wrong here.

You may have seen precursory instances in your everyday life. Maybe you've caught yourself about to dive headfirst into an old cycle of misery, and out of the blue, you decided "wow, no. Not doing that again!" You saw the root, knew the cycle and its result, and decided to abstain. The karma of whatever lead to you doing this in the past is still there, but this characteristic of karma that it leads to more of the same, or even exponentially grows, is hindered through a simple moment of mindfulness.

Similar to the raft but more particular to our experience is the feeling of time. We have memories (past) and anticipatory thoughts (future). The memories seem to be of a similar taste with our present experience, I felt/saw/heard/thought these things before, and it resembles these thoughts now. A continuity is suggested. The anticipatory thoughts, since they are also created in the present, are necessarily of the same taste. So you have this whole beautifully constructed continuum, or an apparent raft, traveling through time in a neat package. I'd wager you've already questioned the solidity of all of this, or else you wouldn't be here
:cheers:

I think that is what is the author of and subject of karma. And it's one of the most surreal things about Buddhism, in my experience. The more you examine the nature of memories and hopes, the less substantial they become. The notion of solidity and continuity becomes suspect, so the influence of all the things we said were "just that way" or that we were inclined to do this or that, all that is weakened. The whole system that is fueled by "me" karma and produces even more "me" karma is slowed down.

Thank goodness the Buddha understood our particular situation as samsaric human beings. So the medicine he gave was tailored just for the issues that face us in a desire realm: our state of clinging to self and making endless karma to reinforce this through the various agencies of self, which are desire, aversion, and chiefly ignorance. This can only exist so long as a being divides itself from everything else (ignorance) then has the apparent experience of wanting (desire) or not wanting (aversion) those things that it decided were "out there" now. Pull up the root of ignorance, and the branches of desire/aversion and the endless karma-laden fruit they drop wither away.

So to use the raft example again, the karma logs (lol) will just break up and go wherever they will. The raft will eventually smash apart, no one will remember that one instance of "raftness", even if they see the logs. It's not the karma that is liberated, so we shouldn't be concerned with the fate of the logs, except to hope that maybe a beaver can make a dam or a bug can chew on one for dinner :P Liberation in this context is more like the logs flow downstream, and are swept out of view. Somewhere, they are noticed. Elsewhere, the wind just blows and maybe it rains for a while. It's all the play of the forest.

It's easy to say everything, noumena and phenomena, are the play of the mind, the work of emptiness doing who knows what but manifesting somehow. But if it remains just an idea, we're like Narcissus, staring raptly in the water at our own reflection, yearning for our true love, that external beautiful world we can see but not hold onto. We have a feeling it may be a reflection, but can't take our eyes away. To experience emptiness directly is like Narcissus looking up. Holy cow, what was I doing? The reflection is still there, but the ripples of karma just look like ripples now. Maybe you go sit under a tree and look at the sky some instead :)

I hope very much that if this is misleading, someone will swiftly correct me so SittingSilent and I can both benefit.
:buddha1: :heart:
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:36 am

songhill wrote:
All beings possess a Buddha Nature: this is what the âtman is. This âtman, from the start, is always covered by innumerable passions (klesha): this is why beings are unable to see it." ~ Mahaparinirvana-sutra (Etienne Lamotte, The Teaching of Vimalakirti, Eng. trans. by Sara Boin, London: The Pali Text Society, 1976, Introduction, p. lxxvii.)


That "modern interpretation" by Etienne Lamotte, and the subsequent post equating it with atman is incorrect.
The statement, "If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature" is wrong.
I would not rely on that website for useful information.
Buddha-nature is not a "thing" such as atman. It is not some kind of essence that goes from life to life, or that produces karma or is liberated from karma.

"Buddha nature" is a somewhat clumsy expression of the nature of mind free from the confusion that arises from the kleshas. It's like describing water as clear. "Clear" isn't a thing that water has. But it refers to water's true nature, and Buddha nature refers to mind's true nature which is not limited by attachments, altered by changing conditions, or contaminated by the kleshas.

Mind's true nature has nothing to do with permanent or impermanent. The statement, "All beings possess a Buddha Nature" means that the original nature of mind of all beings is exactly the same as Buddha, which means perfectly clear and luminous, and "is always covered by innumerable passions" means that this is not realized, because of confusion. It doesn't mean that all beings possess some kind of soul-like object, like a little buddha statue in their hearts or something like that. "Buddha nature" in itself isn't a "thing".

This is hard to grasp.
Consider when we talk about the wind on a windy day.
We refer to "the wind" and we can feel "the wind" and we can see "the wind" blowing leaves around.
But there is no thing that is "the wind".
There is no permanent thing that is "wind" that shows up one place one day and then some other place another day.
"budha nature" doesn't leave your body when you die and go into another body.

"the wind" isn't a thing.
"Buddha nature" isn't a "thing".
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby muni » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:02 pm

SittingSilent wrote:As a student of psychology (I am nearly done completely my bachelor's degree a university here in the United States) I have often encountered the explanation that it is the brain and the "mind" that give rise the the phenomenon known as consciousness and sense of self.


Ethan


Conversation between a psychologist (theoretical-research-experimental psychology) and me (simple one who has mostly no any idea of what she is talking about ) remains on a "careful base". Also understanding Dharma (how 'things' appear and how they are) or Buddha's meaning of liberation, asks practice is there been said.
Our conversation once was closed by the dependency of mind-brain. But from the psychology-side there is also an understanding of 'no independent self can be'. The question how can I be without you, is a wow-one, which opens the door for further investigation.

All the best with your study and investigation/contemplation. :namaste:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:34 pm

songhill wrote:If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature.

All beings possess a Buddha Nature: this is what the âtman is. This âtman, from the start, is always covered by innumerable passions (klesha): this is why beings are unable to see it." ~ Mahaparinirvana-sutra (Etienne Lamotte, The Teaching of Vimalakirti, Eng. trans. by Sara Boin, London: The Pali Text Society, 1976, Introduction, p. lxxvii.)
I think I will go with what the Buddha has to say on the topic rather than Lamotte and his crypto-Hinduistic take on the matter.
SN 22.59
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera
© 1993–2012

Thus I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Benares, in the Deer Park at Isipatana (the Resort of Seers). There he addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five: "Bhikkhus." — "Venerable sir," they replied. The Blessed One said this.

"Bhikkhus, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.' And since form is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of form: 'Let my form be thus, let my form be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, perception is not-self...

"Bhikkhus, determinations are not-self...

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.' And since consciousness is not-self, so it leads to affliction, and none can have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be thus, let my consciousness be not thus.'

"Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?" — "Painful, venerable Sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"Is feeling permanent or impermanent?...

"Is perception permanent or impermanent?...

"Are determinations permanent or impermanent?...

"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or painful?" — "Painful, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: 'This is mine, this is I, this is my self'"? — "No, venerable sir."

"So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'

"Any kind of feeling whatever...

"Any kind of perception whatever...

"Any kind of determination whatever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they approved his words.

Now during this utterance, the hearts of the bhikkhus of the group of five were liberated from taints through clinging no more.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby SittingSilent » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:20 pm

muni wrote:
SittingSilent wrote:As a student of psychology (I am nearly done completely my bachelor's degree a university here in the United States) I have often encountered the explanation that it is the brain and the "mind" that give rise the the phenomenon known as consciousness and sense of self.


Ethan


Conversation between a psychologist (theoretical-research-experimental psychology) and me (simple one who has mostly no any idea of what she is talking about ) remains on a "careful base". Also understanding Dharma (how 'things' appear and how they are) or Buddha's meaning of liberation, asks practice is there been said.
Our conversation once was closed by the dependency of mind-brain. But from the psychology-side there is also an understanding of 'no independent self can be'. The question how can I be without you, is a wow-one, which opens the door for further investigation.

All the best with your study and investigation/contemplation. :namaste:



Have no worries muni, I have no intentions to try to enforce psychologically based beliefs upon this forum. Also, I believe it is completely possible for me to hold Buddhist beliefs about things as my :quoteunquote: faith (I know that's a really bad use of the word, search for enlightenment might be better) while also utilizing different terminology in my schooling.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:12 pm

SittingSilent wrote: I have often encountered the explanation that it is the brain and the "mind" that give rise the the phenomenon known as consciousness and sense of self.


I never pass up on the opportunity to share this list of ingredients of which the Human brain is composed:
Water 77 to 78 %
fats 10 to 12 %
Protein 8%
Carbohydrate 1%
Soluble organic substances 2%
Inorganic salts 1%

. . . . . . . . .

The brain is a physical composite. Granted, it is a complex one and a lot of electrical activity goes on inside the brain.
But do these chemicals witness their own existence?

My understanding is that the brain merely provides a conditional environment
in which the appearance of the witnessing "self" arises.

One might ask, "by what means is the notion of a self maintained as a stream of continuity?"
Consider the analogy of a mirror, and a mirror compared to a wooden door.
If you look at your reflection in a mirror, you don't need to ask,
"by what means has my image been transported into that mirror?"
(this is really the idea of atman. A "self' that acts as a vehicle of consciousness from one place to another)

The composition of a mirror is simply such that its smooth surface and shiny backing
reflect light rather than absorbing light.
A wooden door has an entirely different composition,
so you do not see your reflection in a door, even though the same amount of light is there.

So, we can say that a mirror provides a 'suitable environment" for your reflection to appear.
Likewise, the human brain provides a suitable environment for the appearance of consciousness to arise,
and one of the characteristics of this appearance of consciousness
is the impression of having some degree of continuity ("continuity" itself being a mere concept!!).

Because of the composition of the human brain, in conjunction with the types of sensory organs humans have,
we can experience the same world that a dog experiences,
but we experience it as a human, while a dog experiences it as a dog,
with much better sense of hearing and smell.
We impute our reality onto those conditions
and a dog imputes a dog's reality onto those conditions.

Effects tend to replicate the causes that produce them.
So, at this moment, your experience of the composite of your entire being
is based very much on a nearly identical set of circumstances which immediately preceded it.

There is a nose on your face now because there was a nose on your face a moment ago,
and that is due only to the fact that the causes for that nose on your face resulted in a nose on your face appearing,
and, with no causes occurring to change that (such as the very close swinging of an axe)
the nose on your face another moment from now will resemble very much the nose that you had a moment ago.
But we also know that if you compare your nose today
with how it looked when you were born, with how it may have looked if you were a pimply teenager,
and with how it may look if you die at a very old age, we can say with some certainty that
it is not really the same nose from moment to moment,
that its appearance only results from the immediate circumstances
which give rise to that particular appearance.

Likewise, the brain is constantly changing,
and thoughts are constantly replacing one another at an astonishing rate.
So, when you get right down to it,
"consciousness" is really itself a vague and ambiguous term.
"it" isn't a "thing" either.

We can say, for the sake of convenience, that 'consciousness exists'
but in fact, there is nothing existent (primal or finite)that can be called "consciousness".
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby SittingSilent » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:21 pm

So the resulting question is, eventually circumstances will result in this body with this brain that reflects a sense of me-ness will stop working in some way or another and death will result. What happens then?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:50 pm

SittingSilent wrote:So the resulting question is, eventually circumstances will result in this body with this brain that reflects a sense of me-ness will stop working in some way or another and death will result. What happens then?


the causes of cognitive awareness remain unless exhausted, just as they had been doing when you were born, just as the causes of reflection in a mirror continue even if nobody is standing in front of a mirror. Light is still there, the surface is still smooth.

Consider (oh jeez...another frikkin' analogy!!!) what happens if you take an oil painting, perhaps the Mona Lisa,
and seal it in an unlit box, such as a shipping crate or something.
Once that happens and there is no more light, the image ceases to exist.
There is no Mona Lisa at that point. That painting is gone. "dead"
...unltil, once again, light is reflected off the surface of the painting.
But the causes of the Mona Lisa are still there.
The various pigments in the paint, which reflect the different wavelengths of light
and produce the image, those are still there.
As soon as the crate is open, then at the speed of light, Mona will come back.

How this applies to people,
I think the element in this that is being left out is that
this 'reality' including the notion of a "self" that is born and dies,
as long as that "self" is included, then none of this makes sense.
It isn't a working formula.
The experience of being born and dying,
to my understanding, anyway,
is a characteristic, and a projection of the confused (samsaric) mind.
That the "true nature' of mind, the buddha-mind,
neither comes nor goes, as they say.
Finite mind gives way to infinite mind.
But infinite mind is not a thing.
"infinite" is a characteristic of something that is not "de-fined".
Maybe the word for describing mind's infinite nature
is Dharmakaya.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby SittingSilent » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:10 am

Thank you, I am learning so much!

:namaste:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby anjali » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:03 am

Perhaps the simplest way to think of the self, mind and karma is with the analogy of the whirlpool:

whirlpool-small.jpg
whirlpool-small.jpg (10.38 KiB) Viewed 669 times

The whirlpool is a temporary, but relatively stable dynamic structure--a conditional constraint on the flow of water that appears to produce a stable, independent entity. People aren't really much different.

The analogy of a whirlpool-person is:
  • mind essence==water
  • the naturally expressive or fabricating quality of mind==water flow
  • patterned fabrication of mind, "self"==whirlpool.
One way to think of karma is: whatever is dynamically sustaining the formation of the whirlpool.
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:24 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
songhill wrote:
All beings possess a Buddha Nature: this is what the âtman is. This âtman, from the start, is always covered by innumerable passions (klesha): this is why beings are unable to see it." ~ Mahaparinirvana-sutra (Etienne Lamotte, The Teaching of Vimalakirti, Eng. trans. by Sara Boin, London: The Pali Text Society, 1976, Introduction, p. lxxvii.)


That "modern interpretation" by Etienne Lamotte, and the subsequent post equating it with atman is incorrect.
The statement, "If there is no self or âtman, then there is no Buddha-nature" is wrong.
I would not rely on that website for useful information.
Buddha-nature is not a "thing" such as atman. It is not some kind of essence that goes from life to life, or that produces karma or is liberated from karma.



It is not a version or an interpretation—it is a translation and quite accurate. It is true it doesn't chime with a materialistic interpretation of Buddhism. But then who cares about bad scholarship?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:50 am

gregkavarnos wrote:I think I will go with what the Buddha has to say on the topic rather than Lamotte and his crypto-Hinduistic take on the matter.
SN 22.59
Anatta-lakkhana Sutta: The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera
© 1993–2012

[/quote]

Permit me to give you the correct interpretation of this discourse. The Buddha is saying that the five aggregates are not the self (anattâ). For if form were the self (i.e., the absolute) "form would not lead to affliction and it would be possible to have it of form: 'Let my form be thus; let my form not be thus.' (Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation). Remember my friend, that the five aggregates are verily suffering; they belong to Mara the evil one (S.iii.189). On the other hand, the Buddha's self or attâ is other than these evil aggregates. Even the Tathagata abandons the five aggregates (M.i.487–489). This is why the Buddha says of each aggregate: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self (na meso attâ). As anyone can see, this is not a denial of self which would be natthatta, but authoritative advice that no aggregate/khandha is our true self or Buddha-nature.

(edit) Full version of Sutta S. iii. 189

At Savattru. Then the Venerable Radha approached the Blessed
One,239 [189] paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said
to him: "Venerable sir, it is said, 'Mara, Mara.' In what way, venerable
sir, might Mara be?"
"When there is form, Radha, there might be Mara, or the killer,
or the one who is killed. Therefore, Radha, see form as Mara,
see it as the killer, see it as the one who is killed. See it as a disease,
as a tumour, as a dart, as misery, as real misery. Those who
see it thus see rightly.
"When there is feeling ... When there is perception ... When
there are volitional formations ... When there is consciousness,
Radha, there might be Mara, or the killer, or the one who is killed.
Therefore, Radha, see consciousness as Mara, see it as the killer,
see it as the one who is killed. See it as a disease as a tumour, as
a dart, as misery, as real misery. Those who see it thus see rightly."
"What, venerable sir, is the purpose of seeing rightly?"
"The purpose of seeing rightly, Radha, is revulsion."
11And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of revulsion?"
"The purpose of revulsion is dispassion."
"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of dispassion?"'
"The purpose of dispassion is liberation."
"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of liberation?"
"The purpose of liberation is Nibbana."
"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of Nibbana?"
"You have gone beyond the range of questioning, Radha.
You weren't able to grasp the limit to questioning. For, Radha,
the holy life is lived with Nibbana as its ground, Nibbana as its
destination, Nibbana as its final goal."
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:59 am

anjali wrote:Perhaps the simplest way to think of the self, mind and karma is with the analogy of the whirlpool:

whirlpool-small.jpg

The whirlpool is a temporary, but relatively stable dynamic structure--a conditional constraint on the flow of water that appears to produce a stable, independent entity. People aren't really much different.

The analogy of a whirlpool-person is:
  • mind essence==water
  • the naturally expressive or fabricating quality of mind==water flow
  • patterned fabrication of mind, "self"==whirlpool.
One way to think of karma is: whatever is dynamically sustaining the formation of the whirlpool.


Pure Mind/âtman essence = water. The whirlpool is the five aggregates of material shape, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness. The deluded beings (puthujjana) are those who attach to whirlpoolness as if it were the true essence (pure Mind/âtman). Karma is the deed of continually attaching to whirlpooliness as being true reality (âtman). It ain't. :sage:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby muni » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:56 am

SittingSilent wrote:[it is completely possible for me to hold Buddhist beliefs about things as my :quoteunquote: faith (I know that's a really bad use of the word, search for enlightenment might be better) while also utilizing different terminology in my schooling.


You are very welcome. :anjali:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:08 am

songhill wrote:Permit me to give you the correct interpretation of this discourse. The Buddha is saying that the five aggregates are not the self (anattâ). For if form were the self (i.e., the absolute) "form would not lead to affliction and it would be possible to have it of form: 'Let my form be thus; let my form not be thus.' (Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation). Remember my friend, that the five aggregates are verily suffering; they belong to Mara the evil one (S.iii.189)...This is why the Buddha says of each aggregate: This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self (na meso attâ). As anyone can see, this is not a denial of self which would be natthatta, but authoritative advice that no aggregate/khandha is our true self or Buddha-nature.
Just as there is no "essential" car in the collection of pieces of metal, rubber and plastic that constitute what we perceive of as a car, in the same way there is no "essential" car in each one of the individual parts. That is what the Buddha is saying.
On the other hand, the Buddha's self or attâ is other than these evil aggregates. Even the Tathagata abandons the five aggregates (M.i.487–489).
Sorry, but what is M.i.487-489? Majjhima Nikaya? Can you link to this source please?
:namaste:

(edit) Link to Sutta M. i.487-489
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html[/url]
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:23 am

Delineations of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one delineate when delineating a self? Either delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, delineating a self formless and finite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, delineating a self formless and infinite, one delineates that 'My self is formless and infinite.'

"Now, the one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and finite, either delineates it as possessed of form and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as possessed of form and infinite, either delineates it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and finite, either delineates it as formless and finite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite obsesses him.

"The one who, when delineating a self, delineates it as formless and infinite, either delineates it as formless and infinite in the present, or of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], or he believes that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite obsesses him.

Non-Delineations of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one not delineate when not delineating a self? Either not delineating a self possessed of form and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and finite.' Or, not delineating a self possessed of form and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is possessed of form and infinite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and finite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and finite.' Or, not delineating a self formless and infinite, one does not delineate that 'My self is formless and infinite.'

"Now, the one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and finite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite, does not delineate it as possessed of form and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become possessed of form and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self possessed of form and infinite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and finite, does not delineate it as formless and finite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and finite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and finite does not obsess him.

"The one who, when not delineating a self, does not delineate it as formless and infinite, does not delineate it as formless and infinite in the present, nor does he delineate it as of such a nature that it will [naturally] become formless and infinite [in the future/after death], nor does he believe that 'Although it is not yet that way, I will convert it into being that way.' This being the case, it is proper to say that a fixed view of a self formless and infinite does not obsess him.

Assumptions of a Self

"To what extent, Ananda, does one assume when assuming a self? Assuming feeling to be the self, one assumes that 'Feeling is my self' [or] 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling]' [or] 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious to feeling, but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now, one who says, 'Feeling is my self,' should be addressed as follows: 'There are these three feelings, my friend — feelings of pleasure, feelings of pain, and feelings of neither pleasure nor pain. Which of these three feelings do you assume to be the self?' At a moment when a feeling of pleasure is sensed, no feeling of pain or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pleasure is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed. Only a feeling of pain is sensed at that moment. At a moment when a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed, no feeling of pleasure or of pain is sensed. Only a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is sensed at that moment.

"Now, a feeling of pleasure is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. A feeling of neither pleasure nor pain is inconstant, fabricated, dependent on conditions, subject to passing away, dissolution, fading, and cessation. Having sensed a feeling of pleasure as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pleasure, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of pain, 'my self' has perished. Having sensed a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain as 'my self,' then with the cessation of one's very own feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, 'my self' has perished.

"Thus he assumes, assuming in the immediate present a self inconstant, entangled in pleasure and pain, subject to arising and passing away, he who says, 'Feeling is my self.' Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume feeling to be the self.

"As for the person who says, 'Feeling is not the self: My self is oblivious [to feeling],' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, where nothing whatsoever is sensed (experienced) at all, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Feeling is not my self: My self is oblivious [to feeling].'

"As for the person who says, 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' he should be addressed as follows: 'My friend, should feelings altogether and every way stop without remainder, then with feeling completely not existing, owing to the cessation of feeling, would there be the thought, "I am"?'"

"No, lord."

"Thus in this manner, Ananda, one does not see fit to assume that 'Neither is feeling my self, nor is my self oblivious [to feeling], but rather my self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling.'

"Now, Ananda, in as far as a monk does not assume feeling to be the self, nor the self as oblivious, nor that 'My self feels, in that my self is subject to feeling,' then, not assuming in this way, he is not sustained by anything (does not cling to anything) in the world. Unsustained, he is not agitated. Unagitated, he is totally unbound right within. He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

"If anyone were to say with regard to a monk whose mind is thus released that 'The Tathagata exists after death,' is his view, that would be mistaken; that 'The Tathagata does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death'... that 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death' is his view, that would be mistaken. Why? Having directly known the extent of designation and the extent of the objects of designation, the extent of expression and the extent of the objects of expression, the extent of description and the extent of the objects of description, the extent of discernment and the extent of the objects of discernment, the extent to which the cycle revolves: Having directly known that, the monk is released. [To say that,] 'The monk released, having directly known that, does not see, does not know is his opinion,' that would be mistaken.1

Notes
1. The various readings for this sentence all seem to be corrupt. The sense of the paragraph, read in light of AN 10.96, demands that the view expressed in the last sentence be about the monk released, unlike the four earlier views, which are wrongly attributed to the monk released. In other words, the monk released has no opinion on the question of whether the Tathagata does, doesn't, etc., exist after death. This might lead to the supposition that his lack of opinion comes from a lack of knowledge or vision. The description of what he comes to know in the course of gaining release shows that this supposition is inappropriate. He does know, he does see, and what he knows and sees about the limitations of language and concepts shows him that the question of the existence of the Tathagata after death should be set aside.
Thus I would reconstruct the Pali of the final sentence in this paragraph as: Tadabhiññaa vimutto bhikkhu na jaanaati na passati iti saa ditthi tadakallam.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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