Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:36 pm

futerko wrote:Yes, precisely because the rock is known by mind - if there are no truly seperate selves, then there is no seperate rock. When you see that person stub their toe - its the same toe in your mind as in theirs, the same rock, the same cry of pain - this does not happen outside of mind - there is no seperate realm of matter outside of what is known. Therefore the skandha of form is also totally within mind.
I was describing a situation where I was no longer perceiving the rock and somebody came along and stubbed their toe on it. If what you are saying were the case, then when they stubbed their toe I would feel the pain even when not perceiving them stubbing their toe or perceiving them feeling pain. Quite clearly it is not the case. Today ,I bashed my knee on a chair when I stumbled while trying to take off my pants, did you feel it? Obviously not!
In fact it would seem that the only way you can have the idea that the rock is somehow a seperate object, not within mind itself, and somehow experienced differently by different people and animals, requires a concept of seperate selves.
Somebody told you that all our mindstreams are one? Who exactly? Where exactly?
: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 songhill » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:51 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
songhill wrote:You appear to be talking about the impure, defiled mind (it looks like you've also laid out the five skandha lumping self up with skandha which is never done in the canon).
Really?
“But, indeed, that which, monks, is called ‘mind’, or ‘thought’, or ‘consciousness’, [4] the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, not enough to turn away, not enough to become detached, not enough to be released. What is the reason for this? Because for a long time, monks, that ‘mind’, or ‘thought’, or ‘consciousness’ of the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, has been clung to, has been cherished, has been fondled: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’. Because of that, the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, not enough to turn away, not enough to become detached, not enough to be released.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
What about the luminous or clear light mind? What about bodhicittotpada, i.e., the generation of the mind that is bodhi, without which there is no bodhisattva or bodhisattva bhumis and no buddhahood? ("When one first arouses bodhicitta, one already obtains complete and utter enlightenment" [Avatamsaka sutra]).
Alaya or alaya vijnana (depending on which tradition one wishes to follow)? Well, to tell you the truth, I am not sure if the Buddha includes that level of mind in the skhanda, mainly because most of my Abhidhamma study has been in the Theravada tradition whereas these layers of mind are later additions found in the Abhidharma. According to Mipham Rinpoches Gateway to Knowledge these elements of mind are included in the skhanda of consciousness. This is where the analogy of cleaning the dust from the mirror becomes valid. I think though, that once one overcomes dualism ie realises emptiness and sees the dependently arisen nature of all phenomena, the GRASPING to a notion of self vanishes. I think this is a key point. Once beyond dualism a sense of self becomes redundant.
:namaste:


Okay, you're not talking about luminous mind that is mentioned in the Pali canon. You can find it, by the way, in the Pabhassarasutta. Are you familiar with mind as it is used in The Mahâ-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra (trans. Stepehen Hodge)? Hodge also does Buddhaguhya's commentary with the translation. Nice stuff.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:52 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:Yes, precisely because the rock is known by mind - if there are no truly seperate selves, then there is no seperate rock. When you see that person stub their toe - its the same toe in your mind as in theirs, the same rock, the same cry of pain - this does not happen outside of mind - there is no seperate realm of matter outside of what is known. Therefore the skandha of form is also totally within mind.
I was describing a situation where I was no longer perceiving the rock and somebody came along and stubbed their toe on it. If what you are saying were the case, then when they stubbed their toe I would feel the pain even when not perceiving them stubbing their toe or perceiving them feeling pain. Quite clearly it is not the case. Today ,I bashed my knee on a chair when I stumbled while trying to take off my pants, did you feel it? Obviously not!
In fact it would seem that the only way you can have the idea that the rock is somehow a seperate object, not within mind itself, and somehow experienced differently by different people and animals, requires a concept of seperate selves.
Somebody told you that all our mindstreams are one? Who exactly? Where exactly?
:namaste:


My knee, our mindstreams - aren't these concepts of self? Believe it or not I do have a concept of a knee bashing a chair - it isn't something totally alien to me. :tongue:

By the same token, if someone smashed up your possessions, would you feel it physically prior to knowing about it? What would be the difference between you hearing about that and you telling us about that? - we would both have the same idea in our minds about what had happened there - the only difference would be the concept "mine".

Your description seems to depend upon contemporary subject-object relations, a division of mind and matter, with the addition of the idea of my mind versus your mind - isn't this exactly a concept of self that is denied by the sutra you referenced?
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:11 pm

futerko wrote:My knee, our mindstreams - aren't these concepts of self? Believe it or not I do have a concept of a knee bashing a chair - it isn't something totally alien to me. :tongue:
Of course it is not alien to you, you have a knee and you have bashed it too, you can sympathise and to a point empathise, but you cannot actually feel my pain.
By the same token, if someone smashed up your possessions, would you feel it physically prior to knowing about it?
I don't think this warrants an answer really, but here it goes: possesions are not included in the skhanda of form. It is talking about your physical body.
What would be the difference between you hearing about that and you telling us about that? - we would both have the same idea in our minds about what had happened there - the only difference would be the concept "mine".
And the subsequent attachment that this engenders. I am not disagreeing with you.
Your description seems to depend upon contemporary subject-object relations, a division of mind and matter, with the addition of the idea of my mind versus your mind - isn't this exactly a concept of self that is denied by the sutra you referenced?
No. Not necessarily. My sensory experience is not your sensory experience. It is a different/seperate sensory experience. You cannot deny that. Now if I grasp onto that experience in order to reify my sense of self, well that is where the problems begin. Using the sensory experience to define self rather than just seeing it for what it is: a sense object, impinging on a sense faculty, leading to the a mental sensory experience. If it remains at that level, no problem. The problems begin with what the mind as mano vijnana (discriminating mind) starts to do with the experience.
: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 futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:42 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:My knee, our mindstreams - aren't these concepts of self? Believe it or not I do have a concept of a knee bashing a chair - it isn't something totally alien to me. :tongue:
Of course it is not alien to you, you have a knee and you have bashed it too, you can sympathise and to a point empathise, but you cannot actually feel my pain.

True, but we seem to keep finding a self here - surely "your pain" is an idea based upon your body being yours, and your physical sensations belonging to you.

By the same token, if someone smashed up your possessions, would you feel it physically prior to knowing about it?
I don't think this warrants an answer really, but here it goes: possesions are not included in the skhanda of form. It is talking about your physical body.

I see. That would make sense, but would seem to lead back to a discrete entity which suggests that a concept of self/my body is more than just an abstraction but something actual.
I was taking rūpa to mean all physical matter, all appearance, as in rūpa-khandha rather than nāma-rūpa.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:13 pm

futerko wrote:True, but we seem to keep finding a self here - surely "your pain" is an idea based upon your body being yours, and your physical sensations belonging to you.
That's what I believe, yes. That is the relative truth.
I see. That would make sense, but would seem to lead back to a discrete entity which suggests that a concept of self/my body is more than just an abstraction but something actual.
I was taking rūpa to mean all physical matter, all appearance, as in rūpa-khandha rather than nāma-rūpa.
I can see how you could strech the logic to say that people use their possession as a sense of identifying their self, but it takes a certain advanced state of ignorance to believe that you are your car.
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"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 Yamaoka » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:20 pm

Radhakrishnan Indian Philosophy - Volume 1
"On the ground that bodily form, perceptions, feelings, dispositions and intellect are non-permanent, Buddha denies them the character of self. The Sermon at Benares does not deny the existence of a self distinct from the changing empirical aggregates. Buddha declines to deny the reality of a permanent self in his conversation with Vacchagotta.
"He does not tell us about ... the nature of the self and the world, whether they are eternal, non-eternal, both or neither, whether they are self-made, made by another, both or neither. As a matter of fact these questions were reserved issues on which Buddha did not allow any speculation. While there is no doubt that Buddha refused to dogmatise on these problems, it is still an interesting question, if it can be answered at all, what exactly the implications of this refusal are."

MIND IS NOT THE SKANDHAS
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
states in a note to his translation of MN 109:

One form of consciousness apparently does not come under the aggregate of consciousness. This type of consciousness is termed vinnanam anidassanam — consciousness without a surface, or consciousness without feature. MN 49 says specifically that this consciousness does not partake of the "allness of the all," the "all" being conterminous with the five aggregates. The standard definition of the aggregate of consciousness states that this aggregate includes all consciousness, "past, present, or future... near or far." However, because vinnanam anidassanam stands outside of space and time it would not be covered by these terms. Similarly, where SN 22.97 says that no consciousness is eternal, "eternal" is a concept that applies only within the dimension of time, and thus would not apply to this form of consciousness.

Padmasambhava: Self Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness
As for this sparkling awareness, which is called "mind,"
...
With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their
numbers).
Some call it "the nature of the mind" or "mind itself."
Some Tirthikas call it by the name Atman or "the Self."
The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."
The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."
Some call it the Prajnparamita or "the Perfection of Wisdom."
Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."
Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."
Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."
Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."
Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."
And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness."
Even though there exist a great many different views that do not agree among themselves,
This "mind" which is your own intrinsic awareness is in fact self-originated primal awareness.

Since it is the basis of everything, of all the bliss of Nirvana and of all the sorrow of Samsara,
Therefore it is called by the name of Alaya, that is, "the foundation of everything."
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:31 pm

Yamaoka wrote:Radhakrishnan Indian Philosophy - Volume 1
"On the ground that bodily form, perceptions, feelings, dispositions and intellect are non-permanent, Buddha denies them the character of self. The Sermon at Benares does not deny the existence of a self distinct from the changing empirical aggregates. Buddha declines to deny the reality of a permanent self in his conversation with Vacchagotta.
This is the explanation of a Western educated Hindu philosopher and this is the explanation of a Western Mahayana Buddhist monk and scholar.
MIND IS NOT THE SKANDHAS
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
states in a note to his translation of MN 109:

One form of consciousness apparently does not come under the aggregate of consciousness. This type of consciousness is termed vinnanam anidassanam — consciousness without a surface, or consciousness without feature. MN 49 says specifically that this consciousness does not partake of the "allness of the all," the "all" being conterminous with the five aggregates. The standard definition of the aggregate of consciousness states that this aggregate includes all consciousness, "past, present, or future... near or far." However, because vinnanam anidassanam stands outside of space and time it would not be covered by these terms. Similarly, where SN 22.97 says that no consciousness is eternal, "eternal" is a concept that applies only within the dimension of time, and thus would not apply to this form of consciousness.
Link please.
Padmasambhava: Self Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness
As for this sparkling awareness, which is called "mind,"
...
With respect to its having a name, the various names that are applied to it are inconceivable (in their
numbers).
Some call it "the nature of the mind" or "mind itself."
Some Tirthikas call it by the name Atman or "the Self."
The Sravakas call it the doctrine of Anatman or "the absence of a self."
The Chittamatrins call it by the name Chitta or "the Mind."
Some call it the Prajnparamita or "the Perfection of Wisdom."
Some call it the name Tathagata-garbha or "the embryo of Buddhahood."
Some call it by the name Mahamudra or "the Great Symbol."
Some call it by the name "the Unique Sphere."
Some call it by the name Dharmadhatu or "the dimension of Reality."
Some call it by the name Alaya or "the basis of everything."
And some simply call it by the name "ordinary awareness."
Even though there exist a great many different views that do not agree among themselves,
This "mind" which is your own intrinsic awareness is in fact self-originated primal awareness.

Since it is the basis of everything, of all the bliss of Nirvana and of all the sorrow of Samsara,
Therefore it is called by the name of Alaya, that is, "the foundation of everything."
Yes, I know this one.
Gotta love Guru Rinpoche :heart: Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung!
But your point is what exactly?
: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 futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:53 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:True, but we seem to keep finding a self here - surely "your pain" is an idea based upon your body being yours, and your physical sensations belonging to you.
That's what I believe, yes. That is the relative truth.

Yes it is relative truth, and so a conventional distinction. This is exactly the point here. I was suggesting that when both truths were taken together then the distinction collapses.

I see. That would make sense, but would seem to lead back to a discrete entity which suggests that a concept of self/my body is more than just an abstraction but something actual.
I was taking rūpa to mean all physical matter, all appearance, as in rūpa-khandha rather than nāma-rūpa.
I can see how you could strech the logic to say that people use their possession as a sense of identifying their self, but it takes a certain advanced state of ignorance to believe that you are your car.


The point here is that the idea of the subject arises simultaneously with the idea of an object. The guy does not think "I am my car" (except that guy, nice photo btw, lol). The guy thinks "This is MY car" and in so doing posits a seperate self.

So in any statement of identity, for example, "I am Mexican" - it appears as if identity is stabilised, but in fact when examined, no self may be found in such a statement. Taken seperately there is no identity to the concept of Mexicanness (it is changeable, means different things to different people, and only holds meaning in a conventional/relative sense), nor to the concept of "I". There is only the illusory appearance of identity in the relationship between the two.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:54 pm

What is the true nature of mind?

Mind your own business!

:rolling:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:55 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:What is the true nature of mind?

Mind your own business!

:rolling:
.
.
.

It's a case of mind over matter - if you don't mind then it doesn't matter! (groan*)
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:06 pm

If you don't have a mind it doesn't matter! (double groan)!
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"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 Dec 30, 2012 9:09 pm

futerko wrote:Yes it is relative truth, and so a conventional distinction. This is exactly the point here. I was suggesting that when both truths were taken together then the distinction collapses.
I'll get back to you on that one once I am enlightened, but it seems to me you are posing an "either/or" on the two truths, then again I seem to be proposing a "both". :shrug:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:26 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:Yes it is relative truth, and so a conventional distinction. This is exactly the point here. I was suggesting that when both truths were taken together then the distinction collapses.
I'll get back to you on that one once I am enlightened, but it seems to me you are posing an "either/or" on the two truths, then again I seem to be proposing a "both". :shrug:


ok, take a different example...

A human, animal, preta and hell being all see a glass of water - they are all aware of a common object. At the same time they all see it differently.

On a level of awareness - there is nothing beyond the knowing of the thing - nothing beyond that awareness, no hidden secret that deceives the mind, no true substance.
Their differing perceptions of the water is due to dependent origination. The fact that the water has no ultimate reality behind its appearing is because it is empty of essence - its essence is empty appearance.

The same goes for the idea of being Mexican. We all know what that is (no one says "huh, what does that mean?") - yet at no point does it ever achieve an absolute identity - it is both a common idea to us and at the same time we all give it a different meaning based upon our causal/karmic experiences.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:36 pm

futerko wrote:ok, take a different example...

A human, animal, preta and hell being all see a glass of water - they are all aware of a common object. At the same time they all see it differently.

On a level of awareness - there is nothing beyond the knowing of the thing - nothing beyond that awareness, no hidden secret that deceives the mind, no true substance.
Their differing perceptions of the water is due to dependent origination. The fact that the water has no ultimate reality behind its appearing is because it is empty of essence - its essence is empty appearance.
They are all perceiving a dependently arisen object/phenomenon, their interpretation of what the object "is" differs. Both their interpretation and the object are dependently arisen, but this fact does not make the experience or the object seem any less real. So we agree at the level of experience, but do not agree at the level of apparent existence? You say that the object has no existence (at all) outside of the experience and I say that it must have a dependently arisen existence outside of the experience otherwise there could be no experience (albeit that the experience is seen to be differing, with the variety of experience also being due to dependent arising)?

Or are we actually just agreeing? I mean I have no problem with agreeing to disagree, just trying to figure out if we are actually in disagreement. :tongue:
: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 futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:ok, take a different example...

A human, animal, preta and hell being all see a glass of water - they are all aware of a common object. At the same time they all see it differently.

On a level of awareness - there is nothing beyond the knowing of the thing - nothing beyond that awareness, no hidden secret that deceives the mind, no true substance.
Their differing perceptions of the water is due to dependent origination. The fact that the water has no ultimate reality behind its appearing is because it is empty of essence - its essence is empty appearance.
They are all perceiving a dependently arisen object/phenomenon, their interpretation of what the object "is" differs. Both their interpretation and the object are dependently arisen, but this fact does not make the experience or the object seem any less real. So we agree at the level of experience, but do not agree at the level of apparent existence? You say that the object has no existence (at all) outside of the experience and I say that it must have a dependently arisen existence outside of the experience otherwise there could be no experience (albeit that the experience is seen to be differing, with the variety of experience also being due to dependent arising)?

Or are we actually just agreeing? I mean I have no problem with agreeing to disagree, just trying to figure out if we are actually in disagreement. :tongue:
:namaste:


Actually that is quite a big debate between schools as to whether the difference in perception is due to an aspect of the object or of the perceiver.

I was simply trying to suggest that the doctrine of anattā was about more than just whether there is such a thing as an eternal awareness or not. The idea of "self" here is about much more than just the conventional idea of "me" and whether there is some kind of indestructable awareness built into us which can be found - making claims about whether it exists and whether it is to be seen as eternal or non-existent, etc.

The far more wide reaching consequences is that nothing is ever identical to itself in subsequent moments. A table is not identical from moment to moment, it only appears so to the obsever who fails to perceive it is in a constant state of flux. The observer is also not identical from moment to moment.

So the Buddha did not give an answer to the question of whether there is an eternal "self" or not because its the wrong question. It is irrelevant whether there is something actually there or not, because as soon as we enter into a subject-object relationship with it, we create the very illusion that we could somehow grasp the truth in that way.

To form the illusion of self/identity requires both an observer and a perceived object, neither of which have any consistency, yet an illusion of consistency is formed by the relationship between them, as if the "self" and its object were something other than an original unity of appearance and essence.

That "there is no self to be found" therefore means that whether there is a self or not, it definitely cannot be taken as an object for consciousness.

All claims about it are by definition null and void before the fact. :namaste:
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:29 pm

Well said! :bow:
"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 songhill » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:51 pm

Regarding self, the commentary (atthakatha) to the Brāhmaṇasaṃyuttaṃ (S. i. 169) says Attāti cittaṃ (The self is the mind). This reference is to the following passage addressed to the brahmin Sundarika Bharadvaja in which the Buddha explains the sacrafice from his own perspective:

Conceit, O brahmin, is your shoulder-load,
Anger the smoke, false speech the ashes;
The tongue is the ladle, the heart the altar
The well-tamed self is the light of man. (B. Bodhi trans.)

At one time (and I hope now), Buddhists understood self and mind were fungible.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:21 am

songhill wrote:Okay, you're not talking about luminous mind that is mentioned in the Pali canon. You can find it, by the way, in the Pabhassarasutta. Are you familiar with mind as it is used in The Mahâ-Vairocana-Abhisambodhi Tantra (trans. Stepehen Hodge)? Hodge also does Buddhaguhya's commentary with the translation. Nice stuff.
Thank you for this recommendation, I tracked it down and it looks very interesting. It's now on my "read as soon as possible" list.
: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."
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:32 am

What I find interesting is that while the brain exists in physical space, thoughts only exist for durations of time, and so when scientists are looking for the mind in the brain, it's like looking for the sound inside of a saxophone.
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