Relationship between mind and brain

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Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Punya » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:32 am

Hi All. This is a question that I've been pondering for a while. I've studied Madhyamika before so I've got a basic intellectual understanding of mind in a Buddhist context but I don't understand the relationship between the brain and the mind. To put it crudely "Where does brain stop and mind start?" I've seen it written that mind is the hardware and brain is the software but what does this actually mean?
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:14 am

Brain is the concept of the squidgy grey and white thing in our heads, 99% water, favourite food of zombies and the French.

Mind is the concept of the horizon within which experience occurs.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Nagini Hymn » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:57 am

No start
No stop
"What is true of the drop is true of the ocean"
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Sonny » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:26 pm

"....the brain acts like the organ for the mind, the nervous system is the organ enabling our gross levels of mind to function and operate. And so they mutually influence each other. We can see that. When we are in bad health, our mind "goes down". When we are in a bad mood, we easily get sick. It goes hand in hand. They influence each. But although on the gross levels of mind, with this body, there is a lot of this mutual influence, the mind is not just the gross level. "

above is a short excerpt from this link :

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... _May91.pdf
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Punya » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:00 am

Thanks for the comments and link. I found Ani-la's article particularly helpful Sonny.

I did a google search and discovered there is a recent Dharma Wheel thread on this subject. It seems I'm not the only person asking this question :lol: Although most of the discussion is too academic for my deluded mind I did like Pegembara's contribution:

"Mind and brain are not one and the same nor totally different. They are co dependent like sheaves of reeds. Without brain there cannot be mind but without mind the brain cannot be known."

There is also a useful discussion here http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/15786 ... past-lives, particularly the analogy:

"The relationship between the mind and the physical brain may be compared to a radio which interprets the incoming audio waves. Just as the radio is a tool by which the audio waves are heard and understood, so is the physical brain a tool by which the information contained in the mind is heard and understood."

As alway His Holiness the Dalai Lama has something important to say:

"But within the category of mind there are also gross levels, such as our sensory perceptions, which cannot function or even come into being without depending on physical organs like our senses. And within the category of the sixth consciousness, the mental consciousness, there are various divisions, or types of mental consciousness that are heavily dependent upon the physiological basis, our brain, for their arising. These types of mind cannot be understood in isolation from their physiological bases." (http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=417).

I have come across all these concepts before but clearly have not understood them thoroughly. I guess if I reread this article a few hundred times I may develop a better understanding. :lol:

Any other contributions would be gratefully received.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Shii » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:18 pm

The brain is a light bulb. The electricity that runs through it is the mind.
“It is easy to believe we are each waves and forget we are also the ocean.”
― Jon J. Muth
“Consider your own place in the universal oneness of which we are all a part, from which we all arise, and to which we all return.”
― David Fontana
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:04 pm

Shii wrote:The brain is a light bulb. The electricity that runs through it is the mind.


So, electricity can feel joy and anguish? Really?
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Punya » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:46 pm

I have to say I'm rather fond of metaphors. The book Metaphors We Live By is an interesting read. I hadn't previously thought about how much our language is filled with war metaphors. And of course for Buddhist concepts they can be an important precursor to direct experience.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby KeithBC » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:59 am

Brain is hardware. Mind is software and data.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Relationship between mind and brain

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:01 pm

Mind is violet.

Brain is red.
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