Where do thoughts come from?

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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:29 am

:good: (MattJ)
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Mikeliegler » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:16 am

:thanks:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby WeiHan » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:00 am

A semblance of the question will be: Where does your mind come from?

It is in fact one of the question that one has to investigate and come to a conclusion on your own in Khorde Rushen- the uncommon preliminary of Dzogchen.

Thoughts like our mind is unborn, it is unestablished. we will have to investigate according to methods used in Madhyamaka whether it resides in our body, in or brain, in our heart? If not, does it reside in any of the elements? if not, does it exists somewhere outside our body? Perhaps, in the space in front of us? perhaps in the stones or mountains somewhere? We will have to exhaust all the possibilities on our own and come to the conclusion that thoughts or mind is empty and unborn because they cannot be established to reside in any location whatsoever.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Azidonis » Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:13 pm

Where thoughts come from, and where they go...
They are like waves on the open sea.
They come and they go.
Maybe you want to grab some water from that ocean;
Put it into a bottle?
Put it on the boat and save it for later?
Maybe it is best to let the waves be waves.
Just watch them being waves.
Who watches?
The question of "who" is itself just another wave.
The constant clamoring of the "who" wave can disturb the water in the area.
But if the "who" wave subsides, the area itself subsides.
If you don't think, are you there?
When the water is calm, there is no one around to question whether it is calm or not.
When the water is calm, there is no one around to observe that it is calm.
How to calm the water?
No action can calm the water.
It is the action (karma) of the "who" wave that creates the disturbance.
It is the action that allows the waves.
No action, no waves.
No attachment, no self.
Impermanent, and free-flowing.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby 5heaps » Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:19 pm

Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.

most buddhists dont understand what a thought is. thought is a conceptual mental conscuiousness...the different between a conceptual mental consciousness and a nonconceptual mental consciousness is that the conceptual consciousness makes use of a mental image whereas the nonconceptual does not. these mental images are imputedly known due to movements of the mind which are due to karma, previous moments of mind, and object conditions ie. the environment
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby oldbob » Mon May 27, 2013 3:43 am

:namaste:

:good: :good: :good:

Covering all the bases.

But as usual - my 2 cents.

This question, as has been mentioned in the thread, which is one of the three from the Korde Rushen (the practices that separate ordinary mind form the Nature of mind) of the Yeshe Lama, and also from the SMS of ChNNR, (where do thoughts come from, where do they stay and where do they go) is not something to be answered with words of someone else. It is an experience that each practitioner can discover for themselves. The effect of your own direct experience, on your being, is profoundly different from that of the words of someone else.

So, watching your mind, take a few hours (or days) on each of the three questions and report back, to your Teacher, if you have one, or save your answers until you do.

No obligation, but I think this is the way to go.

Also:

http://shangshung.org/store/index.php?m ... cts_id=241

Hope this helps.

ob
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby ground » Mon May 27, 2013 1:59 pm

From the brain and they don't leave its sphere. :sage:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon May 27, 2013 2:26 pm

5heaps wrote:
Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.

most buddhists dont understand what a thought is. thought is a conceptual mental conscuiousness...the different between a conceptual mental consciousness and a nonconceptual mental consciousness is that the conceptual consciousness makes use of a mental image whereas the nonconceptual does not. these mental images are imputedly known due to movements of the mind which are due to karma, previous moments of mind, and object conditions ie. the environment


Actually, it goes further than that.
What we experience as a single thought or idea is a composite of millions of instantaneous events,
and mentally, we arrange those events into understandable patterns.
Just take a moment to look around the room where you are sitting. Scan the room by moving your head from side to side.
Consider how many different colors, shapes, fields of depth are there, and as you move your head, constantly changing, every change being processed instantly in the mind. And that is only a small portion of sight, sight is only one of the senses, and external input doesn't even include dreams, abstract concepts and other thought events generated in the mind.
Thoughts do not have any ultimate reality to them.
So, when you ask "where do they come from?"
don't make the mistake of thinking that they actually exist.

What is experienced as thoughts are random elements
that the mind puts together
as something recognizable or not recognizable:

( O ) ( O )

eyes?

Buddhists are not the only ones who don't understand the nature of thoughts,
but I think generally, they know it better than most.
.
.
.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:53 am

I can't advise MIke because I'm a newbie practitioner too - but I wanted to ask if the following made sense:

The brain does stuff, like a computer does stuff. And it does it whether I am aware of it doing it or not. I can drive all the way to work without being aware of it - my brain can organize all that and get me there safely. It can do that because it has the neural routines already set up.

So what thought is, is me being aware of the brain doing stuff.

What awareness is I've no idea - but it seems key to learning and setting up new neural routines - because without awareness the brain will just do what it always does.

Does that make sense?
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:20 am

I would put it the other way around - you can be aware that you're thinking, or just be thinking without being aware that you're thinking. The latter state is definitely more common. We get 'lost in thought' or 'caught up in thought' or even 'possessed by ideas'. But awareness is something else - the part of the mind that knows 'I am thinking', 'I am being caught up in thought'. Notice the resemblance here to the Satipatthana Sutta - when the monk walks, he knows 'I am walking', and so on. So that kind of bare awareness or basic mindfulness is an essential aspect of the Buddhist teaching.

Thought itself is a material process - it is the actions of neurons and neural networks while processing information and turning ideas over. But awareness has another quality, because it is like pure presence, simply 'being-there'. So I think these are two different aspects of the way the mind operates.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:58 am

Jeeprs:

I think possibly that's the same thing? So for you what the brain does is think and we are either aware of it or not. For me the brain executes all kinds of routines but only when I become aware of them do I label is as thought. That could be the same experience.

What I like about it is if awareness is the thing that allows us to break into existing brain routines, to react afresh, rather than just go with conditioned responses, then the practice of increased awareness becomes a very practical thing to do.

I suppose we need to go further though. I was told to ask 'Who or what is thinking?' But I guess we should also ask 'Who or what is aware?'.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:05 am

It's important to get these distinctions right. What two things are you saying are 'the same'? If you're saying that awareness and thought are the same, they're actually not. All kinds of creatures are aware but few think. And as I said in my earlier post, you can be engaged in thought whilst not being aware that you're thinking. It suggests to me that they are different faculties. The distinction is not absolute but it is a reasonable distinction nevertheless.

Also the brain doesn't think, any more than the hand plays the piano. Obviously you can't play the piano without hands, but the hand is only an aspect of the process.

As to 'who or what is aware' that is in some ways a question without an answer, which is what makes it so interesting.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby oushi » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:37 am

droogiefret wrote:What I like about it is if awareness is the thing that allows us to break into existing brain routines, to react afresh, rather than just go with conditioned responses, then the practice of increased awareness becomes a very practical thing to do.

As I know, it is called learning.
Everything is just a flow of karma in different shapes. Thoughts are created out of words that comes from "outside" end experiences that come from outside. So, it is like a river flowing through the mind, where the mind is nothing but the swirl in the river. The real question is, why this process involves awareness? And maybe it doesn't. We think it does, and that is our delusion.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:12 pm

jeeprs wrote:It's important to get these distinctions right. What two things are you saying are 'the same'? If you're saying that awareness and thought are the same, they're actually not. All kinds of creatures are aware but few think. And as I said in my earlier post, you can be engaged in thought whilst not being aware that you're thinking. It suggests to me that they are different faculties. The distinction is not absolute but it is a reasonable distinction nevertheless.

Also the brain doesn't think, any more than the hand plays the piano. Obviously you can't play the piano without hands, but the hand is only an aspect of the process.

As to 'who or what is aware' that is in some ways a question without an answer, which is what makes it so interesting.


I wasn't saying that. I'm saying the two viewpoints seem to amount to the same thing to me. You can view the brain as thinking all the time and sometimes we are aware of it, or you can view the brain like a bio-computer and when we become aware of a particular function we label it as thought. Awareness being like the flashlight we can direct at the different processes the brain is carrying out.

It just seems to be a labelling difference to me - both make sense to me. It's just that I can't imagine labelling something as a thought unless I was actually aware of it at the time.

But anyway, as you say, awareness is more mysterious.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:25 pm

oushi wrote:
As I know, it is called learning.
Everything is just a flow of karma in different shapes. Thoughts are created out of words that comes from "outside" end experiences that come from outside. So, it is like a river flowing through the mind, where the mind is nothing but the swirl in the river. The real question is, why this process involves awareness? And maybe it doesn't. We think it does, and that is our delusion.


I was thinking more learning potential. Is awareness on it's own enough? So that it creates the possibility to learn and change - but you still have to actually do something different. Out of my depth now though so I'll shut up. :smile:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:12 pm

jeeprs wrote: As to 'who or what is aware' that is in some ways a question without an answer, which is what makes it so interesting.


The reason it is a question without an answer is because its primary assumption is backwards.
As a result, no satisfactory answer is possible.
But turn the primary assumption around, and it is not such a big mystery after all.

The backwards assumption is that awareness comes from the 'self',
rather than the illusion of 'self' arising from awareness.

It starts with the assertion of a 'self', and then once that has been asserted,
it regards awareness as something actually possessed by that self.
(as you say, "who or what is aware")
This is 'awareness' meaning some degree of sensory processing.

But 'awareness' as original mind, in the Buddhist sense
is the condition in which all appearances arise,
including the illusory appearance of a "self" that seems to possess awareness.
Buddhas also arise in awareness, but unobstructed.

So, it's only an unanswerable question as long as one still holds onto the notion of
at least some kind of intrinsically existing self (which Buddhism rejects).
As soon as one stops doing that,
the question ceases to exist.

It's like asking, "how does the hole find its way all the way into the middle of the donut?"
If we regard the hole as some intrinsically existing thing, like a self, then that is a valid question.
"Where did it come from? Where did it go? I can see it, so it must be there."

However, when we see that the hole is not an intrinsically existing thing,
but is instead merely an aspect of the space that was already there,
that is still there after we eat the donut,
and that even the dough 'rises :tongue: in that same space,
then the question no longer applies.

All experiences of 'self' including the sensory experience of subjects and objects of perception
arise in basic awareness.
.
.
.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby undefineable » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:30 pm

droogiefret wrote:The brain does stuff, like a computer does stuff. And it does it whether I am aware of it doing it or not. I can drive all the way to work without being aware of it - my brain can organize all that and get me there safely. It can do that because it has the neural routines already set up.

I'm not sure how we can be aware of our brains doing their thing - unless you're talking about that satisfying feeling of 'things slotting into a groove' that we get when we learn new skills. Trying to remain conscious of every step will often lead to failure - even if you've already learned what you're doing. {To prove this, try walking down a busy street making all the necessary judgements -as to how to avoid colliding with other people- consciously , and see what happens ;) } 'Mileage may vary' for experienced meditators, as I get a feeling that it's the sense of 'I v. other' that tends to get in the way.
droogiefret wrote:So what thought is, is me being aware of the brain doing stuff.

I've heard this before here, but can't make much sense of it, as we don't exactly have much direct awareness of neurons firing electrical signals at each other, despite the fact that those same signals can be shown to correspond with our thoughts! In some sense, mental processes seem to be bound up in the nature of the physical events that constitute the living brain. So:
jeeprs wrote:Thought itself is a material process - it is the actions of neurons and neural networks while processing information and turning ideas over.
doesn't account for the fact that the subject matter of thoughts is unrelated to their physical contents (i.e. flow of neurotransmitters/electrons/etc.).

In other words, our world makes no sense at all :rolleye: . The best I can come up with is that the brain generates code for whatever deeper patterns as may be "in" the mind/alaya may make of the narrow, shifting context that our physical environment provides for them, constantly translating from physical particulars to awareness and then back to physical and meta-physical (literally 'about the physical') actions. This could then build and re-inforce a set of impulses and responses to the satisfaction of our egos.
droogiefret wrote:What awareness is I've no idea - but it seems key to learning and setting up new neural routines because without awareness the brain will just do what it always does.-

I'm not sure what's meant by awareness -whoever's speaking or writing- but I've no idea what happens on a psychological level when we 'learn and set up new neural routines'. It makes sense, though, that not applying awareness to 'brain' activities will leave us with little leeway to change and set up habits. in that kind of way.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby undefineable » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:56 pm

oushi wrote:Everything is just a flow of karma in different shapes. Thoughts are created out of words that comes from "outside" end experiences that come from outside. So, it is like a river flowing through the mind, where the mind is nothing but the swirl in the river. The real question is, why this process involves awareness? And maybe it doesn't. We think it does, and that is our delusion.

The process you describe (which I think I was also describing in my last post) plainly involves more than nothing whatsoever, and more than just aspects of reality that appear categorically distant to it (i.e. matter as conceived of in western culture). Feeling that something that could be labelled 'awareness' or "consciousness" is central to the process of mind might be an illusion; in fact at this point I hope it is :tongue:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:11 pm

undefineable wrote:
I'm not sure what's meant by awareness -whoever's speaking or writing- but I've no idea what happens on a psychological level when we 'learn and set up new neural routines'. It makes sense, though, that not applying awareness to 'brain' activities will leave us with little leeway to change and set up habits. in that kind of way.


I post regularly on another forum where most people are atheist and materialist. Many of them would say 'Awareness' :quoteunquote: and 'Mind' :quoteunquote:

Here we say 'Brain' :quoteunquote:

It takes some getting used to I can tell you!
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby undefineable » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:53 pm

droogiefret wrote:
undefineable wrote:It makes sense, though, that not applying awareness to 'brain' activities will leave us with little leeway to change and set up habits in that kind of way.


I post regularly on another forum where most people are atheist and materialist. Many of them would say 'Awareness' :quoteunquote: and 'Mind' :quoteunquote:

Here we say 'Brain' :quoteunquote:

It takes some getting used to I can tell you!

Perhaps a full understanding of materialist philosophy demands some element of enlightenment to the nature of reality :stirthepot: . Anyway, I used the :quoteunquote: s since I can't see how a purely mental process *simply is* a purely physical one - in other words, perhaps I'm an 'epic fail' at materialism :tantrum: . The two parallel processes might be different aspects of the same underlying phenomenon, as I get the impression they might be said to be (more :quoteunquote: s) in Dzogchen (more of that in a distant future lifetime in my case), but one wonders how much religious faith might be involved in adopting atheist materialism as one's worldview - how much turning a blind eye to one's own apprehending of reality in favour of a unifying theory that irons out the contradictions without demanding a higher level of understanding. There seems even less sense in claiming 'there is matter but no awareness' (and it's interesting that materialist philosophers like Dan Dennett were avoiding such unqualified claims the last time I looked ;) ) than there is in claiming something like 'the meaning of life is that Jesus died for our sins' - The former denies both our common experience and any means by which we might have that experience, while the latter appears as just a kooky flight of fancy. As definitive statements made outside any particular context or perspective, it would be a fair guess that both are gobbledegook :tongue:

Anyway, :focus:
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