Where do thoughts come from?

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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby droogiefret » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:06 am

undefineable wrote:

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:


I have no idea why my immediate reaction to your post was just to smile and feel happy ..... but there it is :smile:
And you are right of course :focus:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:03 am

undefinable wrote:
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.).


Hence the rest of my paragraph which referred to 'awareness as pure presence'. In other words I was distinguishing between discursive thought - that is, conscious thinking in terms of words and ideas - and awareness pure and simple. I think awareness is also related to intelligence. Here's an interesting thing - the word 'intelligence' is derived from the Latin 'to read between'. So the word 'intelligence' actually conveys the notion of judgement - making inferences and understanding meaning. And I'm sure that is something that can never be externalised or carried out by an algorithm.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Azidonis » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:34 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
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.
.
.
.


:good: I agree completely.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:10 am

PadmaVonSambha wrote: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 a donut"


'What does the hole consist of?' is a comparable question to "what is the nature of awareness'. 'Nothing', is the reply. 'Well what good is that?' you might Ask. 'Because it's not a donut without the hole'. :tongue:

The question of the 'permanent self' is much misunderstood in my view. If you look into the Brahmajala Sutta the idea is expressed as the view of 'some as ascetics and Brahmins' who form the idea that 'the world and self is eternal'. The basis of this is that they are able to remember several or 'many thousands' of previous lives (which is a rather mind boggling thought). So they form the view that they can continue to exist forever, being born again and again in perpetuity. That seems to me the view of 'eternalism' which is the opposite extreme to 'nihilism'. The expression in the Sutta is that in this view the self is 'set like a post or a barren mountain peak' - something that persists while all around it changes. So that is the idea of 'permanent self or soul' which is rejected. But saying that, therefore, there's no doer of any action, or any agent that exists,is something else again, I think.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby oushi » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:57 am

There is no eternal self, because "eternal" is a view, a prediction. But, because it is untouched by conditions, life and death in particular, it cannot be mortal. Nihilism is another deep view, which is based on idea that "non-existence" is true, while there is not truth in this view.
The right answer is no answer. It is expressed by non-expression, and spoken without speaking.

Simply speaking, there is no correct view, so looking for right answer, or view is the obstacle itself.
Conviction that there is one proper answer/view, or a view that can last unchanged, is crushed by Anicca.

Every discussion aims to develop a finishing True view, a compromise upon which interlocutors will agree. Sometimes people want to force others to accept their view. But it always ends with a view/or views, so always fails.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby muni » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:31 am

Yes. :smile: We seek the source of thoughts by thoughts. We and so views come from thoughts and thoughts?

I cannot say something useful anyway.

:meditate:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby oushi » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:55 am

muni wrote:Yes. :smile: We seek the source of thoughts by thoughts. We and so views come from thoughts and thoughts?

I cannot say something useful anyway.

:meditate:

Is there anything useful that can be said? :smile:
We often think that there is something that is true knowledge, but we cannot find it, so we feel miserable. Other know, we don't... how sad.
How sad indeed, whet there is nothing useful to know, or to say...
Last edited by oushi on Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:17 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.


There are several meditation practices where you try to be aware of the arising of thoughts, for example the origin, abode and destination of thoughts. It means that you detach your awareness from the thoughts and you look at them. You try to catch them when they arise. You try to see how they arise. You try to see their abode or location, and how they cease. It is usually hard to accomplish. It seems impossible and frustrating at first, but it is much more useful than the explanations of others. You must gently keep at it for a longer time.
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