How do mind-streams interact?

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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:35 pm

futerko wrote:
mirage wrote:So far I fail to understand how such a thing can be explained without falling into indirect realism of some sort or whatever.


I'm not sure I follow you here, if anything, Buddhism appears to be a form of subjective idealism, at least at a "naive" level.

Most contemporary authors, including Lusthaus whose book I am currently reading, seem very much opposed to the definition of Yogacara as any kind of idealism. So far I do not understand how do they classify it themselves.

But yes, on my current (indeed very "naive") level Yogacara looks somewhat similar to subjective idealism. So, the question is: how can subjective idealism avoid sliding into solipsism (or at least "functional solipsism" - other minds exist, but they are entirely separate and do not interact with our mind)?
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Jesse » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:39 pm

mirage wrote:
Astus wrote:When we talk about me, you and apple, that is the imagined reality. There is no understanding of consciousness-only here. If it is understood in terms of consciousness-only, the ideas of an external apple and you, and an internal me, they are all just ideas and not distinct entities. So, if you don't mix up these two, there is no problem at all.

I feel like I almost understand you here, but in fact I probably do not. Do you mean that there is a deeper "level" beneath eight individual consciousnesses, on which mind-streams cease to be distinct?
futerko wrote:Do you have trouble with the idea of someone else eating an apple? If not, why ask in the first place? What will it benefit you to find an answer to this question?
I guess what I'm trying to get at is the question of your desire and motivation for such a line of enquiry.

The motivation is simple: I have several ideas which I am trying to reconcile. One is the notion that everything we experience is a part of our consciousness, our individual mind-stream. The other is a Mahayana concept of helping all sentient beings, which means that interaction must occur - I change something within my own mind-stream (because it is all that is accessible for me), and somehow changes occur in a different mind-stream. So far I fail to understand how such a thing can be explained without falling into indirect realism of some sort or whatever.


What I think he means is that the whole idea of things existing inherently, rather than as conglomerate of cause-effect is the source of the problem you are perceiving. Eg. If you get rid of the ideas of me, my mind, others mind, or just any idea of things existing in some static way, you no longer have a problem to solve or even ponder.
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:49 pm

mirage wrote:
futerko wrote:
mirage wrote:So far I fail to understand how such a thing can be explained without falling into indirect realism of some sort or whatever.


I'm not sure I follow you here, if anything, Buddhism appears to be a form of subjective idealism, at least at a "naive" level.

Most contemporary authors, including Lusthaus whose book I am currently reading, seem very much opposed to the definition of Yogacara as any kind of idealism. So far I do not understand how do they classify it themselves.

But yes, on my current (indeed very "naive") level Yogacara looks somewhat similar to subjective idealism. So, the question is: how can subjective idealism avoid sliding into solipsism (or at least "functional solipsism" - other minds exist, but they are entirely separate and do not interact with our mind)?


Possibly. Meditation is a particularly solitary excercise. One cannot help liberate all sentient beings until one has developed an "authentic" relationship to being.
It seems that we are already immersed in language (and concepts) and that the achievement is how to extract one's thought from the "herd" mentality.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:59 pm

mirage wrote:I feel like I almost understand you here, but in fact I probably do not. Do you mean that there is a deeper "level" beneath eight individual consciousnesses, on which mind-streams cease to be distinct?


No, there's no hidden consciousness. What I'm saying is that consciousness-only does not mean that there are only floating minds in this world without a physical realms, that's a different view, not a Buddhist one. Consciousness-only means that there is neither object nor subject.

Vasubandhu says at the end of the Trimsika (tr. KOCHUMUTTOM):

"One does not abide in the realization
Of mere representations of consciousness
Just on account of the [theoretical] perception
That all this is mere representation of consciousness,
If one places [ = sees] something before oneself.
One does abide in the realization
Of mere [representation of] consciousness
When one does not perceive also a supporting
consciousness,
For, the graspable objects being absent,
There cannot either be the grasping o f that,
[Namely, the grasping of the supporting consciousness].
That indeed is the supramundane knowledge
When one has no mind that knows,
And no object for its support;"


And in the Lankavatara Sutra (tr. Suzuki):

"The personal soul, continuity, the Skandhas, causation, atoms, the supreme spirit, the ruler, the creator, —[they are] discriminations in the Mind-only."
(XXIX)

"clinging to the memory (vasana) of erroneous speculations and doctrines since beginningless time, they hold fast to ideas such as oneness and otherness, being and non-being, and their thoughts are not at all clear about what is seen of Mind-only."
(XXXV)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby viniketa » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:19 pm

mirage wrote:But yes, on my current (indeed very "naive") level Yogacara looks somewhat similar to subjective idealism. So, the question is: how can subjective idealism avoid sliding into solipsism (or at least "functional solipsism" - other minds exist, but they are entirely separate and do not interact with our mind)?


No one has said that separate minds do not interact. They 'interact' on 'conventional' (indirect realism) level, as has been noted repeatedly. Of course, 'problems' arise when one can only understand things in terms of direct/indirect realism/idealism. The most difficult thing for many to catch-on to is that these 'problems' only arise if we can only hold one view of the universe at a time. See this on that issue:
http://onphilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/ ... t-realism/

Minds have many 'levels' of perception. Only viewing things from a single 'level' means we miss lots of other levels. :yinyang:

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:24 pm

mirage wrote:
futerko wrote:
mirage wrote:So far I fail to understand how such a thing can be explained without falling into indirect realism of some sort or whatever.


I'm not sure I follow you here, if anything, Buddhism appears to be a form of subjective idealism, at least at a "naive" level.

Most contemporary authors, including Lusthaus whose book I am currently reading, seem very much opposed to the definition of Yogacara as any kind of idealism. So far I do not understand how do they classify it themselves.

But yes, on my current (indeed very "naive") level Yogacara looks somewhat similar to subjective idealism. So, the question is: how can subjective idealism avoid sliding into solipsism (or at least "functional solipsism" - other minds exist, but they are entirely separate and do not interact with our mind)?


This has been accounted for: mutual traces project a common container universe. This is discussed in the Mahāyāna Saṃgraha at length. If you read that book, your question will be answered.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:55 pm

Thanks everyone, I am now quite confused :D
I guess I will return after I finish at least some of the recommended reading. Something tells me those "mutual traces" may be the key to answering my questions. We'll see.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:57 pm

viniketa wrote:
mirage wrote:But yes, on my current (indeed very "naive") level Yogacara looks somewhat similar to subjective idealism. So, the question is: how can subjective idealism avoid sliding into solipsism (or at least "functional solipsism" - other minds exist, but they are entirely separate and do not interact with our mind)?


No one has said that separate minds do not interact. They 'interact' on 'conventional' (indirect realism) level, as has been noted repeatedly. Of course, 'problems' arise when one can only understand things in terms of direct/indirect realism/idealism. The most difficult thing for many to catch-on to is that these 'problems' only arise if we can only hold one view of the universe at a time. See this on that issue:
http://onphilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/ ... t-realism/

Minds have many 'levels' of perception. Only viewing things from a single 'level' means we miss lots of other levels. :yinyang:

:namaste:


Nice link, and its counterpart on direct realism, but they still take an anthropocentric view of perception. As you say, mind has many levels of perception, and Buddhism takes into account the idea that Mind includes more than just a purely human component.
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise."
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby viniketa » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:21 pm

futerko wrote:Nice link, and its counterpart on direct realism, but they still take an anthropocentric view of perception. As you say, mind has many levels of perception, and Buddhism takes into account the idea that Mind includes more than just a purely human component."


Quite correct! :D

That seems like a 'can of worms' for another thread... :popcorn:

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:44 am

Thinking more on the idea of solipsism...

One way of conceiving of the difference between morality and ethics is this; morality is an attempt to externalise and universalise a set of rules, whereas ethics aims more at internal integrity and maintaining consistency within oneself without necessarily externalising those rules onto others. I think in this sense, the practice of Buddhism is a form of solipsism in a beneficial way.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby viniketa » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:05 am

futerko wrote:Thinking more on the idea of solipsism...

One way of conceiving of the difference between morality and ethics is this; morality is an attempt to externalise and universalise a set of rules, whereas ethics aims more at internal integrity and maintaining consistency within oneself without necessarily externalising those rules onto others. I think in this sense, the practice of Buddhism is a form of solipsism in a beneficial way.


That is one way of thinking of it. However, in Western philosophy, it is typically the other-way-round: Ethics has to do with promulgating sets of rules for moral conduct, while Morality has to do with whether or not an individual or social behavior is 'judged' within a specified set of rules. See here: http://www.iep.utm.edu/ethics/

It is for this reason that HHDL has said that we must devise sets of 'secular' ethics as religious (and other cultural) ideals generate more conflict due to increased interaction in an increasingly global context. See here: http://books.google.com/books/about/Bey ... FEau6NVe8C here: http://books.google.com/books/about/Eth ... DzX1-In7UC and here: http://thecenter.mit.edu/

As to the Western idea of solipsism, a certain degree of it is unavoidable in 'Buddhist philosophy', as it concentrates specifically upon 'changing one's own mind', as it were. As long as we do not fall into the thinking traps of Absolute Solopsism, i.e., that our mind and thoughts are the only mind and thoughts that 'exist' or matter -- or, more importantly, that our minds actually 'create' other minds -- then we are treading the 'Middle way'.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Sat Aug 25, 2012 8:01 am

viniketa wrote:That is one way of thinking of it. However, in Western philosophy, it is typically the other-way-round: Ethics has to do with promulgating sets of rules for moral conduct, while Morality has to do with whether or not an individual or social behavior is 'judged' within a specified set of rules.


I think that the idea of judgement involves taking an external perspective, whereas implementing a codified set of rules does not necessarily make that leap.

viniketa wrote:As to the Western idea of solipsism, a certain degree of it is unavoidable in 'Buddhist philosophy', as it concentrates specifically upon 'changing one's own mind', as it were. As long as we do not fall into the thinking traps of Absolute Solopsism, i.e., that our mind and thoughts are the only mind and thoughts that 'exist' or matter -- or, more importantly, that our minds actually 'create' other minds -- then we are treading the 'Middle way'.

:namaste:


Yes, I agree completely. :namaste:
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