How do mind-streams interact?

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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:04 pm

mirage wrote:
futerko wrote:The issue of epistemology focuses on the question of knowledge of phenomena which is less of an issue if one's focus of enquiry is the study of the structures of consciousness and the phenomena that appear in acts of consciousness.

Rather than the issue of objective knowledge, Buddhism enquires as the conditions for anything appearing at all - the focus is not about the truth "behind" appearances, but the truth about them.

But I find the question of intersubjectivity to be very relevant to the aims of Mahayana. If the ultimate aim is Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, then any Mahayana philosophy has to explain how beings can possibly interact with each other.


I already explained: body, voice and mind.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:
mirage wrote:But I find the question of intersubjectivity to be very relevant to the aims of Mahayana. If the ultimate aim is Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, then any Mahayana philosophy has to explain how beings can possibly interact with each other.


I already explained: body, voice and mind.

Sorry, but I do not understand how this answers the question I asked earlier - the example with Eiffel Tower.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:33 pm

mirage wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
mirage wrote:But I find the question of intersubjectivity to be very relevant to the aims of Mahayana. If the ultimate aim is Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, then any Mahayana philosophy has to explain how beings can possibly interact with each other.


I already explained: body, voice and mind.

Sorry, but I do not understand how this answers the question I asked earlier - the example with Eiffel Tower.



You do not need to make it so complicated.We are communicating right now using words, via a print media i.e. body. If we were talking that would be voice, if we had advanced skills of claivoyance, we could communicate mind to mind.

We do not need things like intersubjectivity and so on. They are rabbit holes.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:58 pm

There is the teaching of three natures (trisvabhava) in Yogacara that you should consider here. On the imaginary level it is just like for everyone else. On the dependent level all is interrelated, phenomena are dependent on perception. Being dependent on perception doesn't mean that nothing exists beyond that, it just means that mind defines and interprets what one perceives. And on the ultimate level ideas of perception and perceiver are understood to be interpretations and ideas only. In the end, there is not even a mind one can conceive.

The problem raised, the interaction of mind-streams, is based on the assumption that there are physically-spatially distinct minds. But minds are not bound by space or time, they are immaterial. Another problem here is the idea that Yogacara - or Buddhism generally - should give a comprehensive philosophy. But it doesn't have anything like that. It is the path of liberation, all teachings are meant to assist in getting rid of grasping at thoughts and emotions.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:20 pm

Malcolm wrote:You do not need to make it so complicated.We are communicating right now using words, via a print media i.e. body.

Oh, I do not know about that. I might as well be seeing a kind of a dream, and these words on my screen are just a bit of my karma manifesting, without any other sentient being involved. Probably good karma, but still.
Astus wrote:The problem raised, the interaction of mind-streams, is based on the assumption that there are physically-spatially distinct minds.

Not spatially - just separate. Our minds are clearly separate in some way, otherwise our experience would be the same.
Astus wrote: Another problem here is the idea that Yogacara - or Buddhism generally - should give a comprehensive philosophy. But it doesn't have anything like that. It is the path of liberation, all teachings are meant to assist in getting rid of grasping at thoughts and emotions.

That would be a bit disappointing.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:34 pm

mirage wrote:
Malcolm wrote:You do not need to make it so complicated.We are communicating right now using words, via a print media i.e. body.

Oh, I do not know about that. I might as well be seeing a kind of a dream, and these words on my screen are just a bit of my karma manifesting, without any other sentient being involved. Probably good karma, but still.


Don't be silly, it simply a matter of conventional fact.

M
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Malcolm wrote:
mirage wrote:Oh, I do not know about that. I might as well be seeing a kind of a dream, and these words on my screen are just a bit of my karma manifesting, without any other sentient being involved. Probably good karma, but still.


Don't be silly, it simply a matter of conventional fact.

M

We have a very common example of the situation I am talking about: dreams. In dreams we interact with "people", but they are not sentient beings.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:52 pm

mirage wrote:We have a very common example of the situation I am talking about: dreams. In dreams we interact with "people", but they are not sentient beings.


Sometimes they are.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:59 pm

Huseng wrote:
mirage wrote:We have a very common example of the situation I am talking about: dreams. In dreams we interact with "people", but they are not sentient beings.


Sometimes they are.

Maybe. But what matters in this case is that often they are not.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:03 pm

mirage wrote:
Huseng wrote:
mirage wrote:We have a very common example of the situation I am talking about: dreams. In dreams we interact with "people", but they are not sentient beings.


Sometimes they are.

Maybe. But what matters in this case is that often they are not.


If you acknowledge that other sentient beings exist, you might as well assume that conventionally you are communicating with other sentient lifeforms.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:15 pm

mirage wrote:
Huseng wrote:
mirage wrote:We have a very common example of the situation I am talking about: dreams. In dreams we interact with "people", but they are not sentient beings.


Sometimes they are.

Maybe. But what matters in this case is that often they are not.


Only if you decide that the waking state is more real than dreaming, in which case you have sunk your whole position of doubt.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Huseng wrote:If you acknowledge that other sentient beings exist, you might as well assume that conventionally you are communicating with other sentient lifeforms.

Naturally I assume it, I just wanted to find out how is such communication possible. Mostly an academic interest.
Malcolm wrote:Only if you decide that the waking state is more real than dreaming, in which case you have sunk your whole position of doubt.

Sorry, I do not follow. I did not make any statements about "reality" of waking or dreaming states. I am not even sure how to define that. Anyway, this discussion probably has nothing to do with the original question.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:23 pm

mirage wrote:Not spatially - just separate. Our minds are clearly separate in some way, otherwise our experience would be the same.


What separates them? If you mean that they are not the same experiences, yes, that is true. But how is that a problem?

mirage wrote:That would be a bit disappointing.


Explanations have limited value. Explanations of the world are only as good as their efficacy in creating peace and wisdom. Buddhist teachings are not meant to be used as philosophical statements or scientific observations. They are practical guidelines. They are like recipes - they tell you what and how to cook, you can't eat the paper. On the other hand, the understanding that all views are conventional, relative and mind made, is quite a coherent teaching.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:35 pm

Astus wrote:What separates them?

I have no idea what separates them, or even if "what" is a meaningful word to use here. Still, nearly every text on Yogacara I have read states in very clear terms that there exist multiple separate mind-streams:

If there were only a single consciousness how could the ten directions, the sages and ordinary folk, causes and effects, and so on, be distinguished? Who would look for [the teachings] and who would espouse them? What [would differentiate] the Dharma from its seeker?
Thus, the words 'wei-shih' have a deep meaning. The word shih (consciousness, vijnapti, vijnäna)in general reveals that all sentient beings each have [their own] eight consciousnesses, six types of caittas, altered [consciousness] (so-pien) qua nimitta- and darsana- [bhägas], distinguishing divisions, and tathata which is disclosed through the principle of emptiness.

(Ch'eng wei-shih lun, quoted from "Buddhist Phenomenology" by Dan Lusthaus)

Astus wrote:If you mean that they are not the same experiences, yes, that is true. But how is that a problem?

Well, the question is the same: if both of us see an apple, that means I have experience of apple, and you have a (different) experience of apple. Then I eat the apple, and your experience of it changes (disappears). What made your experience change?
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:56 pm

mirage wrote:Well, the question is the same: if both of us see an apple, that means I have experience of apple, and you have a (different) experience of apple. Then I eat the apple, and your experience of it changes (disappears). What made your experience change?


Conventionally, the idea of someone else eating an apple is not something requiring philosophical proof. One of the issues for Buddhism is the way in which perception is influenced by desire, if that apple was my subject for a still life painting and you were hungry and just walked up and ate it, then our views may well conflict in terms of the meaning we gave to said apple.
I think that you may have more joy comparing Buddhist philosophy to modern continental philosophy rather than analytic philosophy.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:02 pm

futerko wrote:Conventionally, the idea of someone else eating an apple is not something requiring philosophical proof. One of the issues for Buddhism is the way in which perception is influenced by desire, if that apple was my subject for a still life painting and you were hungry and just walked up and ate it, then our views may well conflict in terms of the meaning we gave to said apple.
I think that you may have more joy comparing Buddhist philosophy to modern continental philosophy rather than analytic philosophy.

Sadly, I know next to nothing about continental philosophy. Maybe this is why I would still like to find an answer to my question.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:09 pm

mirage wrote:Well, the question is the same: if both of us see an apple, that means I have experience of apple, and you have a (different) experience of apple. Then I eat the apple, and your experience of it changes (disappears). What made your experience change?


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.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:10 pm

mirage wrote:
futerko wrote:Conventionally, the idea of someone else eating an apple is not something requiring philosophical proof. One of the issues for Buddhism is the way in which perception is influenced by desire, if that apple was my subject for a still life painting and you were hungry and just walked up and ate it, then our views may well conflict in terms of the meaning we gave to said apple.
I think that you may have more joy comparing Buddhist philosophy to modern continental philosophy rather than analytic philosophy.

Sadly, I know next to nothing about continental philosophy. Maybe this is why I would still like to find an answer to my question.


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.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby Nikolay » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:22 pm

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.
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Re: How do mind-streams interact?

Postby futerko » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:28 pm

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.
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