What takes rebirth: body or mind?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:31 pm

In response to the OP: neither. Obviously dead bodies stay dead for a very long time cf. Otzi whose body is some 5000 years old and showing no signs of reanimating.

If mind reincarnates it raises the question of why we don't all remember past lives, retain our educations or exacty mimic past personality.

An analogy is the lighting of one candle from another: what goes forward? Not a lot, but it is still a cause and effect relationship.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:34 pm

I don't remember what I had for breakfast two days ago so it's going to be pretty hard to remember what I was up to in my past lifetime!
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby catmoon » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:41 pm

Interesting point. The mind can't accurately "reincarnate" itself from one day to the next, let alone from life to life. Well, ordinary minds can't, anyhow.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby Nothing » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:44 pm

What is "mind"? ....define mind.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:49 pm

The infinite play of phenomena!
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:55 pm

Nothing wrote:What is "mind"? ....define mind.

That which witnesses the chemical activity of the material brain and regards that activity as experience.
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Re: All Buddhists Are Atheists

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:59 pm

viniketa wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:It is the body that wanders in samsara. --Lord Jigten Sumgon

It is said: "The samsaric body circles."
The actual nature of mind is free of elaborations,
Is emptiness, is luminosity, is without grasping.
If it did not rely on the material or mental body,
How could there be any experiences of happiness or suffering by
the empty mind as such?
There are the actual bodies of the six types of beings
And the embodiment of habitual tendencies of the intermediate state,
That arise like a mirage, made from prāna.
Therefore, it is explained that the samsaric body circles.

Gongchig, II.4




Yes, but the "samsaric body" is not the "body" as it is usually understood, i.e., in distinction with the "mind," as Greg pointed out.
"Nature of Mind" and "Mind" are two different things. So one can't say the "body" takes rebirth. Of course, this is obvious to anyone. There's a lot more to this quote, of course. The "Actual bodies of the six types of beings" include both the physical bodies, which are frankly composed of the five elements and were never alive in the first place, as well as the "mental bodies" which are somewhat akin to "mind," as we normally conceive of it--individual, personal, etc.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby Nothing » Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:16 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Nothing wrote:What is "mind"? ....define mind.

That which witnesses the chemical activity of the material brain and regards that activity as experience.

What is this "That" ?
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:17 pm

I got this transmission for Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche this summer. He's the foremost authority on Gongchig. One Chinese Buddhist fellow got upset and wanted to debate about how its the mind that wanders. Khenpo explained the body is the seat of pain. The distinction comes from characterizing the "mind" as a "mental-body." A "mental-body" because it is made of karma and prana. Before you claim this is dualistic materialism, you have to understand the flow of Gongchig. This part comes in Section II. Section I is about interdependence. What is interdependent is empty and illusory. So there's no dualism here, because two implies one and there's no one.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:35 pm

So, according to Gongchik, is it the "mental body" which takes rebirth?
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby deepbluehum » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:38 pm

conebeckham wrote:So, according to Gongchik, is it the "mental body" which takes rebirth?


The mental body is the wind element along with the other four elements. It follows the medical tantras.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:55 pm

Fine. Yes, or no?
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:36 am

deepbluehum wrote:The mental body is the wind element along with the other four elements. It follows the medical tantras.


Could you please clarify? Air/wind (vāyu-dhātu) is one of the four great elements (Mahābhūta).

*
The elements give us pleasure or pain. When we do not realize them as they are, we are enslaved by them. We read in the “Kindred Sayings” (II, Nidana-vagga, Ch XIV, Kindred Sayings on Elements, § 34, Pain) that the Buddha said to the monks at Savatthi:

If this earth-element, monks, this water-element, this heat-element, this air-element were entirely painful, beset with pain, immersed in pain, not immersed in happiness, beings would not be lusting after them. But inasmuch as each of these elements is pleasant, beset with pleasure, immersed in pleasure, not in pain, therefore it is that beings get lusting after them.

If this earth-element, monks, this water-element, this heat-element, this air-element were entirely pleasant, beset with pleasure, immersed in pleasure, not immersed in pain, beings would not be repelled by them. But inasmuch as each of these elements is painful, is beset with pain, immersed in pain, not immersed in pleasure, therefore it is that beings are repelled by them…

We are bound to be attached to the elements when we buy beautiful clothes or enjoy delicious food. We are bound to be repelled by the elements when we get hurt or when we are sick. But no matter whether the objects we experience are pleasant or unpleasant, we should realize them as elements which arise because of their own conditions and which do not belong to us.
http://www.abhidhamma.org/Rupa%201.htm


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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:00 am

viniketa wrote:
deepbluehum wrote:The mental body is the wind element along with the other four elements. It follows the medical tantras.


Could you please clarify? Air/wind (vāyu-dhātu) is one of the four great elements (Mahābhūta).

*
The elements give us pleasure or pain. When we do not realize them as they are, we are enslaved by them. We read in the “Kindred Sayings” (II, Nidana-vagga, Ch XIV, Kindred Sayings on Elements, § 34, Pain) that the Buddha said to the monks at Savatthi:

If this earth-element, monks, this water-element, this heat-element, this air-element were entirely painful, beset with pain, immersed in pain, not immersed in happiness, beings would not be lusting after them. But inasmuch as each of these elements is pleasant, beset with pleasure, immersed in pleasure, not in pain, therefore it is that beings get lusting after them.

If this earth-element, monks, this water-element, this heat-element, this air-element were entirely pleasant, beset with pleasure, immersed in pleasure, not immersed in pain, beings would not be repelled by them. But inasmuch as each of these elements is painful, is beset with pain, immersed in pain, not immersed in pleasure, therefore it is that beings are repelled by them…

We are bound to be attached to the elements when we buy beautiful clothes or enjoy delicious food. We are bound to be repelled by the elements when we get hurt or when we are sick. But no matter whether the objects we experience are pleasant or unpleasant, we should realize them as elements which arise because of their own conditions and which do not belong to us.
http://www.abhidhamma.org/Rupa%201.htm


:namaste:


That's sutra's explanation, not so for tantra where the channels and winds are described. Sheesh where's Namdrol?
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:29 am

deepbluehum wrote:That's sutra's explanation, not so for tantra where the channels and winds are described. Sheesh where's Namdrol?


I could be wrong, but I don't think there is a difference between sutra and tantra on the four Mahābhūta. Both are based in the ancient system of yoga. I think by "wind", you may mean praṇā vāyu, the primordial life force from which all vāyu arise. That would also be consistent with Tibetan medicine view. Thus, your statement would be that "The mental body is praṇā along with the four [great] elements."

:namaste:

P.S. As you know, Malcolm is on extended sabbatical. Perhaps giving us time to learn better for ourselves.

P.S.S. With the exception of praṇā vāyu, please note that this “Kindred Sayings" quote is entirely consistent with your presentation of Jigten Sumgon's position.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby deepbluehum » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:53 am

There's no primordial life force. It's just wind. But yeah, prana vayu.
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:38 am

In classic yoga, the primordial life force is praṇā vāyu (breath), from which all other bodily vāyu arise. It is very similar to the Greek pneuma (πνεύμα).

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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:24 am

viniketa wrote:I could be wrong, but I don't think there is a difference between sutra and tantra on the four Mahābhūta. Both are based in the ancient system of yoga. I think by "wind", you may mean praṇā vāyu, the primordial life force from which all vāyu arise. That would also be consistent with Tibetan medicine view. Thus, your statement would be that "The mental body is praṇā along with the four [great] elements."
It is not the difference between sutra and tantra views of the mahabhuta but between the Abhidharma views of the Sarvastivada and Yogacara on the mahabhuta. In the Yogacara view the mahabhuta are not really independently existing physical elements. So in the Yogacara view, to say that mind is composed of the element of air/wind still does not mean that it is physical/material. Air/wind is just a descriptor for motility.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby viniketa » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:48 am

gregkavarnos wrote: Air/wind is just a descriptor for motility.


Which leaves us where in terms of understanding Jigten Sumgon?

BTW, I don't think what's been offered so far gets us close to a definition of what is "mind".

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Re: What takes rebirth: body or mind?

Postby undefineable » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:29 pm

viniketa wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote: Air/wind is just a descriptor for motility.


Which leaves us where in terms of understanding Jigten Sumgon?

BTW, I don't think what's been offered so far gets us close to a definition of what is "mind".


I can only offer speculations and impressions, but if Deepbluehum or anyone else is confident enough to offer further explanations of tantric lineage transmissions that may or may not breach any secrecy understanding, then that would atleast be welcome.

In my own somewhat pseudo-Buddhist philosophy, which may be more or less useful to others than it is to me, I've come to conceptualise (dirty word I know :toilet: ) mind as an infinite space to which each of us is concentrated in one corner or another by our karma, possibly by the subtle body mentioned in this thread, and finally by the brain with its trillions of channels through which tried-and tested mental activities can be replicated and carried forward into the physical world at the drop of a hat (well less than that actually :lol: ). This seems particularly true at the the surface level of expression, given how easy it is for a personality that feels clear on the inside to appear 'clear as mud' (or, indeed, inherently small and unpleasant) from anyone else's vantage point, especially if the ways in which it would naturally interact with particular situations have never been worked out (for whatever reason). I'm suspicious of the introspective honesty of anyone who claims their 'essential self' could only be expressed in one particular way.

So, for me, given that the subtle body is seen (in Tantra/Indo-Tibetan medicine etc.) as a primary carrier of mind in samsara (and I think there needs to be a 'middle-man' such as this given the Abhidharma and neuroscientific measurement of the typical 'speed of thought' at around 20 discrete events per second while the ordinary physical body is fully repaced only once every seven years or so ), and given the truth of impermanence (which the quote from Jigten Sumgon superficially appears to contradict), I'd envision the prana/wind element of the subtle body to provide that basic reminder for mind to 'localise' into a particular limited configuration. This beginningless habitual 'need' for a 'crutch' seems natural to the samsaric mind's uncertainty as to how to handle infinity (see page 58 of the linked e-book, and apologies for the lack of other references for this paragraph :oops: :rules: :)

[url]books.google.co.uk/books?isbn=1448116953[/url]

However, my words are absolutely not enlightened ones ( :rolling: ), being based on nothing but the experience of samsara and words I've read that seem to reflect it, so I might be more on the right track if I found myself with most of this thread's participants who realise they don't know what Lord JS was on about. For example, I don't really understand how the following quote avoids the adharmic implication of a beginningless and endless thread of mental substance:
deepbluehum wrote:The distinction comes from characterizing the "mind" as a "mental-body." A "mental-body" because it is made of karma and prana. Before you claim this is dualistic materialism, you have to understand the flow of Gongchig. This part comes in Section II. Section I is about interdependence. What is interdependent is empty and illusory. So there's no dualism here, because two implies one and there's no one.
or the implication (made throughout page 2) that the subtle body is an actually outer aspect of mind despite having physical correlates in space-time.
Last edited by undefineable on Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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