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What is mind? - Dhamma Wheel

What is mind?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
BeduBodhi
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What is mind?

Postby BeduBodhi » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:32 am

When meditating, I can sense or feel my body and the small changes it is undergoing. Thoughts can be seen arising and passing. There is awareness of moods and emotions. But mind itself seems illusive, to be both feeling/seeing and awareness of feeling/seeing. It also seems that mind is the one constant - contents changes, but the mind itself is always there observing (and sometimes not, but lost in thoughts or feelings).

So what is mind? Conditioned or unconditioned? Is it consciousness?

Kenshou
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Kenshou » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:37 am


BeduBodhi
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Re: What is mind?

Postby BeduBodhi » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:46 am

Hi, kenshou, and thank you for taking a stab at it.

Yes, it does seem to me that there is a thingie there observing. I see the contents changing, but not the thing itself. Can I pin it down? No. But neither can I pin down feelings or ideas. They just come and go. But the watcher seems to be always there. How can I see through it?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:54 am

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

BeduBodhi
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Re: What is mind?

Postby BeduBodhi » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:01 am

Does not the idea of self-view emerge from the experience of awareness of an unchanging observer?

What can I do to see through it?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:16 am

As I said, just keep observing objectively. Do not obsess about the observer. Self-view cannot be dispelled by reasoning. During meditation it may fade away or disappear momentarily, but it will soon come back again if someone calls you an idiot.

There is no other way to eradicate self-view other than to cultivate constant, uninterrupted mindfulness of the realities arising and passing away in the present moment.

Other wholesome practices such as practising charity, observing morality, serving others, paying homage, studying the Dhamma, etc., cultivate the ground for insight meditation to bear fruit, but insight cannot be forced to arise any more than flowers can be forced to grow by pulling them up — just do whatever you can to provide the best possible conditions for spiritual growth.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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IanAnd
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Re: What is mind?

Postby IanAnd » Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:49 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

Reductor
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Reductor » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:32 am

Lets introduce the five khandas, or aggregates. We have:
Physical material (form),
Feelings,
Peceptions,
Intentions
consciousness.

A useful practice is to pinpoint which part of your experience is form, which is feeling, which is perceptions, intention. They are not to hard to spot given time.

Only consciousness seems illusive, and I suspect that the illusive nature of consciousness is what induces this sense of there being a watcher that is free and independent.

But what happens to the watcher when there is no form? Perhaps it remains, albeit the experience is different. What if there is no feeling though? No intention? No perception?

What is consciousness conscious of if all other aspects of experience have passed away? Is consciousness dark or light then? Could I pour it into a bottle and store it in the cupboard?

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Ben
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:35 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Ytrog
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Ytrog » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:31 am

I second that ben :anjali:

Freawaru
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:09 am


BeduBodhi
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Re: What is mind?

Postby BeduBodhi » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:13 pm


Reductor
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Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: What is mind?

Postby Reductor » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:42 pm


BeduBodhi
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Re: What is mind?

Postby BeduBodhi » Sat Jul 16, 2011 7:49 am


Reductor
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Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: What is mind?

Postby Reductor » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:49 pm


Kenshou
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Re: What is mind?

Postby Kenshou » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:58 pm

Being aware of a spacious quality of mind is nothing more than just that, really. Mental consciousness, awareness of a mental phenomena. When your thoughts clear out a bit in taking some time to look back at your mind you perceive it as "spacious". Sometimes the mind feels light and open, but sometimes it doesn't. When you get up off the floor to do something else, or get distracted, your mental contents and the corresponding consciousness will be different. The "mind" is all of that stuff, a flowing process, trying to decide upon one discreet thing which is The Mind is probably just going to be a tail-chasing experience.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is mind?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:07 pm

Watching this is a method unto itself that cuts across traditions and schools.
i.e. http://enjoyabetterworld.com/on-mind-wa ... patriarch/
I think theravadan buddhism has an equivalent practice, or at least that the forest tradition does, because thats what their practice seems to be about from the things i have read. My experience with the phenomenon, if we are talking about the same thing, is that once you know its there it pretty much steals the show, all other methods seem to devolve to looking at where the method is coming from and who is doing it.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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bodom
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Re: What is mind?

Postby bodom » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:15 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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m0rl0ck
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Re: What is mind?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:26 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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kirk5a
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Re: What is mind?

Postby kirk5a » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:15 pm

"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230


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