Mind versus Self?

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:24 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:...That is my understanding, anyway...

The way I see it is this - If a person dreams about a horse and a rider then they have the perspective of either the horse or the rider. Even if the dream is lucid then they may realise that they are in fact both, yet at no point can they actually take the perspective of being both the horse and rider at the same time.

The perspective from which things are seen is always free-floating and the things which are seen is just the "self" as it appears as being other than the place from where they are seen.
Therefore no self can be found in the things which are seen, and the place from where they are seen is somehow ethereal and can't really be located anyway - and yet the two aspects still continue to appear in their disparate unity.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:37 am

futerko wrote: ...and yet the two aspects still continue to appear in their disparate unity.


"appear" is the manifestation of mutual dependence.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:04 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
futerko wrote: ...and yet the two aspects still continue to appear in their disparate unity.


"appear" is the manifestation of mutual dependence.
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Right, because without substance there is no identity or self to be found - if I've understood you correctly.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:15 am

17. If emptiness is realised it arises as cause and effect.
...
Hence the meaning of what is called "realising emptiness"
Is the natural state, the innate disposition or abiding of all phenomena.
The innate disposition is the nature of emptiness, the essence.
Abiding means that nothing [truly] exists.
Realising the meaning of that is called "realising emptiness".
The natural state is that the effect arises from the cause;
Therefore if one realises this (ie emptiness),
Then this itself arises in the mode of that (ie cause and effect).

Jigten Sumgon Gongchig Commentary by Rigdzin Chokyi Dragpa The Lamp Dispelling the Darkness
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby ground » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:37 am

SittingSilent wrote:As a student of psychology (I am nearly done completely my bachelor's degree a university here in the United States) I have often encountered the explanation that it is the brain and the "mind" that give rise the the phenomenon known as consciousness and sense of self.

As a friend of natural science I know that neither "self" nor "mind" can be found but the organ "brain" can be found. Considering neurological research and physiology it appears plausible that the sense of self which appears to be a conciousness and all consciousnesses of whatever there may arise are produced by neurons.

SittingSilent wrote:However, as a student of Buddhism I am learning that the self doesn't exist, ...

As a friend of natural science I know that "existence" and "non-existence" cannot be found either and they can only be conceived of. Therefore both "existence" and "non-existence" can only be confirmed as mere conciousnesses qua thoughts "existence" and "non-existence" and concomitant imaginations.

SittingSilent wrote:Also, since there is no self, what collects karma from existence to existence? If there is no self or identity or soul on which karma can have its effects, how can any sort of effect of karma happen?

As a friend of natural science I know that "karma" cannot befound either, it can only be conceived of, so it can only be confirmed as a mere conciousness qua thought "karma" and concomitant imaginations.


Of course on the basis of what can be shown by natural science endless speculations can be added.

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Yamaoka » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:32 pm

Well gee you must be reading a different Anatta-lakkhana Sutta; the one you referred me to is called The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
Re the Analysis of the Brahma Sutra I meant Swami Krishnananda not his guru Swami Sivananda who is a more 'traditional' vedantist
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:49 pm

Yamaoka wrote:Well gee you must be reading a different Anatta-lakkhana Sutta; the one you referred me to is called The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic...
That's the whole point. You can't distinguish self vs mind, it's like saying hand vs finger. And ultimately it is a moot point.

In Vedanta (and some less orthodox forms of Buddhism) it may be different, but in Buddhism...
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Yamaoka » Sun Dec 30, 2012 2:24 pm

This thread exists because SittingSilent asked: "Can someone please clarify for me what the self is, what the mind is, as well as their respective differences?"
For more than 2000 years Buddhism has either refused or failed to answer this question. In Buddhism, to be true to its 'orthodoxy' the honest answer has to be - look elsewhere - here we only deal with suffering, its causes and the Buddhist path to its cessation.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:29 pm

According to Buddhism the mind is sensation, perception, mental formations and conscious awareness and the self is a false projection that something exists independently of, or beyond/behind these. But hell, I already said that here viewtopic.php?t=10864#p138519 so either you did not bother reading the thread before posting and/or have no idea of what Buddhism is about. If it is the first option then go and read the thread, if it is the second option then go and inform yourself before making misinformed public statements.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:37 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:According to Buddhism the mind is sensation, perception, mental formations and conscious awareness and the self is a false projection that something exists independently of, or beyond/behind these. But hell, I already said that here viewtopic.php?t=10864#p138519 so either you did not bother reading the thread before posting and/or have no idea of what Buddhism is about. If it is the first option then go and read the thread, if it is the second option then go and inform yourself before making misinformed public statements.
:namaste:


Why are you excluding the skandha of form/matter? Is that generally considered to be not-mind?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:47 pm

I have been plodding through Gerald Edelmen's book, A Universe Of Consciousness which tries to put into simple terms yet in great detail, "how matter becomes imagination" and have yet to find anything that compares with the understanding of the mind presented in writings by, for example, Chandrakirti or Nagarjuna. You can talk about neurons all you like, but until the question "yes, but who experiences the activity of those neurons as something other than electrity?" no answer is satisfactory. But I go along with Greg K's previous comment. The Dharma explains the nature of the mind quite well.
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:49 pm

It is not a prerequisite of mind. For example hell beings do not have form, but they have mind. During the bardo of death mind functions independent of form. Now in some other traditions they say that mind requires the physical substance of the air element to function, and thus has physical form, of a kind.

Also consider that something may have form (a rock, for example, or a plant, though this opens up another Pandoras Box) but not mind.

Of course, and needless to say, that for human beings form is one of the skhanda that is wrongly identified as self. I believe that is why the Buddha included form in the skhanda in order to show what is not-self. I also believe that the five skhanda were taught by the Buddha to primarily explain (to humans) what humans cling to as a self.

Please feel free to prove me wrong.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Dec 30, 2012 4:52 pm

futerko wrote: Why are you excluding the skandha of form/matter? Is that generally considered to be not-mind?



Brain "matter"
Water 77 to 78 %
fats 10 to 12 %
Protein 8%
Carbohydrate 1%
Soluble organic substances 2%
Inorganic salts 1%

is not the same as "form" in the context of referring to the skandhas.

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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:It is not a prerequisite of mind. For example hell beings do not have form, but they have mind. During the bardo of death mind functions independent of form. Now in some other traditions they say that mind requires the physical substance of the air element to function, and thus has physical form, of a kind.

Also consider that something may have form (a rock, for example, or a plant, though this opens up another Pandoras Box) but not mind.

Of course, and needless to say, that for human beings form is one of the skhanda that is wrongly identified as self. I believe that is why the Buddha included form in the skhanda in order to show what is not-self. I also believe that the five skhanda were taught by the Buddha to primarily explain (to humans) what humans cling to as a self.

Please feel free to prove me wrong.
:namaste:


What I meant was that the rock was an object for mind, within mind rather than outside of mind. Otherwise you risk setting up a dualism between mind and matter, which would seem more in keeping with some of the ancient Greek philosophers, Descates, and modern science.

It would also suggest one possible division between self and mind would be that known objects are either considered to be mine or not on the basis of an arbitrary line which fails to take into account the idea that all known objects are in fact internal to mind (rather than "of the self").

I wonder, regarding hell beings, if they therefore have similar issues with self/not-self and concepts of possession?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby songhill » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:16 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:According to Buddhism the mind is sensation, perception, mental formations and conscious awareness and the self is a false projection that something exists independently of, or beyond/behind these. But hell, I already said that here http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=10864#p138519 so either you did not bother reading the thread before posting and/or have no idea of what Buddhism is about. If it is the first option then go and read the thread, if it is the second option then go and inform yourself before making misinformed public statements.
:namaste:


You appear to be talking about the impure, defiled mind (it looks like you've also laid out the five skandha lumping self up with skandha which is never done in the canon). What about the luminous or clear light mind? What about bodhicittotpada, i.e., the generation of the mind that is bodhi, without which there is no bodhisattva or bodhisattva bhumis and no buddhahood? ("When one first arouses bodhicitta, one already obtains complete and utter enlightenment" [Avatamsaka sutra]).

Kalu Rinpoche writes this about Mind:

"Mind has two faces, two facets, which are two aspect of one reality. These are enlightenment and illusion. Enlightenment is the state of pure mind. It is nondualistic knowing and is called primordial wisdom. Its experiences are authentic; that is, they are without illusion. Pure mind is free and endowed with numerous qualities.

Illusion is the state of impure mind. Its mode of knowledge is dichotomous or dualistic; it is the "conditioned consciousness." Its experiences are tainted by illusions. Impure mind is conditioned and endowed with much suffering.

Ordinary beings experience this state of impure, deluded mind as their habitual state. Pure, enlightened mind is a state in which mind realizes its own nature as free of habitual conditions and the suffering associated with them. This is the enlightened state of a buddha" (Kalue Rinpoche, Luminous Mind: The Way of the Buddha, p. 19).
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:53 pm

futerko wrote:What I meant was that the rock was an object for mind, within mind rather than outside of mind. Otherwise you risk setting up a dualism between mind and matter, which would seem more in keeping with some of the ancient Greek philosophers, Descates, and modern science.
Theravada considers the mahabhuta as existent elemental phenomena, so we find the notion existent in Buddhism too. I tend to lean more towards the Theravada take on this matter: ie that rocks are objects of mind as the label "rock" but there is something there (dependently arisen) that we "project" the label onto. It is not as if the rock vanishes when we lose awareness of it, otherwise somebody else couldn't come along and stub their toe on it, could they?
It would also suggest one possible division between self and mind would be that known objects are either considered to be mine or not on the basis of an arbitrary line which fails to take into account the idea that all known objects are in fact internal to mind (rather than "of the self").
When I leave the house I live in to go shopping (a house which I call a home), a burglar still sees a house there to break and enter. Of course how they see the house is different to how I see it (ie more like a department store where all the merchandise is free, rather than a home) but they still see a "house".

Of course, ultimately speaking there is no house there, it is just a conglomeration of a variety of dependently arisen phenomena which themselves are... ad nauseum.

BUT we must never forget that as long as we dwell in ignorance (and afterwards too) there are two truths: ultimate and relative, and it is not that one truth is more important than the other, it's just that the two truths become inseperable for an enlightened being.
I wonder, regarding hell beings, if they therefore have similar issues with self/not-self and concepts of possession?
I imagine that it would be a precondition for being a hell being. If they didn't then a) they wouldn't be in hell because b) they would be enlightened.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Yamaoka » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:14 pm

gregkavarnos wrote "go and inform yourself before making misinformed public statements."
hell, just because you already proclaimed your dogma in viewtopic.php?t=10864#p138519 does'nt mean we are all going to prostrate ourselves. If your post answered these questions this thread would not exist. Take a look at a similar discussion :
http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/1237/ ... anatta/p10
14 pages of buddhists who don't accept your interpretation.
I suspect that you assume my ignorance because I mentioned 'taboo' subjects like advaita. .
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:17 pm

songhill wrote:You appear to be talking about the impure, defiled mind (it looks like you've also laid out the five skandha lumping self up with skandha which is never done in the canon).
Really?
“But, indeed, that which, monks, is called ‘mind’, or ‘thought’, or ‘consciousness’, [4] the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, not enough to turn away, not enough to become detached, not enough to be released. What is the reason for this? Because for a long time, monks, that ‘mind’, or ‘thought’, or ‘consciousness’ of the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, has been clung to, has been cherished, has been fondled: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’. Because of that, the ordinary person, in every way unlearned in spiritual knowledge, not enough to turn away, not enough to become detached, not enough to be released.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .niza.html
What about the luminous or clear light mind? What about bodhicittotpada, i.e., the generation of the mind that is bodhi, without which there is no bodhisattva or bodhisattva bhumis and no buddhahood? ("When one first arouses bodhicitta, one already obtains complete and utter enlightenment" [Avatamsaka sutra]).
Alaya or alaya vijnana (depending on which tradition one wishes to follow)? Well, to tell you the truth, I am not sure if the Buddha includes that level of mind in the skhanda, mainly because most of my Abhidhamma study has been in the Theravada tradition whereas these layers of mind are later additions found in the Abhidharma. According to Mipham Rinpoches Gateway to Knowledge these elements of mind are included in the skhanda of consciousness. This is where the analogy of cleaning the dust from the mirror becomes valid. I think though, that once one overcomes dualism ie realises emptiness and sees the dependently arisen nature of all phenomena, the GRASPING to a notion of self vanishes. I think this is a key point. Once beyond dualism a sense of self becomes redundant.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby futerko » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:19 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
futerko wrote:What I meant was that the rock was an object for mind, within mind rather than outside of mind. Otherwise you risk setting up a dualism between mind and matter, which would seem more in keeping with some of the ancient Greek philosophers, Descates, and modern science.
Theravada considers the mahabhuta as existent elemental phenomena, so we find the notion existent in Buddhism too. I tend to lean more towards the Theravada take on this matter: ie that rocks are objects of mind as the label "rock" but there is something there (dependently arisen) that we "project" the label onto. It is not as if the rock vanishes when we lose awareness of it, otherwise somebody else couldn't come along and stub their toe on it, could they?


Yes, precisely because the rock is known by mind - if there are no truly seperate selves, then there is no seperate rock. When you see that person stub their toe - its the same toe in your mind as in theirs, the same rock, the same cry of pain - this does not happen outside of mind - there is no seperate realm of matter outside of what is known. Therefore the skandha of form is also totally within mind.

In fact it would seem that the only way you can have the idea that the rock is somehow a seperate object, not within mind itself, and somehow experienced differently by different people and animals, requires a concept of seperate selves.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Mind versus Self?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:31 pm

Yamaoka wrote:I suspect that you assume my ignorance because I mentioned 'taboo' subjects like advaita. .
No, I assume your ignorance because you stated that: "The reality is that Shakyamuni persistently refuses to answer these questions" which he quite clearly does not refuse to, because if there is one thing that Buddhism (and/or Dharma) is all about, it is analysing mind and self. Track down some Abhidhamma/Abhidharma texts and see for yourself. You see as a psychologist (a Behavioural Scientist to be exact) that first thing that drew me to Buddhism was its incredibly detailed and intelligent (albeit soteriological) analysis of mind and self.
:namaste:
PS It is not "my dogma" it is the teachings of the Buddha... cf here

And, yes, I know, it may sound strange to you that a Buddhist on a Buddhist forum may actually agree with what the Buddha taught but...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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