Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Andrew108 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:33 am

Part of the debate on brain/mind, in the buddhist context, concerns the nature of wisdom. For example if brain conceives of wisdom as an object or the mind does the conceiving, then what is the difference? We still have so-called wisdom as a 'something', as an object. Wisdom here is seen as coming after as a result or because of.
So what is the nature of wisdom and can it be the content of a carrier like 'mind' or brain? I think the answer is obvious that it can't be the content. It is not something seen. So what is it then? A while back I posted the comment that the Buddha had no brain. People thought this was absurd. I admit it sounds very strange. But my contention is that wisdom is beyond both brain and mind. It stands by itself unsupported and without cause. It is the nature of buddhahood and is what we really are. So from the standpoint of genuine wisdom, brain and mind are called appearance/emptiness, and can also be called the display of the nature of that genuine wisdom. In Dzogchen you also have the notion that the nature of the five elements is the nature of wisdom. So then you can get some idea of the way both brain and mind can be looked at from the standpoint of genuine wisdom.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:37 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:But in general, and without effort and practice, resting in awareness itself,
without the arising of an observer, is pretty darn hard.

And what/who is the one resting?
And who can say it is resting in awareness?
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:26 pm

oushi wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:But in general, and without effort and practice, resting in awareness itself,
without the arising of an observer, is pretty darn hard.

And what/who is the one resting?
And who can say it is resting in awareness?
:smile:


nobody
awareness aware of awareness
:smile:
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:38 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Part of the debate on brain/mind, in the buddhist context, concerns the nature of wisdom. For example if brain conceives of wisdom as an object or the mind does the conceiving, then what is the difference? We still have so-called wisdom as a 'something', as an object. Wisdom here is seen as coming after as a result or because of.
So what is the nature of wisdom and can it be the content of a carrier like 'mind' or brain? I think the answer is obvious that it can't be the content. It is not something seen. So what is it then? A while back I posted the comment that the Buddha had no brain. People thought this was absurd. I admit it sounds very strange. But my contention is that wisdom is beyond both brain and mind. It stands by itself unsupported and without cause. It is the nature of buddhahood and is what we really are. So from the standpoint of genuine wisdom, brain and mind are called appearance/emptiness, and can also be called the display of the nature of that genuine wisdom. In Dzogchen you also have the notion that the nature of the five elements is the nature of wisdom. So then you can get some idea of the way both brain and mind can be looked at from the standpoint of genuine wisdom.


Well said.
I think I have used the term 'awareness'
for what you call 'wisdom'.
It needs no cause because it is not something made of composites.
It cannot be denied because affirming/denying both depend on it.
It is its own witness.
.
.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:05 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think I have used the term 'awareness'
for what you call 'wisdom'.


However it is possible to have awareness without wisdom....
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:51 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
oushi wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:But in general, and without effort and practice, resting in awareness itself,
without the arising of an observer, is pretty darn hard.

And what/who is the one resting?
And who can say it is resting in awareness?
:smile:


nobody
awareness aware of awareness
:smile:

So, it is darn hard for awareness aware of awareness to rest in awareness without the arising of an observer? :smile:
If observer is awareness, or part of it, then awareness is always resting in awareness, weather there is observer or not. There is no problem from the awareness "point of view". Problem arises for observer, trying to get ride of himself, which is indeed darn hard to achieve, or even impossible I would say (snake trying to eat itself).
If we sum up the equation, then the only unwanted part is effort. Thus, it is all solved through dropping the effort, ie. desire to become. I think Zen and Dzogchen especially, provide very good methods and guidelines here.
jeeprs wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think I have used the term 'awareness'
for what you call 'wisdom'.


However it is possible to have awareness without wisdom....

Very important observation.
Last edited by oushi on Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby randomseb » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:02 pm

Awareness is nothing other than that which is watching, the eyes behind the eyes, so to speak. The mirror upon which the world reflects, which includes any bodily or mental sensations, as well as so called external things.

The mirror doesn't ever lose it's own intrinsic shining brilliance, but still takes on the image of whatever formation is presented to it. But one confuses the content of the mirror for the mirror itself, you know?

Wisdom is a content of the mirror, not the mirror itself. But remember, there is no mirror!

The word Buddha translates as something like "Aware, miraculously aware!"

I don't know what I am saying now

:zzz:
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:16 pm

But remember, there is no mirror!

"There is Buddha for those who do not know what he is really, there is no Buddha for those who knows what he is really - Kobori Nanrei Sohaku"
http://youtu.be/G6KyQIo9Q7M?t=40m3s
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:17 pm

jeeprs wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think I have used the term 'awareness'
for what you call 'wisdom'.


However it is possible to have awareness without wisdom....


Yes.
Well, the two terms can be used to refer to different things.
My point was that we were using the terms to refer to essentially the same thing.
.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:24 pm

I think it is Awareness in a particular sense, as depicted in this quotation provided by Astus in another thread:

This awareness is the essence of mind for all the sentient beings. "Mind" is its name and awareness is its essence. It is comparable to "water" being the name and wetness being its essence.


Even though it sounds straightforward when it is spelled out, I think it is likely that we are generally not awake to it.

in any case, as is clear, this discussion has roamed far from brain/mind identity so I will desist. :smile:
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby 5heaps » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:45 am

Andrew108 wrote:
Nosta wrote:As a quick reply, some scientific studys, give us the evidence that mind may survive without brain. I mean: people die, then, after some hours in that state, they get back to life and report experiences (lights, beings, places, conversations they had, etc). Such experience would be impossible if mind was completly build upon brain.

Death is brain death and is when the brain dies. Nobody comes back from that.

actually they are experimenting with a certain type of gas, which when they apply to the body of a monkey, puts in a state of death for days at a time. zero brain function, zero heart beat, etc. as long as they keep the organs intact artificially without causing damage to any of them, once the gas which was applied is counteracted, the monkey regains consciousness with perfect health

they say its almost to the point where trials can begin on humans. obviously this is going to be a huge deal for surgery, body restoration, etc.

the scientist that i saw speaking about this was talking with the dalai lama, and the dalai lama at this point found this particuarly interesting. he remarked how meditators in the 4th dhyana can remain there for months at a time, during which there is just a single inhalation at the start of the session and then breathing is suspended until the session ends day, sometimes months later. he wonders if this same gas is naturally involved so hes looking for practitioners for scientific testing
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby 5heaps » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:17 am

Parasamgate wrote:These "alien" disturbances were so purposeful, and often so well thought out, it was as if these "split-brain" patients had developed two independent "free wills" maintained by independent minds housed in the right and left half of the brain (Joseph, 1986b, 1988a,b); two free wills and two minds which were unable to communicate, and each of which had a "mind of its own."

As originally described by Nobel Lauriate Roger Sperry (1966, p. 299), "Everything we have seen indicates that the surgery has left these people with two separate minds, that is, two separate spheres of consciousness. What is experienced in the right hemisphere seems to lie entirely outside the realm of awareness of the left hemisphere. This mental division has been demonstrated in regard to perception, cognition, volition, learning and memory."

its very interesting, but it doesnt challenge my understanding of mind and mental factors ie. that one mind can give such an impression due to the unconventional function of a person and their mental factors, itself being brought about in part by massive physical damage to the body

even in serious stroke victims, some of them see the 2 halves of their body as separate, yet similar. due to this similarity, no contradictory habits form between the 2 halves since some sense of unity remains.
in some the halves are separate, yet extremely dissimilar. due to this dissimilarity, contradictory habits (mental factors) can be produced in depenedence on each of the halves. its not impossible to conceive that in extreme cases this could be become true even of the eye sense powers themselves, ear sense powers themselves, etc.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Andrew108 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 8:06 am

5heaps wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:
Nosta wrote:As a quick reply, some scientific studys, give us the evidence that mind may survive without brain. I mean: people die, then, after some hours in that state, they get back to life and report experiences (lights, beings, places, conversations they had, etc). Such experience would be impossible if mind was completly build upon brain.

Death is brain death and is when the brain dies. Nobody comes back from that.

actually they are experimenting with a certain type of gas, which when they apply to the body of a monkey, puts in a state of death for days at a time. zero brain function, zero heart beat, etc. as long as they keep the organs intact artificially without causing damage to any of them, once the gas which was applied is counteracted, the monkey regains consciousness with perfect health

they say its almost to the point where trials can begin on humans. obviously this is going to be a huge deal for surgery, body restoration, etc.

the scientist that i saw speaking about this was talking with the dalai lama, and the dalai lama at this point found this particuarly interesting. he remarked how meditators in the 4th dhyana can remain there for months at a time, during which there is just a single inhalation at the start of the session and then breathing is suspended until the session ends day, sometimes months later. he wonders if this same gas is naturally involved so hes looking for practitioners for scientific testing

You need to provide a source. A link to a scientific paper.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Parasamgate » Sat Mar 16, 2013 4:08 pm

I want to thank everyone who has helped contribute to this thread. Here is where my mind is now...

Given the discussion on mosquitoes in that other thread the example of the flat worm came up. In this example we have a single sentient being physically split in two and the question was whether or not the mind split. Some asserted that it did and some asserted the opposite. It occurred to me that in this example it is possible that when the physical body is split or cut in just the right way that a mind might take up residence and be reborn into one of the halves in much the same way that it is posited that minds transmigrate from life to life.

So there appears to be multiple explanations for how this split/brain research could be explained within the Buddhist system where the mind and brain are different entities. And I thank everyone for helping me to quiet some of the qualms I was having.

However, ironically this topic also brought up an interesting sub-topic between jeeprs, Huseng and others where it is posited that all matter is devoid of physicality according to some interpretations of modern science. I am familiar with this topic as well and it is interesting, but now I perceive a possible problem with the explanation HHDL provides:

Ultimately all these arguments are based on the idea that the nature of the mind, its clarity and awareness, must have clarity and awareness as its substantial cause. It cannot have any other entity such as an inanimate object as its substantial cause. This is self-evident. Through logical analysis we infer that a new stream of clarity and awareness cannot come about without causes or from unrelated causes. While we observe that mind cannot be produced in a laboratory, we also infer that nothing can eliminate the continuity of subtle clarity and awareness.

As far as I know, no modern psychologist, physicist, or neuroscientist has been able to observe or predict the production of mind either from matter or without cause.


This is the idea that I kept referring to with my clumsy talk of 'substances'. I think jeeprs, Huseng and others have stumbled into a problem though. I'll state it again in case it was missed...

If we take modern science and the philosophy of science at face value and question the physicality of matter itself, then the argument that HHDL provides above no longer works because the brain can no longer be viewed as an inanimate object!!?? Another way of saying it is that if matter is substantially caused by mind, then mind could also be substantially caused by matter. They'd be of the same 'substance' in my clumsy language. What do others think of this problem?
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:40 pm

I don't think that physics has established that kind of causal relationship of 'mind causing matter' at least in the sense that science would usually understand a causal relationship. It is more that they have been forced to consider the role of the observer in the overall picture of the world that they have developed - whereas, classically, they wished to always omit the observer. This was a consequence of the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, wherein the act of observation causes the collapse of the probability wave and determines the experimental result. And that, I suggest, is a New Topic. :smile:
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:59 pm

Parasamgate wrote: Another way of saying it is that if matter is substantially caused by mind, then mind could also be substantially caused by matter. They'd be of the same 'substance' in my clumsy language. What do others think of this problem?

I think the terminology is wrong,
and that wrong terminology leads to misunderstanding,
but the only thing beyond that which I can add is to reiterate
what I have brought to this discussion before.
"Mind" is the spark which arises when two sticks,
awareness, and phenomena (which includes physical matter)
are rubbed together.

So, the problem I see here is that you are posing
"mind' and "matter" as sort of opposites of each other
when, to be more accurate,
it is "awareness" and "matter"
which are the two things whose interaction
results in the experience of "mind".

Matter can be divided infinitely until all you have is space,
and then you can then divide space until
dividing it makes no sense,
like trying to slice air.

Thus, no original starting point for matter can be found.
Matter is not caused by mind or awareness,
because essentially, it has no intrinsic reality,
thus, nothing has been caused.
If nothing has been caused, then there is nothing causing it.

Awareness has no defining characteristics of its own,
it is like the space between objects.
"a truth found to be self-evident"
(to borrow an expression from the Declaration of Independence).
Awareness cannot be denied because
in any denial of it, one would have to be aware of it.
Awareness is completely self-referential,
thus it needs no causal explanation.

If you think that "...they'd be of the same 'substance' ..." sounds clumsy,
Perhaps the Heart Sutra expresses this idea more eloquently.

Both arise in emptiness.
Maybe when you divide matter infinitely,
all you end up with is awareness.
Well, maybe.
But I don't think anybody can prove that theory.
.
.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Jesse » Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:30 pm

jeeprs wrote:I don't think that physics has established that kind of causal relationship of 'mind causing matter' at least in the sense that science would usually understand a causal relationship.


There is some evidence. I don't think it suggests mind can exist without the brain, still pretty cool though.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity" target="_blank
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby monktastic » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:39 pm

jeeprs wrote:So I want to radically question that. I don't want to even concede the point that 'mind' is something that can be understood in objective terms, in the way that cognitive and neuro-sciences need to understand subjects. Mind and its attributes and characteristics, including reasoned inference, imagination, intuition, symbolic representation, and so on, have epistemic priority over the methods of the natural sciences. The natural sciences must assume such things as reason and order. But science has no idea, nor even needs to have an idea, of what is the origin of reason or logical order or symbolic language, and so on. Those capabilities are really foundational to the very act of knowing, and so to any kind of scientific endeavour whatever. And when science tries to turn around and ask what these kinds of things are, it is asking questions of an entirely different kind to those of the natural sciences - but, usually, without grasping this vital distinction.


Sometimes I wonder: if Dennett, Dawkins, et. al were given a pointing-out instruction (and it "took"), would they realize the fallacy of their position? :smile: I'm on board with the argument above (and have been -- although not nearly as eloquently -- for as long as I can remember), and think it nicely parallels, or stems from, the fact that mind can never see, touch, or appreciate nature of mind. As long as we insist that it can, we'll never come to the above conclusion.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:14 pm

Monktastic wrote:I'm on board with the argument above... and think it nicely parallels, or stems from, the fact that mind can never see, touch, or appreciate nature of mind.



As I mentioned previously, I think the observation that 'the eye cannot see itself' is really fundamental to philosophy of mind, but the implications are largely ignored. Dennett, and others, do simply ignore all such arguments. Their approach is: we can only deal with objectively measurable entities, therefore we will declare that mind is amenable to that approach. It is classic reductionism, but I have found there is no use arguing with those who advocate it. They're not able to view the question with an open mind.

@ghost1 - I did provide the link to Sharon Begley's book on neuroplasticity, 'Change your Mind, Change your Brain' at the top of the previous page.
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Re: Mind Is Brain!! Is Mind Is Brain??

Postby monktastic » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:41 pm

jeeprs wrote:It is classic reductionism, but I have found there is no use arguing with those who advocate it. They're not able to view the question with an open mind.


I agree that argument can never work. I'm curious, however, what effect a sudden "bolt" of rigpa would have on their position, if any. One possibility is that their minds are so deeply invested in their ideas, that any experiential evidence to the contrary would either precipitate psychosis, or else further entrench them (as a defense mechanism against the former choice). Another option is they recant, but I just don't see it.

Yes, wild speculation without any basis, but even mind-essence junkies need something to do with their downtime :)
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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