Where do thoughts come from?

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Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Mikeliegler » Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:33 pm

Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby jeeprs » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:54 am

Same as everything that exists: they arise due to causes and conditions. The human mind is spontaneously active, if you were to scan the brain with an fMRI device, you would see patterns of electro-chemical activity sweeping through it continuously. That is no different to the rest of the body - the stomach secretes digestive enzymes, the cells divide, the lungs breathe in and out - it is all part of the process of organic life.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby kirtu » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:27 am

Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.


Our thoughts come from the winds (lung) moving through the channels. The winds are conditioned by our habits. Our habits come from grasping, clinging and attachment.

Kirt
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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby greentara » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:15 am

Kirtu, You say "thoughts come from the winds moving through the channels. The winds are conditioned by our habits. Our habits come from grasping, clinging and attachment"
This maybe true but none of us can predict what we'll think next, the duration or what thought will pop up next.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby lojong1 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:45 am

Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from.

Exactly!!!
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Mikeliegler » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:56 am

Thank you for your kind replies. I see what everyone is saying that thoughts can be detected in our bodies using lab equipment and that the wind can bring about thoughts from this bardo. What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from? I hope I'm not thinking about this to hard. :shock:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby oushi » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:54 am

You are asking the most important question. Twelve Nidanas are the good starting point.
Ignorance conditions the "housebuilder" (sankhara-khandha) which creates formations->consciousness->form.


'Seeking but not finding the housebuilder,
I have traveled through the round of countless births.
How painful is birth over and over again.
Oh housebuilder! You have now been caught!
You shall not build a house again.
Your rafters have been broken. Your ridgepole demolished.
The unconditioned consciousness has been attained.
And every kind of craving has been destroyed.'
-Dhammapada.

What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from?

From the same place your question is coming from. No doubt it is your question, so it comes from you. Dzogchen will tell you what to do with it.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby kirtu » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:57 am

Mikeliegler wrote: What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from? I hope I'm not thinking about this to hard. :shock:


Why do you want to stop thoughts? Buddhist practice generally doesn't take this approach. However to some extent thoughts can be stopped temporarily in strong samadhi although the duration is uncertain.

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“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:04 am

Mikeliegler wrote:Thank you for your kind replies. I see what everyone is saying that thoughts can be detected in our bodies using lab equipment and that the wind can bring about thoughts from this bardo. What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from? I hope I'm not thinking about this to hard. :shock:


There's no need to stop thoughts from coming. They arise from emptiness as the natural creative energy of awareness (mixed with karmic winds) and dissolve back into emptiness all by themselves as it is. They are of course empty themselves. This is true for everyone whether they're realized or not and it has always been this way. If it wasn't, we'd still be carrying around all the thoughts we'd ever had. It would be pretty hard to get anything done if they didn't just dissolve on their own. :tongue:

The difference between knowledge of the natural state and the ordinary mind/intellect is that in the former--that is, in Dzogchen--the thoughts are experientially known to be empty are thus not grasped or followed and are instead allowed to self-liberate upon arising, whereas the ordinary habit is to grasp thoughts and emotions and get caught up in them and ruled by them, sometimes tormented by them, basically objectifying them and objectifying the self as a subject that experiences them. But in Dzogchen, one can free up all that energy by allowing the self and the thoughts to self-liberate as the wisdom these habitual notions are in actuality. Does that help?
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby jeeprs » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:09 am

Mikeliegler wrote:Thank you for your kind replies. I see what everyone is saying that thoughts can be detected in our bodies using lab equipment and that the wind can bring about thoughts from this bardo. What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from? I hope I'm not thinking about this to hard. :shock:


Honest response, not necessarily 'Buddhist': you cannot 'stop thinking' and trying to do so is like trying to grasp your own hand. It can't be brought about by any kind of effort. However, notice that when you are really concentrating naturally on something that interests you and requires attention, then thoughts fall away. Like for example even in physical sports like skiing, or in performance arts, or in yoga or martial arts training. That state is called 'flow' by some. When you're in that state, then thinking doesn't really come into it. You're too busy to think - you're 'rapt' in what you're doing.

But you're not going to get there by trying to imagine it, obviously. :tongue:
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:05 pm

Echoeing what has been said already: it is best not to try and stop thoughts. Especially from a Dzogchen perspective, any sort of effort such as this would be in vain. The best thing to do would be to look (with your mind, your experience) where the thoughts are coming from, where they are abiding, and to where they depart. This is considered an important preliminary in Dzogchen and can bring about a non-dual experience of emptiness and clarity.

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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby dude » Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:32 pm

Thoughts arise from the mind.
The mind arises from existence.
Existence arises from karma.
Karma arises from ignorance.

Which is saying the same thing as oushi's quote from the Dhammapadah says, but I never understood the meaning of that passage until I spent some time pondering the twelve link chain of causation, which I'm referring to here.
Thoughts arise from clinging because we cling to existence; we fear death.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby dude » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:10 pm

Mikeliegler wrote:Thank you for your kind replies. I see what everyone is saying that thoughts can be detected in our bodies using lab equipment and that the wind can bring about thoughts from this bardo. What is really getting me is that when one follows dzogchen and wants to still the mind from thoughts how do you stop something you don't know where it's coming from? I hope I'm not thinking about this to hard. :shock:


It took me some time to get into meditation. At first I had no use for it.
"All you need to meditate is the ground under your feet."
Okay, I sit down on the ground. What now?
"Stop thinking."
Do what? That's like telling me not to think about an elephant. If I don't think about an elephant, I'm thinking about not thinking about an elephant; I have a problem with that, I'm still thinking about the elephant in a way.
"Don't think about anything."
Ok, I'm not thinking about anything. Oh wait, I just had a thought. This isn't working.

It was pretty frustrating until I learned through trial and error that if you just let the thoughts be, they slow down and become clearer. Sure, some of them occupy my attention, and yes sometimes they race by one after another, but over time they do resolve, like muddy water that slowly becomes clear if it sits still.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby dude » Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:14 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote:Echoeing what has been said already: it is best not to try and stop thoughts. Especially from a Dzogchen perspective, any sort of effort such as this would be in vain. The best thing to do would be to look (with your mind, your experience) where the thoughts are coming from, where they are abiding, and to where they depart. This is considered an important preliminary in Dzogchen and can bring about a non-dual experience of emptiness and clarity.

Troy


Some very good answers here. I hope they're helpful. They certainly are to me.

"The best thing to do would be to look (with your mind, your experience) where the thoughts are coming from, where they are abiding, and to where they depart."

That, I think, is where it starts. In a sense, where it ends, too. It's that fundamental, and a concise encapsulation of the whole way of practice.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby randomseb » Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:20 pm

Think of thoughts as the imagination of speech, just like visualization is imagining sight, and other such sensory imaginings.. But of course we take this imagined speech as something real and associate it as our own self, or sometimes one associates it as an "other" and so you get people with "voices in their head"

Like they said, thought comes, see it come, but don't follow it, let it fade off on it's own.. You'll get a series of thought bubbles like this over and over, but over time the periods between them will get longer and longer, and eventually none will come up!
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:11 pm

These are all excellent replies in general. But since Mike specified that his question was within the context of Dzogchen, I feel that while it may be a goal in shamatha to still and settle the mind, which also involves slowing down thoughts, there is no such goal in Dzogchen proper. In the latter arena, the starting point practice is having come to the experience of an empty, non-dual awareness in which there is absolutely no difference between the completely still mind and the mind full of movement. There is an empty, unobstructed, un-stirred, effortless presence which is not split into a subject perceiving the movements of mind (thoughts, etc) as objects and which is exactly as stable and settled when the mind is chaotic as when it is perfectly still. Much more could be said, though it's hard to put it into words with even a semblance of accuracy, but this is a start.
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby lojong1 » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:23 pm

Mikeliegler wrote: :shock:

Exactly!!!
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby randomseb » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:03 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote: there is absolutely no difference between the completely still mind and the mind full of movement.


This is the goal, but it is said that when you achieve this, naturally your mind becomes settled on it's own, like an ocean without any winds, smooth calm surface!

:group:
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:40 pm

Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.


Malcolm wrote:As we have seen, for Dzogchen it is because the differentiation between mind and vāyu is merely nominal (different names for the same thing in a body), and thus, all sentient beings must have a physical body, even if it is very subtle, including formless realm beings. Vāyu of course is the name of the air element, and means that. Vāyu, air (Tibetan: rlung) is given the name "prāṇa" (Tibetan: srog) soley because it gives life. Further, each of the five elements contains the potentiality of the other four elements within it.


Malcolm wrote:...In Dzogchen on the other hand, mind is held to be generated by the vāyus in the body. In the Khandro Nyinthig Padmasambhava declares that mind and vāyu are just different names for the same thing:

"...the energy of that vivid luminosity arising as the diversity, that is called “vāyu”, and it is called “mind”. Though luminosity is called mind, because of movement, it is called “vāyu”"

Mind, such as it is can be considered the subtle aspect of vāyu. But in reality, vāyu, the air element functioning in the human body, is what we call mind.

N


Malcolm wrote: The mind ultimately comes from the ignorance of non-recognition. The ignorance of non-recognition itself is predicated on a dispensible or relative latent awareness that exists at the time of the basis in the basis and is a function of the movement of vāyu or rlung in the basis, the movement that is responsible for the arising of the basis from the basis. When the display of the basis is recognized as being ones own display, that latent awareness becomes prajñā, when it does not, it becomes avidyā.


Malcolm wrote:...In a real sense, however there is neither mind no matter. Mind and matter are equally produced through non-recognition of the basis i.e. essence, nature and energy.

N
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Re: Where do thoughts come from?

Postby Matt J » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:02 am

This is a powerful question that can, based on my past, lead in two directions:

1) learning an worded answer that ends the inquiry, and gives a feeling that it is settled

2) the beginning of an exploration of one's direct experience

Mikeliegler wrote:Hello I am new to all this and wonder if anyone can tell me where thoughts come from. I have seen some answers that say they originate from our clinging.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://zenanddao.blogspot.com/
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