Question about "location of mind"

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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby rachmiel » Tue May 28, 2013 6:12 pm

monktastic wrote:As they say in Dzogchen texts, it [subjective experience] is not nonexistent, because it clearly appears. Yet it is not existent, because it cannot be pinned down as this or that (i.e., assigning it physical characteristics leads to nonsense, as we see above).

Sweet. Resonates nicely.

So how about awareness, in its sense as a field of ... potential (?) in which mentation arises? (Not sure I got that quite right.) Is awareness similarly not nonexistent yet not existent?
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue May 28, 2013 6:31 pm

rachmiel wrote:
monktastic wrote:As they say in Dzogchen texts, it [subjective experience] is not nonexistent, because it clearly appears. Yet it is not existent, because it cannot be pinned down as this or that (i.e., assigning it physical characteristics leads to nonsense, as we see above).

Sweet. Resonates nicely.

So how about awareness, in its sense as a field of ... potential (?) in which mentation arises? (Not sure I got that quite right.) Is awareness similarly not nonexistent yet not existent?


For Dzogchen subjective experience only appears out of ignorance, so it does appear, but that doesn't mean it's not an adulteration or a mere byproduct of imputation (it is).

There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in. You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.

In the end you might still uphold that 'things' depend upon awareness, but whatever it is you think depends upon awareness is merely a conventional notion, which doesn't withstand proper scrutiny. If you say time, space and thought depend on awareness, this is a presupposition, if you investigate that claim you'd see that it can go the other way around as well. There's no ontological hierarchy to these apparent designations apart from the one we insist upon. Awareness is only primary if we say so. If we skillfully investigate a claim of that nature we can discover that within these alleged structures nothing is truly produced.

The investigation is reconciling and resolving the presuppositions of inherency which allow other suppositions to be anchored in our experiences. So it's an endeavor which starts untying knots so to say. When we resolve the emptiness of one designation we find that another designation which depended on that-which-was-just-resolved starts to lose its footing as well. You're pulling cards out of the house of cards.. It's like the game jenga, pretty soon the whole thing topples. What's left is inexpressible because to capture it defines something and that definition directly results in another co-emergent designation which in turn spawns another... ad infinitum, so it's said to be ungraspable. There is nothing which did not arise due to clinging and grasping.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue May 28, 2013 6:35 pm

Greg Goode had some good insight on this too:

Greg wrote:
Matt, when you say

'can someone show me how it's [awareness] not an eternal, non-separate essence?'

and

'as soon as you point to a phenomenon upon which awareness would be dependent, awareness was already there,'

are you assuming that awareness is one, single unified thing that is already there before objects are? That awareness is present whether objects are present or not?

That is a particular model. It sounds very similar to Advaita. But there are other models.

The emptiness teachings have a different model. Instead of one big awareness they posit many mind-moments or separate awarenesses. Each one is individuated by its own object. There is no awareness between or before or beyond objects. No awareness that is inherent. In this emptiness model, awareness is dependent upon its object. And as you point out, the object is dependent upon the awareness that apprehends it. But there is no underlying awareness that illuminates the entire show.

That's how these teachings account for experience while keeping awareness from being inherently existent.

This isn't the philosophy that denies awareness. That was materialism. We had a few materialists in the fb emptiness group, but they left when they found out that emptiness doesn't utterly deny awareness. So you see, there are people who do deny it... In the emptiness teachings, things depend on awareness, cognitiion, conceptualization, yes. But it is the other way around as well. Awareness depends on objects too.

----------------------

Greg wrote:
Speaking of *after* studying the emptiness teachings.... After beginning to study the emptiness teachings, the most dramatic and earth-shattering thing I realized the emptiness of was awareness, consciousness.

It came as an upside-down, inside-out BOOM, since I had been inquiring into this very point for a whole year. It happened while I was meditating on Nagarjuna's Treatise. Specifically verse IX:4, from “Examination of the Prior Entity.”

If it can abide
Without the seen, etc.,
Then, without a doubt,
They can abide without it.

I saw that a certain parity and bilateral symmetry is involved. If awareness can exist without its objects, then without a doubt, they can exist without awareness. True enough. Then there is a hidden line or two:

BUT - the objects CAN'T exist without awareness. Therefore, awareness can't exist without them. This was big for me.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Tue May 28, 2013 6:59 pm

rachmiel wrote:
monktastic wrote:As they say in Dzogchen texts, it [subjective experience] is not nonexistent, because it clearly appears. Yet it is not existent, because it cannot be pinned down as this or that (i.e., assigning it physical characteristics leads to nonsense, as we see above).

Sweet. Resonates nicely.

So how about awareness, in its sense as a field of ... potential (?) in which mentation arises? (Not sure I got that quite right.) Is awareness similarly not nonexistent yet not existent?


I should be more careful not to add in my own interpretation or translation when quoting texts. Here are some examples of what I intended to quote (emphasis mine):

It is not existent since even the victorious ones do not see it.
It is not nonexistent since it is the basis of samsara and nirvana.
This is not a contradiction, but the middle way of unity.
May we realize the nature of mind, free from extremes.
--Rangjung Dorje

Being primordially pure of all constructs, the extreme of existence has been discarded. As the manifestation of awareness is spontaneously present, it is free from the extreme of nonexistence.
--Mipham Rinpoche

This is really an issue best discussed with a master. But if you have recognized why it is hard or impossible to pin down the location of what we have been calling "experience," then I think you're on the right track. The aspect of mind that is "telling you" that experience is located in the brain is conceptual mind, and that's not the one you want to listen to when doing these kinds of direct investigations. He or she is just a monkey in the back seat yelling gibberish :smile:.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue May 28, 2013 7:08 pm

Being primordially pure of all constructs, the extreme of existence has been discarded. As the manifestation of awareness is spontaneously present, it is free from the extreme of nonexistence.--Mipham Rinpoche


Important to note that 'awareness' in the above quote is a perfect example of vidyā [rig pa] being translated as 'awareness'. Mipham is speaking of vidyā here, not awareness in the sense that we think of awareness. Mipham is talking about knowledge of primordial wisdom [skt. jñāna, tib. ye shes].
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Tue May 28, 2013 7:09 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:Greg Goode had some good insight on this too:


It may be useful to note, for rachmiel's sake, that Greg is not a Mahamudra teacher. Although I consider his amazing work to be of tremendous value to my own practice, he freely admits that he does not teach from a Mahamudra perspective. From a personal communication:

Greg Goode wrote:I have just finished a book on the emptiness teachings, and my co-author is one of Dogchen Ponlop's students. Even so, we are taking the Gelug Prasangika approach to Madhyamika, not the Kagyu Mahamudra approach.
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby rachmiel » Tue May 28, 2013 7:15 pm

monktastic wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:Greg Goode had some good insight on this too:


It may be useful to note, for rachmiel's sake, that Greg is not a Mahamudra teacher. Although I consider his amazing work to be of tremendous value to my own practice, he freely admits that he does not teach from a Mahamudra perspective. From a personal communication:

Greg Goode wrote:I have just finished a book on the emptiness teachings, and my co-author is one of Dogchen Ponlop's students. Even so, we are taking the Gelug Prasangika approach to Madhyamika, not the Kagyu Mahamudra approach.

I know dis guy from my studies of Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Advaitan Non-Duality.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby rachmiel » Tue May 28, 2013 7:29 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
rachmiel wrote:
monktastic wrote:As they say in Dzogchen texts, it [subjective experience] is not nonexistent, because it clearly appears. Yet it is not existent, because it cannot be pinned down as this or that (i.e., assigning it physical characteristics leads to nonsense, as we see above).

Sweet. Resonates nicely.

So how about awareness, in its sense as a field of ... potential (?) in which mentation arises? (Not sure I got that quite right.) Is awareness similarly not nonexistent yet not existent?


For Dzogchen subjective experience only appears out of ignorance, so it does appear, but that doesn't mean it's not an adulteration or a mere byproduct of imputation (it is).

There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in. You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.

In the end you might still uphold that 'things' depend upon awareness, but whatever it is you think depends upon awareness is merely a conventional notion, which doesn't withstand proper scrutiny. If you say time, space and thought depend on awareness, this is a presupposition, if you investigate that claim you'd see that it can go the other way around as well. There's no ontological hierarchy to these apparent designations apart from the one we insist upon. Awareness is only primary if we say so. If we skillfully investigate a claim of that nature we can discover that within these alleged structures nothing is truly produced.

The investigation is reconciling and resolving the presuppositions of inherency which allow other suppositions to be anchored in our experiences. So it's an endeavor which starts untying knots so to say. When we resolve the emptiness of one designation we find that another designation which depended on that-which-was-just-resolved starts to lose its footing as well. You're pulling cards out of the house of cards.. It's like the game jenga, pretty soon the whole thing topples. What's left is inexpressible because to capture it defines something and that definition directly results in another co-emergent designation which in turn spawns another... ad infinitum, so it's said to be ungraspable. There is nothing which did not arise due to clinging and grasping.

Ach du gruene Neun ... you're making my poor little brain (mind (vijnana)) work soooooooooooooooooo hard! It's so much more pleasant to sink back into my armchair of blissful not-knowing. But I shall persevere and suffer through the above (after a short nap). :reading:
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue May 28, 2013 7:30 pm

monktastic wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:Greg Goode had some good insight on this too:


It may be useful to note, for rachmiel's sake, that Greg is not a Mahamudra teacher. Although I consider his amazing work to be of tremendous value to my own practice, he freely admits that he does not teach from a Mahamudra perspective. From a personal communication:

Greg Goode wrote:I have just finished a book on the emptiness teachings, and my co-author is one of Dogchen Ponlop's students. Even so, we are taking the Gelug Prasangika approach to Madhyamika, not the Kagyu Mahamudra approach.


True, and even though Greg focuses more on the Gelug Prasaṅgika view (mainly Tsongkhapa etc.), the early Indian Prasaṅgika view accords very closely with the Dzogchen view, and so most of the great Nyingma key figures; Longchenpa, Mipham, Jigme Lingpa etc., all consider the early Prasaṅgika Madhyamaka expounded by Nāgārjuna to be a definitive view. Even though Greg isn't a Mahamudra teacher, some of the themes in the Prasaṅgika logic and reasoning can be very helpful in understanding Dzogchen. Both uphold a freedom from extremes as the correct view.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Tue May 28, 2013 7:32 pm

rachmiel wrote:I know dis guy from my studies of Advaita Vedanta and Neo-Advaitan Non-Duality.


Yeah same guy, he's recently been doing a lot of work with the emptiness teachings though. Both emptiness and the Atmananda's direct path [advaita] are his main teachings he focuses on. I think he's more well known for his nonduality, awareness based teachings but he's been focusing more on emptiness lately, and does a great job, doesn't conflate the advaita view with the Buddhist emptiness at all. Here's his emptiness site: http://www.emptiness.co/
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Tue May 28, 2013 10:14 pm

asunthatneversets wrote: _ _ _ Greg wrote: _ _ _ The emptiness teachings have a different model. Instead of one big awareness they posit many mind-moments or separate awarenesses. Each one is individuated by its own object. There is no awareness between or before or beyond objects. No awareness that is inherent. In this emptiness model, awareness is dependent upon its object. And as you point out, the object is dependent upon the awareness that apprehends it. But there is no underlying awareness that illuminates the entire show.

I don't get the impression that the idea of object-consciousness springing into existence without prior conditions (of a similar nature) -rather than from a potential for sentient experience (prior to its specific contents) that you might label awareness- is a particularly Buddhist idea, so I suspect there's some context here - Perhaps Greg is talking exclusively about the more referential (fifth-skandha?) forms of consciousness, or perhaps he's just trying to fit views on reality into a concrete intellectual framework. Either way, without context, this quote implies -via an easily-locatable awareness- an easily-locatable mind, albeit in infinite numbers even within a single lifetime.
asunthatneversets wrote:That's how these teachings account for experience while keeping awareness from being inherently existent.

Inherently existent awareness sounds pretty indigestible on its own (since our minds would then trap us in existential bubbles :o ), but a broader awareness might prove to be a fact of life in other ways. PadmaVonSamba often gives his take on awareness (as a kind of context?), and the fact remains that the contrasted philosophy of Advaita apparently proposes a mysterious substance -Brahman/God- as a necessary support to awareness/consciousness, rather than simply asserting awareness/consciousness as bare facts. It's easy to find out and grasp that the concept of Inherent Existence in Indian philosophy refers to something more than the everyday idea of 'this exists', even though we do tend to imagine existence in those more-substantial terms. {The whole concept of Substance seems to amount to the idea that object 'x' is so real that no mind could ever penetrate its mysteries, and although I've not even practiced enough to see that this is a myth, there's a mass of scientific findings that strongly suggest that it is - and that theism is wrong.}
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Tue May 28, 2013 10:49 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:For Dzogchen subjective experience only appears out of ignorance, so it does appear, but that doesn't mean it's not an adulteration or a mere byproduct of imputation (it is).

Again, not everyone here will be familiar with this "Buddhist minimal-awareness" view (Gelug prasangika-madhyamika??) -assuming you're talking about all subjective awareness and not just a narrower object-consciousness- or have the capacity to understand ideas such as imputation generating the subjective experience that its own generation depends on by definition :?
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in.

Maybe so, but that's how it might look from a broad-brush perspective, particularly on a certain level.
asunthatneversets wrote: You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.

It's turtles all the way down!

In the case that there's no aspects of mind apart from ordinary objects, then why do Buddhist teachings promise an enlightenment that's supposedly unqualified, uncharacterised, non-emergent, non-dependent, and -most importantly- a [/i]liberation[/i] of the mind (i.e. an enlightenment that's necessarily incompatible with mind if indeed it can't operate on that level)? Further, why was the Buddha unable to answer the question of whether he'd exist after death if (by his insight) he'd been liberated from all things mind-(and body-)related? And, if everything in reality is without any reality apart from references to other things - which themselves are also without any reality whatsoever, then in what way is such a 'heavy' emptiness still empty of itself?

I'm not really trying to debate here, as I probably lack the eighth of the 'eight freedoms' let alone the kind of experience in meditation that would have informed your view at some stage, so instead I'm wondering whether to stop 'winging it' and just leave it to the pro's :|
rachmiel wrote:Ach du gruene Neun ... you're making my poor little brain (mind (vijnana)) work soooooooooooooooooo hard! It's so much more pleasant to sink back into my armchair of blissful not-knowing. But I shall persevere and suffer through the above (after a short nap). :reading:

He's been a hard taskmaster today ;)
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Tue May 28, 2013 11:53 pm

In the case that there's no aspects of mind apart from ordinary objects, again, how would we develop awareness of the emptiness of every level of that awareness without somehow short-circuiting into complete nonexistence on the complete enlightenment that would eventually result (hence my comment on the Buddha)?

As far as words go, maybe a more down-to-earth view -in which the details still come together as a picture that makes everyday sense- will be more useful for more people, and I doubt that I'll understand much of any answers that may be given to my questions. Nonetheless, I trust that other readers will have reached a deeper level of understanding, and if they can benefit, then :twothumbsup: _ _ _
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 29, 2013 2:37 am

undefineable wrote:I don't get the impression that the idea of object-consciousness springing into existence without prior conditions (of a similar nature) -rather than from a potential for sentient experience (prior to its specific contents) that you might label awareness- is a particularly Buddhist idea, so I suspect there's some context here - Perhaps Greg is talking exclusively about the more referential (fifth-skandha?) forms of consciousness, or perhaps he's just trying to fit views on reality into a concrete intellectual framework. Either way, without context, this quote implies -via an easily-locatable awareness- an easily-locatable mind, albeit in infinite numbers even within a single lifetime.


Not my quote, but he was differentiating between the 'brahmanesque' source-type awareness which subsumes phenomena, and the view that a freedom from extremes would take on this issue, it was for the benefit of someone coming from (what I suppose was) a neo-advaita background.

undefineable wrote:Inherently existent awareness sounds pretty indigestible on its own (since our minds would then trap us in existential bubbles :o ), but a broader awareness might prove to be a fact of life in other ways. PadmaVonSamba often gives his take on awareness (as a kind of context?), and the fact remains that the contrasted philosophy of Advaita apparently proposes a mysterious substance -Brahman/God- as a necessary support to awareness/consciousness, rather than simply asserting awareness/consciousness as bare facts. It's easy to find out and grasp that the concept of Inherent Existence in Indian philosophy refers to something more than the everyday idea of 'this exists', even though we do tend to imagine existence in those more-substantial terms. {The whole concept of Substance seems to amount to the idea that object 'x' is so real that no mind could ever penetrate its mysteries, and although I've not even practiced enough to see that this is a myth, there's a mass of scientific findings that strongly suggest that it is - and that theism is wrong.}


The 'inherent' was referencing the Brahman of Vedanta, as opposed to emptiness (as presented in Buddhism).
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby asunthatneversets » Wed May 29, 2013 6:06 am

undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:For Dzogchen subjective experience only appears out of ignorance, so it does appear, but that doesn't mean it's not an adulteration or a mere byproduct of imputation (it is).

Again, not everyone here will be familiar with this "Buddhist minimal-awareness" view (Gelug prasangika-madhyamika??) -assuming you're talking about all subjective awareness and not just a narrower object-consciousness- or have the capacity to understand ideas such as imputation generating the subjective experience that its own generation depends on by definition :?


I'm not sure what you mean by "Buddhist minimal-awareness" view... it's not a view which is indicative of any particular school or teaching as far as Buddhism goes, so it isn't anything that is particularly Gelug etc. You'll have to define 'all subjective awareness' and 'narrower object-consciousness' for me I'm not sure what you mean by those two terms. 'Imputation generating the subjective experience that its own generation depends on', is assuming that imputation depends upon a subjective experience for its validity and functionality.

undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in.
Maybe so, but that's how it might look from a broad-brush perspective, particularly on a certain level.


Yes that would be a multi-faceted notion if explored in its entirety.

undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote: You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.

It's turtles all the way down!


Although I can't pin down what it would be, the suggestion that what I wrote is creating a circular argument must be governed by a certain presupposition, I don't see an issue, you'll have to elaborate and clarify for me what you're getting at.

undefineable wrote:In the case that there's no aspects of mind apart from ordinary objects, then why do Buddhist teachings promise an enlightenment that's supposedly unqualified, uncharacterised, non-emergent, non-dependent, and -most importantly- a [/i]liberation[/i] of the mind (i.e. an enlightenment that's necessarily incompatible with mind if indeed it can't operate on that level)? Further, why was the Buddha unable to answer the question of whether he'd exist after death if (by his insight) he'd been liberated from all things mind-(and body-)related? And, if everything in reality is without any reality apart from references to other things - which themselves are also without any reality whatsoever, then in what way is such a 'heavy' emptiness still empty of itself?


This presupposes 'mind' and 'ordinary objects' as viable qualities. Primordial wisdom [skt. jñāna, tib. ye shes] is unqualified, non-emergent, non-dependent etc., however it is still completely and utterly empty and not established in any way. The mind cannot be liberated, but through recognition that the mind is unborn, liberation is achieved. For the Buddha (or any Buddha for that matter), he had passed beyond the notions of birth and death, as all contamination (ignorance) had been exhausted. The Buddha's condition is dharmakāya [tib. chos sku], which is emptiness free of the four extremes [existence, non-existence, both and neither]. It's not that everything in reality is without reality apart from references to other things, that would be a guise for svabhāva. Everything in reality is in truth unborn, only our ignorance mistakes that origination or cessation occurs in relation to any 'thing'.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Wed May 29, 2013 3:04 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:You'll have to define 'all subjective awareness' and 'narrower object-consciousness' for me I'm not sure what you mean by those two terms.

By 'narrower object consciousness', I mean "I am aware of this thing" (really subject-object consciousness of course, although 'I' quickly turns out to be another mentally-constructed object). By 'all subjective awareness', I mean the same thing alongside all other conceivable awareness - just 'aware'. There may be a problem here in defining potentiality along with its necessary conditions - Does "potential" for something like awareness necessarily imply some kind of mystic substrate (which as such is ruled out as adharma), or can potential just be 'there' as a basic characteristic of reality, a bit like how we take it to be during sleep?
asunthatneversets wrote:
undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in.
Maybe so, but that's how it might look from a broad-brush perspective, particularly on a certain level.

Yes that would be a multi-faceted notion if explored in its entirety.

I wonder if the 'container' metaphor might be more helpful, psychologically, to the broad mass of people who aren't likely to find the inclination to meditate their way past it :thinking:
asunthatneversets wrote:
undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote: You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.
It's turtles all the way down!
Although I can't pin down what it would be, the suggestion that what I wrote is creating a circular argument must be governed by a certain presupposition, I don't see an issue, you'll have to elaborate and clarify for me what you're getting at.

I wasn't trying to imply this, but I take your point - I do find it hard to see how a fully-contingent awareness could be aware of every level of its own contingency without somehow short-circuiting itself, particularly given what you go on to say about Primordial Wisdom being non-contingent while presumably taking place within (contingent!) awareness. Maybe this is just another 'fact of life' that only makes sense after serious practice-?
asunthatneversets wrote:
undefineable wrote:In the case that there's no aspects of mind apart from ordinary objects, then why do Buddhist teachings promise an enlightenment that's supposedly unqualified, uncharacterised, non-emergent, non-dependent, and -most importantly- a [/i]liberation[/i] of the mind (i.e. an enlightenment that's necessarily incompatible with mind if indeed it can't operate on that level)? Further, why was the Buddha unable to answer the question of whether he'd exist after death if (by his insight) he'd been liberated from all things mind-(and body-)related? And, if everything in reality is without any reality apart from references to other things - which themselves are also without any reality whatsoever, then in what way is such a 'heavy' emptiness still empty of itself?

This presupposes 'mind' and 'ordinary objects' as viable qualities. Primordial wisdom [skt. jñāna, tib. ye shes] is unqualified, non-emergent, non-dependent etc., however it is still completely and utterly empty and not established in any way.

So Primordial wisdom *is* in a sense that other things *aren't* (since they're made up of the pre-arisen conditions of other things), but at the same time it's not 'established', and takes place in a context that's not a viable quality? As I suspected, this is beyond me and probably most 'beginners' in meditation, which is a pity, as notions like active compassion and full enlightenment for all make mahayana a more attractive approach than Therevada for many temperaments.
asunthatneversets wrote:The mind cannot be liberated, but through recognition that the mind is unborn, liberation is achieved.

I suppose I see it as the mind's liberation from itself in a sense.
asunthatneversets wrote:The Buddha's condition is dharmakāya [tib. chos sku], which is emptiness free of the four extremes [existence, non-existence, both and neither]. It's not that everything in reality is without reality apart from references to other things, that would be a guise for svabhāva. Everything in reality is in truth unborn

Thanks for clearing that up :namaste: I suppose a lack of any reality would either constitute a kind of negative 'own-being' in itself, or else the necessary 'cross-references' would would end up forming that svabhava :thinking:
Last edited by undefineable on Wed May 29, 2013 3:28 pm, edited 6 times in total.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Azidonis » Wed May 29, 2013 3:07 pm

asunthatneversets wrote:
undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:For Dzogchen subjective experience only appears out of ignorance, so it does appear, but that doesn't mean it's not an adulteration or a mere byproduct of imputation (it is).

Again, not everyone here will be familiar with this "Buddhist minimal-awareness" view (Gelug prasangika-madhyamika??) -assuming you're talking about all subjective awareness and not just a narrower object-consciousness- or have the capacity to understand ideas such as imputation generating the subjective experience that its own generation depends on by definition :?


I'm not sure what you mean by "Buddhist minimal-awareness" view... it's not a view which is indicative of any particular school or teaching as far as Buddhism goes, so it isn't anything that is particularly Gelug etc. You'll have to define 'all subjective awareness' and 'narrower object-consciousness' for me I'm not sure what you mean by those two terms. 'Imputation generating the subjective experience that its own generation depends on', is assuming that imputation depends upon a subjective experience for its validity and functionality.

undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote:There is no awareness as a container (or field of potentiality) that things arise in.
Maybe so, but that's how it might look from a broad-brush perspective, particularly on a certain level.


Yes that would be a multi-faceted notion if explored in its entirety.

undefineable wrote:
asunthatneversets wrote: You also have to be careful with the whole neither existent nor nonexistent thing as well, because some individuals will interpret that vague border as a license to promulgate an awareness-anchored view.

Awareness isn't an autonomous and free standing quality and therefore it isn't something which can be found apart from that which it relies on... it's only a viable designation when it's in relation to a wide array of other co-emergent designations. This is the type of thing you'd have to do some investigative work with though. By going through the process of discovering all the ways in which awareness is dependent, all the qualities, characteristics, aspects, things etc. that it depends on. Both in the sense of other qualities and also constituent characteristics that would define 'awareness' as what you take it to be. And when you've exhausted that search you will wind up not being able to locate awareness but will only find what it depends on. From there you'll then have to turn the investigation to whatever seems to remain (whatever awareness was dependent on) and find the emptiness of those qualities as well.

It's turtles all the way down!


Although I can't pin down what it would be, the suggestion that what I wrote is creating a circular argument must be governed by a certain presupposition, I don't see an issue, you'll have to elaborate and clarify for me what you're getting at.

undefineable wrote:In the case that there's no aspects of mind apart from ordinary objects, then why do Buddhist teachings promise an enlightenment that's supposedly unqualified, uncharacterised, non-emergent, non-dependent, and -most importantly- a [/i]liberation[/i] of the mind (i.e. an enlightenment that's necessarily incompatible with mind if indeed it can't operate on that level)? Further, why was the Buddha unable to answer the question of whether he'd exist after death if (by his insight) he'd been liberated from all things mind-(and body-)related? And, if everything in reality is without any reality apart from references to other things - which themselves are also without any reality whatsoever, then in what way is such a 'heavy' emptiness still empty of itself?


This presupposes 'mind' and 'ordinary objects' as viable qualities. Primordial wisdom [skt. jñāna, tib. ye shes] is unqualified, non-emergent, non-dependent etc., however it is still completely and utterly empty and not established in any way. The mind cannot be liberated, but through recognition that the mind is unborn, liberation is achieved. For the Buddha (or any Buddha for that matter), he had passed beyond the notions of birth and death, as all contamination (ignorance) had been exhausted. The Buddha's condition is dharmakāya [tib. chos sku], which is emptiness free of the four extremes [existence, non-existence, both and neither]. It's not that everything in reality is without reality apart from references to other things, that would be a guise for svabhāva. Everything in reality is in truth unborn, only our ignorance mistakes that origination or cessation occurs in relation to any 'thing'.


:good:
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Wed May 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Rachmiel,

Don't worry if you're not following this conversation. The analytical / philosophical path is not for everyone. And as Thrangu Rinpoche says in Vivid Awareness, the practice you're doing to find the location of mind is an experiential one (emphases mine):

Often we examine things like this with logical inference as in middle-way philosophy, but these instructions teach a different way to examine and analyze the mind. ... We instead look directly at it and take direct perception as the path. ... We need to actually search for it, just looking, without using logic. We should not ask, what is it like and what proves it?
p. 94

The difference is that we do not just take logic and inference as the path; we do it through experience. We look to see where our mind is and what it is like. When we do this we see that the mind is naturally empty of any essence. The mind seems to be something, but when we look for it, we cannot find it either inside or outside our bodies. We should not merely analyze it; we must look at it directly and experience it. When we experience it, we do not need to prove that it is emptiness through reasoning; we simply have the feeling that it is emptiness.
p. 95

BTW, here's another thought experiment for you. Suppose you're in a long-running (say, as many years as your current age) dream. In that dream, people's heads aren't filled with brains, but jelly beans. The neuroscientists (jellyscientists) show that when jelly beans are poked in certain ways, people respond like so-and-so. They triumphantly declare victory over the mind-jelly bean dilemma.

Haven't they thus conclusively proven that mind takes place inside jelly beans? Are they correct?

These sorts of thought experiments may help you get a feel for why experiential investigation may in some sense be more authoritative than any sort of seemingly-objective physical investigation. This, in turn, may help you release the grip on conceptual mind (while still allowing it to operate where its services are necessary :smile:).
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

--Gampopa
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby rachmiel » Wed May 29, 2013 5:20 pm

monktastic wrote:Rachmiel,

Don't worry if you're not following this conversation. The analytical / philosophical path is not for everyone.

My path is: Whatever catches my fancy and demonstrates positive results.

I swing back and forth between analysis and experience. rachMiel pendulum. ;-) At times there's a fluid mix of both, with no clear boundaries where one ends and the other begins.

When I get overwhelmed, I back off. That's the case now with this thread; less is more.

Thanks.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby MalaBeads » Wed May 29, 2013 6:15 pm

rachmiel wrote:
When I get overwhelmed, I back off. That's the case now with this thread; less is more.


Rachmiel,

I think that approach is a sound one. As one of my teachers always says, 'slowly, slowly'. Otherwise the result that you end up with is, as another teacher says, "fake."

Organics are slow and human beings are organic, in distinction for instance, to electronics, which are fast. If we are to arrive at a truly useful understanding, it must be resonant with who we actually are as humans.

As to mind, i said earlier in this thread that mind was interconnected event (or something like that). I might amend that slightly to say mind is a relational event. Not unlike the way in which Rupert Sheldrake describes memory. Are memories "things" which are stored somewhere in the brain? He says 'no'. I'd have to listen again to how he describes the event of a memory but it is relational, not static.

If you see mind as relational, then "where" it is located also shifts. Please understand that if i use the following quote i am not suggesting a Christian approach, or even a religious one but the fellow may have been onto something when he said, "wherever two or more are gathered."

Just a few thoughts to throw in the mix.

Cheers.
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