Question about "location of mind"

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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Wed May 29, 2013 11:41 pm

monktastic wrote:the practice you're doing to find the location of mind is an experiential one.

I imagine that any investigation into the location of mind (or lack of it) will need to pull in a lot of experience, as I was suggesting to asunthatneversets - Even communicating the outcome to people who haven't themselves got that far seems bound to lead to misunderstandings :shrug:
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 30, 2013 1:22 am

Nothing posted here has refuted my initial claim that mind cannot be known or located because it simply is never an object of cognition. It is always 'that which knows' and is never amongst the objects of perception. I know that sounds very much like something from Vedanta, but I am not asserting that 'that which knows' is something that exists. To name it at all - even to discuss it, really - is to objectify it. That is why the appropriate response is 'not-knowing' or 'un-knowing'. The beauty of it is, that the realization of the unknowability of mind is also the method - the way of un-knowing. The most explicit statement of that approach I have read about is the Kwan Um school of Zen, with which I have no affiliation or any detailed knowledge. It simply strikes me as the most direct way of stating it.

Don’t know mind is the mind that cuts off all thinking. When all thinking has been cut off, you become empty mind. This is before thinking. Your before thinking mind, my before thinking mind, all people’s before thinking minds are the same. This is your substance. Your substance, my substance, and the substance of the whole universe become one. So the tree, the mountain, the cloud and you become one.


From here

(Incidentally there is a well-known Christian meditation manual called Cloud of Unknowing, which was composed by an anonymous monastic in medieval times. The gist of that text is very similar. So it is not a Buddhist/Hindu/Christian type of thing - it precedes all such boundaries and distinctions.)
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Azidonis » Thu May 30, 2013 3:35 am

jeeprs wrote:Nothing posted here has refuted my initial claim that mind cannot be known or located because it simply is never an object of cognition. It is always 'that which knows' and is never amongst the objects of perception.


Thought cannot go outside of itself and look at itself. If it tries, it is still thought trying to look at thought. So, what you get is 'about thought', but not 'thought itself'.

"Thought is not the instrument, and there is no other instrument." - U.G. Krishnamurti
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Jnana » Thu May 30, 2013 4:43 am

jeeprs wrote:Nothing posted here has refuted my initial claim that mind cannot be known or located because it simply is never an object of cognition. It is always 'that which knows' and is never amongst the objects of perception.

Mind (sems) can be known. It's a mere clarity and awareness (gsal rig). And it can be known through direct perception as already mentioned here, and by 5heaps here.

The nature of the mind (sems nyid) can also be known. It is recognized as the inseparability of this cognitive clarity and emptiness.

jeeprs wrote:To name it at all - even to discuss it, really - is to objectify it. That is why the appropriate response is 'not-knowing' or 'un-knowing'. The beauty of it is, that the realization of the unknowability of mind is also the method - the way of un-knowing. The most explicit statement of that approach I have read about is the Kwan Um school of Zen, with which I have no affiliation or any detailed knowledge.

This isn't a Zen sub-forum. Quoting Zen texts or referring to Christian apophaticism in the context of discussing Mahāmudrā and Dzogchen is irrelevant in the Tibetan Buddhism sub-forum and just creates more confusion concerning the topic at hand.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 30, 2013 5:59 am

Fair enough. I shall keep comments of that kind to the appropriate forum from now on.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Nikolay » Thu May 30, 2013 7:17 am

I have a somewhat related question. Is it actually a good idea to read books such as Vivid Awareness without receiving the direct introduction/pointing-out instructions first? I've heard that is can even be harmful for some.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby heart » Thu May 30, 2013 9:30 am

Nikolay wrote:I have a somewhat related question. Is it actually a good idea to read books such as Vivid Awareness without receiving the direct introduction/pointing-out instructions first? I've heard that is can even be harmful for some.


Thrangu Rinpoche hasn't restricted it in any way, since he was a direct disciple of Khenpo Ganshar I feel like that is excellent and somehow in tune with Kenpo Ganshars intentions. That said I personally got teachings on this text while at the same time receiving direct introduction/pointing-out instructions and "lung" of the text.

/magnus
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Martin007 » Thu May 30, 2013 2:44 pm

Azidonis wrote:Thought cannot go outside of itself and look at itself.


I'm aware of my thoughts quite a bit, so I'm not sure what you mean.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby Nikolay » Thu May 30, 2013 3:00 pm

heart wrote:Thrangu Rinpoche hasn't restricted it in any way, since he was a direct disciple of Khenpo Ganshar I feel like that is excellent and somehow in tune with Kenpo Ganshars intentions. That said I personally got teachings on this text while at the same time receiving direct introduction/pointing-out instructions and "lung" of the text.
/magnus

The way I saw it explained was this: if someone reads Dzogchen books before receiving direct introduction, he starts to form conceptual ideas about the nature of mind, and expectations about the direct introduction, which may be detrimental to the actual realization. I do not know how true it is.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby heart » Thu May 30, 2013 6:09 pm

Nikolay wrote:
heart wrote:Thrangu Rinpoche hasn't restricted it in any way, since he was a direct disciple of Khenpo Ganshar I feel like that is excellent and somehow in tune with Kenpo Ganshars intentions. That said I personally got teachings on this text while at the same time receiving direct introduction/pointing-out instructions and "lung" of the text.
/magnus

The way I saw it explained was this: if someone reads Dzogchen books before receiving direct introduction, he starts to form conceptual ideas about the nature of mind, and expectations about the direct introduction, which may be detrimental to the actual realization. I do not know how true it is.


Well, since being present at a direct introduction don't necessary mean that you actually got it I find it difficult to see how one should select the people that are qualified to read it?

/magnus
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby MalaBeads » Thu May 30, 2013 6:50 pm

Nikolay wrote:The way I saw it explained was this: if someone reads Dzogchen books before receiving direct introduction, he starts to form conceptual ideas about the nature of mind, and expectations about the direct introduction, which may be detrimental to the actual realization. I do not know how true it is.


Nikolay,

I have heard this explanation also and I have to say I don't know. If your teacher does not want you to read about dzogchen before receiving an introduction, then don't do it. Pretty simple.

If you have a teacher whom you can ask, then do. If you don't have a teacher, and are wondering whether or not you "should" read such a book, well, the decision is up to you, isn't it?

It is also true that a person, who has no teacher, may be attending his/her first dzogchen retreat, has read nothing, knows nothing, etc, etc. may benefit immediately from such an introduction. It can also happen that nothing whatsoever occurs and perhaps only a seed is planted for the future. Who is to say?

I am of the opinion that is is perhaps better to know nothing, have read nothing, etc. etc. But that is because that is how it was for me. I don't know how it is or will be for someone else.

We are all living in an age where information is everywhere and readily available. That is how it actually is. In some ways, this makes it easier for us. In other ways, it is more difficult.

If you want a definitive, you should or shouldn't, I don't think there is such an answer. You can take guidance from someone else (your teacher) but in the final analysis, it is your life, your karma, etc. etc.

I wish you luck.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby wisdom » Thu May 30, 2013 9:00 pm

Nikolay wrote:
heart wrote:Thrangu Rinpoche hasn't restricted it in any way, since he was a direct disciple of Khenpo Ganshar I feel like that is excellent and somehow in tune with Kenpo Ganshars intentions. That said I personally got teachings on this text while at the same time receiving direct introduction/pointing-out instructions and "lung" of the text.
/magnus

The way I saw it explained was this: if someone reads Dzogchen books before receiving direct introduction, he starts to form conceptual ideas about the nature of mind, and expectations about the direct introduction, which may be detrimental to the actual realization. I do not know how true it is.


This is true because this is simply how the mind works. The moment we begin to acquire new knowledge we begin to make assumptions and imputations about it, even if only unconsciously. We begin to relate it to other knowledge and experiences we have had in an attempt to understand it. The issue is that if you have not had Direct Introduction, you cannot relate the knowledge of Dzogchen to anything useful or practical, but rather you can only relate knowledge of the state of liberation to your experiences of delusion and samsara, which is an error. Because of this, and because of the minds natural propensity to assimilate knowledge in this manner, reading advanced texts can be a hindrance.

Furthermore these imputations and assumptions come up during direct introduction, which is where it can hinder the process. You think you *know* what will happen, what it will be like, maybe you expect some fantastic experience with many lights and colors, or some profound and sudden acquisition of wisdom and understanding. So there can be many heavy and strong expectations and imputations, and when the direct introduction doesn't accord with the minds expectations recognition doesn't occur because the mind disregards it or assumes that something went "wrong" or that its "supposed to be some other way".
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Thu May 30, 2013 9:04 pm

undefineable wrote:
monktastic wrote:the practice you're doing to find the location of mind is an experiential one.

I imagine that any investigation into the location of mind (or lack of it) will need to pull in a lot of experience, as I was suggesting to asunthatneversets - Even communicating the outcome to people who haven't themselves got that far seems bound to lead to misunderstandings :shrug:


I am frequently amazed by the range of abilities people seem to have for this stuff. Some seem to recognize what is being spoken of immediately (or even before coming across the teachings). Others seem to have very little propensity to do such investigation.

Nonetheless, Thrangu Rinpoche emphasizes that this section (the one the OP is about) is meant to be done experientially, and it may be a useful reminder to note that "my thoughts say that minds are located in brains" is precisely the wrong kind of investigation in this case.
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 undefineable » Thu May 30, 2013 10:43 pm

monktastic wrote:
undefineable wrote:
monktastic wrote:the practice you're doing to find the location of mind is an experiential one.

I imagine that any investigation into the location of mind (or lack of it) will need to pull in a lot of experience, as I was suggesting to asunthatneversets - Even communicating the outcome to people who haven't themselves got that far seems bound to lead to misunderstandings :shrug:


I am frequently amazed by the range of abilities people seem to have for this stuff. Some seem to recognize what is being spoken of immediately (or even before coming across the teachings). Others seem to have very little propensity to do such investigation.

Nonetheless, Thrangu Rinpoche emphasizes that this section (the one the OP is about) is meant to be done experientially, and it may be a useful reminder to note that "my thoughts say that minds are located in brains" is precisely the wrong kind of investigation in this case.

Well most of us who use of dharmawheel over a long period of time hopefully 'get' many of the themes in some way, but I guess many people will have 'cut-off points' at which even intellectual understanding falters. Mine here is the proposition that awareness can receive an understanding of how it its nature 'maps' every instance of itself to particular objects (matrices of physical locations as well as otherwise, presumably) but without doing so by the same (i.e. contingent) means - I don't claim to have 'won the debate', as I imagine the apparent contradiction may well resolve itself at a more direct, 'esoteric' level of understanding.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Fri May 31, 2013 12:21 am

undefineable wrote:Well most of us who use of dharmawheel over a long period of time hopefully 'get' many of the themes in some way, but I guess many people will have 'cut-off points' at which even intellectual understanding falters. Mine here is the proposition that awareness can receive an understanding of how it its nature 'maps' every instance of itself to particular objects (matrices of physical locations as well as otherwise, presumably) but without doing so by the same (i.e. contingent) means - I don't claim to have 'won the debate', as I imagine the apparent contradiction may well resolve itself at a more direct, 'esoteric' level of understanding.


Sounds good. For my part, I find that most intellectualizing gets in the way of my practice; once I release the questions and contradictions (along the lines of Tilopa's "don't try to figure anything out"), things become... clear. it's up to each one of us to find the path that works best for us, and I wish you well on yours :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 5heaps » Fri May 31, 2013 12:25 am

jeeprs wrote:Nothing posted here has refuted my initial claim that mind cannot be known or located because it simply is never an object of cognition.

sigh, the qualities of mind can be fully ascertained by a developed mind which is accompanied by skillful mental factors. it is not unlike someone who has not realized subtle impermanence seeing all things through a veil of coarse and subtle permanence, whereas the realized person ascertains the subtle impermanence of a thing when they look at it.

the mind, like every other object, is, a knowable, thing. why are you so against this? that the mind is knowable is due to its being an existing thing. an existing thing is a knowable thing. you need to prove how an existing thing can be not knowable, and its qualities non-ascertainable
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby dharmagoat » Fri May 31, 2013 12:39 am

monktastic wrote:I find that most intellectualizing gets in the way of my practice; once I release the questions and contradictions (along the lines of Tilopa's "don't try to figure anything out"), things become... clear. it's up to each one of us to find the path that works best for us, ...

Some of us have a vast tangle of conceptual knots to clear, others not so many.

Whether we take the trouble to untie these knots, or simply cut through them, seems to be based on our disposition.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby undefineable » Fri May 31, 2013 1:21 am

dharmagoat wrote:
monktastic wrote:I find that most intellectualizing gets in the way of my practice; once I release the questions and contradictions (along the lines of Tilopa's "don't try to figure anything out"), things become... clear. it's up to each one of us to find the path that works best for us, ...

Some of us have a vast tangle of conceptual knots to clear, others not so many.

Whether we take the trouble to untie these knots, or simply cut through them, seems to be based on our disposition.

- Perhaps more on whether we know how to cut through them. It can't be as obvious as:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot
Conceptual knottiness *might* come in handy outside dharma practice, but of course one would have more insight into the knots and how they were formed after cutting through or untying them in any case. Short of the means to cut through knots too tight to be untied, leaving them alone (to sharpen one's sword or simply to let them unravel by themselves-?) looks like a plan.
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Re: Question about "location of mind"

Postby monktastic » Fri May 31, 2013 2:18 am

undefineable wrote:Conceptual knottiness *might* come in handy outside dharma practice, but of course one would have more insight into the knots and how they were formed after cutting through or untying them in any case. Short of the means to cut through knots too tight to be untied, leaving them alone (to sharpen one's sword or simply to let them unravel by themselves-?) looks like a plan.


Whenever that issue (or rather, seeming issue -- it really seems to be empty of any "real" issue-ness) presents itself to me, I simply deepen my faith in the words of the masters:

Gyatrul Rinpoche wrote:A mind imbued with conceptual elaboration is a mind of samsara. A mind free from conceptual elaboration is liberated. ... People go awry in their practice because they fail to recognize this point and pursue it. ... In reality, it is enough to leave the mind in its own unstructured state. Why have so many complaints and questions? Why complicate the issue?


Saraha wrote:To realize this, rest in unstructured ease without meditating on anything. When all that needs to be done is to rest in yourself, it is amazing that you are deluded by seeking elsewhere!


I sometimes like to ask myself: are these seeming conceptual knots real things that can really be "too tight" to untie? Or is it only that repeated designation that gives them their seeming power? Truthfully, when I look, I cannot find anything that is an obstacle "from its own side." Alas, as the days tick by, I am beginning to lose hope that such a creature may really exist :smile:.

Who knows, after tons more practice, I may even one day be qualified to become a real practitioner :broke:.
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 Wayfarer » Fri May 31, 2013 3:19 am

As for me, I now understand why the comments I made earlier in this thread were innappropriate in the context. It has been a learning experience and I thank you for it.
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