How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

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Konstantin Sol
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How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

Good afternoon!

Please clarify. I read books about Buddhism, but a lot of things I didn't understand.

Obviously, it is necessary to work on the mind in the process of practice, to control it, all teachers and many sutras write about this (Noble Eightfold Path, Awareness, Effort, etc.).

But how does this happen if there is no independent "self", the owner, the manager? Who develops the mind?

Also:
Ajahn Brahm A few years ago, I used the metaphor of a "running bus." It's like you're riding a bus through life and having pleasant and unpleasant experiences. You think it's your fault; or you think the driver is at fault. “Why doesn’t the driver go to pleasant places and stay there for a long time? Why does he always go where the territory is unpleasant and stay there for a long time? You want to finally find the one who controls this journey called "my life". Why do you endure so much pain and suffering? You want to understand where is the driver, the driver of these five aggregates: body, feeling, perception, mentality and consciousness, the driver of you. After much meditation and listening to the Dhamma, you finally get to the driver's seat, and it turns out to be empty!

But it is obvious that there are plans for life, they can be built. How did it happen? How does thinking, planning, mental constructions take place without the “I”, the manager, the driver?

It is also argued that the body is “not ours”, not in our power, not under our control, thoughts are not under control. But it is obvious that we control the body and thoughts. We can act with the body, strengthen it. We can remember what we want, focus on the right thought of our choice. How does it happen then?

Please tell me.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

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Try to have no thoughts. Now try to have 50 thoughts at once, now try as hard as you can to not think of a yellow cat for five minutes.

Little exercises like these will give you an idea of the fact that while we can certainly influence our thoughts, we do not have anything like full control over them.

As to who is driving, an apparent self is driving, and it has much less agency than it seems to. Upon examination this self does not exist, nonetheless it appears to, has its illusions of control, etc., but is mostly driven by habit.

The traditional instruction is for you to look for who is driving. One of my first teachers gave me this instruction:

Write down three things you think define you, core parts of who you are. You will find that when you do, all the core parts of you are actually relational - they relate to other things, people, ideas. It’s impossible to find an essential “you”.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Konstantin Sol wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:40 am But how does this happen if there is no independent "self", the owner, the manager? Who develops the mind?
If there is a “self” that owns the mind, then that “self” can’t be the mind, and would be something separate from the mind.

If it is separate from the mind, how can it own anything? How can it think?

It’s not that there is a self that owns a mind.
It’s that the mind creates the experience of “self”.
“Self” is a creation of the mind.

Ultimately, the mind is working with the mind.
EMPTIFUL.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Konstantin Sol wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:40 am But it is obvious that there are plans for life, they can be built. How did it happen? How does thinking, planning, mental constructions take place without the “I”, the manager, the driver?
Although nothing can be found to exist which can be identified as the “self”, there is an experience of “self” that occurs just as it does in dreams.
It’s a projection of the mind.

There is awareness. Awareness has no identity.
Awareness is undeniable. Even if one says that awareness is an illusion, there is still awareness of that illusion.
Everything that awareness is aware of, is an object of awareness. Awareness is the subject and everything else is the object.
Because there is a dualistic experience of subject and object, the sensation or experience of self arises. This is what you have been referring to, the thing that “does” stuff.
What Buddhism teaches is that because we take this experience of a self as anything other than a creation of the mind, and we cling to it as intrinsically real or intrinsically existent, we experience dukkha, a sort of constant existential dissatisfaction (“suffering”).
All the Buddhist teachings are about not clinging to that experience of self. The experience can be there. That’s unavoidable. But we regard it as we would an illusion.
When there is awareness without conjuring up the experience of a self, then there’s no reborn in samsara. That’s liberation (Nirvana).
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Konstantin Sol
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

Ok, thank you very much!

This means that the mind is quite conscious, can work with the mind, control. And also to think, create, etc. without "Self".
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

Now I'll ask about cause and effect, if you don't mind.

Did I understand the doctrine correctly?
Dhammawuddho Thera. By knowing any sensual object, feeling automatically arises. Up to this point we have no control, but starting from here, we ourselves can decide how to react to us. It is here that the will is activated and kamma (intentional action) is created."
Do I understand correctly that perceptions, sensations, feelings come completely automatically, here we cannot influence, unless we close all five sense organs from the outside world?

But when some problem arises that requires thinking and solving, the thought and the solution will not appear automatically, by itself, you need to "participate" in thinking. Make an effort, remember some facts, compare, evaluate, draw a conclusion.
But there is no "participating", "thinking" subject, just a process. Something like this.

For example.
There was anger. Getting rid of anger (control) will not arise by itself, automatically, you need to "work hard", make efforts.
Also, dhyana will not arise by itself, automatically, you need to "work very hard", make efforts.
Also, the solution of a problem in physics will not arise by itself, automatically, you need to make an effort.

Letting go and forgetting your "self", there remains a process of thinking, efforts, etc., to which you surrender without a trace.

Is this what the author means below?
Walpola Rahula
"Mindfulness or awareness does not mean that you should think and be aware 'I am doing this' or 'I am doing that'. No. Quite the contrary. When you think 'I am doing this' you become self-conscious and then you are not living in action." but you live in the idea 'I am' and therefore your labors have been wasted. You must completely forget and lose yourself in what you are doing."
Am I thinking right?

Or does everything happen completely automatically, the mind decides everything automatically, can you not be aware and not make efforts? But in my opinion this is not confirmed in practice.
Last edited by Konstantin Sol on Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:07 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Konstantin Sol wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:25 pm Ok, thank you very much!

This means that the mind is quite conscious, can work with the mind, control. And also to think, create, etc. without "Self".
That the mind is conscious… or that the mind is consciousness? Can we really separate the two?

The experience of self, even very subtly, is an unavoidable reality most of the time, for most people.
It can be useful for one to have a good self-image, self confidence, and so on. The Buddha taught that it is the source of suffering.
But the nature of self is also emptiness. Ultimately there is no reality to it, and that’s perfectly okay, as long as we don’t get attached one way or another. But because of that, if we think that indulging that self will bring satisfaction that won’t end, we will be in for a big disappointing surprise later on. So, it’s like, there’s nothing bad about getting new clothes that you look sharp in, if it makes you feel good, and all that. It’s self-indulgence, but there’s nothing inherently harmful in it. And most people know that clothes don’t last forever anyway. But imagine if someone thought that they would always be happy whenever they wore a particular hat or coat? Of course, we know that is ridiculous. But that is essentially how many people think about things every day, that if they just get one more thing, they will finally be happy forever.
EMPTIFUL.
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Konstantin Sol
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

Translation is not correct. :)
I just wanted to say that the mind operates consciously, not unconsciously.
Last edited by Konstantin Sol on Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Konstantin Sol wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:39 pm Translation is not correct. :)
I just wanted to say that the mind operates consciously, not unconsciously.
Also subconsciously.
There are many things that we are mentally aware of, that we absorb through our senses, but that we are not “consciously” aware that we are hearing, smelling, etc.
For example, most of us are not consciously aware of the background sound that electricity constantly makes in one’s home. Refrigerators, some light bulbs, they give off quiet humming sounds that we simply block out. But if the power suddenly shuts off, we notice how quiet everything seems. This means that we were aware on a subtle level and if asked to try to hear the refrigerator, we probably could. Ringing in the ears is like that too. I always hear it but mostly I ignore it.
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Konstantin Sol
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

What do you think about my question, ladies and gentlemen?
Am I thinking right?

Or does everything happen completely automatically, the mind decides everything automatically, can you not be aware and not make efforts? But in my opinion this is not confirmed in practice.
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

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Konstantin Sol wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:04 pm What do you think about my question, ladies and gentlemen?
Am I thinking right?

Or does everything happen completely automatically, the mind decides everything automatically, can you not be aware and not make efforts? But in my opinion this is not confirmed in practice.
No, things are not predetermined, but much what of what we do, think and speak is habitual. Practice consists of becoming aware of those habitual tendencies and liberating them.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Johnny Dangerous wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 8:32 pm
Konstantin Sol wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 7:04 pm What do you think about my question, ladies and gentlemen?
Am I thinking right?

Or does everything happen completely automatically, the mind decides everything automatically, can you not be aware and not make efforts? But in my opinion this is not confirmed in practice.
No, things are not predetermined, but much what of what we do, think and speak is habitual. Practice consists of becoming aware of those habitual tendencies and liberating them.
We tend to think of thoughts as static things, like pictures in a book.
But every thought you have is active, if even for just a moment. It is something that you practice, if even for just a moment.
EMPTIFUL.
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

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Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:15 pm Try to have no thoughts. Now try to have 50 thoughts at once, now try as hard as you can to not think of a yellow cat for five minutes.

Little exercises like these will give you an idea of the fact that while we can certainly influence our thoughts, we do not have anything like full control over them.

As to who is driving, an apparent self is driving, and it has much less agency than it seems to. Upon examination this self does not exist, nonetheless it appears to, has its illusions of control, etc., but is mostly driven by habit.

The traditional instruction is for you to look for who is driving. One of my first teachers gave me this instruction:

Write down three things you think define you, core parts of who you are. You will find that when you do, all the core parts of you are actually relational - they relate to other things, people, ideas. It’s impossible to find an essential “you”.
There nevertheless is a subroutine in your mind that is capable of making relisable plans for the future. That is why you are at some place, in this very moment of time.
It is not claimed that this subroutine would exist if the whole universe of millions of galaxies was taken away. The human subroutine exists for a cause. This fact does not make it "non-existent". Claiming such is just irrational.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Aemilius wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 9:09 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:15 pm Try to have no thoughts. Now try to have 50 thoughts at once, now try as hard as you can to not think of a yellow cat for five minutes.

Little exercises like these will give you an idea of the fact that while we can certainly influence our thoughts, we do not have anything like full control over them.

As to who is driving, an apparent self is driving, and it has much less agency than it seems to. Upon examination this self does not exist, nonetheless it appears to, has its illusions of control, etc., but is mostly driven by habit.

The traditional instruction is for you to look for who is driving. One of my first teachers gave me this instruction:

Write down three things you think define you, core parts of who you are. You will find that when you do, all the core parts of you are actually relational - they relate to other things, people, ideas. It’s impossible to find an essential “you”.
There nevertheless is a subroutine in your mind that is capable of making relisable plans for the future. That is why you are at some place, in this very moment of time.
It is not claimed that this subroutine would exist if the whole universe of millions of galaxies was taken away. The human subroutine exists for a cause. This fact does not make it "non-existent". Claiming such is just irrational.
The way I often describe the situation is that the self does not exist in the way we usually assume it exists.

Is that better?

:namaste:
Kim
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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

Aemilius wrote: Wed Aug 10, 2022 9:09 am
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:15 pm Try to have no thoughts. Now try to have 50 thoughts at once, now try as hard as you can to not think of a yellow cat for five minutes.

Little exercises like these will give you an idea of the fact that while we can certainly influence our thoughts, we do not have anything like full control over them.

As to who is driving, an apparent self is driving, and it has much less agency than it seems to. Upon examination this self does not exist, nonetheless it appears to, has its illusions of control, etc., but is mostly driven by habit.

The traditional instruction is for you to look for who is driving. One of my first teachers gave me this instruction:

Write down three things you think define you, core parts of who you are. You will find that when you do, all the core parts of you are actually relational - they relate to other things, people, ideas. It’s impossible to find an essential “you”.
There nevertheless is a subroutine in your mind that is capable of making relisable plans for the future. That is why you are at some place, in this very moment of time.
It is not claimed that this subroutine would exist if the whole universe of millions of galaxies was taken away. The human subroutine exists for a cause. This fact does not make it "non-existent". Claiming such is just irrational.
Yes, karma is habitual, that doesn’t contradict anatta, or anything I wrote.
Don’t you see what’s wrong with the world today? Oh Everybody wants somebody to be their own piece of clay.

-Marvin Gaye
Konstantin Sol
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Re: How to Develop and Control the Mind Without the Self

Post by Konstantin Sol »

Thank you for your participation
Last edited by Konstantin Sol on Fri Aug 12, 2022 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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