Author Topic: The nature of 'mind'  (Read 2526 times)

Offline Bodhicandra

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The nature of 'mind'
« on: August 27, 2010, 07:01:50 am »

This is a sequence of extracts from  Guru Padmasambhava's "Self-Liberation through seeing with Naked Awareness", written in the eighth century (Trans: Reynolds, J R, Snow Lion, 2000).

For me, a key point made below is that none of the logical /philosophical propositions about the nature of 'Mind' are helpful. Since they are all (necessarily)  expressed in some form of dualistic language, they can never describe something that is beyond dualism. (Anyone who has come across Gödel's Theorem might like to ponder its applicability here).

Mind can only be understood by experiencing it - come and see for yourself!

Quote

O my fortunate sons, listen!

Even though that which is usually called "mind" is widely esteemed and much discussed,
Still it is not understood or is wrongly understood or is understood in a one-sided manner only.

Since it is not understood correctly, just as it is in itself,
There came into existence inconceivable numbers of philosophical ideas and assertions.

Furthermore, since ordinary individuals do no understand it ,
They do not recognize their own nature ,
And so they continue to wander among the six destinies (of rebirth) within the three worlds and thus experience suffering.

Therefore not understanding your own mind is a very grievous fault.

Even though the Śrāvakas and the Pratyekabuddhas wish to understand it in terms of the Anātmen doctrine,
Still they do not understand it as it is in itself.

Also there exist others who, being attached to their own personal ideas and interpretations,
Become fettered by these attachments and so do not perceive the Clear Light.

The Śrāvakas and the Pratyekabuddhas are (mentally) obscured by their attachments to subject and object.

The mādhyamikas are (mentally) obscured by their attachments to the extremes of the Two Truths,

The practitioners of the Kriyā Tantra and the Yoga Tantra are (mentally) obscured by their attachments to sevā-sādhana practice.

The practitioners of Mahāyoga and the Anuyoga are (mentally) obscured by their attachments to Space and Awareness. And with respect to the real meaning of nonduality, since they divide these (Space and Awareness) into two, they fall into deviation. If these two do not become one without any duality, you certainly will not attain Buddahood.

In terms of your own mind, as is the case with everyone, Samsāra and Nirvāna are inseparable. Nevertheless, because you persist in accepting and enduring attachments and aversions, you will continue to wander in Samsāra.

Therefore your active dharmas and your inactive ones both should be abandoned.

However, since self-liberation through seeing nakedly by means of intrinsic awareness is here revealed to you,
You should understand that all dharmas can be perfected and completed in the great total Self-Liberation.

And therefore, whatever (practice you do) can be brought to perfection within the Great Perfection.

....

As for this sparkling awareness which is called "mind",
Even though one says that it exists, it does not actually exist.
(On the other hand) as a source, it is the origin of the diversity of all the bliss of Nirvāna and of all the sorrow of Samsāra.
And as for its being something desirable, it is cherished alike in the Eleven Vehicles.
...
When you are introduced [to it through Dzogchen practice],
(you discover directly) that you own immediate self-awareness is just this (and nothing else),
And that it has an inherent clarity which is entirely unfabricated.
How can you then speak of not understanding the nature of the mind?
...
And when you look into yourself nakedly (without any discursive thoughts),
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity, without anyone being there who is the observer;
Only a naked manifest awareness is present.
This awareness is empty and immaculately pure, not being created by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity and emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet is not created by anything.
...
This [i.e. the full teaching] is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2010, 07:44:36 am »
Bodhicandra,   :namaste: :hug:

Thank you for starting this thread in which I have great interest and for the excellent teaching from Guru Padmasambhava.

My experience and understanding of Buddha's teachings in TheTipitaka pretty much agrees with what he wrote, and my scientific understanding of mind as but a field property of the interactions of sensory, involuntary, command and control, and mental faculties ironically seems pretty close as well.

The question I have run across recently is the idea from what I believe is a Vajrayana concept that a pure-mind, one cleansed of all impurities, hindrances, fermentations, fetters, and etc. equals nibanna.  And my logic is that since nibbana by definition is a state free of conditioning and permanent, and since mind is conditioned and impermanent from any perspective:  Buddha's teachings are that mind in dependent upon the six consciousnesses; the arisen electro-magnetic field property dependent upon the electro-chemical activity of the brain.

Your guru's explanation encompasses all of this in saying that no understanding of mind is accurate until nibbana is attained, so there is no point in struggling with this point of refined understanding as all will become apparent after arrival into that most peaceful of states:  nibbana.

So, I guess there is nothing else to say.

( Want to bet? ) :teehee:
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 09:14:11 am by Bodhisatta2010 »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline humanitas

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 11:02:31 am »
Experience is the mother of understanding.  Contemplation of experience is the father of realization.

:headbow:
Ogyen.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2010, 11:17:35 am by humanitas »
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Yeshe Zopa

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 12:14:45 pm »
Mind is that which does not die.

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 11:50:57 pm »
You can find the text online here (without a commentary)
http://www2.fodian.net/World/zzgse.html
 :namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2010, 01:57:13 am »
You can find the text online here (without a commentary)
http://www2.fodian.net/World/zzgse.html
 :namaste:

Thanks for pointing this out, Greg.

This is a wonderful text. It should not be viewed as some sort of historical curiosity, it was intended for us, now, in these "degenerate times".

The Guru's own words, written in the eighth century, express its purpose:

Quote
How wonderful!
As for this "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness" which is a direct introduction to one's own intrinsic awareness,
It is for the benefit of those sentient beings belonging to the later generations of those future degenerate times
That all of my Tantras, Agamas, and Upadesas,
Though necessarily brief and concise, have been composed.
And even though I have disseminated them at the present time, yet they shall be concealed as precious treasures,
So that those whose good karma ripens in the future shall come to encounter them.


You, my dear reader, have excellent karma which has now ripened and enabled you to encounter this teaching. Believe it!

I understand that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche firmly believed that now is the time for Dzogchen to emerge from its former secrecy, that here in the West is the place that these teachings were intended for, that we, of this generation, are the ones who need these teachings to enable mankind to survive the social and environmental crises it has brought upon itself through the collective misunderstanding of humanity's true nature.

It would be wonderful if everyone reading this thread were to invest a few minutes, right now, to read the entire teaching (referenced above) and find maybe just one or two lines of it which 'strike home', which resonate, which send a thrill up the back of your neck (as I just had while typing this).

May that feeling, that recognition, that re-connection, encourage you and give you vigour in whichever Dharmic path you follow, and bring you closer to that timeless moment in which you awaken to the real nature of mind.
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline humanitas

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Re: The nature of 'mind'
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2010, 07:38:07 pm »
You can find the text online here (without a commentary)
http://www2.fodian.net/World/zzgse.html
 :namaste:

Thanks for pointing this out, Greg.

This is a wonderful text. It should not be viewed as some sort of historical curiosity, it was intended for us, now, in these "degenerate times".

The Guru's own words, written in the eighth century, express its purpose:

Quote
How wonderful!
As for this "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness" which is a direct introduction to one's own intrinsic awareness,
It is for the benefit of those sentient beings belonging to the later generations of those future degenerate times
That all of my Tantras, Agamas, and Upadesas,
Though necessarily brief and concise, have been composed.
And even though I have disseminated them at the present time, yet they shall be concealed as precious treasures,
So that those whose good karma ripens in the future shall come to encounter them.


You, my dear reader, have excellent karma which has now ripened and enabled you to encounter this teaching. Believe it!

I understand that Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche firmly believed that now is the time for Dzogchen to emerge from its former secrecy, that here in the West is the place that these teachings were intended for, that we, of this generation, are the ones who need these teachings to enable mankind to survive the social and environmental crises it has brought upon itself through the collective misunderstanding of humanity's true nature.

It would be wonderful if everyone reading this thread were to invest a few minutes, right now, to read the entire teaching (referenced above) and find maybe just one or two lines of it which 'strike home', which resonate, which send a thrill up the back of your neck (as I just had while typing this).

May that feeling, that recognition, that re-connection, encourage you and give you vigour in whichever Dharmic path you follow, and bring you closer to that timeless moment in which you awaken to the real nature of mind.




I completely feel the way you do about this.

:headbow:
o.
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