One mind in 4 modes: active, passive, quiescent & released

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One mind in 4 modes: active, passive, quiescent & released

Postby starter » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:54 am

Hi friend, thanks a lot for helping me with my previous posts. I've learned a lot from this forum. I've gotten an idea about mind which I'd like to share with you. Your comments/critics and suggestions will be always appreciated.

One “mind” in four states: active, passive, quiescent and released

o Active consciousness [defiled and cease upon death]: “mind” in active mode of operation (processing the mental data received by “mind consciousness aggregate”, including all the active processes of the mind), like the heavily disturbed lake with lots of big waves; dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); include the so-called “formation/fibrication/volition aggregate, perception aggregate and feeling aggregate”.

o Passive sensory consciousness [defiled and cease upon death]: “mind” in passive mode of operation; the “light illuminating the stage of the magic show”, bare cognization of physical and mental phenomena without further processing, but the light of awareness makes all experience possible; like the slightly agitated lake with little waves; dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); these are the so called “six sense consciousness aggregates”.

o Quiescent consciousness or Subconsciousness [defiled and bound]: “mind” in quiescent mode of operation, like the peaceful lake without waves [so called “soul”]; not dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); can preserve the underlying tendencies – the impression/habit of our experiences, and our karmic impressions; transmigrating entity which flows on to a new mode of existence; however, this “soul” is not an unchanging eternality, instead, it’s subject to change [therefore it’s inconstant / stressful / Not-self]

o Released consciousness [pure, steady and released]: as the water is no longer in the lake and has been transformed to a pure diamond, so it won’t be agitated by wind and won’t have any waves anymore; has entered nibbana; it's the “Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around”.
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." [AN 1]

By the way, I remember reading such a post about MN 8 Sallekha Sutta: “Other people may believe in a living soul or an ego-entity, but we will hold the right view that there are only mind and matter. We will practise effacement." However, I searched the sutta translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, and another translation by Thanissaro, where I only found "(11) ‘Others will be of wrong view; we shall be of right view here’: effacement should be practiced thus." Are there any suttas where the Buddha clearly states no soul/self instead of non soul/self? Sometimes "no soul/self" could actually mean "not soul/self", which is probably a matter of translation. I tend to prefer "soul" to "self", to avoid the confusion with the conventional self.

Some of you might feel it's not so necessary to discuss this topic; what's important is to use the teachings of the Buddha in the right way as suggested in the snake simile to remove our defilements/attachments/fetters. But clear understanding of this topic is important to decide which teachers not to reject due to their "partially eternalist view".

Metta,

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Last edited by starter on Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:46 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: One “mind” in four states: active, passive, quiescent and re

Postby lojong1 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:09 am

The only reason I can think of for using 'soul' in discussing dhamma is if you are looking to find common ground with a specific someone who already uses the word 'soul' with a specific, solid definition, to see how it compares to whatever Pali word used in the Canon. Depending on the individual, atta and soul may or may not be synonymous.
You could define 'potato' in any way you like so that it matches, say, 'atta', but you would find no one who understands what you are talking about without some serious clarification.

"According to this doctrine of anatta (Pāli; Sanskrit: anātman) — "no-self" or "no soul" — the words "I" or "me" do not refer to any fixed thing. They are simply convenient terms that allow us to refer to an ever-changing entity. The anatta doctrine is not a kind of materialism. Buddhism does not deny the existence of "immaterial" entities, and it (at least traditionally) distinguishes bodily states from mental states. Thus, the conventional translation of anatta as "no-soul" can be confusing. If the word "soul" simply refers to an incorporeal component in living things that can continue after death, then Buddhism does not deny the existence of the soul." -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Etymology

There are many suttas where Buddha clearly states 'anatta'.
Anatta-lakkhana sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html
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Re: One “mind” in four states: active, passive, quiescent and re

Postby lojong1 » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:23 am

starter wrote:MN 8 Sallekha Sutta:(11)
In that sutta, anatta is not said explicitly. The words there are 'micchaadi.t.thii'/wrong views; and 'sammaadi.t.thii/right views, which both include views on atta.
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released

Postby starter » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:47 pm

Hi Lojong,

Thanks for the very helpful comments. I read the sutta you recommended, and was puzzled by the following paragraph:

"Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'"

How about the “Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around”? How about "Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." ??

I'm also puzzled by the inference/logic of the sutta to conclude that the five aggregates are not "mine", not "I", "not myself" based upon the assumption that the "self" would be permanent/not subject to change, would be pleasant/not lead to affliction, and would be under one's control. If there's no such a "self" at the first place, then how can one make the above-mentioned inference based upon such an assumption?

This question was bothering me for a while but I always warned myself to ignore such unwise attention and use the Buddha's teachings in a positive way to construct my "raft". However, it might be better to let someone shed light on it ...

Metta,

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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby lojong1 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:22 am

[Anatta-lakkhana sutta]
starter wrote:I was puzzled by the following paragraph: "Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Here's the Pali in case others find it useful in exploring this with you.
"Yaṃ kiñci viññāṇaṃ atītānāgatapaccuppannaṃ ajjhattaṃ vā bahiddhā vā oḷārikaṃ vā sukhumaṃ vā hīnaṃ vā paṇītaṃ vā yaṃ dūre santike vā, sabbaṃ viññāṇaṃ— ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya daṭṭhabbaṃ." http://studies.worldtipitaka.org/tipita ... .1/1.2.1.7

wiki: "Throughout Pali literature, viññāṇa can be found as one of a handful of synonyms for the mental force that animates the otherwise inert material body. In a number of Pali texts though the term has a more nuanced and context-specific (or "technical") meaning. In particular, in the Suttapitaka, viññāṇa (generally translated as "consciousness") is discussed in at least three related but different contexts:
(1) as a derivative of the sense bases (āyatana), part of the experientially exhaustive "All" (sabba);
(2) as one of the five aggregates (khandha) of clinging (upadana) at the root of suffering (dukkha); and,
(3) as one of the twelve causes (nidana) of "Dependent Origination" (paticcasamuppāda) which provides a template for Buddhist notions of kamma, rebirth and release.
In the Pali Canon's Abhidhamma and in post-canonical Pali commentaries, consciousness (viññāṇa) is further analyzed into 89 different states which are categorized in accordance with their kammic results."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vij%C3%B1%C4%81na

This is all new to me, so I don't have much to offer. Right now, viññāṇa seems to be the most puzzling aspect of that paragraph.

I'm also puzzled by the inference/logic of the sutta to conclude that the five aggregates are not "mine", not "I", "not myself" based upon the assumption that the "self" [Atta] would be permanent/not subject to change, would be pleasant/not lead to affliction, and would be under one's control. If there's no such a "self" at the first place, then how can one make the above-mentioned inference based upon such an assumption?
Buddha was born into long established traditions and language, and I'm sure the assumption was already there. Atta was believed to be unchanging [?], with arguments between various Hindu sects about it's exact relationship to Brahma. Because by definition it was unchanging, Buddhists can never say we have a changing 'Atta', even though we can say conventionally that we have a changing 'soul/self' [i.e. not-self/Anatta/no-soul]
wiki quicki: "The term "soul" is misleading as it implies an object possessed, whereas Self signifies the subject which perceives all objects. This self is held to be distinct from the various mental faculties such as desires, thinking, understanding, reasoning and self-image (ego), all of which are considered to be part of Prakriti (nature)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Hinduism

I haven't looked at the luminous bit yet, AN 1? Will check it out. Shoot, I might have misread your inference-assumption question, bear with me.
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby lojong1 » Sun Oct 03, 2010 3:23 am

After a little more digging, I've seen I wrote some BS up there. 'Changing atta' is fine. Whatever word is used, there is the same danger of clinging to some aspect of something.

Maybe this is where the kink lies--I think I clarified your question:
"If there's no such a "self" in the first place, then how can one conclude that the five aggregates are not "mine", not "I", "not myself" based upon the assumption that the "self" would be permanent, would not lead to affliction, and would be under one's control?"

Buddha was following the monks' own answers. Are you saying you would answer affirmatively to Buddha's line of questioning? Then, again by definition, you would be talking about the conventional-changing Atta. Either way, there is no Atta other than Anatta, which we sometimes conventionally call Atta anyway.
It's all semantics. Like any paradox, the problem is in belief moving slower than the tongue, not in the reality itself.

I tend to prefer "soul" to "self", to avoid the confusion with the conventional self.
I use self to avoid confusion with conventional-permanent soul. I guess the best choice depends on what the majority of our closest peers believe at that time, and what that belief sounds like.
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:10 am

starter wrote:Hi friend, thanks a lot for helping me with my previous posts. I've learned a lot from this forum. I've gotten an idea about mind which I'd like to share with you. Your comments/critics and suggestions will be always appreciated.

One “mind” in four states: active, passive, quiescent and released

o Active consciousness [defiled and cease upon death]: “mind” in active mode of operation (processing the mental data received by “mind consciousness aggregate”, including all the active processes of the mind), like the heavily disturbed lake with lots of big waves; dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); include the so-called “formation/fibrication/volition aggregate, perception aggregate and feeling aggregate”.

o Passive sensory consciousness [defiled and cease upon death]: “mind” in passive mode of operation; the “light illuminating the stage of the magic show”, bare cognization of physical and mental phenomena without further processing, but the light of awareness makes all experience possible; like the slightly dagitated lake with little waves; dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); these are the so called “six sense consciousness aggregates”.

o Quiescent consciousness or Subconsciousness [defiled and bound]: “mind” in quiescent mode of operation, like the peaceful lake without waves [so called “soul”]; not dependent upon the body (brain and nerves); can preserve the underlying tendencies – the impression/habit of our experiences, and our karmic impressions; transmigrating entity which flows on to a new mode of existence; however, this “soul” is not an unchanging eternality, instead, it’s subject to change [therefore it’s inconstant / stressful / Not-self]

o Released consciousness [pure, steady and released]: as the water is no longer in the lake and has been transformed to a pure diamond, so it won’t be agitated by wind and won’t have any waves anymore; has entered nibbana; it's the “Consciousness without feature, without end, luminous all around”.
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person — there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that — for the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — there is development of the mind." [AN 1]

By the way, I remember reading such a post about MN 8 Sallekha Sutta: “Other people may believe in a living soul or an ego-entity, but we will hold the right view that there are only mind and matter. We will practise effacement." However, I searched the sutta translated by Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, and another translation by Thanissaro, where I only found "(11) ‘Others will be of wrong view; we shall be of right view here’: effacement should be practiced thus." Are there any suttas where the Buddha clearly states no soul/self instead of non soul/self? Sometimes "no soul/self" could actually mean "not soul/self", which is probably a matter of translation. I tend to prefer "soul" to "self", to avoid the confusion with the conventional self.

Some of you might feel it's not so necessary to discuss this topic; what's important is to use the teachings of the Buddha in the right way as suggested in the snake simile to remove our defilements/attachments/fetters. But clear understanding of this topic is important to decide which teachers not to reject due to their "partially eternalist view".

Metta,

Starter

I like your ideas.
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby starter » Tue Oct 05, 2010 12:31 am

lojong1 wrote:After a little more digging, I've seen I wrote some BS up there. 'Changing atta' is fine. Whatever word is used, there is the same danger of clinging to some aspect of something.

Maybe this is where the kink lies--I think I clarified your question:
"If there's no such a "self" [atta] in the first place, then how can one conclude that the five aggregates are not "mine", not "I", "not myself" based upon the assumption that the "self" [atta] would be permanent, would not lead to affliction, and would be under one's control?"

Buddha was following the monks' own answers. Are you saying you would answer affirmatively to Buddha's line of questioning? Then, again by definition, you would be talking about the conventional-changing Atta. Either way, there is no Atta other than Anatta, which we sometimes conventionally call Atta anyway.
It's all semantics. Like any paradox, the problem is in belief moving slower than the tongue, not in the reality itself.


Hi friend, thanks for digging and clarifying. I'm not really talking about the conventional changing atta, but rather the assumption of the non-changing atta which was used as the basis for the above-mentioned inference. I think the Buddha just used whatever means which could enlighten the followers, and this inference apparently worked for them in that culture at that time. Although it hasn't quite worked for me, I can understand why the Buddha did so and I have some other way to realize that the five aggregates are not "mine", not "I", "not myself", as explained in my "One mind in 4 states" idea. But I'm not sure if that's really right view ... Metta, Starter
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby lojong1 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 2:55 am

the assumption of the non-changing atta which was used as the basis

There's a dizzying circular something happening somewhere...and the roommates are blasting surround-sound TV...

I see the assumption in the first paragraph of the sutta. It looks to me like this is just the teaching in brief, which is explained later, beginning with the words "what do you think, Monks?" There, in the full explanation of the teaching-in-brief, that's where we see how this assumption came to be. That's where we see that it isn't an assumption at all. :?:

The teaching properly begins here with no assumption--no mention yet of atta or anatta--; put yourself in their place: "What do you think, Starter — Is form constant or inconstant?"
"Inconstant, lord." (I'll guess you'd agree. Is this now an "assumption" that form is inconstant?)
"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"
"Stressful, lord."(I'm less certain you'd agree here. If there is disagreement on the definition of dukkha, atta will also be an issue--)
"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful (because it is inconstant), subject to change (also redundant) as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"
This is where we define atta. If it is fitting to call what is inconstant 'atta', then atta is inconstant. If it is not fitting to call what is inconstant 'atta', then atta is necessarily constant. There is no thing [atta] being observed or defined; this is where we define our conventional language to change our semantic habits.
There is no assumption about the characteristics of atta other than the meaning we give it right now.
Starter, what is your answer? Is it fitting to call what is inconstant 'Atta'?
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby lojong1 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:07 am

starter wrote: Are there any suttas where the Buddha clearly states no soul/self instead of non soul/self?

I think this is what keeps happening with people working solely from different English translations without Pali.
What you've asked here is "Are there any suttas where the Buddha clearly states Anatta instead of Anatta? :shrug:
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby lojong1 » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:54 am

Going back to the OP, I've noticed that often, upon seeing Dhamma terms in English without their Pali equivalent [at least the first time], I skip the rest.
Your post might be clear enough that Pali isn't necessary, but I have that tendency nevertheless.
Interpreting dhamma terms is hard enough without mixing them with someone else's new system and vocabulary.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el377.html: "This right view is twofold: mundane (lokiya) and supramundane (lokuttara). Herein, the knowledge of kamma as one's own and knowledge which is in conformity with the (Four Noble) Truths are mundane right view; or, in brief, (mundane right view is) all understanding that is accompanied by the taints."
You're fine.
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Re: One “mind” in 4 states: active/passive/quiescent/released??

Postby starter » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:01 pm

lojong1 wrote:
the assumption of the non-changing atta which was used as the basis

...
"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful (because it is inconstant), subject to change (also redundant) as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"
This is where we define atta. If it is fitting to call what is inconstant 'atta', then atta is inconstant. If it is not fitting to call what is inconstant 'atta', then atta is necessarily constant. There is no thing [atta] being observed or defined; this is where we define our conventional language to change our semantic habits.
There is no assumption about the characteristics of atta other than the meaning we give it right now.
Starter, what is your answer? Is it fitting to call what is inconstant 'Atta'?


Hello friend, your keen effort to help is most appreciated. If it were me who was questioned by the Buddha by the question "And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?", I'd have to answer: "Bhante, I can't answer this question because there's no a "mine"/"self"/"I" at the first place". However, if some other monks asked "Bhante, why can't the self be inconstant and stressful ?", I wouldn't be surprised ...

If I understand your last post correctly, you think my idea of the one mind in 4 states are OK? I don't want to fall into wrong views. Hope some other friends can help clarify if my idea of the one mind in 4 states is right view. Metta, Starter
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