Luminous Mind. - What is it?

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:08 am

The companion passage for the "uninstructed run-of-the-mill person" (puthujjana) is this:

1. 6. 1.
Pabhassaramidaṃ bhikkhave cittaṃ tañca kho āgantukehi upakkilesehi upakkiliṭṭhaṃ. Taṃ assutavā47 puthujjano yathābhūtaṃ nappanājāti. Tasmā assutavato puthujjanassa cittabhāvanā natthīti vadāmīti.

"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." {I,vi,1}
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:12 am

Dan74 wrote:What about he bit before that? "And it is freed..." ("freed" as in "it can be freed", "it will be freed" or "is already freed"?)
You are reaching here. The only way the mind is freed by by seeing things as they are, by bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby christopher::: » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:15 am

"Training this mind... actually there's nothing much to this mind. It's simply radiant in and of itself. It's naturally peaceful. Why the mind doesn't feel peaceful right now is because it gets lost in its own moods. There's nothing to mind itself. It simply abides in its natural state, that's all. That sometimes the mind feels peaceful and other times not peaceful is because it has been tricked by these moods. The untrained mind lacks wisdom. It's foolish. Moods come and trick it into feeling pleasure one minute and suffering the next. Happiness then sadness. But the natural state of a person's mind isn't one of happiness or sadness. This experience of happiness and sadness is not the actual mind itself, but just these moods which have tricked it. The mind gets lost, carried away by these moods with no idea what's happening. And as a result, we experience pleasure and pain accordingly, because the mind has not been trained yet. It still isn't very clever. And we go on thinking that it's our mind which is suffering or our mind which is happy, when actually it's just lost in its various moods.

The point is that really this mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It's still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind. But if the wind blows then it flutters. It does that because of the wind. And so with the mind it's because of these moods - getting caught up with thoughts. If the mind didn't get lost in these moods it wouldn't flutter about. If it understood the nature of thoughts it would just stay still. This is called the natural state of the mind. And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state. We think that the mind itself is actually pleasurable or peaceful. But really the mind has not created any real pleasure or pain. These thoughts have come and tricked it and it has got caught up in them. So we really have to come and train our minds in order to grow in wisdom. So that we understand the true nature of thoughts rather than just following them blindly. The mind is naturally peaceful. It's in order to understand just this much that we have come together to do this difficult practice of meditation."


~Ajahn Chah
Training this mind

Image
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Taṃ sutavā ariyasāvako [b]yathābhūtaṃ pajānāti.[/b]
In other words, it is one who has attained some degree of awakening (sutavā ariyasāvako) by comprehending (pajānāti) things as they truly are (yathābhūtaṃ).


Indeed.

Etymologically, the word (vipassana) has been derived from the root 'pas' which means 'to see' with the prefix 'vi' which means 'visesa'-in a special manner or 'vividham'-from different angles. Thus literally the term Vipassana communicates the sense of observing or seeing in a special manner-Visesato passatiti vipassana visesena passati ti vipassana2 or Anicca divasena vividhena akarena passati ti vipassana3. (He sees from different angles as impermanent etc., thus it is Vipassana.)
This process is also described as seeing things as they really are (yatha bhuta nana dassanamyatha bhuta nana dassanam), not as they appear to be.

-- SN Goenka

kind regards

Ben
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:What about he bit before that? "And it is freed..." ("freed" as in "it can be freed", "it will be freed" or "is already freed"?)
You are reaching here. The only way the mind is freed by by seeing things as they are, by bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end.


I am not. I am asking for the ways in which the Pali can be rendered.

Incidentally "yathabhuta" seems to be closest to "as [they] arise" according to this person:

http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/the-hidden-meaning-of-yathabhuta/

Which accords well with the message to Bahiya and the luminosity that is prior to all fermentations.

This is not about trying to sneak in some sort of a self. My experience is that when there is some letting up of grasping, there is not only clarity but luminosity. I am trying to figure out what exactly the Buddha is saying here - whether it is related to this experience or something else altogether.
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:37 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:What about he bit before that? "And it is freed..." ("freed" as in "it can be freed", "it will be freed" or "is already freed"?)
You are reaching here. The only way the mind is freed by by seeing things as they are, by bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end.


I am not. I am asking for the ways in which the Pali can be rendered.
It rather looks like you are reaching. The translations above are accurate enough.

Incidentally "yathabhuta" seems to be closest to "as [they] arise" according to this person:

http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/the-hidden-meaning-of-yathabhuta/
Does not change a thing.

Which accords well with the message to Bahiya and the luminosity that is prior to all fermentations.
The supposed luminosity, however, is not awakening. Awakening, bodhi, only comes when there is the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Which accords well with the message to Bahiya and the luminosity that is prior to all fermentations.
The supposed luminosity, however, is not awakening. Awakening, bodhi, only comes when three is the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion.


Seeing things as they are, greed, hatred and delusion are brought to an end. Bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end, things are seen as they are.

"Luminous," it seems, refers to this right seeing (which I guess would eschew both "things" and "seer" as realities but only use them as useful designations).

But what about this (sorry to be pedantic but this is my first time digging into Pali :smile: )

kho āgantukehi upakkilesehi vippamuttaṃ
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:51 am

Dan74 wrote:This is not about trying to sneak in some sort of a self. My experience is that when there is some letting up of grasping, there is not only clarity but luminosity. I am trying to figure out what exactly the Buddha is saying here - whether it is related to this experience or something else altogether.
Clarirty vs luminosity. is a non-argument, but on the other hand luminosity can be a characteristic of a highly concentrated mind, as such is the supposed "letting go." There can be a big difference between the letting go that happens as a result vipassana and that of samadhi or jhana, as can there a big difference in types of experiences. It is a curious watching the gymanstics that take place over this passage, but the realuity is that it is part of a far larger and persuasive context.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:56 am

tiltbillings wrote: It is a curious watching the gymanstics that take place over this passage, but the realuity is that it is part of a far larger and persuasive context.


No doubt.

Will you be willing to place it in the appropriate context?

I am sure many of us will appreciate this.

PS Clarity and luminosity do seem very different. Luminosity, as I see it, is a particularly vibrant state where everything is glowing as it were. Whereas clarity is more akin to stilness where everything is very clear and vivid. Both are sometimes discussed in other traditions as attributes of liberated seeing.
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:01 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Which accords well with the message to Bahiya and the luminosity that is prior to all fermentations.
The supposed luminosity, however, is not awakening. Awakening, bodhi, only comes when three is the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion.


Seeing things as they are, greed, hatred and delusion are brought to an end. Bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end, things are seen as they are.
The bit of "luminosity"/clarity that arises as the mind turns towards an object is not yet seeing things as they are; it is far from it. It is the basis of what needs to be cultivated and it is part of a grouping of mental factors that are cultivated and brought into play. See the Satipatthana Sutta. I think one needs to be very careful about trying to turn it into some more than that. We are not already awakened; we do not have some sort of nature of awakening already present within us.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:14 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Seeing things as they are, greed, hatred and delusion are brought to an end. Bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end, things are seen as they are.
The bit of "luminosity"/clarity that arises as the mind turns towards an object is not yet seeing things as they are; it is far from it. It is the basis of what needs to be cultivated and it is part of a grouping of mental factors that are cultivated and brought into play.


I didn't mean turning towards the object. I meant turning towards the object, letting go of all else and then letting go of the object and turning back towards awareness.

tiltbillings wrote:See the Satipatthana Sutta.


I will.

tiltlbillings wrote:I think one needs to be very careful about trying to turn it into some more than that.


That's always good advice. Best not to turn anything into anything. The proof is in the pudding - the extent to which greed, anger and delusion are absent, to that extent one is liberated.

(I would say though that even waaay before liberation, one can have the taste of nibbana, perhaps from past cultivation or through a kind of grace, I don't know. Some of us, stupid sods, need this to keep going with this upstream practice, it seems...)

tiltlbillings wrote:We are not already awakened; we do not have some sort of nature of awakening already present within us.


To me this is just as correct as saying that we are and we have. Like Ajahn Mun says, the clouds obscure it. Or like tiltbillings says with the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion, bodhi is attained. But what is this destruction? It is insight, isn't it? Because greed, hatred and delusion are empty like a mirage or a misunderstanding, when seen through. Then the sun can shine.

Time to go to work!
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:38 am

Hi Dan,
Dan74 wrote:(I would say though that even waaay before liberation, one can have the taste of nibbana, perhaps from past cultivation or through a kind of grace, I don't know.

Yes, at sotapatti-magga, sakadagamita-magga and anagamita-magga. And as the results of the combination of one's own efforts and paramitas.

the extent to which greed, anger and delusion are absent, to that extent one is liberated.
That is true in that moment. However, unless one has attained one of the ariya states, then one's progress may be characterised by going forwards and backwards and that liberation is not guaranteed until one 'tastes' nibbana for the first time at sotapatti-magga. After that, one's complete liberation is assured.
kind regards

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:49 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Seeing things as they are, greed, hatred and delusion are brought to an end. Bringing greed, hatred and delusion to an end, things are seen as they are.
The bit of "luminosity"/clarity that arises as the mind turns towards an object is not yet seeing things as they are; it is far from it. It is the basis of what needs to be cultivated and it is part of a grouping of mental factors that are cultivated and brought into play.


I didn't mean turning towards the object. I meant turning towards the object, letting go of all else and then letting go of the object and turning back towards awareness.
I think we are not talking about the same thing here. What I am talking about is that first instance of awareness that comes with contact before the full play of the khandhas kicks in.

Like Ajahn Mun says, the clouds obscure it.
Obscure what?

Or like tiltbillings says with the destruction of greed, hatred and delusion, bodhi is attained. But what is this destruction? It is insight, isn't it? Because greed, hatred and delusion are empty like a mirage or a misunderstanding, when seen through. Then the sun can shine.
You seem to be still working hard to have some sort of already existing awakening thing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 1:52 am

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: It is a curious watching the gymanstics that take place over this passage, but the realuity is that it is part of a far larger and persuasive context.


No doubt.

Will you be willing to place it in the appropriate context?

I am sure many of us will appreciate this.

PS Clarity and luminosity do seem very different. Luminosity, as I see it, is a particularly vibrant state where everything is glowing as it were. Whereas clarity is more akin to stilness where everything is very clear and vivid. Both are sometimes discussed in other traditions as attributes of liberated seeing.
Other traditions carry no weight here. And, again, way too much weight is being applied to a literal reading of the word it seems.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:46 am

Sorry to interrupt. You guys seem to be having fun. :popcorn:

So, let me ask: "Has anyone here, during meditation or mindfulness practice actually observed the luminosity of mind which Buddha mentions?"

Next question: "If not, has anyone here attained The Third Jhanna?" I ask this since luminosity of mind occurs in The Fourth Jhanna according to what I have read.

Last question for only those who have answered affirmatively in both questions above.: "When sitting in meditation, how does one know that they are observing the luminous mind?"
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.
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:52 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Sorry to interrupt. You guys seem to be having fun. :popcorn:

So, let me ask: "Has anyone here, during meditation or mindfulness practice actually observed the luminosity of mind which Buddha mentions?"

Next question: "If not, has anyone here attained The Third Jhanna?" I ask this since luminosity of mind occurs in The Fourth Jhanna according to what I have read.

Last question for only those who have answered affirmatively in both questions above.: "When sitting in meditation, how does one know that they are observing the luminous mind?"
Which is a good question, which I kind of asked already. All too easy to confuse these things. As I said, the "luminosity" in the Anguttara passage I suspect refers to the initial instant of the mind (citta) arises from contact before the full play of the khandhas kicks in. That can be experienced. Is it "luminious?" Well, it is brightly clear (in my experience), but how literal do we need to be with these metaphorical words?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Viscid » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:48 am

So is the 'luminous mind' the awareness of viññāṇakkhandha when the other four khandhas are absent?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:54 am

Viscid wrote:So is the 'luminous mind' the awareness of viññāṇakkhandha when the other four khandhas are absent?

The other khandhas are always present unless one is in the seventh and eighth jhanas (if I remember correctly).
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Sayagyi U Ba Khin


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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby Kenshou » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:02 am

The absence being emphasized in this sutta appears to be that of defilements, wouldn't you say?
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Postby pegembara » Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:52 am

From Mae Chee Kaew - Her Journey to Spiritual Awakening P. 194

“When you investigate mental phenomena until you go beyond them completely, the remaining defiling elements of
consciousness will be drawn into a radiant nucleus of awareness, which merges with the mind’s naturally radiant essence.
This radiance is so majestic and mesmerizing that even transcendent faculties like spontaneous mindfulness and intuitive
wisdom invariably fall under its spell. The mind’s brightness and clarity appear to be so extraordinary and awe-inspiring,
that nothing can possibly compare. The luminous essence is the epitome of perfect goodness and virtue, the ultimate
in spiritual happiness. It is your true, original self — the core of your being. But this true self is also the fundamental
source of all attachment to being and becoming. Ultimately it is attachment to the allure of this primordial radiance of
mind that causes living beings to wander indefinitely through the world of becoming and ceasing, constantly grasping at
birth and enduring death.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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