What is controlling?

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What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:16 am

Addressing 2 instances of mind activities:
1 Mind wander off and thoughts proliferate due to habitual tendency.
2 Mind acts according to the will with clear awareness.

The former shows mindfulness isn't there while the latter suggest mind is in control. The question is:
Since thoughts are just volitional process, the "i" is an illusion besides for conventional use, consciousness shall be seen as consciousness, there's no controller or knower, then what is it that is controlling the mind and distinguish the 2 different instances above?

EDIT:
Apologies for not being clear. For the bold part, i'm not advocating the idea that some entity outside the mind is controlling the mind, but to know which part of the mind that is providing the will to direct or restrain the process of thinking when one is mindful.
Last edited by barcsimalsi on Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby SarathW » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:50 am

Hi
If you understand the following you will have the answer.
Step no 8 related to your question.
==============


Mind in its passive and active forms

The mind occurs in both passive and active modes. The passive gives way to the active when a stimulus is received through one of the sense doors. The passive state of mind is called bhava"nga, cuti, or paa.tisandhi, according to the occasion.

Bhava"nga. The bhava"nga citta, mentioned earlier, is the primary form of mind. It flows from conception to death except when interrupted by a stimulus through one of the sense doors. When a stimulus enters, consciousness becomes active, launching into a thought process (citta viithi). Thought processes have been analyzed in great detail in the Abhidhamma.

A complete thought process, occurring through the physical sense doors, is made up of seventeen thought moments (citta kha.na). These are:
1.A bhava"nga that flows by in a passive state when one of the five physical sense organs comes in contact with its object (atiita bhava"nga).
2.A bhava"nga that vibrates for one thought moment (bhava"nga calana).
3.A bhava"nga that cuts off the flow (bhava"nga upaccheda).
4.A citta that turns towards the object through the sense door that has been stimulated (pañcadvaara-vajjana).
5.The appropriate sense consciousness; in the case of the eye, for example, eye consciousness (cakkhu viññaa.na).
6.Next a thought moment — the sampa.ticchana citta — which has the function of receiving the object.
7.When the object has been received another thought moment, called the santiirana citta, arises, performing the function of investigating the object.
8.The act (kamma) itself, especially if it was a weighty one.
9 to 15.The object having been determined, the most important stage from an ethical standpoint follows. This stage, called javana, consists of seven consecutive thought moments all having an identical nature. It is at this stage that good or evil is done, depending on whether the cittas have wholesome or unwholesome roots. Therefore, these javana thought moments have roots and also produce new kamma.16 and 17.Following the seventh javana the registering stage occurs, composed of two thought moments called tadaalambane. When the second registering citta has perished, the bhava"nga follows, flowing on until interrupted by another


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:50 am

Thanks, it is very informative.
As i see it, it has a lot to do with different types of cittas but i still can't grasp the whole thoughts process clearly.

Can you help simplify or explain it metaphorically if possible? (just for the part that relate to my question)
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby daverupa » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:18 pm

Without making reference to thought-moments, it's simply incorrect to think of either process as being involved with any essential controller. Think only in terms of causes & conditions: with X as cause, wandering mind according to tendencies or confusion or similar. With Y as cause, clear awareness and the possibility to align with the Dhamma and similar.

Engage Y, eliminate X. Repeat. When the mind asks questions about selves or controllers, you can note that X is happening again, and engage Y without even answering the question.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:21 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Addressing 2 instances of mind activities:
1 Mind wander off and thoughts proliferate due to habitual tendency.
2 Mind acts according to the will with clear awareness.

The former shows mindfulness isn't there while the latter suggest mind is in control. The question is:
Since thoughts are just volitional process, the "i" is an illusion besides for conventional use, consciousness shall be seen as consciousness, there's no controller or knower, then what is it that is controlling the mind and distinguish the 2 different instances above?

I think it's better to become familiar with the actuality of the cases you mention. (It's like this). That is seeing the situation clearly. Supposing it has to conform to philosophical notions like "there is no controller, there is no knower, so what is controlling?" is where the confusion comes in. The Buddha didn't teach like that, he didn't teach "there is no controller, there is no knower"
"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: What is controlling?

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:11 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Thanks, it is very informative.
As i see it, it has a lot to do with different types of cittas but i still can't grasp the whole thoughts process clearly.

Can you help simplify or explain it metaphorically if possible? (just for the part that relate to my question)


Hi
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.

Just imagine that the thought moments are like a never ending bouncing ball.
Say when it hit the ground (or bounce back) is one thought moment.

Based on that say you had the first thought moment of wondering mind (say lust for opposite sex)(old Kamma).
Say you learned (reading a book) about the mindfulness in the second thought moment (new kamma).
So when the third thought moment comes you will have the clear awareness (old Kamma = second thought)

I hope this clarifies your question.
Best way you will understand this is by regular Vipassana meditation.
:)
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:14 am

daverupa wrote:Without making reference to thought-moments, it's simply incorrect to think of either process as being involved with any essential controller. Think only in terms of causes & conditions: with X as cause, wandering mind according to tendencies or confusion or similar. With Y as cause, clear awareness and the possibility to align with the Dhamma and similar.

Engage Y, eliminate X. Repeat. When the mind asks questions about selves or controllers, you can note that X is happening again, and engage Y without even answering the question.

To engage Y and eliminate X, there must be something preceding them to direct or evaluate thoughts and intention. Also, X and Y must be identified before engaging. What is it that precedes X and Y as causes to determine? Can it be just another set of X and Y?
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:37 am

SarathW wrote:Hi
We all can have only one thought moment at a time.
Even Buddha will have only one thought (pay attention) moment at a time.

Just imagine that the thought moments are like a never ending bouncing ball.
Say when it hit the ground (or bounce back) is one thought moment.

Based on that say you had the first thought moment of wondering mind (say lust for opposite sex)(old Kamma).
Say you learned (reading a book) about the mindfulness in the second thought moment (new kamma).
So when the third thought moment comes you will have the clear awareness (old Kamma = second thought)

I hope this clarifies your question.
Best way you will understand this is by regular Vipassana meditation.
:)

Thanks for clarifying, so it is the data that the mind had gathered which determines how it will operates.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:46 am

Hi
Please read page 49 of the following:

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby khlawng » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:17 am

in simplistic term and as i see it;

barcsimalsi wrote:...then what is it that is controlling the mind and distinguish the 2 different instances above?


craving is the origination of volition. and what is craving? attachment to what is pleasing and aversion to what is displeasing.
and what is the origination of craving? ignorance. ignorance of the dhamma and the inability to see the truth.
with ignorance and craving, self-illusion or "I" arises.

barcsimalsi wrote:...so it is the data that the mind had gathered which determines how it will operates.


data is data. mind is mind. both are independant.
with ignorance, the mind caves in to craving, hence the action on data.
and when there is action, self-illusion arises.
that is how things outside of the dhamma operates.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:59 pm

khlawng wrote:data is data. mind is mind. both are independant.
with ignorance, the mind caves in to craving, hence the action on data.
and when there is action, self-illusion arises.
that is how things outside of the dhamma operates.

So simply moving the legs is giving rise to self-illusion in your view?
"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: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:27 am

From my latest contemplation,
When there's awareness to think, will/intention also arises.
Awareness without thinking = plain observation.
Thinking without awareness = stray thoughts.
The will/intention to think or stop thinking, without any controller, is part of the thinking process itself.

I appreciate the details provided by Abidhamma but the whole thought process described is too deep for me to grasp right now so need more time on that.

Thanks again everyone.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby dxm_dxm » Thu Sep 05, 2013 5:41 pm

Just imagine that the thought moments are like a never ending bouncing ball.
Say when it hit the ground (or bounce back) is one thought moment.

Based on that say you had the first thought moment of wondering mind (say lust for opposite sex)(old Kamma).
Say you learned (reading a book) about the mindfulness in the second thought moment (new kamma)

In this view there would be no place for free will. The buddhist sistem advocates for the free will and has free will as a fundamental requisite for it to be true. Buddhism belives in compatibilism, meaning there is free will but it is not total free will because it is constrained by conditions.

I would like the answer to this quetion or a link adressing this question too. Who is there that has the free will ? The ilusion of self witch has the choice of chosing to follow the desirable thaughts and actions it wants contrained by conditions creaded by it;s previsious choices ?
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby reflection » Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:31 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Addressing 2 instances of mind activities:
1 Mind wander off and thoughts proliferate due to habitual tendency.
2 Mind acts according to the will with clear awareness.

The former shows mindfulness isn't there while the latter suggest mind is in control. The question is:
Since thoughts are just volitional process, the "i" is an illusion besides for conventional use, consciousness shall be seen as consciousness, there's no controller or knower, then what is it that is controlling the mind and distinguish the 2 different instances above?

EDIT:
Apologies for not being clear. For the bold part, i'm not advocating the idea that some entity outside the mind is controlling the mind, but to know which part of the mind that is providing the will to direct or restrain the process of thinking when one is mindful.

Acting with clear awareness also becomes a habitual tendency. At first it seems like "something" interferes but it is just circumstances that do so. Later on this feeling of an interfering thing disappears because acting with awareness becomes more like the default way of being. It can even be that wandering off into thoughts becomes the thing that requires an act of will. So there is no essential part of the mind that is doing this - no essential "free will" or thing like that. The mind is always changing and no part is constant or above others.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:09 am

reflection wrote:So there is no essential part of the mind that is doing this - no essential "free will" or thing like that.

On the context of choosing to be aware, i agree, it is more on refining the practice to create wholesome tendency.

However, when the mind is aware of itself it can choose what to think, what not to think and recollect what has been learned. How can we deny freewill in this process?
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby khlawng » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:33 am

kirk5a wrote:So simply moving the legs is giving rise to self-illusion in your view?


assuming a voluntary movement, simply moving the legs begins with a chain of cause and effect moments. it is the inability to breakdown these moments that gives rise to self-illusion.
for someone who is not established in the dhamma, it is a foregone conclusion that he operates within a self-view, always as the controller even when he moves his leg without noticing or out of habit.
for others who has some insight training(samatha-jhana samadhi), especially on the subject of nama-rupa and cause-and-effect, when mindfulness is applied, this chain can be quite clear and the self-illusion begins to break down over time.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby pegembara » Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:39 am

In addition to paying attention to the breath, sensation, sounds, thoughts, images, emotions, and mind states, there is one more factor of mind that is important to single out and notice carefully in the meditation practice, because it plays a very critical role in opening the doors of deeper insight. That is becoming aware of and noting the various intentions in the mind. Intention is that mental factor or mental quality that directly precedes a bodily action or movement.

The body by itself doesn't move. It moves as the result of a certain impulse or volition. So before beginning any movement of the body, notice the intention to move, the intention to stand, the intention to shift position, the intention to turn, the intention to reach.

Noting "intention" also helps us to discover and understand the selfless nature of the mind-body process. Even when we are observing the breath, sensation, thoughts, images, and emotions, and we begin to see that all of these objects are simply part of a passing show, we may still be identifying with the sense of a doer, the director of it all, the one who is commanding the actions.

When we note intentions and see that they are also passing mental phenomena, that they arise and pass away, that intentions themselves are not "I" and not "mine," when we see that they do not belong to anybody, we begin to loosen the sense of identification with them. We experience on deeper and deeper levels the selflessness of the whole unfolding process.

From Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield
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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Re: What is controlling?

Postby reflection » Fri Sep 06, 2013 7:13 am

barcsimalsi wrote:
reflection wrote:So there is no essential part of the mind that is doing this - no essential "free will" or thing like that.

On the context of choosing to be aware, i agree, it is more on refining the practice to create wholesome tendency.

However, when the mind is aware of itself it can choose what to think, what not to think and recollect what has been learned. How can we deny freewill in this process?

Why would it need free will? It can occur perfectly without. The choice to think or not to think certain things is not free, it is made because one is taught it, one has (to some level) mastered it and because the intention for it arises.
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Sep 06, 2013 11:32 am

I wish to discuss further on freewill.
Lets say one(with clear awareness) decides to praise someone, but in one's mind there are many words that can be used to express one's thought for instance "pretty", "beautiful", "gorgeous", "attractive"...etc. It doesn't matter which word one picks the intention remains the same. In this case, if not free will then what decides the choice of words one will use?
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Re: What is controlling?

Postby reflection » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:23 pm

There is no deciding thing. The question "what decides" is already wrong. It's just factors, habits and preferences that form a decision.

There are many topics, essays and talks on free will. It's clear that with intellectual pursuit there is no answering the question of whether there is or not - it has to come through meditation. The stiller the mind, the less faculties are involved, the clearer it is that the "decision making" is just a process that can also stop totally and that the identification with a "free choice" is actually a quite coarse activity of mind.
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