Is the mind permanent?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

Is the mind permanent?

Postby nrose619 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:49 pm

I was watching a video of a monk explaining shutting off the five senses during deep meditation and just experiencing the mind. He said the mind is separate from the body and is something that continues (4:00-5:00 in video). Is the mind permanent? because if it is rebirth would be easier to understand but also why is the mind the exception?

here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRutmoPEWaQ

-Nick
"A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake's surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird."
User avatar
nrose619
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:32 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby nibbuti » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:33 pm

Hi Nick.

The mind is not permanent.

Regards
nibbuti
 
Posts: 155
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 11:36 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:43 pm

No, it's constantly changing.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
User avatar
Goofaholix
 
Posts: 1944
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:09 pm

The idea of a permanent mind or consciousness is a pernicious view in buddhism:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Sāvatthī, at Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's park. Now on that occasion this pernicious viewpoint (diṭṭhigata) had arisen in the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son: "As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on [from birth to birth], not another." A large number of monks heard, "They say that this pernicious viewpoint has arisen in the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son: 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on [from birth to birth], not another.'" So they went to the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son and on arrival said to him, "Is it true, friend Sāti, that this pernicious viewpoint has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One such that it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

Then those monks, desiring to pry the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son away from that pernicious viewpoint, quizzed him back & forth and rebuked him, saying, "Don't say that, friend Sāti. Don't slander the Blessed One, for it is not good to slander the Blessed One. The Blessed One would not say anything like that. In many ways, friend, the Blessed One has said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'" And yet even though he was quizzed back & forth and rebuked by those monks, the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, through stubbornness and attachment to that very same pernicious viewpoint, continued to insist, "Exactly so, friends. I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One such that it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

So when the monks were unable to pry the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son away from that pernicious viewpoint, they went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they [told him what had happened].

So the Blessed One told a certain monk, "Come, monk. In my name, call the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, saying, 'The Teacher calls you, friend Sāti.'"

"As you say, lord," the monk answered and, having gone to the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son, on arrival he said, "The Teacher calls you, friend Sāti."

"As you say, friend," the monk Sāti the Fisherman's Son replied. Then he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Is it true, Sāti, that this pernicious view has arisen in you — 'As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another'?"

"Exactly so, lord. As I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it is just this consciousness that runs and wanders on, not another."

"Which consciousness, Sāti, is that?" [1]

"This speaker, this knower, lord, that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & evil actions."

"And to whom, worthless man, do you understand me to have taught the Dhamma like that? Haven't I, in many ways, said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness'? [2] But you, through your own poor grasp, not only slander us but also dig yourself up [by the root] and produce much demerit for yourself. That will lead to your long-term harm & suffering."

Then the Blessed One said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Is this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, even warm in this Dhamma & Vinaya?"

"How could he be, lord? No, lord."

When this was said, the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, sat silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words.

Then the Blessed One, seeing that the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, was sitting silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words, said to him, "Worthless man, you will be recognized for your own pernicious viewpoint. I will cross-question the monks on this matter."

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks, do you too understand the Dhamma as taught by me in the same way that the monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, does when, through his own poor grasp [of the Dhamma], he not only slanders us but also digs himself up [by the root] and produces much demerit for himself?"

"No, lord, for in many ways the Blessed One has said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'"

"It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.' But this monk Sāti, the Fisherman's Son, through his own poor grasp [of the Dhamma], has not only slandered us but has also dug himself up [by the root], producing much demerit for himself. That will lead to this worthless man's long-term harm & suffering.

Consciousness Classified by Requisite Condition
"Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

"Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
User avatar
polarbuddha101
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:39 am
Location: California

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Bakmoon » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:31 pm

nrose619 wrote:I was watching a video of a monk explaining shutting off the five senses during deep meditation and just experiencing the mind. He said the mind is separate from the body and is something that continues (4:00-5:00 in video). Is the mind permanent? because if it is rebirth would be easier to understand but also why is the mind the exception?

here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRutmoPEWaQ

-Nick


I don't think that the Ven. Ajahn Brahm was intending to say that the mind is permanent. I think that he was just saying that the mind continues after death. However, the the mind is impermanent just like everything else. It is composed of individual components which last for only brief periods of time and then cease only to be replaced by other components.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.
Bakmoon
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:56 pm

I can't find it but there is a sutta where the Buddha says that he can't think of a simile to describe how fast the mind changes, or can't think of anything that changes more quickly. Something like that. Anyone else know the one I mean?
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Goob » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:21 pm

So, is the continuum (not consciousness per se) of what is experienced as consciousness permanent? If not, why?
Goob
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2010 5:14 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Coyote » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:02 pm

richard_rca wrote:So, is the continuum (not consciousness per se) of what is experienced as consciousness permanent? If not, why?


I think the correct answer would be to say that consciousness (and that includes the stream of consciousness as well as individual moments) arises and ceases dependent on causes and conditions. Any sense of permanence (i.e experience is permanently happening to me) is based on self-view, and thus ignorance.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby nrose619 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:10 pm

I thought so! the video just confused me as all because he said the mind is separate from the body but I now realize he was simply explaining the continuation of mind and not that it is permanent.
"A silver bird
flies over the autumn lake.
When it has passed,
the lake's surface does not try
to hold on to the image of the bird."
User avatar
nrose619
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:32 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby Digity » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:53 pm

Coyote wrote:I can't find it but there is a sutta where the Buddha says that he can't think of a simile to describe how fast the mind changes, or can't think of anything that changes more quickly. Something like that. Anyone else know the one I mean?

Yes, I remember that sutta. He compared the difference in changes between the body and mind and said the change in the latter was far greater. I think he said something like the body was more "consistent" than the mind, but both are ultimately impermanent.

The mind is like a rushing river...it's so out of control unless it's trained through meditation. My understanding is that the mind comes into existence through conditions and once those conditions are gone so is the mind. Therefore, you should not think of it as a permanent entity.
Digity
 
Posts: 586
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby reflection » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:40 am

Here she is.

"But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. "

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:44 am

reflection wrote:Here she is.

"But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. "

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Bhikkhu Bodhi translates that as
that which is called 'mind' and 'mentality' and 'consciousness' ...

and has a long helpful note to that:
Cittaṃ iti pi mano iti pi viññāṇaṃ iti pi. [snip] Spk says these are all names for the mind base (manāyatana). Normally I render both citta and mano as "mind," but since English has only two words of common usage to denote the faculty of cognition - "mind" and "consciousness" - here I am compelled to use "mentality" as a makeshift for mano. While technically the three terms have the same denotation, in the Nikayas they are generally used in distinct contexts. As a rough generalization, viññāṇa signifies the particularizing awareness through a sense faculty (as in the standard sixfold division of viññāṇa into eye-consciousness, etc.) as well as the underlying stream of consciousness, which sustains personal continuity through a single life and threads together successive lives (emphasized at 12:38-40). Mano serves as the third door of action (along with body and speech) and as the sixth internal sense base (along with the five physical sense bases); as the mind base it coordinates the data of the other five senses and also cognizes mental phenomena (dhammā), its own special class of objects. Citta signifies mind as the centre of personal experience, as the subject of thought, volition, and emotion. It is citta that needs to be understood, trained, and liberated. For a more detailed discussion, see Hamilton, Identity and Experience, chap. 5.
"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
User avatar
kirk5a
 
Posts: 1756
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:56 am

Coyote wrote:I can't find it but there is a sutta where the Buddha says that he can't think of a simile to describe how fast the mind changes, or can't think of anything that changes more quickly. Something like that. Anyone else know the one I mean?

[quote"the Buddha"]I don't envision a single thing that is as quick to reverse itself as the mind — so much so that there is no feasible simile for how quick to reverse itself it is."
From Lahu-parivatta Sutta: Quick to Reverse Itself translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu[/quote]
With metta / dhammapal.
dhammapal
 
Posts: 669
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby alan... » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:41 pm

as far as i can tell the mind is a lot like a fire burning along a path. imagine a bunch of dry leaves and fire spreading from one to the next. under the leaves is cold earth so the fire only burns the leaves. as each section of leaves burns out and the fire spreads to the next leaves it is the same stream of fire but it's not technically the same fire. same with consciousness, it keeps moving along, always finding new fuel, it has the illusion of constancy the same as the fire but if you look closely you notice that each moment of consciousness is totally dependent on it's fuel and is different than the moment that preceded it.
alan...
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:37 pm

Re: Is the mind permanent?

Postby PadmaPhala » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:13 am

maybe the concept of eight consciousness* will be helpful for this.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Consciousnesses
User avatar
PadmaPhala
 
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:22 am


Return to Discovering Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests