Mind and mind-object

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Mind and mind-object

Postby phil » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:06 pm

Hi all

I was asking about this in a more general area, so at the risk of being obnoxious, please let me ask about it again here.

This from the Honeyball Sutta (MN 18)

"Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

It's easy to understand how, for example, "depending on the eye and forms, seeing-consciousness arises" but much harder (for me at least) to understand mind and mind-objects. Could you help me with this? Does it come down to Abhidhamma, to an object that is cognized through the eye door, for example, falling away to immediately be cognized through the mind-door, that the visible object that has fallen away is processed immediately as a mind object through the mind door? And what if it is a random thought that comes without any visual or auditory or any other prompting, what is that object? A blip of mental information that is not yet an idea or thought in the same way a blip of visual information is not yet a perceived thing such as a "tree" or whatever?

Thanks.

Metta,

Phil
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(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:36 pm

I don't think there is any satisfactory answer to these types of questions. If you want to know what a mind object is, then you need to meditate and observe your mind, seeing how thoughts and perceptions arise and pass away.

This is not a pipe:

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Why did I remember that picture as one of an infinite number of possible ways to illustrate the point I am trying to make?
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby phil » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:16 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I don't think there is any satisfactory answer to these types of questions. If you want to know what a mind object is, then you need to meditate and observe your mind, seeing how thoughts and perceptions arise and pass away.

This is not a pipe:

Image

Why did I remember that picture as one of an infinite number of possible ways to illustrate the point I am trying to make?


Thank you for your kind feedback, Bhante, and the interesting example.

Unfortunately my meditation practice is not insight-oriented so it won't provide any answers to that question. I think as Theravadans, though, we can receive many answers through study of the texts, for theoretical understanding of the Dhamma, or pariyatti. If insight later confirms this intellectual understanding, great, but we start with the intellectual understanding. I think there is a danger of going astray if one is too eager to look into one's meditation for answers to deep questions. That is my opinion based on having talked with people on the internet who define the citta, for example, based on the way they understand it through meditation.

I looked in Visudhimagga (XV, 34) and found this: "mental-data element (is reckoned as) twenty things, namely, three immaterial aggregates, sixteen kinds of subtle matter, and the unformed element." (I assume that "the unformed element" means nibbana.) So obviously "mind-object" is much more complex than one would think. I will drop this. Perhaps my review of the CMA will clarify things for me.

Metta,

Phil
I hope that every time I post it will be accompanied by a wish for the wellbeing of everyone in this sangha and all beings.
(so I don't have to write "metta" every time!)


Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:30 pm

Hi Phil
From what I understand mind door objects are just those initial blips of mental phenomena (like an old memory popping up for no reason)- not the results of latter processing. But this gets complicated as latter processing can lead in a cause and effect manner for mind door objects to pop up- but it is unclear where to draw the line - ie where mental processing stops and 'new' objects pop up.
with metta
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby serg_o » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:09 am

Hello, phil

You can look at the section of contemplating "dhammas in dhammas" (Mental Qualities in Thanissaro bhikkhu translation, Mental Objects in Soma thera and Nanasatta translations) in Satipatthana sutta, the sections about obstacles (nivarana) and factors of enlightment (bojjhanga). May be these pieces would be of help with your question. :hello:

best wishes,
Sergey
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:32 pm

Fascinating topic! It's loosely related to a thread I started here.
But what Bhante says is so true, that there really are things that can only be found in word-less meditation.

That's my two cents :)
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby mirco » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:57 am

serg_o wrote:the sections about obstacles (nivarana) and factors of enlightment (bojjhanga)


Hi,

here are tow quite easy understandable Dhammatalks (incl. transcripts) on that: 7 Factors

Be Well, :) Mirco
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby dhamma follower » Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:10 am

phil wrote:Hi all

I was asking about this in a more general area, so at the risk of being obnoxious, please let me ask about it again here.

This from the Honeyball Sutta (MN 18)

"Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

It's easy to understand how, for example, "depending on the eye and forms, seeing-consciousness arises" but much harder (for me at least) to understand mind and mind-objects. Could you help me with this? Does it come down to Abhidhamma, to an object that is cognized through the eye door, for example, falling away to immediately be cognized through the mind-door, that the visible object that has fallen away is processed immediately as a mind object through the mind door? And what if it is a random thought that comes without any visual or auditory or any other prompting, what is that object? A blip of mental information that is not yet an idea or thought in the same way a blip of visual information is not yet a perceived thing such as a "tree" or whatever?

Thanks.

Metta,

Phil


Dear Phil,

I am not sure I understand very well your question, but regarding mind-object, I understand it to be anything that is perceived by the mind. So the both cases you mentioned above belong to it. In practice, it is possible to see the thought arises and pass away with the knowing mind. The thought is a mental object having nothing to do with seeing or hearing, it can be anything like: "this car is old" or "the Dhamma is deep"...
Actually, through experiences, I have seen the moment of direct contact between the mind-object and the mind, only then the thought is formed, which is a kind of verbal translation of what has been directly known before, very weird...And it is hard to put it into words.
IMHO, the implication of this is that thought or even direct understanding is truly anatta, and it's much easier then to dis-identify with mental stuff.

Hope it helps,

D.F.
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby Emanresu » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:00 pm

phil wrote:This from the Honeyball Sutta (MN 18)

"Depending on the mind and mind-objects, mind-consciousness arises. The meeting of the three is contact. With contact as condition, there is feeling. What one feels, that one perceives. What one perceives, one thinks about. What one thinks about, one mentally proliferates. With what one has mentally proliferated as the source, perceptions and notions (born of ) mental proliferation beset a man with respect to past, future and present mind-objects congnizable by the mind."

It's easy to understand how, for example, "depending on the eye and forms, seeing-consciousness arises" but much harder (for me at least) to understand mind and mind-objects. Could you help me with this?


Hello Phil,

according to my understanding (which is far from being perfect), "mind and mind-objects" have to be understood in the same sense as "eye and forms" in this context. Our experience is that of being in the world, and we are in that world by means of our body or senses. With regard to that, I think that "mind" is just an equivalent of the other five senses in the "mental environment", i.e. the world of mind-objects. I think it's not by accident that we speak of the "mind's eye" etc., because we are still some kind of "embodied", even in the world of "mind objects". The "mind" is the way of being present there (similar to the five other senses in "their" world).

All the best!
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby mirco » Sun Mar 06, 2011 5:53 am

phil wrote:I was asking about this in a more general area, so at the risk of being obnoxious, please let me ask about it again here.
This from the Honeyball Sutta (MN 18)....


Hi Phil,

maybe this helps to clarify a bit: http://www.dhammasukha.org/Study/mn-018.htm

Best Wishes, Mirco :)
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Re: Mind and mind-object

Postby lojong1 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:42 am

Emanresu wrote:"mind's eye"

Gave me goosebumps when I read in abhidhamma of mental contents that have yet to meet the mind, just like solid objects to a closed or distant eye. Spooky, what couldn't be floating through my room right now?
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