The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:02 pm

Greetings all,

The mind is changeable. We notice this not just from day to day, but even in the passing of an hour. I'm told that something so changeable and impermanent is not fitting to be regarded as 'me' or as 'mine'. Fair enough, I agree.

AND YET

I'm also told that I alone can train this mind to liberation from all these manifold ills that are pressing on me.

Am I to understand it that although there is nothing in mind and body that is fitting to be regarded as me or mine - therefore this mind is not mine - that, nevertheless it is to be trained by me and no one else? I am to train, mould, shape and teach something that is not mine, but that if trained well, will lead to happiness, but if left wild and untrained, leads onward to more sorrow?

What is this strange world we live in? It seems that I am intimately related to this mind, but that at the same time, I cannot lay claim to it as a possession.

I am not immune from a slight sense of humour in all this. But I'm also wondering if anyone else has found themselves perplexed in this way.
Last edited by manas on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:08 pm

Already as the question is framed it consists in thinking of citta as something I train; the training of mind is me, mine, myself, and this means that the question is illegitimate because it assumes a self in the asking.

Is there a mind? Well sure - there it is, as you say it's right there, available for being aware of. Okay then, train it, because it's an untrained mind that allows dukkha, and it's a trained mind that prevents dukkha. It isn't that the mind is your responsibility; it's that the untrained mind allows dukkha, and that sucks, so train it and things won't suck.

No talk of who does the training need occur.
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby manas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:48 pm

daverupa wrote:Already as the question is framed it consists in thinking of citta as something I train; the training of mind is me, mine, myself, and this means that the question is illegitimate because it assumes a self in the asking.

Is there a mind? Well sure - there it is, as you say it's right there, available for being aware of. Okay then, train it, because it's an untrained mind that allows dukkha, and it's a trained mind that prevents dukkha. It isn't that the mind is your responsibility; it's that the untrained mind allows dukkha, and that sucks, so train it and things won't suck.

No talk of who does the training need occur.


There is a being here, Dave, who is undertaking the training, to a very humble extent yes, but nevertheless he doesn't *just* put his energies into maximizing pleasant feelings, and avoiding unpleasant ones. He does also apply himself to some extent, to the Path of practice. This requires some effort, and what can sometimes feel like 'self denial' even though deep down, he knows that's just the defilements talking...So although people like to say there's no one undertaking the practice, in our day to day experience, there is a being that does.

Thanks for your reply, though, I see your point. But what has come up for me lately is that there are two worlds, two realities, the conventional and the ultimate, and that I need to manage both. Which is just fine, strange but fine...

Metta
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:11 pm

I guess I don't see the anatta as something we have to swallow hook, line and sinker, but something that gradually or suddenly reveals itself.

Some people convince themselves intellectually that it is the case but unless that really sinks in and manifests in the action, this isn't worth much.

Intellectually, I agree with Dave and also agree with you, that "my mind" is quite special and different to "me" than "your mind" or "Dave's mind". So what is this "me" who does the training, who takes responsibility, etc? This is worth looking into and perhaps it will take one to the answer to your OP.
_/|\_
User avatar
Dan74
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:28 pm

manas wrote:
There is a being here....

But what has come up for me lately is that there are two worlds, two realities, the conventional and the ultimate, and that I need to manage both. Which is just fine, strange but fine...

As you know there is a being, but is the mind personal? is it different from another mind to some great extent that would differentiate it from another?

to play on this two worlds theme you bring up. I do like the think of anatta as meaning impersonal in a worldly sense, yet ultimately meaning no intrinsic self.
if you look at threads here on the forum or daily events, how upset or excited we become by something does show how personally we take it, how attached we are to it.

The mind is no more than an operating system with the viruses of Greed, Hatred and Delusion making it operate funny and the anti-virus is the Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby jackson » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:01 am

Just to show a deeper perspective,

Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

It's only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.010.bodh.html

This is of course, the Arahant's perspective, but this is what we are striving toward, seeing things as they actually are.
Best wishes, :anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
jackson
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:04 am

manas wrote: there are two worlds, two realities, the conventional and the ultimate, and that I need to manage both.


I don't think so.

There is a being undergoing practice, as you say, and this will be true for all sekha since there will still be the five aggregates subject to appropriation. But it is not "my" mind that is undergoing training, it isn't even "me" that is undergoing training. As MN 1 advises, we ought not to conceive in these ways, training to directly know rather than to perceive as a puthujjana.

So, I understand a being is training, and that this is the prevailing sense for us all; only the arahant is free of the stench of subjectivity in that sense.

But we are tasked with not pursuing these conceivings, which means we are tasked with not managing two worlds, and with not pursuing these sorts of questions.

:heart:
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:05 am

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14655
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:11 am

manas wrote:Am I to understand it that although there is nothing in mind and body that is fitting to be regarded as me or mine - therefore this mind is not mine - that, nevertheless it is to be trained by me and no one else? I am to train, mould, shape and teach something that is not mine, but that if trained well, will lead to happiness, but if left wild and untrained, leads onward to more sorrow?


Yes, it should not be regarded as mine or myself, however there are varying levels of influence (dare I say control) to be had over experience, whether it be related to the experience of a "self" or the experience of a "world". Attempting to consider the origin or source of these experiences leads to confusion. Just understand that influence is possible. Also, don't look at it as a "you" molding a "you", because once again that is paradoxical - look at the situation as an experience that can be interfered with in different ways. If there is a goal to that influence and it is carried out in the proper way it will lead to progress along whatever path.
User avatar
SDC
 
Posts: 1019
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm
Location: North Jersey

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby manas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:36 am

I guess there's still some conception of self for this being, and I will humbly admit that I still have a long way to go.

Thanks all for the replies, I am learning by getting the different perspectives. I have to be brief here as my child is hungry and needs food...

Metta
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Kamran » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:41 am

If looked at from a meditation perspective I think anatta and the 5 aggreagates (the separate processes that constitute a "self") can be a useful tool.

I like to try and see the 5 aggregates/processes at the 6 sense doors. For example, if noting "thinking, thinking" at the mind door I could contemplate the aggregates as follows:

1. Physical/form - brain.
2. Feelings - was the thought pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
3. Perception - recognized it as a thought about something I had experienced (family, work, etc.).
4. Mental Formation - the intention or action to make the thought arise.
5. Conciousness/Citta - was aware of and observed the thought.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
User avatar
Kamran
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby jackson » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:44 am

Hi Manas,
I sympathize with your plight, we're all brothers and sisters in old age, sickness, and death, and dukkha as well. I've found Ajahn Sumedho's teachings to be very helpful in getting some space around self-view so thought I'd share a little quote of his;
"I used to make it a practice to play with personality rather than merely trying to let go of it as the cause celebre of practice. To think 'I've got to get rid of my personality and not attach to my emotions' is one of the ways we grasp teachings of the Lord Buddha. Instead, I would become a personality quite intentionally, so I could listen to and observe this sense of me and mine. I would practise bringing up the thoughts, 'Me, what about me?' 'Don't you care about me?' 'Aren't you interested in what I think and how I feel?' And 'These are my things, this is my robe, my possessions, my bowl, my space, my view, my thoughts, my feelings and my rights.' 'I'm Ajahn Sumedho,' 'I'm a Mahathera' and 'I'm a disciple of Luang Por Chah', and on and on like that. 'This is what makes me an interesting person, a person that has titles and is respected and admired in the society.' I would listen to that. I would listen, not to knock it down or criticise it but to recognise the power of words, how I could create my self; I would more and more find the refuge in awareness, rather than in the conditions of my personality, in the fears or self-disparagement or megalomania or whatever else happened to be operating in consciousness."
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books9/Ajahn_Sumedho_Personality.htm
I hope that helps and best wishes,
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
jackson
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby santa100 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:58 am

Maybe Morpheus could help clarifying it... ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Nh0Fvoe9k )

Now the clip was missing a very important part just a few seconds after Neo and Morpheus were unplugged from the "jump" program. Neo wiped some blood off his mouth and said with surprise: "I thought this wasn't real" and Morpheus replied: "Your mind makes it real!". It is exactly this faulty wiring that makes us see things as "I", "mine", and "myself". THe training to fix this glitch will take time and effort and it will not work just by intellectual understanding alone. Even Neo, mr. "the One", failed his first jump because he was trying to conceptualize it (notice the scene immediately before his first attempt when he mumbled to himself: "Okey dokey, no problem, free my mind, free my mind...").
santa100
 
Posts: 1523
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:53 am

I do thank all for their replies. I have been given some food for thought (and reflection) here. However I now know that I need to fill the tank with petrol and make the long journey to the wise and experienced ajahn at a monastery, who has known me well over the years. I also need some physical, face to face instruction. Gosh we would not service a car *just* from advice online. And the mind is more important, and trickier to master, than any car.

metta
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:31 am

manas wrote:Gosh we would not service a car *just* from advice online.


The words of another and appropriate attention - so no, not just online advice.

;)

(remember the appropriate attention part when you visit the monastic!)
    "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]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:58 pm

Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:42 am

Thank you all for replying. I don't think I managed to convey what I really intended with the original post; I was more bemused than confused, although yes I freely admit I've much to learn. I really was musing on the curious situation of having to work, raise kids, make small talk with people, etc, all the while having a gradually increasing sense that it isn't fitting to regard any of these experiences as being self, or as belonging to self. Obviously I'm not able to convey the peculiar emotion I had in mind, but no matter!

So, with thanks to all for their kind words of advice or comment, I think it would be fitting to now bring this topic to a close, and allow it to sink into the virtual abyss of old, forgotten posts.
:anjali:
______________________*__*__*______________________

I could die today, and I don't want to die without having done
some citta-bhavana, so I will do some citta-bhavana today.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Return to Theravada Meditation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests