Can mind exist without matter?

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Can mind exist without matter?

Postby SarathW » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:00 am

The way I understand, mind is arising with mater (gross or subtle) and it is not possible mind to exist without matter.
I am reading the attached text and page 37 it says:

76 Arūpabhava: the highest cosmological realm, where matter has completely disappeared and only
mind exists. This realm consists of four extremely subtle planes, into which rebirth is gained by mastery
over the four formless or non-material meditations.

What are your thoughts?

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf1/wh155An ... ikaya1.pdf
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:49 am

Greetings Sarath,

Apologies I cannot provide a reference off the top of my head, but the Buddha said that mentality required a physical basis. Commentators interpreted this as advocating the prevailing Indian cardiac theory that the heart was the physical seat of consciousness, although the Buddha did not explicitly call out any proximite location.

That said, to your question of what "exists", I'd caution against unwittingly leaping to an ontological interpretation. To use an analogy...

For the man watching television but hearing no sound... it could be because the volume is off, or it could be because he is deaf. In his world (loka), no TV sound "exists"... but whether the physical reason for this is attributable to deafness (no audible vibrations being detected) or the volume being turned down (no audible vibrations being produced), is inconsequential in terms of the resultant first-hand present-moment experience of seeing but not hearing the television.

Compare that to when matter could be said to "exist" or otherwise.

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


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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby pegembara » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:05 am

Questions such as this comes from clinging to views/ideas. Don't know if it was ever directly answered by the Buddha- more likely it was set aside as not relevant to the path.

The right way to frame the question according to this sutta-

"Monks, there are these four nutriments for the maintenance of beings who have come into being or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical food, gross or refined; contact as the second, intellectual intention the third, and consciousness the fourth.

"Now, these four nutriments have what as their cause, what as their origination, through what are they born, through what are they brought into being? These four nutriments have craving as their cause, craving as their origination, are born from craving, are brought into being from craving.

"And this craving has what as its cause, what as its origination, through what is it born, through what is it brought into being?

"Craving has feeling as its cause... is brought into being through feeling.

"And this feeling has what as its cause... through what is it brought into being?

"Feeling has contact as its cause...

"And this contact has what as its cause... through what is it brought into being?

"Contact has the six sense-media as its cause...

"And these six sense-media have what as their cause... through what are they brought into being?

"The six sense-media have name-&-form as their cause...

"And this name-&-form has what as its cause... through what is it brought into being?

"Name-&-form has consciousness as its cause...

"And this consciousness has what as its cause... through what is it brought into being?

"Consciousness has fabrications as its cause...


"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.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby santa100 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:42 pm

Some description of ArupaLoka on the wiki page, notice the interesting parts highlighted..

Arupa-Loka (Formless Realms)[edit]
The immaterial or formless sphere (arupa loka) includes four planes into which beings are born as a result of attaining the Four Formless Jhana arūpadhyānas. The inhabitants of these realms are possessed entirely of mind. Having no physical form or location, they are unable to hear Dhamma teachings. They achieve this by attaining the formless jhana levels in a previous life, and now enjoys the fruits (vipāka) of the good karma of that accomplishment for a period of time before rebirth in a lower plane again. They do not interact with the rest of the universe.
31 - Sphere of Neither Perception Nor Non Perception (nevasannanasannayatanupaga deva) The beings in this plane only have mind and no physical body. They are unable to hear Dhamma. In this sphere the formless beings do not engage in "perception". Uddaka Ramaputra's father reached this plane and thought that this is awakening. After having experienced this state the Buddha realized that it will eventually lead to further rebirth.[9]
30 - Sphere of Nothingness (akincannayatanupaga deva) Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the third formless jhana in a previous life. This is considered a form of perception, though a very subtle one. This was the sphere reached by Āḷāra Kālāma, the Buddha's first teacher. Alara Kalama thought that it is the state of awakening or liberation.[10]
29 - The Sphere of Infinite Consciousness (vinnanancayatanupaga deva) Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the second formless jhana. In this sphere formless beings dwell meditating on their consciousness (vijñāna) as infinitely pervasive.
28 - Sphere of Infinite Space (akasanancayatanupaga deva) Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the first formless jhana. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_c ... _Realms.29 )
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:38 pm

SarathW wrote:76 Arūpabhava: the highest cosmological realm, where matter has completely disappeared and only mind exists. This realm consists of four extremely subtle planes, into which rebirth is gained by mastery over the four formless or non-material meditations.


1) How does Arūpa loka fits with dependent origination? Isn't rūpa part of nāma (4th link)?

2) Does rūpa translates as "matter" in the modern materialistic sense or is it only perceived matter?

3) How can we know about other minds if not by his/her physical responses to physical stimuli? For example: If a person is angry, then he might clench fists, make angry sounds, frown, his heart beat will go up, adrenalin released, etc, etc. When a yogin experiences "other minds" during a deep meditative state, it is still experienced inside his own mind - and how to distinguish that experience from his own mind?

Just some thoughts to discuss.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:00 pm

Alex123 wrote:
1) How does Arūpa loka fits with dependent origination? Isn't rūpa part of nāma (4th link)?

2) Does rūpa translates as "matter" in the modern materialistic sense or is it only perceived matter?

3) How can we know about other minds if not by his/her physical responses to physical stimuli? For example: If a person is angry, then he might clench fists, make angry sounds, frown, his heart beat will go up, adrenalin released, etc, etc. When a yogin experiences "other minds" during a deep meditative state, it is still experienced inside his own mind - and how to distinguish that experience from his own mind?

Just some thoughts to discuss.

So what is your answers to these questions ? I am very interested. :anjali:
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:30 pm

In Dreams.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:30 pm

BlueLotus wrote:So what is your answers to these questions ? I am very interested. :anjali:


I am considering them myself. I'd like to discuss this with others.

as for #1. There may have been different layers in Pali Canon, not all of which were taught by the Buddha.

Maybe in arūpa loka one merely does not perceive rūpa. Considering how rūpa/arūpa lokas are correlated with 4 Jhāna and immaterial states, maybe there isn't ontological rūpa/arūpa but states of citta for the person.

rūpa can mean different things in different contexts. In D.O. it "The four great elements, and the form dependent on the four great elements: This is called form." - SN12.2

In some other contexts, rūpa is object of the eye. "Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. " - MN148


For my 3rd point, one could interpret it from materialist or idealist pov. But from both POV's, it is difficult (if even possible) to infer the existence of mind without matter (be it imaginary or ontologically real matter).
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:33 pm

Mr Man wrote:In Dreams.


Don't dreams involve imagining shapes and or colors, rūpa? Some say that activity of the brain is a required cause for dreams. So nāmarūpa is present even if some aspect is not perceived. If one were to unknowingly ingest hallucinogenic substances or take anesthetics, then don't you think that it would affect dreams or cause one not to have any dreams?
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Mr Man » Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:52 pm

Alex123 wrote:
Mr Man wrote:In Dreams.


Don't dreams involve imagining shapes and or colors, rūpa? Some say that activity of the brain is a required cause for dreams. So nāmarūpa is present even if some aspect is not perceived. If one were to unknowingly ingest hallucinogenic substances or take anesthetics, then don't you think that it would affect dreams or cause one not to have any dreams?


I think I should have used a question mark :smile:

Sleep is interesting though as it would seem that thought moves and the mind rests free form the usual constraints.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby SarathW » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:13 am

Thanks all.
Base on Pegembara’s comment:
“Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.”
---------------------
I think Arupabhava is a result of intellect and ideas.
So my question is:
Can Intellect and ideas be considered as subtle matter? What is the course of intellect and ideas?
I think, Arupabhava is just the matter change into something else, the same way that water can be change to ice, heat, vapour etc.

Can I show you an ice cube and say that water is completely disappeared? :shrug:
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:15 am

Alex123 wrote:
2) Does rūpa translates as "matter" in the modern materialistic sense or is it only perceived matter?



The provenance of the "modern" perspective can actually be traced to the Abhidhammic methodology of classifying rūpa as whatsoever is contactable by the 5 "material" sense bases, versus nāma which is contrasted as arūpa. At least from the Pali suttas, as observed by Sue Hamilton, this limitation to the 5 senses is nowhere to be found. My suspicion for why the Pali Abhidhamma opted for this classification is that it is a borrowing from the Sarva Abhidharma, or at least a proto-Abhi text that predates both schools. I've seen at least one (Mula)-Sarva Agama sutra, where nāma is defined as feeling, perception, volition and consciousness, instead of the more standard definition found elsewhere in the Pali and Chinese. This sutra may be the source for the Sarva Abhidharmic analysis of rūpa versus arūpa, which was eventually adopted in the Pali Abhidhamma.

If one looks to the Upanisadic literature that can be attested confidently as being pre-Buddhist, we get the sense that rūpa means "appearance". I think the Buddha adopted and preserved this usage, the most notable example being DN 15's descent of consciousness into the womb being the condition for nāmarūpa forming in the womb.

But, the Buddha went further than the Upanisadic antecedents and expanded the role of nāmarūpa beyond the instance of rebirth consciousness. Every instance of contact, according to the Buddha, would be governed by the same principle, ie the 5 Aggregates. That's all there is to Suffering. According to MN 28, contact arisen from the mind, dhammas and mind-consciousness can give rise to rūpa as rūpūpādānakkhandha (the clinging aggregate of rūpa). This does not quite tally with the Abhidhammic method which focusses on the prequel to contact. MN 28 and the general 5 Aggregate analysis, IMHO, deals with the sequel to contact.

What rūpa seems to mean in the context of contact happening is that experience can have a rūpiya (rūpa functioning adjectivally) dimension to it. DN 15 is probably the best explanation of what types of contact occur, and how these types of contact operate in the context of bare sensory impression and its sequel "delineation". That sutta explicitly discusses the ākāra liṅga nimitta uddesa (quality, attribute, sign, mark) of each of nāma and rūpa that would be necessary for the 2 types of contact to operate in relation to nāma and rūpa. Rūpa operates in paṭighasamphassa (bare sensory impression), but surprisingly, there can be paṭighasamphassa of nāmakāya. This agrees with the possibility in MN 28, ie that the contact at the mind-base can also give rise to rūpa.

By and large, if one were looking at rūpa in the context of the quality of sense objects, it probably suffices to just talk about "material" qualities. However, given that rūpa is also discussed as an Aggregate, it is important to keep in mind that rūpa can also arise in the relation to immaterial qualities. I think rather than using the terms "material" and "immaterial", it would probably be far better to use the ākāra liṅga nimitta uddesa terminology to describe rūpa. These synonyms point back to "appearance", in the sense of how does a contact appear in the broadest sense of solidity, liquidity, movement, energy, and spatiality.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:38 am

Greetings,

So, in short, nāma-rūpa as "name and form" rather than "mentality and materiality"?

:geek:

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


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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:20 am

Probably, Retro. As long as we bear in mind that according to DN 15, nāma would include "naming", besides "name". That much comes out in that sutta's mention of adhivacanasamphassa (designation contact) being the functional aspect of nāma. The 3 aspects of nāmarūpa (ie in rebirth, in the "bare" cognitive event (paṭighasamphassa) and in the ability of "discern" (adhivacanasamphassa) ) are laid out in this summary from the sutta -

It is to this extent, Ānanda, that one can be born, age, and die, pass away and re-arise, to this extent that there is a pathway for designation, to this extent that there is a pathway for language, to this extent that there is a pathway for description, to this extent that there is a sphere for wisdom, to this extent that the round turns for describing this state of being, that is, when there is mentality-materiality together with consciousness.

Ettāvatā kho, ānanda, jāyetha vā jīyetha vā mīyetha vā cavetha vā upapajjetha vā. Ettāvatā adhivacanapatho, ettāvatā niruttipatho, ettāvatā paññattipatho, ettāvatā paññāvacaraṃ, ettāvatā vaṭṭaṃ vattati itthattaṃ paññāpanāya yadidaṃ nāmarūpaṃ saha viññāṇena aññamaññapaccayatā pavattati.


The knife's edge, between right discernment and wrong discernment, is discussed in the section of where delineation/description and non-delineation of "self" occurs. I suspect that when one incorrectly paññapeti (delineate/describe) a "self", that tips one over to pāpañca. Yet, it appears that the awakening process requires one to "describe". There's a sutta in SN 22.62 that discusses the necessity of adhivacanapatha niruttipatha viññattipatha in properly "describing/naming" states as "is", "was" or "will be". It appears that perhaps the Buddha was not averse to the subject-object dichotomy, as long as one does not name a "self".
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby daverupa » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:52 am

Sylvester wrote:It appears that perhaps the Buddha was not averse to the subject-object dichotomy, as long as one does not name a "self".


"This body with consciousness and external namarupa" comes to mind for me, on that note.
    "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: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Sylvester » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:09 am

Good catch!

But, as much as I'd like to invoke SN 12.19 to support the dichotomy, I'm not sure if the context allows it. It suggests that the duality/pair is the condition for contact. Based on the standard full DO sequence, it's nāmarūpa which is the condition for the sense bases and contact thereon. But the condition for name and form is consciousness, which does not appear here, unless the "body" is to be read idiomatically to refer to the "bodies of consciousness" (found elsewhere in suttas such as DN 33, MN 137, MN 146, SN 12.2). The phrase cha viññāṇakāyā (6 bodies/groups of consciousness) is a pretty well known concept, and I wonder if the "body" in SN 12.19 should not be a reference to the "bodies" in SN 12.2.

What complicates it a bit is the Sarva Skt parallel (in Tripathi 1962: 140) which says "this arisen body with consciousness". It does mess up the Pali duality structure a bit, by going back to the more familiar DO sequence of consciousness as the condition for nāmarūpa, but with a body appended to the vortex. (Caveat - I've simply translated the BH Skt phrase using Pali grammar, and I could be mistaken in my syntax analysis)

However, Potter would probably agree with you on this, as he believes that SN 12.19 shows a throwback to the Upanisadic duality (Abh Budd to 150 AD, p45).
Last edited by Sylvester on Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Aloof » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:39 am

Mind can never exist without matter.
This is simple law of nature (Dhamma).

Both mind and matter ascend together to Emptiness.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:41 am

Aloof wrote:Mind can never exist without matter.
This is simple law of nature (Dhamma).


According to who?
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Heraclitus


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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby Aloof » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:07 am

Ben wrote:
Aloof wrote:Mind can never exist without matter.
This is simple law of nature (Dhamma).


According to who?



1. According to modern science..........All matter and mind disappear together in black hole.
2. According to Buddha...................In vipassana meditation both mind ( form of thoughts) and
sensations ( physical energy- another form of matter) disappear
together.
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Re: Can mind exist without matter?

Postby SarathW » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:35 am

According to Buddhism can we consider light, air,space and sub atomic particles (strings et) as matter?
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