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Luminous mind - Dhamma Wheel

Luminous mind

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.

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clw_uk
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Luminous mind

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:00 pm

Luminous mind - I have come accross this term many times but never really figured out what is meant by it. Is it a mind without defilements or something else?
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Individual » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:27 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


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clw_uk
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:49 pm

Is this simila to mahayana buddha nature?
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Individual » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:08 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


phil
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby phil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi all

This always interests me. The notion of a luminous mind is very attractive. But if we are following Theravadin orthodoxy we know that the bhavanga citta is being referred to so we had best take care in assuming that the Buddha taught about a luminous mind in the way we would naturally think about it. Personally, I think one can go through life clinging at times to the notion of a luminous mind, defiled by visiting kilesa etc - it is a good motivator for sila - even while one keeps in mind that Theravadin orthodoxy teaches it in a less easily grasped way and that our true understanding is quite shallow. Then again, even within Theravadin orthodoxy there may be some disagreement on this point, I think Bhikkhu Bodhi hints at that in a footnote to the sutta in question. (In Anguttara Nikaya, sorry don't have my book with me.)

Metta,

Phil

p.s the link provided above to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's footnote lays out the controversy, though since Thanissaro Bhikkhu generally shows little interest in Abhidhamma it would be better to check another source.
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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Rui Sousa
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:01 pm

I recall a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm, that I watched on YouTube, where the Ajahn presents the luminous mind as an arupa-jhana-citta, in line with the interpretation presented on the final paragraph of Ven. Thanissaro's comment to the above mentioned Sutta.
With Metta

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:48 pm


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cooran
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby cooran » Tue Mar 17, 2009 7:47 pm

Hello all,

Luminous (pabhassaram) is simply a reference to bhavanga citta:

AN1, 10:
"Monks, this mind is luminous (pabhassaram), but it is defiled by intrusive defilements. This mind is luminous, and it is freed from intrusive defilements." (Nyanaponikas transl.)

Nyanaponikas footnote to this reads : The commentary to this text explains the luminous mind as the subconscious life continuum (bhavanga), which is naturally luminous in that it is never tainted by defilements. The defilements arise only in the active thought process, not in the subliminal flow of consciousness.

bhavanga-sota and bhavanga-citta
The first term may tentatively be rendered as the 'undercurrent forming the condition of being, or existence', and the second as 'subconsciousness', though, as will be evident from the following, it differs in several respects from the usage of that term in Western psychology.
Bhavanga (bhava-anga), which, in the canonical works, is mentioned twice or thrice in the Patthāna, is explained in the Abhidhamma commentaries as the foundation or condition (kārana) of existence (bhava), as the sine qua non of life, having the nature of a process, lit. a flux or stream (sota). Herein, since time immemorial, all impressions and experiences are, as it were, stored up, or better said, are functioning, but concealed as such to - full consciousness, from where however they occasionally emerge as subconscious phenomena and approach the threshold of full consciousness, or crossing it become fully conscious. This so-called 'subconscious life-stream' or undercurrent of life is that by which might be explained the faculty of memory, paranormal psychic phenomena, mental and physical growth, karma and rebirth. etc. An alternative rendering is 'life-continuum'.
It should be noted that bhavanga-citta is a karma-resultant state of consciousness (vipāka, q.v.), and that, in birth as a human or in higher forms of existence, it is always the result of good, or wholesome karma (kusala-kamma-vipāka), though in varying degrees of strength (s. patisandhi, end of the article). The same holds true for rebirth consciousness (patisandhi) and death consciousness (cuti), which are only particular manifestations of subconsciousness. In Vis.M. XIV it is said:
"As soon as rebirth-consciousness (in the embryo at the time of conception) has ceased, there arises a similar subconsciousness with exactly the same object, following immediately upon rebirth-consciousness and being the result of this or that karma (volitional action done in a former birth and remembered there at the moment before death). And again a further similar state of subconsciousness arises. Now, as long as no other consciousness arises to interrupt the continuity of the life-stream, so long the life-stream, like the flow of a river, rises in the same way again and again, even during dreamless sleep and at other times. In this way one has to understand the continuous arising of those states of consciousness in the life-stream." Cf. viññāna-kicca. For more details, s. Fund. 11. (App.).
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_ ... a_sota.htm

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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bazzaman
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby bazzaman » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:30 am

.
Last edited by bazzaman on Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dhammanando
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Dhammanando » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:42 am


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Rui Sousa
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:12 am

With Metta

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robertk
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby robertk » Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:50 am


nathan
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby nathan » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:14 am

It seems to me that the mind is luminous. Not in the sense that light is but in a more comprehensive way. We have, for instance, the external source of light. The eye of the body, the brain of the body and then the mind which in this case is in contact with the body, brain and eye. In doing so eye consciousness arises in the mind. Same with all other senses, all sense is ultimately contact by mind. What is not contacted by mind, remains in the dark so far as the mind is concerned.

That is why it is put this way:
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements." {I,v,9}
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby Rui Sousa » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:37 am

With Metta

phil
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby phil » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:47 pm

Hi all

It occured to me this morning that "luminous mind" should be reflected on in conjuction with the sutta that is nearby that says how fleeting and rapidly changing the mind is. Sorry, on the run now so can't post it. But I think our conventional reflection on the luminous mind doesn't synch with the way it is described in that sutta, let alone in Abhidhamma and the more Abhidhamma-ish suttas in SN 35, for example.

I experienced a kind of "luminous mind" when meditating this morning, but it was just fabricated, subtle form of thinking. The actual mind is shifting (rapidly rising and falling mental events are shifting) fleeting much faster than that kind of experience I had. If we were to look at some texts that get at the fleetingness of mind it would help us better understand "luminous mind" I think.

Metta,

Phil
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)

pt1
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby pt1 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:24 am

Hi, I came across an explanation for light in meditation by Pa-Auk Tawya Sayadaw in his . For some reason I can't copy and paste the relevant section here - it's on page 194, question 4.10: "Could the Sayadaw please explain the light experienced in meditation scientifically?"

The gist of the explanation, which is very much in line with abhidhamma I think, is that cittas produce rupa kalapas (each rupa kalapa consists of at least 8 rupas taht arise together, of which color is one and temperature is another). The stronger the samatha and vipassana cittas, the brighter is the color rupa. Further, the temperature rupa in the citta-produced kalapa also produces further kalapas, which likewise include a color rupa. Since there are many of these two kinds of rupa kalapas produced continually by cittas, there comes the appearance of brightness and luminosity during strong samatha and vipassana. I hope I summarised this properly.

Best wishes

phil
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Re: Luminous mind

Postby phil » Sat Mar 21, 2009 7:57 am

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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