Luminious mind

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Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:00 am

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person -- there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed noble disciple discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the well-instructed noble disciple -- there is development of the mind."

Anguttara Nikaya I.49-52
Pabhassara Suttas

The above verses seem to say that the key to development of the mind is to discern that as it actually is present. What is that as it actually is present?
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:05 am

Sherab wrote:"

The above verses seem to say that the key to development of the mind is to discern that as it actually is present. What is that as it actually is present?


maybe this?
"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.irel.html
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:11 am

Sherab wrote:"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person -- there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed noble disciple discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the well-instructed noble disciple -- there is development of the mind."

Anguttara Nikaya I.49-52
Pabhassara Suttas

The above verses seem to say that the key to development of the mind is to discern that as it actually is present. What is that as it actually is present?
Be very, very careful in reading this text. Do we read "the mind" - citta - as refering to some sort of existing thing - the mind?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:35 am

tiltbillings wrote:Be very, very careful in reading this text. Do we read "the mind" - citta - as refering to some sort of existing thing - the mind?

The mind that is to be developed has to refer to the dependently arisen mind. That development somehow seems to be connected with discenment of "that as it actually is present" and somehow has something to do with the "luminous" aspect of the mind. That's how it seems to me.
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:41 am

Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Be very, very careful in reading this text. Do we read "the mind" - citta - as refering to some sort of existing thing - the mind?

The mind that is to be developed has to refer to the dependently arisen mind. That development somehow seems to be connected with discenment of "that as it actually is present" and somehow has something to do with the "luminous" aspect of the mind. That's how it seems to me.
One might need to be careful about reading too much into "luminous" as well.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:41 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
Sherab wrote:"

The above verses seem to say that the key to development of the mind is to discern that as it actually is present. What is that as it actually is present?


maybe this?
"Herein, Bahiya, you should train yourself thus: 'In the seen will be merely what is seen; in the heard will be merely what is heard; in the sensed will be merely what is sensed; in the cognized will be merely what is cognized.' In this way you should train yourself, Bahiya.

"When, Bahiya, for you in the seen is merely what is seen... in the cognized is merely what is cognized, then, Bahiya, you will not be 'with that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'with that,' then, Bahiya, you will not be 'in that.' When, Bahiya, you are not 'in that,' then, Bahiya, you will be neither here nor beyond nor in between the two. Just this is the end of suffering."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.irel.html


Thanks for the link.

In there was this utterance by the Buddha:

"Where neither water nor yet earth
Nor fire nor air gain a foothold,
There gleam no stars, no sun sheds light,
There shines no moon, yet there no darkness reigns.

When a sage, a brahman, has come to know this
For himself through his own wisdom,
Then he is freed from form and formless.
Freed from pleasure and from pain."


It seems to me that the verses are pointing to the "that as it actually is present".
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Be very, very careful in reading this text. Do we read "the mind" - citta - as refering to some sort of existing thing - the mind?

The mind that is to be developed has to refer to the dependently arisen mind. That development somehow seems to be connected with discenment of "that as it actually is present" and somehow has something to do with the "luminous" aspect of the mind. That's how it seems to me.
One might need to be careful about reading too much into "luminous" as well.

Could you elaborate?
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:51 am

Sherab wrote:Could you elaborate?
What do you think lumimous means here?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:04 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sherab wrote:Could you elaborate?
What do you think lumimous means here?

Unclouded. Now could you elaborate on your previous post?
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:18 am

Main Entry: lu·mi·nous
Pronunciation: \ˈlü-mə-nəs\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin luminosus, from lumin-, lumen
Date: 15th century

1 a : emitting or reflecting usually steady, suffused, or glowing light b : of or relating to light or to luminous flux
2 : bathed in or exposed to steady light <luminous with sunlight>
3 : clear, enlightening
4 : shining, illustrious <a luminous film star> <a luminous performance>


http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/luminous

So I take luminous mind to be the sort of citta leading to enlightenment, not some aggregate of a self, conventional or elsewise.
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:27 am

Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Sherab wrote:Could you elaborate?
What do you think lumimous means here?

Unclouded. Now could you elaborate on your previous post?

When consciousness first arises, the first moments of it in a sense are free of the conditioning that comes storming in as it goes through it process of rising and falling. It is that first bit that is cultivated via mindfulness and concentration practice. Anything else starts getting into a metaphysics that the Buddha rejected.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:59 am

tiltbillings wrote:When consciousness first arises, the first moments of it in a sense are free of the conditioning that comes storming in as it goes through it process of rising and falling. It is that first bit that is cultivated via mindfulness and concentration practice. Anything else starts getting into a metaphysics that the Buddha rejected.

How does you post apply to a mental consciousness that does not arise in dependent on a sense consciousness?
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:03 am

Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:When consciousness first arises, the first moments of it in a sense are free of the conditioning that comes storming in as it goes through it process of rising and falling. It is that first bit that is cultivated via mindfulness and concentration practice. Anything else starts getting into a metaphysics that the Buddha rejected.

How does you post apply to a mental consciousness that does not arise in dependent on a sense consciousness?
Please clarify. Better that I do not assume what you are say.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:24 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:When consciousness first arises, the first moments of it in a sense are free of the conditioning that comes storming in as it goes through it process of rising and falling. It is that first bit that is cultivated via mindfulness and concentration practice. Anything else starts getting into a metaphysics that the Buddha rejected.

How does you post apply to a mental consciousness that does not arise in dependent on a sense consciousness?
Please clarify. Better that I do not assume what you are say.

Sense consciousness is free from imputations. Therefore it is possible for the first moment of a mental consciousness arising in dependence on a sense consciousness to be free of imputations. However, mental consciousness that does arise in dependence on a mental consciousness will have to do so on a previous moment of mental consciousness. If the previous moment of that mental consciousness is free of imputations, your post would apply. So the question in my mind is under what other circumstances can the "first" moment of a mental consciousness be free from imputations? (Note: I prefer "imputations" over "conditioning" because I think no phenomena of consciousness is unconditoned. Correct me if I am wrong.)
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:46 am

Sherab wrote:Sense consciousness is free from imputations. Therefore it is possible for the first moment of a mental consciousness arising in dependence on a sense consciousness to be free of imputations. However, mental consciousness that does arise in dependence on a mental consciousness will have to do so on a previous moment of mental consciousness. If the previous moment of that mental consciousness is free of imputations, your post would apply. So the question in my mind is under what other circumstances can the "first" moment of a mental consciousness be free from imputations? (Note: I prefer "imputations" over "conditioning" because I think no phenomena of consciousness is unconditoned. Correct me if I am wrong.)

imputations
That's coming out of a Tibetan stand point. Since this is a Theravadin forum I am inclined towards Pali/Theravadin sources, which tend to see things a bit differently.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:18 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Sherab wrote:Sense consciousness is free from imputations. Therefore it is possible for the first moment of a mental consciousness arising in dependence on a sense consciousness to be free of imputations. However, mental consciousness that does arise in dependence on a mental consciousness will have to do so on a previous moment of mental consciousness. If the previous moment of that mental consciousness is free of imputations, your post would apply. So the question in my mind is under what other circumstances can the "first" moment of a mental consciousness be free from imputations? (Note: I prefer "imputations" over "conditioning" because I think no phenomena of consciousness is unconditoned. Correct me if I am wrong.)

imputations
That's coming out of a Tibetan stand point. Since this is a Theravadin forum I am inclined towards Pali/Theravadin sources, which tend to see things a bit differently.

My apologies. I will try to avoid my Tibetan Buddhism conditioning.
So you are saying that when I think of my enemy, the first moment of that mental consciousness is free from conditioning? Or when I remember a woman I have a crush on, the first moment of that mental consciousness is free from conditioning?
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Mawkish1983 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:51 am

Sherab wrote:So you are saying that when I think of my enemy, the first moment of that mental consciousness is free from conditioning? Or when I remember a woman I have a crush on, the first moment of that mental consciousness is free from conditioning?

Could this be about the difference between citta, manas and vinnana? I've only briefly met these terms and I haven't yet dived deeply enough into the suttas and abhidhamma to really enter into the discussion, but maybe someone else might be able to help.

Going back to:

"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is defiled by incoming defilements. The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person -- there is no development of the mind."
"Luminous, monks, is the mind. And it is freed from incoming defilements. The well-instructed noble disciple discerns that as it actually is present, which is why I tell you that -- for the well-instructed noble disciple -- there is development of the mind."

Anguttara Nikaya I.49-52
Maybe I'm missing something, but tilt's description on 'luminous mind' seems to fit rather soundly.
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Re: Luminious mind

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:23 pm

Hello all,

The note from the commentary states that this luminous mind 'refers to the bhavanga-citta, the 'life-continuum' or underlying stream of consciousness which supervenes whenever active consciousness lapses, most notably in deep sleep'. (dsg list)

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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 01, 2010 8:43 pm

Howdy All;

The whole commentary from Access to Insight:
This statement has engendered a great deal of controversy over the centuries. The commentary maintains that "mind" here refers to the bhavanga-citta, the momentary mental state between periods when the mental stream adverts to objects, but this statement raises more questions than it answers. There is no reference to the bhavanga-citta or the mental stream in any of the suttas (they appear first in an Abhidhamma treatise, the Patthana); and because the commentaries compare the bhavanga-citta to deep sleep, why is it called luminous? And why would the perception of its luminosity be a prerequisite for developing the mind? And further, if "mind" in this discourse means bhavanga-citta, what would it mean to develop the bhavanga-citta?

Another interpretation equates the luminosity of the mind with the "consciousness without feature," desribed as "luminous" in MN 49 and DN 11, but this interpretation also has problems. According to MN 49, that consciousness partakes of nothing in the describable world, not even the "Allness of the All," so how could it possibly be defiled? And, because it is not realized until the goal of the practice is reached, why would the perception of its luminosity be a prerequisite for developing the mind? And again, if "mind" here means consciousness without feature, how could the sutta talk of its development?

A more reasonable approach to understanding the statement can be derived from taking it in context: the luminous mind is the mind that the meditator is trying to develop. To perceive its luminosity means understanding that defilements such as greed, aversion, or delusion are not intrinsic to its nature, are not a necessary part of awareness. Without this understanding, it would be impossible to practice. With this understanding, however, one can make an effort to cut away existing defilements, leaving the mind in the stage that MN 24 calls "purity in terms of mind." This would correspond to the luminous level of concentration described in the standard simile for the fourth jhana: "And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. Just as if a man were sitting covered from head to foot with a white cloth so that there would be no part of his body to which the white cloth did not extend; even so, the monk sits, permeating the body with a pure, bright awareness. There is nothing of his entire body unpervaded by pure, bright awareness." From this state it is possible to develop the discernment that not only cuts away existing defilements but also uproots any potential for them to ever arise again. Only in the stages of Awakening that follow on those acts of discernment would "consciousness without feature" be realized.


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Re: Luminious mind

Postby Sherab » Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:20 am

Thanks Anicca for the link.

I checked out MN49 and liked it very much. I also checked out DN11 and found this:

"'Your question should not be phrased in this way: Where do these four great elements — the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, and the wind property — cease without remainder? Instead, it should be phrased like this:

Where do water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing?
Where are long & short, coarse & fine, fair & foul,name & form
brought to an end?
"'And the answer to that is:

Consciousness without feature,[1] without end,luminous all around:
Here water, earth, fire, & wind have no footing.
Here long & short coarse & fine, fair & foul , name & form are all brought to an end.
With the cessation of [the activity of] consciousness each is here brought to an end.'"

Seems to me to be referring to the same thing as luminous mind.

From the commentary: "Another interpretation equates the luminosity of the mind with the "consciousness without feature," desribed as "luminous" in MN 49 and DN 11, but this interpretation also has problems. According to MN 49, that consciousness partakes of nothing in the describable world, not even the "Allness of the All," so how could it possibly be defiled?"

Also from the commentary: "A more reasonable approach to understanding the statement can be derived from taking it in context: the luminous mind is the mind that the meditator is trying to develop. To perceive its luminosity means understanding that defilements such as greed, aversion, or delusion are not intrinsic to its nature, are not a necessary part of awareness."

It would seem to me that if defilements are not intrinsic to the luminous mind (the mind the meditator is trying to develop), then it is possible that the luminous mind is the same as/part of/aspect of the "consciousness without feature." Therefore the so-called development of the mind is not really development but merely named as such.
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