Luminious mind

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Mawkish1983
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Mawkish1983 »

Sherab, what is insight?
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Sherab
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Sherab »

Bubbabuddhist wrote:I never found the "luminous mind" references all that murky, especially when the various references are brought together. They seem to describe the qualities of a mind unsullied by defilements. Like scraping mud from a backlit window: perception shines through without obstruction.

J
When the five aggregates cease, would not the mind cease? So what qualities of a mind is there to talk about?
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Sherab
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Sherab »

Mawkish1983 wrote:Sherab, what is insight?
Ask yourself. You're the one that used the word first.
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kc2dpt
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by kc2dpt »

Sherab wrote:
Bubbabuddhist wrote:They seem to describe the qualities of a mind unsullied by defilements.
When the five aggregates cease, would not the mind cease? So what qualities of a mind is there to talk about?
You seem to be equating "defilements" with "five aggregates". What is your basis for this?
Recall that for an arahant the defilements have ceased and yet there are still the five aggregates.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Sherab
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Sherab »

Peter wrote:
Sherab wrote:
Bubbabuddhist wrote:They seem to describe the qualities of a mind unsullied by defilements.
When the five aggregates cease, would not the mind cease? So what qualities of a mind is there to talk about?
You seem to be equating "defilements" with "five aggregates". What is your basis for this?
Recall that for an arahant the defilements have ceased and yet there are still the five aggregates.
Good question.

DN11:
"'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, 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 consciousness each is here brought to an end.'"

My interpretation of the above utterance of the Buddha is that "cessation" is merely a convention of the world and that in reality there is no cessation of the elements. When consciousness "ceases", then the elements also "ceases" when use in the convention of the world but not in reality.
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retrofuturist
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Sherab,

My understanding with respect to "find no footing" is it speaks of the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) of which consciousness could take as subject. In the absence of sankhata dhamma, consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
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Sherab
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Sherab »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,

My understanding with respect to "find no footing" is it speaks of the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) of which consciousness could take as subject. In the absence of sankhata dhamma, consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Thanks Retro. Responses like yours help me to understand the Theravada teachings better.
So how does the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) come about? (Sorry if this is a rather basic question.)
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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by tiltbillings »

Sherab wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,

My understanding with respect to "find no footing" is it speaks of the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) of which consciousness could take as subject. In the absence of sankhata dhamma, consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Thanks Retro. Responses like yours help me to understand the Theravada teachings better.
So how does the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) come about? (Sorry if this is a rather basic question.)
There is an interesting issue here. Asankhata, unconditioned, refers to not being conditioned by hatred, greed, and delusion/ignorance, which is the fundamental definition of nibbana. Absence of sankhata dhamma would mean dhammas no longer conditioned by hatred, greed, and delusion/ignorance.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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retrofuturist
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Absence of sankhata dhamma would mean dhammas no longer conditioned by hatred, greed, and delusion/ignorance.
Indeed... and since hatred and greed are inherently tied to avijja (ignorance), we can see the sankharas arise because of ignorance... just like the Buddha's teachings on dependent origination tell us. So to answer Sherab's question... the answer is they arise due to ignorance, and cease in the absence of ignorance.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by tiltbillings »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:Absence of sankhata dhamma would mean dhammas no longer conditioned by hatred, greed, and delusion/ignorance.
Indeed... and since hatred and greed are inherently tied to avijja (ignorance), we can see the sankharas arise because of ignorance... just like the Buddha's teachings on dependent origination tell us. So to answer Sherab's question... the answer is ignorance.

Metta,
Retro. :)
The point I am getting at is here: So how does the absence of sankhata dhamma . What is the absence of sankhata dhamma? What does that mean?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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retrofuturist
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:The point I am getting at is here: So how does the absence of sankhata dhamma . What is the absence of sankhata dhamma? What does that mean?
Well that's what I'm getting at too. Sankhata dhammas are formed by ignorance. No ignorance, no formed dhammas. The absence of formed dhammas means consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object. From the cessation of ignorance, comes the cessation of sankharas... comes the cessation of dukkha. Sabbe sankhara dukkha.

Somehow I suspect though that's not the kind of answer you're looking for?
Dhp 1 wrote:Mind precedes dhammas. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.
Metta,
Retro. :)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Mawkish1983
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by Mawkish1983 »

Sherab wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:Sherab, what is insight?
Ask yourself. You're the one that used the word first.
The point I was trying to make was once again missed, but the topic has moved on since this. Nevermind :)
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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by tiltbillings »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:The point I am getting at is here: So how does the absence of sankhata dhamma . What is the absence of sankhata dhamma? What does that mean?
Well that's what I'm getting at too. Sankhata dhammas are formed by ignorance. No ignorance, no formed dhammas. The absence of formed dhammas means consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object. From the cessation of ignorance, comes the cessation of sankharas... comes the cessation of dukkha.

Somehow I suspect though that's not the kind of answer you're looking for?
We are not talking about anything so different. I am just coming at this from a more oblique angle. The dhammas that a nibbanized individual - one freed from the conditioning of greed, hatred, and ignorance - experiences are free only of the conditioning greed, hatred, and delusion. it is a small point, but I think important to keep in mind, lest we start going all metaphysical or some such thing.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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retrofuturist
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
tiltbillings wrote:I am just coming at this from a more oblique angle. The dhammas that a nibbanized individual - one freed from the conditioning of greed, hatred, and ignorance - experiences are free only of the conditioning greed, hatred, and delusion. it is a small point, but I think important to keep in mind, lest we start going all metaphysical or some such thing.
Yep. Looks good to me. :thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
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IanAnd
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Re: Luminious mind

Post by IanAnd »

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Sherab,

My understanding with respect to "find no footing" is it speaks of the absence of sankhata dhamma (formed dhammas) of which consciousness could take as subject. In the absence of sankhata dhamma, consciousness takes the unformed (i.e. nibbana) as object.

So to answer Sherab's question... the answer is they arise due to ignorance, and cease in the absence of ignorance.
Retro and tilt are on the right track here. But I think that Sherab might also appreciate the take given by Bhk. Nanananda.

On the point of "non-manifestive consciousness" this phrase is the translation for the Pali terms anidassana vinnana and which translation is used by Bhk. Nanananda in his book Concept and Reality in Early Buddhist Thought. This has also been translated as "where consciousness is signless" (M. Walshe) and "consciousness non-manifesting" (Bh. Bodhi).

We can find this phrase used in the Kevaddha Sutta (DN 11) in the following translation and commentary by Bhk. Nanananda:
  • [The Buddha says:] "Consciousness which is non-manifestive, endless, lustrous on all sides, here it is that earth and water, fire and wind, no footing find. Here again are long and short, subtle and gross, pleasant and unpleasant, name and form, all cut off without exceptions. When consciousness comes to cease, these are held in check herein."

    A monk conceives the riddle, "Wherein do these four great elements viz. earth, water, fire and air cease altogether?", and in order to get a suitable answer, develops his psychic powers and goes from heaven to heaven querying gods and Brahmas in vain. At last he approaches the Buddha, and when the riddle is put to him, he remarks that it is not properly worded and therefore reformulates it thus, before giving his solution in the verse quoted above:

    [The Buddha says:] "Where do earth and water, fire and wind, long and short, fine and coarse, pleasant and unpleasant, no footing find? Where is it that name and form are held in check with no trace left?"

    [Bhk. Nanananda comments:] "According to the Buddha's reply, earth, water, fire and air do not find footing, long, short, subtle, gross, pleasant, unpleasant and name and form are completely cut off in a consciousness which makes nothing manifest and which is infinite and lustrous all-round. It is very likely that the reference again is to the anna phala samadhi (the 'Fruit of Knowledge' concentration) of the Arahant. Though less obvious, the string of negations is in general agreement with those that occur elsewhere in like contexts. Terms like long and short, subtle and gross, pleasant and unpleasant as well as name-and-form could easily be comprehended by the standard phrase 'whatever is seen, heard, sensed, cognized, attained, sought after and traversed by the mind'. The last line of the verse stresses the fact that the four great elements do not find a footing — and that name-and-form (comprehending them) can be cut off completely — in that anidassana-vinnana (the 'non-manifestive consciousness') of the Arahant, by the cessation of his normal consciousness which rests on the data of sense-experience. This is a corrective to that monk's notion that the four elements can cease altogether somewhere — a notion which had its roots in the popular conception of self-existing material elements. The Buddha's reformulation of the original question and this concluding line are meant to combat this wrong notion. . . . This consciousness of the Arahant is one that manifests nothing out of our world of concepts. It does not 'il-lustrate' (Lat. lustro, 'bright') anything though (or because) it is itself 'all-lustrous,' for darkness can never be illustrated or made manifest by light. With his penetrative insight the Arahant sees through the concepts. Now, an object of perception (arammana) for the worldling is essentially something that is brought into focus — something he is looking at. For the Arahant, however, all concepts have become transparent to such a degree in that all-encompassing vision, that their boundaries together with their umbra and penumbra have yielded to the radiance of wisdom. This, then, is the significance of the word 'anantam' (endless, infinite). Thus the paradoxically detached gaze of the contemplative sage as he looks through concepts is one which has no object (arammana) as the point of focus for the worldling to identify it with. It is a gaze that is neither conscious nor non-conscious, neither attentive nor non-attentive, neither fixed nor not fixed — a gaze that knows no horizon."[7]

    Footnote [7] "By what track can you lead that Awakened One who is trackless and whose range is endless and to whom there is not that entangling net of craving to lead anywhere?" —Dhp. 180

From the above explanation and commentary, then, anidassana vinnana, or non-manifestive consciousness, can be seen not to be nibbana but rather an ending of the mind's ability to manifest conceptualization when confronted by nama-rupa (name and form). Put in another way, it is the mind's ability to apply bare attention to the objects placed before it, namely, to not label, not make subjective judgments, to not conceive preconceived notions, nor to otherwise add alien admixtures which would render the object more than something simple and pure as it already is.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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