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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:45 pm

Myotai wrote:Do you think the fact that we often hear others speak of consciousness almost consistently as a singularity rather than a conglomeration adds to this problem?


Well, I think the issue is that most people don't really understand that the content of consciousness comprises essential definiens for that term. The Buddha took care to showcase consciousness as part of an interactive function, and not as something akin to a container that remains while only the contents shift.

This last seems to be what most people think of as their mind, a relatively permanent thing that either lasts forever due to souls, etc., or doesn't last forever due to death & materialism, etc., but of course these are varieties of eternalism & annihilationism.

Setting this sort of thinking aside, we can ponder things according to their origins (yoniso manasikara). This allows us to see the vortex of vinnana <--> namarupa directly, which dissolves the mind-body problem.
    "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: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:56 pm

The Buddhist position is just to reflect on things as they are


In terms of views, doctrines and philosophical schools of thought the Buddha taught this


"A person who associates himself with certain views, considering them as best and making them supreme in the world, he says, because of that, that all other views are inferior; therefore he is not free from contention (with others). In what is seen, heard, cognized and in ritual observances performed, he sees a profit for himself. Just by laying hold of that view he regards every other view as worthless. Those skilled (in judgment)[1] say that (a view becomes) a bond if, relying on it, one regards everything else as inferior. Therefore a bhikkhu should not depend on what is seen, heard or cognized, nor upon ritual observances. He should not present himself as equal to, nor imagine himself to be inferior, nor better than, another. Abandoning (the views) he had (previously) held and not taking up (another), he does not seek a support even in knowledge. Among those who dispute he is certainly not one to take sides. He does not [have] recourse to a view at all. In whom there is no inclination to either extreme, for becoming or non-becoming, here or in another existence, for him there does not exist a fixed viewpoint on investigating the doctrines assumed (by others). Concerning the seen, the heard and the cognized he does not form the least notion. That brahmana[2] who does not grasp at a view, with what could he be identified in the world?

"They do not speculate nor pursue (any notion); doctrines are not accepted by them. A (true) brahmana is beyond, does not fall back on views."



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html



Buddha taught to let go of everything, this includes our views and opinions. Also remember the second noble truth, that craving leads to dukkha


Wanting to know is craving, that leads you down the path of clinging, of self and other and on into a "thicket of views" and so dukkha

Its not to say the view isnt true as such, but being bound to it will bind you to dukkha as well









When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have,' his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress." (Similarly for the other positions.)

When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have."

"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:28 pm

Myotai wrote:It seems you're bent on telling me what I am asking and posting rather than offering an answer my friend. Nothing I have asked has any western flavour or Buddhist flavour. Either the mind, consciousness, thought are formless phenomena or not. Agreed?

If the mind is can be reduced to physical phenomena only, then this has an impact on the possibility that our current actions affect future existences. Agreed?

Therefore if our current actions only have an impact on our current (theoretically 'only') existence then this could surely have an impact on our motivation?

Thats all.....

It depends whether one is an atomist, a molecularist or a holist in regard to meaning - http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/facu ... olism.html

You seem to be arguing for atomism.
I'm with holism.
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby culaavuso » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:39 pm

MN 63
MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:"It's not the case that when there is the view, 'The soul & the body are the same,' there is the living of the holy life. And it's not the case that when there is the view, 'The soul is one thing and the body another,' there is the living of the holy life. When there is the view, 'The soul & the body are the same,' and when there is the view, 'The soul is one thing and the body another,' there is still the birth, there is the aging, there is the death, there is the sorrow, lamentation, pain, despair, & distress whose destruction I make known right in the here & now.


The mind/body problem is only a problem if you are unwilling to let go of your craving for an ontological answer. It isn't directly related to learning and practicing to identify stress, the cause of stress, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.

MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:"Malunkyaputta, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that "The cosmos is eternal,"... or that "After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,"' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.


There is also a quite long discourse which names many fruits of the contemplative life, visible here and now: DN 2.
DN 2: Samannaphala Sutta wrote:"So, lord, I ask the Blessed One as well: There are these common craftsmen: elephant-trainers, horse-trainers, charioteers, archers, standard bearers, camp marshals, supply corps officers, high royal officers, commandos, military heroes, armor-clad warriors, leather-clad warriors, domestic slaves, confectioners, barbers, bath attendants, cooks, garland-makers, laundrymen, weavers, basket-makers, potters, calculators, accountants, and any other common craftsmen of a similar sort. They live off the fruits of their crafts, visible in the here and now. They give pleasure and refreshment to themselves, to their parents, wives, and children, to their friends and colleagues. They put in place an excellent presentation of offerings to brahmans and contemplatives, leading to heaven, resulting in happiness, conducive to a heavenly rebirth. Is it possible, lord, to point out a similar fruit of the contemplative life, visible in the here and now?"

"Yes, it is, great king. ...
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:56 pm

culaavuso wrote:The mind/body problem is only a problem if you are unwilling to let go of your craving for an ontological answer.

Or, alternatively, if one is unwilling to investigate one's basis for the conviction that the mind-body problem is a relevant and adequate one.
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:10 pm

Well, while we're on the subject...

Science wrote:In two studies in the January 24 issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University used advanced imaging techniques to provide a window into how the brain makes memories. These insights into the molecular basis of memory were made possible by a technological tour de force never before achieved in animals: a mouse model developed at Einstein in which molecules crucial to making memories were given fluorescent "tags" so they could be observed traveling in real time in living brain cells.

"This observation that neurons selectively activate protein synthesis and then shut it off fits perfectly with how we think memories are made," said Dr. Singer. "Frequent stimulation of the neuron would make mRNA available in frequent, controlled bursts, causing beta-actin protein to accumulate precisely where it's needed to strengthen the synapse."


They basically watched mRNA float through the dendrites of neurons and shore up at the synapse, where they were later able to increase the strength of that connection by 'unmasking' there and, in sum, making memories.

A molecular basis for memories and memory-making, observed.

Fascinating.
    "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: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:56 pm

Myotai wrote:I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives.

I would fully agree with that based on the suttas, including the excerpt from the one below.

"And what is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are contemplatives & brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view with effluents, siding with merit, resulting in acquisitions.
MN 117

Myotai wrote:For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

On the other hand, I don't think this sort of reasoning applies because you're trying to explain how something works when you don't know how it works.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby SarathW » Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:26 pm

Myotai wrote:I have just read a reply to another post I started that has got me thinking.....

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

Thoughts?

M...

Hi M
I know this is not an easy problem
If you understand Dependent Origination most of your questions will be answered.
Until such time have a safe bet!

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
:)
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby SamKR » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:26 pm

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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:35 am

daverupa wrote:Well, while we're on the subject...

Science wrote:In two studies in the January 24 issue of Science, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University used advanced imaging techniques to provide a window into how the brain makes memories. These insights into the molecular basis of memory were made possible by a technological tour de force never before achieved in animals: a mouse model developed at Einstein in which molecules crucial to making memories were given fluorescent "tags" so they could be observed traveling in real time in living brain cells.

"This observation that neurons selectively activate protein synthesis and then shut it off fits perfectly with how we think memories are made," said Dr. Singer. "Frequent stimulation of the neuron would make mRNA available in frequent, controlled bursts, causing beta-actin protein to accumulate precisely where it's needed to strengthen the synapse."


They basically watched mRNA float through the dendrites of neurons and shore up at the synapse, where they were later able to increase the strength of that connection by 'unmasking' there and, in sum, making memories.

A molecular basis for memories and memory-making, observed.

Fascinating.


Facscinating indeed, but every atom in my body screams out that this is nothing more than correlates manifesting in the brain....I am not scared of science - I know some are - but I can't help but think this is like describing the hands on a watch insisting that they are time!

M...
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