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The mind: not mine, but my responsibility - Dhamma Wheel

The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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manas
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The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:02 pm

Greetings all,

The mind is changeable. We notice this not just from day to day, but even in the passing of an hour. I'm told that something so changeable and impermanent is not fitting to be regarded as 'me' or as 'mine'. Fair enough, I agree.

AND YET

I'm also told that I alone can train this mind to liberation from all these manifold ills that are pressing on me.

Am I to understand it that although there is nothing in mind and body that is fitting to be regarded as me or mine - therefore this mind is not mine - that, nevertheless it is to be trained by me and no one else? I am to train, mould, shape and teach something that is not mine, but that if trained well, will lead to happiness, but if left wild and untrained, leads onward to more sorrow?

What is this strange world we live in? It seems that I am intimately related to this mind, but that at the same time, I cannot lay claim to it as a possession.

I am not immune from a slight sense of humour in all this. But I'm also wondering if anyone else has found themselves perplexed in this way.
Last edited by manas on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:41 am, edited 3 times in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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daverupa
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:08 pm

Already as the question is framed it consists in thinking of citta as something I train; the training of mind is me, mine, myself, and this means that the question is illegitimate because it assumes a self in the asking.

Is there a mind? Well sure - there it is, as you say it's right there, available for being aware of. Okay then, train it, because it's an untrained mind that allows dukkha, and it's a trained mind that prevents dukkha. It isn't that the mind is your responsibility; it's that the untrained mind allows dukkha, and that sucks, so train it and things won't suck.

No talk of who does the training need occur.

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manas
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby manas » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:48 pm

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Dan74
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:11 pm

I guess I don't see the anatta as something we have to swallow hook, line and sinker, but something that gradually or suddenly reveals itself.

Some people convince themselves intellectually that it is the case but unless that really sinks in and manifests in the action, this isn't worth much.

Intellectually, I agree with Dave and also agree with you, that "my mind" is quite special and different to "me" than "your mind" or "Dave's mind". So what is this "me" who does the training, who takes responsibility, etc? This is worth looking into and perhaps it will take one to the answer to your OP.
_/|\_

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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:28 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

jackson
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby jackson » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:01 am

Just to show a deeper perspective,

Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

It's only suffering that comes to be,
Suffering that stands and falls away.
Nothing but suffering comes to be,
Nothing but suffering ceases.


This is of course, the Arahant's perspective, but this is what we are striving toward, seeing things as they actually are.
Best wishes, :anjali:
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

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daverupa
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:04 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:05 am

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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SDC
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby SDC » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:11 am


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manas
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby manas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:36 am

I guess there's still some conception of self for this being, and I will humbly admit that I still have a long way to go.

Thanks all for the replies, I am learning by getting the different perspectives. I have to be brief here as my child is hungry and needs food...

Metta
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Kamran
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby Kamran » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:41 am

If looked at from a meditation perspective I think anatta and the 5 aggreagates (the separate processes that constitute a "self") can be a useful tool.

I like to try and see the 5 aggregates/processes at the 6 sense doors. For example, if noting "thinking, thinking" at the mind door I could contemplate the aggregates as follows:

1. Physical/form - brain.
2. Feelings - was the thought pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
3. Perception - recognized it as a thought about something I had experienced (family, work, etc.).
4. Mental Formation - the intention or action to make the thought arise.
5. Conciousness/Citta - was aware of and observed the thought.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

jackson
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby jackson » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:44 am

Hi Manas,
I sympathize with your plight, we're all brothers and sisters in old age, sickness, and death, and dukkha as well. I've found Ajahn Sumedho's teachings to be very helpful in getting some space around self-view so thought I'd share a little quote of his;
"I used to make it a practice to play with personality rather than merely trying to let go of it as the cause celebre of practice. To think 'I've got to get rid of my personality and not attach to my emotions' is one of the ways we grasp teachings of the Lord Buddha. Instead, I would become a personality quite intentionally, so I could listen to and observe this sense of me and mine. I would practise bringing up the thoughts, 'Me, what about me?' 'Don't you care about me?' 'Aren't you interested in what I think and how I feel?' And 'These are my things, this is my robe, my possessions, my bowl, my space, my view, my thoughts, my feelings and my rights.' 'I'm Ajahn Sumedho,' 'I'm a Mahathera' and 'I'm a disciple of Luang Por Chah', and on and on like that. 'This is what makes me an interesting person, a person that has titles and is respected and admired in the society.' I would listen to that. I would listen, not to knock it down or criticise it but to recognise the power of words, how I could create my self; I would more and more find the refuge in awareness, rather than in the conditions of my personality, in the fears or self-disparagement or megalomania or whatever else happened to be operating in consciousness."

I hope that helps and best wishes,
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah

santa100
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility??

Postby santa100 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:58 am

Maybe Morpheus could help clarifying it... ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9Nh0Fvoe9k )

Now the clip was missing a very important part just a few seconds after Neo and Morpheus were unplugged from the "jump" program. Neo wiped some blood off his mouth and said with surprise: "I thought this wasn't real" and Morpheus replied: "Your mind makes it real!". It is exactly this faulty wiring that makes us see things as "I", "mine", and "myself". THe training to fix this glitch will take time and effort and it will not work just by intellectual understanding alone. Even Neo, mr. "the One", failed his first jump because he was trying to conceptualize it (notice the scene immediately before his first attempt when he mumbled to himself: "Okey dokey, no problem, free my mind, free my mind...").

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manas
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:53 am

I do thank all for their replies. I have been given some food for thought (and reflection) here. However I now know that I need to fill the tank with petrol and make the long journey to the wise and experienced ajahn at a monastery, who has known me well over the years. I also need some physical, face to face instruction. Gosh we would not service a car *just* from advice online. And the mind is more important, and trickier to master, than any car.

metta
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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daverupa
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:31 am


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manas
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Re: The mind: not mine, but my responsibility

Postby manas » Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:42 am

Thank you all for replying. I don't think I managed to convey what I really intended with the original post; I was more bemused than confused, although yes I freely admit I've much to learn. I really was musing on the curious situation of having to work, raise kids, make small talk with people, etc, all the while having a gradually increasing sense that it isn't fitting to regard any of these experiences as being self, or as belonging to self. Obviously I'm not able to convey the peculiar emotion I had in mind, but no matter!

So, with thanks to all for their kind words of advice or comment, I think it would be fitting to now bring this topic to a close, and allow it to sink into the virtual abyss of old, forgotten posts.
:anjali:
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."


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