Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Meezer77
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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by Meezer77 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:36 am

Zom wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:53 pm
So can it be said then that if you master the Jhanas you're immune from ever getting dementia?
Heh, well, for example, if you have a kammic tendency to get dementia and at the same time somehow (lets suppose) you can reach jhanas then the likely outcome will be this: your ability to reach jhanas will deteriorate while dementia will increase .) At some point you will be unable to enter jhana at all. I think it will happen that way.

But this is not the question you asked before, this has nothing to do with mind/matter topic.

Dementia is a disease affecting the brain. So then you need a fully functioning brain in order to be able to get the Jhanas? Is there an actual definition of what the mind is in the suttas? Sorry, I'm fairly new to all this and trying to understand it is giving me brain damage 🙏🙏🙏

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by SarathW » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:47 am

It is important to note that Buddha never said that mind reside in brain.
Intellect is not the brain or the hart as the popular belief in India in Buddha's time.
It is important to note that all beings do not have a hart.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:04 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:47 am
It is important to note that Buddha never said that mind reside in brain.
Dhammapada 37 appears to say the mind resides in "the cave" (or the body).
Dūraṅgamaṃ ekacaraṃ, asarīraṃ guhāsayaṃ; Ye cittaṃ saṃyamissanti, mokkhanti mārabandhanā.

Dwelling in the cave, the mind, without form, wanders far and alone. Those who subdue this mind are liberated from the bonds of Mara.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .budd.html

guhāsaya
mfn.
being in the body.

guhā
feminine
an enclosed (hiding) place or space; a cave; a cavern

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zerotime
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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by zerotime » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:13 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:57 pm
This baseless, unverified & badly argued idea is unrelated to Buddhism. The Buddha never spoke like this. This kind of thinking is similar to Christians who try to argue that God created the universe. The Buddha spoke as follow:

1. This is suffering.
2. This is the arising of suffering.
3. This is the cessation of suffering.
4. This is the path to the cessation of suffering.

In his disparagement of science, AB appears engaged in a "mischievousness" akin to Christianity.
sorry, I cannot see the relation of the 4 noble truths in this point. What do you mean exactly?

My answer started from a reply to know if the mind arises from matter. To know if this is a product of the matter, or perhaps mind and matter are the same thing. This was a general question about the "mind", and then my answer was in that same line.

You mention nama-rupa. "Nama" means volition, feeling and etc. "Rupa" means the 4 elements and its production. There is not any place in the Canon where it is said rupa it's the origin of nama neither the "mind". What we find is the teaching in where both (nama and rupa) arise because vijnana, the consciousness. And the inverse thing.

So there is no space for a materialism. Materialism it would mean the arising of nama and also consciousness from rupa.
AB appears engaged in a "mischievousness" akin to Christianity. Christians do this stuff all the time; they attempt to misuse science to prove the existence of their God.
I don't know where is the relation with the Christian thought in this issue. What do you mean?.

I wrote the materialism is even more irrational than Theism, because Christians believe the origin of all this is some God. This is wrong from the Buddhist perspective, although this is not so absurd for the logics like a materialism. Because by using a god they put some "X" as the first cause and origin of all this mess. Then when somebody believe in that mind-made image (in Buddhism we would say it is) it can have its logics while that person ignores the nature of X and believe it is real. In short, this is pure faith.

However, with Matter being the first cause (taking the place of that "X") there is no logic available neither faith. Because matter is rupa instead some ignote "X" who nobody knows. And wit matter the problematics goes openly with our consciusness as it is explained in the previous message including that quote of the old philosophers.

When somebody believe in some god that person put his faith in that "X" and that's all. Little space for logics and much more for devotion or faith. However, the matter is available to us, for the knowledge, for the consciousness. And for any rational mind keeping such belief in some first Matter, it should be something to be reviewed. Like Kant and others did more than a century ago. Just I mention those philosophers because they were the brightest in this issue, and I supose we are talking about non-buddhist people. Until I know there are no buddhist people (at least historically) keeping that belief of materialism. It doesn't belong to Dhamma teaching. And of course, the Buddha rejected the materialism.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by zerotime » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:59 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:57 pm
When brain injury occurs, mental impairment occurs. I think this is enough prima facie evidence for reasonable people that the existence of mind is somehow related to matter (materiality); despite the fact it cannot be definitively proved, either way.
that's a good point. Neurons are very similar to the electric cable. Neurons have an outer insulating layer named myelin and there are 0.75mv circulating by all them. When that layer is destroyed in a good degree it means degenerative illnesses.

Now imagine a person who turn on and off the light bulbs of his home. And this person, after a deep study of his home, he arrive to the conclusion the light he see it's the product of the cables. Probably we will believe this person belongs to some lost tribe from the Amazonia or something like that. Somebody without contact with the modern world.

So in this primitive point still we should see the materialism. Materialism has been unable to produce any new thing because in fact it is not possible. This is like a mummy. Historically, still we should see her taking a walk before returning to the box.
Last edited by zerotime on Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:04 am

zerotime wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:13 am
DooDoot wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:57 pm
This baseless, unverified & badly argued idea is unrelated to Buddhism. The Buddha never spoke like this. This kind of thinking is similar to Christians who try to argue that God created the universe. The Buddha spoke as follow:

1. This is suffering.
2. This is the arising of suffering.
3. This is the cessation of suffering.
4. This is the path to the cessation of suffering.

In his disparagement of science, AB appears engaged in a "mischievousness" akin to Christianity.
sorry, I cannot see the relation of the 4 noble truths in this point. What do you mean exactly?
You are making "creationist" theories, which is not related to Buddhism. The Buddha said he only teaches about suffering & the end of suffering (MN 22). But you are making theories about how body & mind came to exist.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by zerotime » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:10 am

I say the opposite. Materialism or Theism are creationisms. I say the opposite thing.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:12 am

zerotime wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:59 am
So in this primitive point still we should see the materialism. Materialism has been unable to produce any new thing because in fact it is not possible.
MN 43 seems to refute Ajahn Brahm. MN 43 states in the cessation of perception & feeling (Nirodha Samapatti), the mind ceases but the physical body remains. In other words, consciousness without a sense object cannot arise or exist, per many suttas. 100% materialism.
What is the difference between one who is dead, who has completed his time, and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling?"

"In the case of the one who is dead, who has completed his time, his bodily fabrications have ceased & subsided, his verbal fabrications ... his mental fabrications have ceased & subsided, his vitality is exhausted, his heat subsided, & his [five sense organ] faculties are scattered. But in the case of a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, his bodily fabrications [in & out breathing] have ceased & subsided, his verbal fabrications ... his mental fabrications [perception & feeling] have ceased & subsided, his vitality is not exhausted, his heat has not subsided, & his [five physical sense organ] faculties are exceptionally clear. This is the difference between one who is dead, who has completed his time, and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Were someone to say, 'I will describe a coming, a going, a passing away, an arising, a growth, an increase, or a proliferation of consciousness apart from form, from feeling, from perception, from fabrications,' that would be impossible.

SN 22.53
Sorry, but you seem to be backing the wrong horse here, i.e. the horse called 'Eternalism' & 'Permanence'. I will look for the ignore function, now. No time to argue with Mischievous Creationists.

:hello:
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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:26 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:36 am
Dementia is a disease affecting the brain. So then you need a fully functioning brain in order to be able to get the Jhanas?
I think so. Ajahn Brahm's original teacher Ajahn Chah spend his final years with some type of paralysis, where he could not communicate. In his 2nd sermon, the Buddha taught each five of the aggregates can be subject to disease or impairment.
Meezer77 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:36 am
Is there an actual definition of what the mind is in the suttas?
The suttas appear to describe or classify many functions of mind, such as consciousness (vinnana), the intellect (mano) and the emotional heart (citta). Consciousness, for example, is defined as "cognition".
'Consciousness, consciousness': Thus is it said. To what extent, friend, is it said to be 'consciousness'?

'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'

MN 43 https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Meezer77 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:36 am
Sorry, I'm fairly new to all this and trying to understand it is giving me brain damage 🙏🙏🙏
The primary suttas say the arising of mind is dependent upon sense organs & sense objects. You can meditate upon this to examine if it is true. For example, could the mind have awareness & knowledge of the external world if it did not have physical eyes, ears, nose, tongue & body?
It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'

Consciousness, monks, is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises.

MN 38 https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by Zom » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:26 am

Dementia is a disease affecting the brain. So then you need a fully functioning brain in order to be able to get the Jhanas? Is there an actual definition of what the mind is in the suttas? Sorry, I'm fairly new to all this and trying to understand it is giving me brain damage
You need a functioning brain in order to do anything in this human life - I think this is obvious ))

As for the definition - this is somewhat complex question, because several other terms need to be explained here as well (connected with the mind) - such as mano, vinnyana, citta, nama, etc. But what can be said for sure is that mind is one thing, and body is another.

From MN 77 sutta:

“Again, Udayin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand thus: ‘This body of mine, made of material form, consisting of the four great elements, procreated by a mother and father, and built up out of boiled rice and porridge, is subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintegration, and this consciousness of mine is supported by it and bound up with it.’ Suppose there were a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight-faceted, well cut, clear and limpid, possessed of all good qualities, and through it a blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread would be strung. Then a man with good sight, taking it in his hand, might review it thus: ‘This is a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight-faceted, well cut, clear and limpid, possessed of all good qualities, and through it is strung a blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread.’ So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand thus: ‘This body of mine…is subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintegration, and this consciousness of mine is supported by it and bound up with it.’ And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge".

And this is SN 55.21:

When a person’s mind has been fortified over a long time by faith, virtue, learning, generosity, and wisdom, right here crows,vultures,hawks,dogs,jackals,or various creatures eat his body, consisting of form, composed of the four great elements, originating from mother and father, built up out of rice and gruel, subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away away, to breaking apart and dispersal. But his mind, which has been fortified over a long time by faith,virtue,learning,generosity, and wisdom—that goes upwards, goes to distinction. “Suppose, Mahanama, a man submerges a pot of ghee or a pot of oil in a deep pool of water and breaks it. All of its shards and fragments would sink downwards, but the ghee or oil there would rise upwards. So too, Mahanama, when a person’s mind has been fortified over a long time by faith, virtue, learning, generosity,and wisdom,right here crows… or various creatures eat his body.… But his mind, which has been fortified over a long time by faith, virtue, learning, generosity, and wisdom—that goes upwards, goes to distinction".

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:46 am

Hi zerotime,

Thank you for this, and the previous posts:
zerotime wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:13 am
You mention nama-rupa. "Nama" means volition, feeling and etc. "Rupa" means the 4 elements and its production. There is not any place in the Canon where it is said rupa it's the origin of nama neither the "mind". What we find is the teaching in where both (nama and rupa) arise because vijnana, the consciousness. And the inverse thing.

So there is no space for a materialism. Materialism it would mean the arising of nama and also consciousness from rupa.
This is one of the points I was trying to stress in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=30921#p451130
Unfortunately, that thread seemed to wander off into other issues, and into blanket assertions that: "namarupa means XXX", rather than a careful discussion of what the suttas actually say.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by zerotime » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:15 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:46 am
This is one of the points I was trying to stress in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=30921#p451130
Unfortunately, that thread seemed to wander off into other issues, and into blanket assertions that: "namarupa means XXX", rather than a careful discussion of what the suttas actually say.
thanks to you for that thread, very interesting! :smile: I will read it with calm.
Agree, the word "nama-rupa" we find inside the Suttas appears everywhere and it is deeper of what it seems in a first view.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by DooDoot » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:27 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:46 am
You mention nama-rupa. "Nama" means volition, feeling and etc. "Rupa" means the 4 elements and its production. There is not any place in the Canon where it is said rupa it's the origin of nama neither the "mind". What we find is the teaching in where both (nama and rupa) arise because vijnana, the consciousness. And the inverse thing.
No. That nama and rupa arise because vijnana is only the order provided in dependent origination (however, there are versions of D.O. where consciousness arises dependent on nama-rupa; e.g, SN 12.67). But in other places, consciousness is caused by the mind & body (nama & rupa). MN 43 appeared to totally refute Ajahn Brahm. MN 43 says in Nirodha Samapatti when mind ends, the body remains (similar to people in a coma or in deep sleep).
Nāmarūpaṃ hetu, nāmarūpaṃ paccayo viññā­ṇak­khan­dhassa paññāpanāyā ti

Nama-and-rupa is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the consciousness aggregate.

SN 22.82
Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises

Dependent on ear & sounds, ear-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on nose & aromas, nose-consciousness arises...

"Dependent on tongue & flavors, tongue-consciousness arises...

Dependent on body & tactile sensations, body-consciousness arises.

MN 18
:alien:
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:46 am
This is one of the points I was trying to stress in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=30921#p451130
Unfortunately, that thread seemed to wander off into other issues, and into blanket assertions that: "namarupa means XXX", rather than a careful discussion of what the suttas actually say.
I recall this thread was about the interpretations of Nyanananda. Yesterday, I read Nyanananda appear to say the 'sankhara' include the 'kaya-sankhara', namely, the in & out breathing. Therefore, it seems Nyanananda teaches consciousness arises dependent upon the in & out breathing, which is material.
Nyanananda wrote:“And what, monks, are preparations? Monks, there are these three preparations. Body preparation, speech preparation, thought preparation. These, monks, are called preparations.”

It is noteworthy that in this definition, the term saṅkhāra is used in the singular as Kāyasaṅkhāro (body preparation), vacīsaṅkhāro (speech preparation) and cittasaṅkhāro (thought preparation). These three are defined in the Dhamma [MN 44] as follows:

Body preparation – in breath and outbreath
Speech preparation – thinking and pondering
Thought preparation – perception and feeling

So then in the Vibhaṅga Sutta 12 where the Buddha defines each of the twelve links, the term saṅkhāra is defined as threefold. In breathing and out breathing cannot be taken as kamma that prepares another birth. Likewise thinking and The Law of Dependent Arising pondering generally rendered as initial and sustained thought as well as perception and feeling are not reckoned as kamma. In fact whoever is wishing to put an end to existence (bhava) has to appease them. That is why they are called preparations.
:heart:

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:47 am

DooDoot wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:27 am
mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:46 am
You mention nama-rupa. "Nama" means volition, feeling and etc. "Rupa" means the 4 elements and its production. There is not any place in the Canon where it is said rupa it's the origin of nama neither the "mind". What we find is the teaching in where both (nama and rupa) arise because vijnana, the consciousness. And the inverse thing.
No. That nama and rupa arise because vijnana is only the order provided in dependent origination (however, there are versions of D.O. where consciousness arises dependent on nama-rupa; e.g, SN 12.67). But in other places, consciousness is caused by the mind & body (nama & rupa). MN 43 appeared to totally refute Ajahn Brahm. MN 43 says in Nirodha Samapatti when mind ends, the body remains (similar to people in a coma or in deep sleep).
I didn't write that. Please be more careful in your posts. But I will say that you seem to miss zerotime's point the the suttas do not make rigid distinctions between mind and body. I'll leave you to argue it out.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm Responds To "Secular Mindfulness"

Post by Saengnapha » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:49 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:44 pm
Zom wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:26 pm
Say for instance someone has dementia and forgets they are Buddhist. How does it work then? The chemistry in brain affects your intelligence, moods, behaviours, etc. Golly I'm confused
Yes, it affects. As I said, there is strong interconnection. If you have dementia or smth, it ruins all the system (psychophysical organism, mind+matter) and you've got a total malfunction which affects all your "components" - not only 1 component .) Imagine a knotted ball which consists of 2 threads, lets say, red and yellow. If you strongly pull only yellow one, you affect all the ball as a whole, that is, a red one is also pulled.

However, with the power of jhana you can lessen this interconnection. Certain material things won't affect your jhanic mind - like, for example, physical pain, which totally disappears even in the 1st jhana. It seems like you can release your mind to a certain extent there, free it a bit from materiality (full release though doesn't happen until you reach 1st immaterial jhana known as "sphere of infinite space").
So can it be said then that if you master the Jhanas you're immune from ever getting dementia?
I wouldn't take his word for this. 1st jhana is not going to immune you from all pain. Jhanas are temporary states, wholesome, but temporary. Let's not start believing that jhanas are the answer to everything. It is much deeper than this.

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