Luminous Mind. - What is it?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:30 am

tiltbillings wrote: This just sounds like reifying citta. Let us not forget that the sutta immediately preceding the "luminous" mind sutta states: "I don't envision a single thing that is as quick to reverse itself as the mind — so much so that there is no feasible simile for how quick to reverse itself it is."
My original point, exactly. Mind is but an imaginary container for the six consciousnesses. However a mind devoid of The Khandas, all manner of defilements, hindrances, fetters, free from all manner of fermentations could easily be described as brilliant, lusterous, sqeaky clean, and luminous. Each practitioner who has experienced such a mind, would reasonably be expected to describe it as such. Ven. Bua's description of "almost" purified citta seems similar, and having apparently experienced periodic episodes of purified citta, he explains that it is beyond description, so there is no point in even attempting such an explanation to others, who have not experienced it for themselves.

I conclude, however, as stated previously, that purified citta is not nibbana, therefore impermanent. However, I will reserve judgement until actually having experienced it, just as no one can know what it is like to cross The Event Horizon of a Black Hole until one's subatomic particles are ripped, and his resultant energy spread across the universe. "You just had/have to be there to understand."

Having never experienced purified citta for myself, not even certain if I have actually experienced Jhanna-I, or Jhanna-II, this means to me that the only thing left (for me) to do is study, practice, and look for the beacon. (Sounds familiar for some reason.) :anjali:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:45 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote: . . .
Actually, this msg seem to be ignored, but actually is quite intertesting in the context of this thread:

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 40#p124654" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
>> 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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kirk5a
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by kirk5a » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:00 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Of course, "luminuos" is metaphorical speech, as is "clarity."
Indeed. It's far less problematic to regard "luminosity" as a metaphor. SN 1.13 Natthiputtasama Sutta:
  • Natthi paññāsamā ābhā.

    There is no radiance comparable to discernment.
AN 4.141 Ābhā Sutta:
  • Catasso imā bhikkhave ābhā. Katamā catasso? Candābhā, suriyābhā, aggābhā, paññābhā. Imā kho bhikkhave catasso ābhā. Etadaggaṃ bhikkhave imāsaṃ catassannaṃ ābhānaṃ yadidaṃ paññābhāti.

    Monks, there are these four radiances. What four? The radiance of the moon, the radiance of the sun, the radiance of fire, and the radiance of discernment. These, monks, are the four radiances. This, monks, is the highest among these four radiances, namely the radiance of discernment.
AN 4.142 Pabhā Sutta:
  • Catasso imā, bhikkhave, pabhā. Katamā catasso? Candappabhā, sūriyappabhā, aggippabhā, paññappabhā. Imā kho, bhikkhave, catasso pabhā. Etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, imāsaṃ catunnaṃ pabhānaṃ, yad idaṃ paññappabhā.

    Monks, there are these four lustres. What four? The lustre of the moon, the lustre of the sun, the lustre of fire, and the lustre of discernment. These, monks, are the four lustres. This, monks, is the highest among these four lustres, namely the lustre of discernment.
AN 4.143 Āloka Sutta:
  • Cattārome bhikkhave ālokā. Katame cattāro: Candāloko, suriyāloko, aggāloko, paññāloko. Ime kho bhikkhave cattāro ālokā. Etadaggaṃ bhikkhave imesaṃ catunnaṃ ālokānaṃ yadidaṃ paññālokoti.

    Monks, there are these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of discernment. These, monks, are the four lights. This, monks, is the highest among these four lights, namely the light of discernment.
AN 4.144 Obhāsa Sutta:
  • Cattārome bhikkhave obhāsā. Katame cattāro? Candobhāso, suriyobhāso, aggobhāso, paññobhāso. Ime kho bhikkhave cattāro obhāsā. Etadaggaṃ bhikkhave imesaṃ catunnaṃ obhāsānaṃ yadidaṃ paññobhāsoti.

    Monks, there are these four brightnesses. What four? The brightness of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the brightness of fire, and the brightness of discernment. These, monks, are the four brightnesses. This, monks, is the highest among these four brightnesses, namely the brightness of discernment.
Of course, this probably won't stop people from opting for literal interpretations of the "light" of discernment. But any "light" that one perceives is necessarily conditioned, impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self. It is to be abandoned along the way, not taken up as the fruition of the path.

All the best,

Geoff

Edit: typo.
So here it is paññā having light-like qualities. Radiance, lustre, light, bright. Is there a distinction between paññā and viññana? Or how are these defined exactly? The translation of panna as "discernment" has never clicked with me. These are Ven. Thanissaro's definitions:

pañña [pa~n~naa]:
Discernment; insight; wisdom; intelligence; common sense; ingenuity. One of the ten perfections (paramis).

viññana [vi~n~naa.na]:
Consciousness; cognizance; the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:35 pm

kirk5a wrote:So here it is paññā having light-like qualities. Radiance, lustre, light, bright. Is there a distinction between paññā and viññana? Or how are these defined exactly? The translation of panna as "discernment" has never clicked with me. These are Ven. Thanissaro's definitions:

pañña [pa~n~naa]:
Discernment; insight; wisdom; intelligence; common sense; ingenuity. One of the ten perfections (paramis).

viññana [vi~n~naa.na]:
Consciousness; cognizance; the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur.
Is there a point here?
>> 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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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Nyana » Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:59 pm

kirk5a wrote:So here it is paññā having light-like qualities. Radiance, lustre, light, bright.
Some people think that nibbāna should be experienced as a mind lit up with light. Some people think that nibbāna should be experienced as an utter blackout. But in each case, these are temporary experiences. They come and go. But nibbāna is the complete and irreversible elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion. As such, nibbāna is a metaphorical "extinguishment" of these metaphorical "fires" and this extinguishment doesn't come and go. Moreover, if discernment were synonymous with a light nimitta (or however one wants to describe the phenomenology of a mind lit up with light), then discernment would be absent when this light is absent and noble disciples and arahants would be without discernment most of the time.
kirk5a wrote:Is there a distinction between paññā and viññana?
Both are derived from the verb root - √ñā ("to know"). Along with: saññā (recognition), ñāṇa (gnosis), abhiññā (higher gnosis), etc. Cf. the links posted here.
kirk5a wrote:Or how are these defined exactly?

In terms of how they function. Consciousness cognizes, discernment discerns. Discernment can liberate, consciousness cannot.
kirk5a wrote:The translation of panna as "discernment" has never clicked with me.
IMO "discernment" is a better translation than "wisdom," which is more akin to ñāṇa in most contexts.

All the best,

Geoff
Last edited by Nyana on Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:03 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:So here it is paññā having light-like qualities. Radiance, lustre, light, bright.
Some people think that nibbāna should be experienced as a mind lit up with light. Some people think that nibbāna should be experienced as an utter blackout. But in each case, these are temporary experiences. They come and go. But nibbāna is the complete and irreversible elimination of passion, aggression, and delusion. As such, nibbāna is an extinguishment which doesn't come and go. Moreover, if discernment were synonymous with a light nimitta (or however one wants to describe the phenomenology of a mind lit up with light), then discernment would be absent when this light is absent and noble disciples and arahants would be without discernment most of the time. . . .
I have to wonder what more there left to say?
>> 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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kirk5a
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by kirk5a » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:28 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Is there a point here?
There was a question there and Geoff answered it, thanks Geoff. Maybe that has some relevance to the topic, maybe not. I simply noticed that it was pañña in the quotes Geoff provided had light-like qualities. Whereas previously you had been talking about a certain clarity to viññana. So - I wondered how to understand these terms, what the relationship is.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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tiltbillings
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:38 pm

kirk5a wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Is there a point here?
There was a question there and Geoff answered it, thanks Geoff. Maybe that has some relevance to the topic, maybe not. I simply noticed that it was pañña in the quotes Geoff provided had light-like qualities. Whereas previously you had been talking about a certain clarity to viññana. So - I wondered how to understand these terms, what the relationship is.
I took the quotes that Geoff gave as being indicative of the metaphorical use of the term luminosity, making the point that there is no need to take it literally with the text in question.

It is an interesting question of what to take as being literal or to take as metaphorical. It would be quite possible to get oneself into big doo-doo taking something as literal that would be better understood as metaphorical. It is all too easy to fool oneself with meditative experiences, which, if you have not noticed, is something I harp upon here. This has been an interesting thread. I don't have much more to say here.
>> 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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Dan74
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:03 pm

It seems to me like there are two conversations here. One leans more on the scriptural side and emphasizes what is necessary for nibbana while warning about assigning any qualities to "it", reifying and attaching to experiences on the way.

The other conversation is more about experience. The clarity and luminosity encountered in practice. To my ears it seems that the Sutta in the OP, as well as Ajahns Mun, Maha Bua and Chah are coming more from this side.

May be worth pointing out the two perspectives...
_/|\_

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Sherab
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Sherab » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:31 pm

Akuma wrote:
Sherab wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Also, "luminous" is a metaphor for the fact that viññāṇa makes known, illuminates it object.
Does viññāṇa makes known itself, i.e. it illuminates itself?
A citta cant cognize itself in Theravada.
@Akuma and Tiltbillings,
In Theravada, what is the explanation for how one knows that one knows?

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Kenshou » Tue Mar 29, 2011 11:40 pm

If you don't mind my interjection, I believe that the division between the individual and the knowing is a false dichotomy.

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Sherab
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Sherab » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:06 am

Kenshou wrote:If you don't mind my interjection, I believe that the division between the individual and the knowing is a false dichotomy.
So are you saying that there is only the knowing, and no knowing of the knowing by that very knowing itself?

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Kenshou » Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:30 am

I think it suffices to say that when there is the eye and forms there is sight-consciousness and so on for the other 5, no reason to get into loops of proliferation about the knowing knowing the knowing.

alan
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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by alan » Wed Mar 30, 2011 3:40 am

Agreed. Now let's shut this down. Nothing more needs to be said.

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Re: Luminous Mind. - What is it?

Post by Akuma » Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:57 am

Sherab wrote: @Akuma and Tiltbillings,
In Theravada, what is the explanation for how one knows that one knows?
Theres a case in Kathavatthu (314/315) which implies that it is done via retrospection, since self-cognition would lead to endless regress.
I doubt that there is much detailed info on how it works from Theravada pov since theories of cognition were not available at the time Theravada formed.

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