4 Characteristics of mind

Posted: 02/04/2014 in Mandtao, ONE planet
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Mandtao 15/6/13


Mandtao was in some sense a follow-on from the Treatise of Zandtao but at the time I was not clear why. It was connected to a notion of man but I wasn’t sure how. It was also connected to science as it began with Bruce Lipton’s epigenesis. So in some way it could be man and science.

It began with unity – ONE planet, and as well it began, following Bruce’s examples, with questioning all that the system called knowledge. But it kind of stuck on ONE planet.

Then I clued into Tan Ajaan, and began to look into mind. Understanding mind is the essential to understanding man, and as science hasn’t got to first base on mind it is no wonder that science is such a mess; effectively the search for knowledge has become a tool for the procreation of financial profit. Scientific method has typically disappeared out of the window as BigFood politics has determined that we need not consider the consequences of messing with Nature’s genetics. Why is understanding mind key to this? For me ONE planet is sufficient to say that science needs to be in harmony with Nature. But what about those who consider man above Nature, where can that come from? This is where understanding self comes in. Self is a mental construct. It does not exist so why do we think it exists? Because self seeks survival, promotes itself, and moves beyond its position in Nature. So this mental construct’s raison d’etre is to promote self-importance irrespective of what happens. Greed promotes self, and greed is the dominant human characteristic in the destruction of the planet. Self on a planet-wide scale is a description of our planetary troubles, and anatta, no-self, is the solution – on a personal level.

Previously I would have used greed to describe this situation but self is much more accurate. Attachment to self produces suffering. Whilst the search for increased profit at whatever cost is the most obvious consequence of self (normally seen as greed), self justifies this in terms of family and other such sensible rationales. If others are
doing it to help their families I may as well do the same – self-interest on a small scale. This does not show the destruction self creates. Why? My family is your family is you and me, we are ONE planet – unity; self has created separation, self-interest and then destruction. It is the separation that is the beginning of the suffering and destruction, greed is not the first step.

In the inner journey to world peace recognition of self as not existing is the first step. Yesterday I described the meditation that led me to asking “where is I?” To counter this as a proof that I does not exist it would be easy to say that I asked the question. This is where understanding and some Buddhist theory of mind helps. There was a feeling there was no I. It felt like I was a perception. There is a natural function of mind to question, and I only starts to occur when consciousness attaches to the perception. In Buddhist theory these four recognitions of self can be seen to come from vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana – possibly translated as feelings, perception, mental formations and consciousness.

This is not strong in me. Whilst I am not stretching to fit into the theory, I know because of the way it happened in meditation, I could not convince a sceptic – nor could I convince the doubter in me. This anatta awareness is hard, if it was easy we would all have it. And squeezing into theory is not good for proselytising. It is necessary for the theory to be internalised and lead to an external understanding that can clarify it for others, otherwise it is just dogma. Time will tell.

I began asking about mara. Shamefully I don’t now the Buddha’s gospels well, but somewhere it says that he battled with mara under the bodhi tree. Now temptation is a very real problem, look at all the kilesa that arise from self. But how is it real? It comes from self. Self wants to exist, and if we become tempted into an action of
self then that is self-existence. In other words temptation is self tryng to create itself through temptation. It is part of mind that wants to create the separation of self so it creates temptation. Nature does not tempt. There is what Nature has for us to do, and there is what self wants to do to actualise. If there is that recognition then self has a problem to exist. It therefore tries to tempt. I have no idea how this fits in with the Buddha’s battles with mara, but if I can’t sense the devil it does not exist. Apart from quenching suffering this is the only other Buddhist axiom.

So mind is a sense that has four characteristics – vedana, sanna, sankhara and vinnana; these characteristics or aggregates make up the way the sense works. In excess this sense becomes self but if we live according to Nature the way Nature intended there is no self. And world peace.

Blogs:- Zandtao, Matriellez.

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