Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Mind during sleep vs meditation vs death

inyoinyo Explorer

HI!!!!

Quick question if you all have a moment:

In this talk, Ajahn Brahm is talking about how we basically can still have "mind" without our "brain." (pretty cool). He goes on to say how, similar to meditation, our senses fade away during death yet our mind is still clear and active and the state of mind is a direct result of the moment before, even after death. My question is, if our senses fade, wouldn't this be similar to sleep? But, sleep and meditation are totally different for me...even though the senses fade in both cases. How is "mind's" relation to the senses different in sleep vs meditation vs death if all senses supposedly fade in all cases, yet are totally different experiences

EarthninjaCinorjermmo

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Personally, I don't think anyone can answer that with any degree of authority.
    I'll be able to give you more information as I'm dying, if I ever manage to get to that level of Mindfulness.

    However, the closest and most comparable incident I can think of was just prior to a serious operation: I do remember being fearful of this particular medical intervention, and at one point, during my increasing drowsiness, I actually willed myself to 'accept and let go' and I distinclty remember being wheeled down the Hospital corridor towards theatre, feeling very calm and serene....

    Other than that, I can't really offer anything better, and don't feel even that, addresses your question....

    anatamanlobster
  • inyoinyo Explorer

    Well that's awesome, to me it shows that your instinct in any situation no matter how fearful, is to accept and let go. It's a relief to see you can transform. I've had situations like that and I remind myself of them often to keep me on the right track.

    I'm confused why deep meditation is so dissimilar to being asleep if both cases involve fading senses. Same with your operation...why/in what ways is meditation different than when you had your operation?

    Maybe they're not as different as I think. Maybe since I'm not a meditation mastah, my mind just kinda does random "mindless" stuff during sleep. But if I exercised by mind, I could probably be more aware during sleep and operations. Meditation is just the basis or easy place to be mindful of mind, during sleep/operations/death is maybe possible but a different level and challenge

    Hmmm...I shall exercise the power of my mind.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @inyo said:
    HI!!!!

    Quick question if you all have a moment:

    In this talk, Ajahn Brahm is talking about how we basically can still have "mind" without our "brain." (pretty cool). He goes on to say how, similar to meditation, our senses fade away during death yet our mind is still clear and active and the state of mind is a direct result of the moment before, even after death. My question is, if our senses fade, wouldn't this be similar to sleep? But, sleep and meditation are totally different for me...even though the senses fade in both cases. How is "mind's" relation to the senses different in sleep vs meditation vs death if all senses supposedly fade in all cases, yet are totally different experiences

    >

    There also two forms of sleep. Rem and deep sleep. I guess all we can do is either recognise we are deathless or prepare to have a good deathday party! :)

    During meditation we have memory and consciousness.

    During rem sleep we can have memory and consciousness.

    During deep sleep we have subconscious awareness but no memory.

    During death, or at death... What does he mean by mind?

    P.s. All of the above are not facts, they are based on my personal experience.

  • @Earthninja said:During rem sleep we can have memory and consciousness.

    Only in a lucid dreaming state?

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman good question! Well they are similar in my experience? Lucid dreaming is when I am aware it is a dream, the other is when I'm not aware but still the dream carries on.
    Both times memory and awareness are there.

    Hmm I wonder if this is what enlightenment is?
    We are not the characters solely but the whole dream itself!

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited June 2015

    @Earthninja said: SpinyNorman good question! Well they are similar in my experience? Lucid dreaming is when I am aware it is a dream, the other is when I'm not aware but still the dream carries on. Both times memory and awareness are there.

    I think only both in lucid dreaming. Otherwise we just have a memory of the dream.

    Earthninja
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited June 2015

    You are circling and close to comprehending the emptiness of mind, what Zen is all about. You are asking the basic, "What am I?" question. Even if your mind exists in some changed form, your senses that allow us to observe reality require a body to exist. Without eyes, there is no sight. Without ears, there are no sounds. An active, clear mind with a consciousness but without a functioning body would be either driven insane or have to live in a fantasy dream world.

    Memories require a brain to store them in. And so on. And that's just the "form" part of the skandhas. So what exists after death? And whatever exists, can it be "me" in any way that I can recognize today?

    "Form is the same as emptiness, and emptiness the same as form. The same for the other skandhas."

    See, Zen doesn't say that mind in some form doesn't exist after death. I am happy to admit that the ven. Ajahn Brahm knows what he's talking about. We're saying it doesn't matter, because it won't be "you" in any way that can be recognized by yourself. The you that sits there today will be gone. It's the same way my body will continue to exist, since the molecules will be absorbed back into world to be reused, but unless your body becomes a zombie, it won't be recognized.

    This isn't a nihilistic or pessimistic realization at all. It's freedom. I am what I am, part of the great experience we call reality, and there is no eternal, abiding "self" to worry about. Only today, this minute.

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I think only both in lucid dreaming. Otherwise we just have a memory of the dream.

    So you can have memories of dreams, although there was no consciousness perceiving the dream?
    I've had dreams that become lucid during them? Both are only now a memory.
    Fascinating stuff. Dreams are incredible

    Cinorjer
  • Yes, dreams are weird. I gave up trying to make sense of them some time ago!

  • inyoinyo Explorer

    @Cinorjer that makes sense, but I'm kind of confused also.

    Why do you say that "it doesn't matter, because it won't be "you" in any way that can be recognized by yourself" in one instance but then say "an active, clear mind with a consciousness but without a functioning body would be either driven insane or have to live in a fantasy dream world" I'm having a hard time understanding what makes one case happen over the other... between having a clear mind and going insane without a body vs basically everything being cool cause you're not recognizing "you" without a body. Does it just depend on the mind?

    It's disturbing to think there may be wandering clear conscious minds kind of ghosts hanging around that are disturbed and feeling insane. Personally, I think it makes sense that consciousness is directly dependent on the 5 senses and brain and when that dissolves what is left is "mind" which is grounded in emptiness and may jump around to all sorts of experiences based on the very previous "mind experience"... so I think when people have out of body and near death experiences, what is being remembered is from "mind" experiences maybe not from conscious experiences.

    Anyway, I still wonder why it' so easy to go into deep meditation in wake but not while I'm asleep. I guess our 5 senses, brain, and consciousness give us a little stepping stool to be able to enter deep meditation. I see that ultimately it's all emptiness and no body no birth no death and all that fun stuff, but I never can see it while I'm asleep and it has me curious!

  • @inyo it all boils down to what you think is surviving death. That the "mind" as we experience it depends on a physical body is obvious. Everything that defines what you would recognize as "you" depends on the physical brain from memories to emotions. Change the environment our mind depends upon, and we change who we are in fundamental ways.

    A mind without this brain and body would by necessity be just as fundamentally different from who you are now as you are from a newborn baby. It has to do with answering the question "what am I?"

    At what point is your mind not "you" anymore? There has to come a point. And if the person you are now doesn't exist, then can it be said "you" survive or are reincarnated? It's a subject that has been debated by Buddhists for thousands of years.

    lobster
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    I started writing a responsive essay,
    but it became intellectually messy,
    and now, very sadly I must say.
    that I cannot ever stay...

    namaste

    Cinorjer
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran

    Sleep: passive, unconscious, chaotic
    Meditation: active, mindful, focussed
    Dead: n/a, n/a, n/a

    JeffreylobsterEarthninjadantepw
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I have had lucid dreams and found that if I meditate in the dream I wake up.

    mmo
  • DaozenDaozen Veteran

    Lucid dreaming is a fascinating state between awake and asleep. I did it frequently as a child, but lost the ability as an adult. I have read it can be (re)trained, and have often thought of trying it out. Lucid dreaming mediation would be crazy!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_yoga

  • dantepwdantepw Veteran

    @Edmundo awesome story man!

  • @Jeffrey said:> I have had lucid dreams and found that if I meditate in the dream I wake up.

    I sometimes have meditation sessions like that. ;)

    But seriously, I seem to get more lucid dreams when I'm doing a lot of meditation, also sleep less generally.

    Earthninjalobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I am going through the video, I have a lot of time for Ajahn Brahm.
    I love the missing brain thinkers. What is going on? Dunno. Neither does Ajahn Brahm.
    The body does strange things occasionally and for evolutionarry/survival reasons ...
    http://listverse.com/2009/01/08/top-10-bizarre-medical-anomalies/

    Ajahn Brahms evidence is not so far convincing, just like the pseudo-science conjecture parts of Professor Pim van Lommel's research - who is mentioned.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pim_van_Lommel

    Oh by the way, out of body processing of data also sometimes occurs in children who are regularly abused. It probably a coping mechanism. A relaxed body during a NDE probably increases survivability ...

    Looking foward to the rest of the talk. Many thanks. <3

  • inyoinyo Explorer

    Thanks for all the new input everyone.

    Just to confirm, are you saying that if there is awareness/ability to observe such as during sleep and possibly during death (as referenced by NDE), that it's not impossible to meditate or realize mind but that it it's just a different experience than how we've ever known it?

    Like mind is observed differently?

    ....and if there's nothing observing (such as during death or under anesthetics) then nothing is observed and we're just resting in emptiness even though we don't know it?

    I guess either way is possible.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    This speculation is actually quite fascinating but I must admit (for my own specific part) I don't think I will be sufficiently advanced in my practice to put it to the test when I die.

    I'd like to think I could. But then. I'm sure we'd ALL like to think we could.

    For starters, I don't know under what circumstances I'm going to die though...

    I'm thinking of all these reports in Tibetan Buddhism of 'Rainbow bodies' (Does this happen for other traditions? :confused: ) and also of the unimaginable sensations that must be felt in self-immolation.

    Two extremes I am totally unlikely to experience.
    And goodness knows we can't ask them.....

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Here is what is known so far about OBE
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience

    Not seen the rest of Ajahn Brahms talk yet.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    If I'm mindful in my time of dying I am going to aim for Maitreya. That's a big "if" though.

    Time and mind seems to be a funny combination. I know when I am dreaming time just isn't the same. I can have a dream that takes place over the period of what seems like a week in less than an hour.

    As far as I know, our last moment here could last a lifetime or even an infinite lifetimes.

    I saw a funny facebook poster the other day that said "What if we are already dead and this is just our life flashing by?"

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing great lakes Veteran

    How is "mind's" relation to the senses different in sleep vs meditation vs death if all senses supposedly fade in all cases, yet are totally different experiences

    Check out the Lesser Discourse on Emptiness
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.121.than.html

    There's a state of being (if one may call it that) called

    "(Neither Perception nor Non-Perception)"

    It's really not something you can imagine without direct experience.

    Sleep is pretty much like being ignorant of what's going on.

    Dreaming is a level above that, but still not a clear view because there is the projection of an experience and an experiencer

    Mind-at-death is (for someone with some training) very clear and open. Kinda like the sensation you get when you jog out of the drowsiness of sleep.

    I recommend doing a lot of exercise and meditation daily, eventually you'll burn up all the thoughts that otherwise obstruct this clarity, and when the moment of death comes you'll be ready. A great lama once told me that death is like a "mini enlightenment"

Sign In or Register to comment.