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Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I thought this was an interesting question. Monks seem to be doing various activities to condition the mind, things like metta or the Tibetan eight verses of mind training. Even the five precepts and the noble eightfold path could be called forms of conditioning, as they are things you accept and work with.

So can you arrange the mind in such a way through training it that just a little bit of meditation pushes it over the edge and go whoosh, enlightened? And are we ultimately anything more than just conditioning on top of conditioning? There is no self, is the mind just a conditioning machine?

Ren_in_black

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran
    edited January 16

    Can the mind be taken as a graspable object? Or on the other hand is there something that is not composite with the mind? Like our notions of the world out there that is different from my interior world. We have a sense of inside and outside ourselves. And we have a sense of there existing other beings that we are connected to via the outer world. But do we know of anything that is not touched by our interior or mind experience? And is that what the mind is? Our interior experience is the mind? And then the experience 'out there' is that our mind too or is it different? How do we then connect with other beings? I think we have a sense of connecting.

    lobster
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Oh. Great! like spiritual string theory.
    Maybe we could ask what your definition is of the mind and enlightenment before trying to do a two step with the both of them.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    It certainly seems like we can condition ourselves to be kinder or more patient, etc. Does that go all the way to enlightenment? I don't know.

    There is the metaphor of the Buddhist path as raft which seems relevant.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    OK..I'll go 1st.

    I usually define the mind as a librarian turned empire builder, that is obsessively trying to make itself safe within the forms, sensations, thoughts; activities and consciousness of the chaos that arises from trying to perform such an impossible job.

    &

    Enlightenment is just finding oneself demoted back to librarian again.

    Perhaps this will explain why I am in serious need of some better definitions.

    Shoshinlobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    It certainly seems like we can condition ourselves to be kinder or more patient, etc. Does that go all the way to enlightenment? I don't know.

    There is the metaphor of the Buddhist path as raft which seems relevant.

    Yeah, and all the Tibetan Buddhist sayings of how to generate bodhicitta, the mind that strives towards enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

    But something tells me that conditioning doesn’t necessarily lead to awakening. Conditioning often just influences the responses we make by reflex, if one is truly aware then one makes conscious decisions.

  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    @person said:
    It certainly seems like we can condition ourselves to be kinder or more patient, etc. Does that go all the way to enlightenment? I don't know.

    There is the metaphor of the Buddhist path as raft which seems relevant.

    beutiful metephor.earths grace.river,raft,time,afloat,flow.being one with the river ,moving with earths grace.

  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    ....enlighten experiance,can happen anytime.gradual or sudden is all good.dharma is spread upon the earth and some see and be.so one tool of conditioning is be present and see for yourself the enlighten experience without words. dharmas grace.before enlightenment chop wood. after enlightenment chop wood with ahh...

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 18

    @Kerome said:

    @person said:
    It certainly seems like we can condition ourselves to be kinder or more patient, etc. Does that go all the way to enlightenment? I don't know.

    There is the metaphor of the Buddhist path as raft which seems relevant.

    Yeah, and all the Tibetan Buddhist sayings of how to generate bodhicitta, the mind that strives towards enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

    But something tells me that conditioning doesn’t necessarily lead to awakening. Conditioning often just influences the responses we make by reflex, if one is truly aware then one makes conscious decisions.

    That sounds right to me, at least in my experience, I can't speak to enlightenment.

    In my practice I really incorporate both aspects. There's a lot of basic awareness meditation, but I also say prayers which I think conditions the mind and read and think on the philosophical topics. Making intentional efforts in difficult life situations I think is also a form of conditioning, "practice makes perfect", "fake it until you make it".

    Besides how often are any of us truly aware.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?

    No.

    However are there conditions that favour the Buddha Mind? Yes.

    For example:

    • mindfulness
    • metta mind
    • meditation mind
    • neti-neti mind
    • unmind/unwined/relaxed mind
    • thought less more being
  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I thought this was an interesting question. Monks seem to be doing various activities to condition the mind, things like metta or the Tibetan eight verses of mind training. Even the five precepts and the noble eightfold path could be called forms of conditioning, as they are things you accept and work with.

    So can you arrange the mind in such a way through training it that just a little bit of meditation pushes it over the edge and go whoosh, enlightened? And are we ultimately anything more than just conditioning on top of conditioning? There is no self, is the mind just a conditioning machine?

    lobster comment,triggered the thought,mind is empty and full or buddha mind.the brain function,is dependent on conditions.recondition the brain function ,through lobsters list,one can "feel" buddha mind or nature.for me,i think im in the gradual school of conditioning of buddhism.had to rework brain conditioning or reconditioning of undbinding like untieing a knot.

    i think awareness is key.essence of mind .being aware the functioning brain and leading it to ease rest,through reconditioning may lead to an aware state of mind .the sense of nirvana unbinding.the more i reflect,the more i agree with shoshin,mind is present,this enlightenment,but self,the functioning brain can be stubborn.me too can be stubborn call ego.

    lobsterpommesetoranges
  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    one tool of reconditioning in zen is passive attitude is to say maybe or it might be so.this tool is to lessen thinking and abide in feelness or suchness with awareness.

    in dao,the tool of softness over hardness is associate with passive thinking in zen to hold no hard views.

    this reconditioning tools purpose is not to cling to think but sense mind who has quality of aware and know.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I came across this You Tube video on the distinction between instant gratification and delayed gratification on our habits and long term outcomes. He's talking about ordinary life but I think it applies to the spiritual path just as well.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 19

    The Eightfold Path is all about conditioning ourselves to be ever more aware but I must confess that the word "enlightened" sounds somehow like a bit of fakery to me.

    @Kerome said:
    I thought this was an interesting question. Monks seem to be doing various activities to condition the mind, things like metta or the Tibetan eight verses of mind training. Even the five precepts and the noble eightfold path could be called forms of conditioning, as they are things you accept and work with.

    This sounds right. Any kind of training is self conditioning and if the training is conducive to awakening, the potential for awakening is fed.

    So can you arrange the mind in such a way through training it that just a little bit of meditation pushes it over the edge and go whoosh, enlightened?

    Some would seem to think so but I'm not so sure staking a claim to enlightenment isn't the same thing as clinging to a view. I'm happy striving to be ever more aware and let the enlightening come as it may. There seem to be many answers and every time we learn something, there is a revealing and so enlightenment.

    I think it would come in stages but I doubt there is a good time to stop being open to new information that could prove our notions to be conjecture.

    And are we ultimately anything more than just conditioning on top of conditioning? There is no self, is the mind just a conditioning machine?

    Everything conditioned conditions.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited January 19

    I must confess that the word "enlightened" sounds somehow like a bit of fakery to me.

    Be slack - Church of the SubGenius

    Grace is a Christian. Fana is an Allah-gal. Harmony is a new wager. Cod is the new fish in town.
    Words are fake but the fakir is real.

    Here to be lightened ...

  • 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

    Sometimes, @lobster I wonder if the point of your posts is merely to make no coherent point at all.
    That's just saying something for the sake of saying it, a spoonful of papanca...
    Pithy remarks are only pithy if they're appetisers for more literary nourishment.
    Leave us wanting more. Don't leave us with an insignificant aftertaste.

    Kerome
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I don’t know, I always quite enjoy untangling @lobster’s references.

  • 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
    edited January 20

    Once it's a laugh, twice it's a giggle, three times it's a bore.
    And sadly, for me, it's a repetitive chore.
    I note your approval, @Kerome, but it does nothing to either ameliorate nor endorse the matter.

    And if anyone is in any doubt, yes, I am speaking as Moderator.

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited January 20

    @lobster very often says what I would like to say, but lack the nerve to do so - and so I choose silence instead. Also, I'm lazier and less imaginative.

    One finger points directly, two fingers would be overkill at best.

    Gassho beaucoup, @lobster, @federica

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    https://www.facebook.com/UrgyenRinpoche/

    "If you believe there is a thing
    called mind, it is just a thought.
    If you believe there is no thing
    called mind, it’s just another thought.
    Your natural state,
    free of any kind of thought about it—
    that is buddha nature.
    In ordinary sentient beings,
    this natural state
    is carried away by thinking,
    caught up in thought.
    Involvement in thinking
    is like a heavy chain that weighs you down.
    Now it is time to be free from that chain.
    The moment you shatter the chain of thinking,
    you are free from the three realms of samsara.

    In this entire world,
    there is nothing superior to
    or more precious than knowing
    how to break this chain.
    Even if you were to scan the entire world,
    or piece by piece put it through a sieve
    in an attempt to find something more precious,
    you’d come up with nothing.
    None of the buddhas of the past,
    present and future have discovered
    an instruction that is more profound
    or more direct in attaining enlightenment.
    To ask for teachings on the nature of mind
    means to understand
    how to recognize mind nature."

    ~ H. E. Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, As it is , Volume 1 Chapter 4- Existence & Nonexistence (Pages 75~76 ) Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang

    lobsterDavid
  • 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
    edited January 21

    @Fosdick said:
    @lobster very often says what I would like to say, but lack the nerve to do so - and so I choose silence instead. Also, I'm lazier and less imaginative.

    One finger points directly, two fingers would be overkill at best.

    Gassho beaucoup, @lobster, @federica

    Yeah.
    Ok,people, get this straight: I am not seeking a reduction of wisdom, I am seeking a bit of temperance when it comes to the nonsense.
    It's a question of @lobster asking himself "is there really any useful point to this post?" and then showing some restraint if it's over 60% nonsense.
    Which sadly, it often is.

    While it's great that you're supportive, I really didn't want a moratorium or discussion on my observations.
    As a Moderator, I am not obliged or required to justify myself, so, leave it at that and move on, ok?

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    @how said:
    OK..I'll go 1st.

    I usually define the mind as a librarian turned empire builder, that is obsessively trying to make itself safe within the forms, sensations, thoughts; activities and consciousness of the chaos that arises from trying to perform such an impossible job.

    Empire or umpire? ;)
    The chaotic nature of our disorder and attempt to understand/quantify is the heart of our knowable being, within the arisings @how describes ...

    • The mind form that is known is considered real, rather than crazy ...
    • The sensational arises and attracts through Mara ...
    • I think it, therefore I know it. And what we don't know ... ?
    • I do virtue, therefore my ritualised patterned actions are ... habits ... ?
    • And consciousness ... well sure I exist ... not-self is just Buddhist ... oh wait ... it is realization based ... :|

    &

    Enlightenment is just finding oneself demoted back to librarian again.

    Just when I thought I was on the Middle Way ...
    back to meditation ...

    Perhaps this will explain why I am in serious need of some better definitions.

    #metoo

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I dreamt of a weight being taken off my mind in the night... literally...

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