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Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?

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Comments

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Rob_V said:
    Isn't conditioning the mind to enlightenment the entire point of the exercise?

    Well... that depends on how you see enlightenment. I believe the Zen perspective is that no-mind is a key element, and so what the mind actually contains doesn’t matter so much.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    edited December 2020

    They say we already are enlightened, but just don't see it. So, given, the fact that enlightenment happens slowly, and that changing our inner patterns is a slow process .. I think that enlightenment just might be a matter of retraining our mind.

    But ask me countless lifetimes from now when I MIGHT have become enlightened! My second-favorite thing about Buddhism is that our understanding keeps on changing over time, as we discover more and more inside ourselves. Just when we think we have a "truth" pinned down and understood with intellect, we get an insight that changes it. Sort of gives us a lifelong hobby to look forward to.

    Shoshin1lobsterDavid
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2020

    One view of it.

    I meditate as the means of withdrawing from my participation in the human condition which manifests as my identities conditioning of the mind. I am not trying to clean, modulate or replace one state of conditioning for another. I am only withdrawing my habituated support that would otherwise continue to empower my conditioning's inertia. My habituated support can normally be experienced by meditatively observing how I suppress, intensify or ignore any of my data streams as they transit through the sense gates.

    Our identity normally takes the 6 continuous data streams that allow any of our interactions with the world to occur and manipulates that data flow to favor whatever storyline best supports its own fiefdom.

    To the degree to which I am willing to observe and no longer participate in that habituated manipulation, is the same degree to which my identities dream production falters and some awakening from that dream becomes possible.

    Shoshin1lobsterpersonDavid
  • From what I gather, we live in a conditioned state (our default mode)...and enlightenment is a mind which is freed from conditioning ... unconditioned...

    Through Dharma practice there's an attempt to uncondition the mind with the use of the conditioned state of mind...
    And there it would seem lies the paradox conditioning to become unconditioned

    I found that overthinking this conundrum, will tie the mind up in (k)nots...

    Thus have I experienced...(on more than one ocassion ;);) )

    So I now just to sit and let awareness develop and work its non-conceptual magic.. gently freeing the mind from the clutches of its charming (and at times somewhat mischievous) thoughts ...

    Thus have I heard...

    "Paradoxically, it takes time to become what we already are"

    I'm learning to be patient with impatience ....

    howlobsterDavidGui
  • Well said @Shoshin

    Through Dharma practice there's an attempt to uncondition the mind with the use of the conditioned state of mind...
    And there it would seem lies the paradox conditioning to become unconditioned

    I am a great believer in brainwashing without conditioner or other mind bubbles. For our threads we need less not more deter-gents aka bodhisattvas. Less soaking in non essentials.

    How to clear the dirt/impediments around the rainbow body? Scrub for endless wash cycles?

    Pah! Here and now. Hear and know.

    @FoibleFull said:
    They say we already are enlightened, but just don't see it. <3

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Shoshin1 said:
    Through Dharma practice there's an attempt to uncondition the mind with the use of the conditioned state of mind...
    And there it would seem lies the paradox conditioning to become unconditioned

    So each bit of dharmic conditioning could be seen as a bit of massage, ultimately allowing a larger segment of conditioned thinking to relax and drop away.

    But it seems to me that once you reach a certain state of non-attachment, the rest of the state of the mind doesn’t matter so much anymore and one can try to reach a state of just being, where the mind is less relevant.

    lobsterDavidShoshin1
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited December 2020

    @Rob_V said:
    Isn't conditioning the mind to enlightenment the entire point of the exercise?

    Kind of, I think.

    If nirvana is like a clear sky and our conditioning is the clouds then it is the conditioning that needs to go. How to do that without more conditioning is beyond my ken because to me, conditioning is just information being shared in a progressive way and all things, forms, concepts etcetera are conditioned.

    If understood and looked into deeply, consciously and mindfully, I think conditioning is a beautiful thing.

    No mud, no lotus. Without conditioning, there is no way to experience and without experience there is no waking up, no enlightenment, no sunsets, no mountains, no rivers and no fun at all really.

    So I think it takes conditioning to wake up but it has to be conditioning conducive to waking up. Often times, that means first of all to take our conditioning in our own hands which is mindfulness and the art of skillful means.

    lobsterShoshin1
  • @David said:
    So I think it takes conditioning to wake up but it has to be conditioning conducive to waking up. Often times, that means first of all to take our conditioning in our own hands which is mindfulness and the art of skillful means.

    <3

    As we listen to our clarity, others comprehension, wisdom sauces and sources so we start to taste the flavour of The Middle Way to have a banana unpeeling the Nibbana experience. So in a sense we are removing the conditioning.
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/nibbana.html

  • GuiGui Veteran

    @Shoshin1 response above is spot on. And reading it brings me to wonder if the question we are really asking is "Can enlightenment be conditioned into the mind?".

    Shoshin1
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited December 2020

    @Kerome said:
    There is no self, is the mind just a conditioning machine?

    The mind is a dependent origination.

    The ultimate truth is profound and ultimate, and words cannot touch it. If we say that it is existence, then we devolve into stupidity. If we say that it is nonexistence, then such is not wisdom. Subhuti was scolded and Sariputra was criticized [for holding such views]. It is neither existence nor nonexistence; it is not both existence and nonexistence together; and it is neither nonexistence nor not-nonexistence. Words and speech are cut off, and thoughts and ideas are all extinguished. It is profound; there is nowhere wherein thoughts may lodge. It is broad and vast; all supports are sundered. We do not know how we may verbalize it, but, obliged to do so, we call it “presenting the truth.” But if the mind and speech are both cut off, and if both existence and nonexistence are abandoned, then this is the teaching of emptiness? What relationship does this have to the presentation of truth? Since both existence and nonexistence have been abandoned, how can one "abide in emptiness?" The nature of the way of the Buddhas is truly that there is nowhere wherein one can lodge. Since both existence and nonexistence have been sundered, there is nothing that can be grasped.

    • Venerable Gyōnen

    Of all forms of disease, none is greater than that of having a body — he extinguished the body. Of all forms of torment, none is more severe than that of having a calculating mind — he erased it and submerged in the vacuous. The mind is taxed by the body; the body is burdened by the intellect. The two pull each other, turning like a wheel on the endless road of misery. It is said in a sutra, “The intellect is poison, the body is shackles. Because of them the abysmal silence of liberation remains beyond reach; they are the cause of all tribulations.” The Perfect turned his body into ashes and extinguished his intellect, he relinquished his form and discarded his reason. Within, he abandoned the stirrings of illumination; without, he put to rest the basis of misery. Transcendent, perfectly free from all existents; boundless, he became great and vacuous. Tranquil, inaudible, clear, non-manifest, mysteriously gone forever into a destination unknown.

    • Venerable Sengzhao

    The mind can only take us so far...

    How great is the great gnosis of the great sage?
    ‏‏‎Undefiled, unstained, unbound,
    of gods and men, of elephants and horses,
    equally of these he is the trainer and the teacher.
    The zephyrs of the path he has all-permeated with aromas.
    He has permeated them with the perfumes of righteousness.
    Serene in wisdom, calm in feeling, with the mind in a yoga of stillness,
    with the will submerged, with consciousness gone, with heart tranquil [...]

    • Anantanirdeśasūtra
    JeroenlobsterShoshin1person
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks @Vimalajāti

    Exactly so. As well as can be said.

    It is bit like sitting but not sitting. In other word if we meditate and have an experience of meditation, we are still 'doing meditation' rather than being meditative/mindful whilst sitting.

    It is a bit like Baby Yoda's Rugby advice:
    “There is No Try”

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Veteran
    edited January 9

    @lobster said:
    The enlightened mind is unconditioned. In other words it does not have qualities but its expression through us does.

    Imagine a wait being taken off one mind. Now we are patient but patient is not a thing it is an expression of waiting ...

    This. The Enlightened Mind, or as Dzogchen and some Zen schools put it, Original Mind, is unconditioned by definition. So no conditioning can lead us anywhere but away from it.
    But...there are varieties of conditioning that act as anticonditioning. Metta Bhavana and raising Bodhicitta for example. There is a parallel with some secular therapies. No therapies lead to Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense, but some are necessary for some individuals in order for them to stop self sabotage. In the same way Metta Bhavana or similar will not lead to Enlightenment for most people, but is often a necessary step to enable us to stop blocking our own light.

    lobsterhowShoshin1person
  • Which reminds me of this....

    "AWARENESS is fundamentally non-conceptual before thinking splits experience into subject and object...It is empty and so can contain everything, including thought...It is boundless...And amazingly, it is intrinsically KNOWING"

    JeffreyChoephallobster
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @Choephal said:
    The Enlightened Mind, or as Dzogchen and some Zen schools put it, Original Mind, is unconditioned by definition. So no conditioning can lead us anywhere but away from it.
    But...there are varieties of conditioning that act as anticonditioning. Metta Bhavana and raising Bodhicitta for example.

    So you would say that conditioning can help one shed preexisting conditioning, and in that way can be helpful in allowing us to reach the unconditioned? It seems to me that there are not enough practices which allow deconditioning in order to get rid of all the things we need to get rid of.

  • ChoephalChoephal UK Veteran
    edited January 10

    It depends on the practices. Trechko, for example in Dzogchen and as far as I understand it Zazen, are means by which we stop the process of conditioning for long enough..Conditioning is an active process. Samsara isn’t a place, it’s something that we do. Skillful means are those activities which enable us to stop Samsara-ing.🙂
    There is a well worn metaphor the Zen people use. We have a thorn stuck in our flesh. Dharma is a second thorn that we use to remove the first thorn. We then throw both away.

    lobsterShoshin1person
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