It occurred to me today, that if we are not body or mind, then we are not our thoughts, and if we are not our thoughts, can we be said to actually do anything? An action is usually preceded by a thought.
I had always considered that thought comes first, then a discernment whether this thought was worthy of action, then the decision to act. But I am kind of wondering whether that whole process is also thinking, also of the mind. When dreaming things happen much more automatically, I’m much less aware of any kind of mental process.
“The thought of ‘I am the doer’ is the bite of the poisonous snake. To know ‘I do nothing’ is the wisdom of faith. Be happy.”
– Ashtavakra Gita 1.8
Perhaps the Ashtavakra Gita has it right…
Or Jean Klein, when he said that people continually act out of reaction, is closer to the truth. When I observe how I act, that often has a lot to do with reacting to a thought, which itself often comes from a memory or an observation. If one lives out of memory, your whole past consists of ripples of consequence which come from the world acting on you.
Perhaps there is very little that we actually do…
This question is good.
Its answer is like looking for the true origin of a stream where every conclusion is preceded by the next until we see that its water itself that defines it. The stream is just a momentary expression of water's movement and that water in itself is an endless loop where its true start is indistinguishable from its ending.
Or from another perspective, it's like a momentary wavelet on an inexpressibly vast ocean asking who it is. Karma, ignorance, slightly saddened love, a bubble in a stream, a phantasm, a dream?
Traditionally, a study of Dependent Origination is one of the best companion teachings that Buddhism offers in how to relate to the answer.
You’re absolutely right @how it explains how the realisation I am not the body, I am not the mind also has something to do with how we view karma…
Knowing or being is present before, after and during thinking. Knowing has never left from the day you became conscious.
What is being realised?
Everything that arises, passes away. The world arises and ceases within the mind.
Form, feeling, perception, mental formations and vinnana.
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with vinnana. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
Not according to Jean Klein. He says that there is such a thing as direct perception, seeing without involving thought. Awareness therefore is not a function that is bound to the mind, although you can be aware of what’s in the mind.
From one meditative perspective, "not being the mind " is predicated on some understanding & experience of the fundamental difference between natural thought and deliberate thought.
Here "not being the mind" simply describes a mind whose primary operating agenda is to be less habitually attachment bound to any phenomena that it encounters.
It's not so much an organic definition as it is a path.
Well, if there is direct perception and awareness, you could say that by not identifying the self with the “bundle of thoughts that is the mind” you free yourself to observe the mind and the world without being involved in the interpretation-reaction cycle. You could say it is a path, others have said it is a shift in perception.
The fact that as we sleep the world continues to turn and act around us poses an interesting question, Jean Klein says that the world is continually recreated every moment by the cosmic awareness which we are all part of, in the way that a wave thinks its a wave but it is also water and part of the ocean.
Looking at the mind from a step removed, we are no longer as directly involved in the world. I recall Nisargadatta once saying that the operation of his body and mind were to him the same as the liver purifying the blood or the digestion processing food.
To say that we are not the body or the mind is to imply there is something we are that does not include the body or mind. To say we are nothing at all makes no sense as it negates that which would identify with nothing. If I identify with nothing in particular, then, inclusivity reigns.
This body and/or mind is not all that I am.
Could be. But then again, maybe not. To think "I do nothing" is a good way to get out of owning our actions but that goes against knowing that my actions are my only true possessions which is the fifth of the Five Remembrances.
Until the subconscious is made conscious we are slaves to past conditioning. Jung said we call that fate.
I guess it's more a case of What is the Mind and its function...
And a few things come to mind (pun intended)
Thus have I heard ....The mind (in the simplest sense) is the sense of "knowing" (for example when at home you know where you are without having to think about it...or you know when you are hungry or thirsty...no doubt there are better examples, but I can't think of any at the moment ) anyhow, it takes wisdom (which comes from the bottom of ones heart-mind AKA bum on the cushion-hence 'bottom of' ) to know the difference between 'skilful' and 'unskilful'. actions...The knowing Mind must develop this skill with the help of its close friends Consciousness & Awareness....
From what I gather there is no doer, only doing, just as there is no thinker behind the thought, other than thought itself....It's the five clinging aggregates...ie, the 'karmically self-generating sense of self' which for the most part is not being of sound mind especially when it comes to dealing with bouts of Dukkha/Unsatisfactoriness ...It is like this karmically self-generating sense of self' is on auto pilot where the course/destination is constantly being updated unskilfully ...hence the bouts of Dukkha...
And this so it would seem is where the Three Amigos ( Mind Awareness Consciousness -MAC) work in harmony together...to map out a better course of action which will eventually unfetter the Mind...
When it comes to putting it altogether, ( perhaps dismantling would be a better term ) according to Master Mind Bodhidharma
"The most essential method which includes all other methods is to behold the Mind
The Mind is the root from which all things grow...If one can understand the Mind...Everything else is included" (including who or what is doing the doing and who or what knows)...
Surely you mean Truth-Consciousness-Bliss? Or are we getting entirely confused between orthodox Buddhism and Hinduism? In any case I’ve heard it said that the best definition of mind is just your bundle of thoughts.
Different schools of thought may have slightly different understandings of the three...
However, ultimately they all lead/point to the same outcome...
Words after all, are just words, "tools" we use... and for the individual the meaning behind them can point out the way but the words themselves are not the way...
I like @how approach...
Most of us are not even 'I AM' or independent/detached/empty. We are full of impediments (including temporary bliss outs, mindless distraction, overwhelming dukkha, memory and karmic patterns, intellectual drivel etc) …
… as we free awareness into I AM (without name, form or sensory processing) which comes from meditation, real qualities arise AND fall away, refining or emptying the cruder quests/'attainments' and selfhoods.
Interesting that we are action and inaction, we are thought and non-thought, we are being and non-being, we are the "I am" separated and we are inexorably interconnected. It is this reality of being the all and the nothing.
To picture this, we are each a wave upon the ocean. Each wave is separate, distinct. Yet each is an inseparable part of the ocean from which we rise and to which we return.We could not be without the ocean which in turn is composed of each and all of us.
Another view is that we are each an integral part of our environment which is an integral part of each of us.
From the view if the "I", we are each the center of existance of the now. From the view of the "We", we are a miniscule part of an inexplicably greater whole. We are each all and wach nothing. We are thought and we are that which preceeds and followa thought. We are action and we are stillness. We are the smoke in the winf and we are the wind.
Weare all that and none of that at once.
Welcome to this mystery we celebrate an call "Life".
Peace to all