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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
beutiful metephor.earths grace.river,raft,time,afloat,flow.being one with the river ,moving with earths grace.
....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...
The mind is already enlightened, however the self it would seem, is in denial....
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.
However are there conditions that favour the Buddha Mind? Yes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This sounds right. Any kind of training is self conditioning and if the training is conducive to awakening, the potential for awakening is fed.
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.
Everything conditioned conditions.
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 ...
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.
I don’t know, I always quite enjoy untangling @lobster’s references.
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.
@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
~ H. E. Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, As it is , Volume 1 Chapter 4- Existence & Nonexistence (Pages 75~76 ) Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang
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?
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 ...
Just when I thought I was on the Middle Way ...
back to meditation ...
I dreamt of a weight being taken off my mind in the night... literally...
I’ve returned to this question a few times recently, since it is rather key to how one approaches the search for enlightenment. If I look at people who have been said to be enlightened then I don’t see a great deal of mind training in their backgrounds. The Buddha had meditation training from two masters it is true, but he wasn’t a renowned memoriser or keeper of scriptures. Shri Ramana Maharshi at a young age wandered to a holy mountain and found himself there. Osho often said that it is better to remain free of conditioning. Jiddhu Krishnamurti’s views on conditioning as a negative force are well known. In any case they were highly individualistic.
I’m tempted to conclude that it is useless to seek anything other than a meditation master, someone experienced in teaching meditation methods. That for the rest one should strive to live freely, and not to let anyone add to the burden of ‘shoulds’ that are on our mind. If we start living by the rules of others then we are a long way removed from our authentic being.
So is an authentic being enlightened? Not automatically I don’t think. There is some unravelling of basic instincts to be done, how does one cope with anger and hatred for instance. I think one arrives at a point of witnessing, of being with the emotion but not letting it take over. Then I believe you would be a lot closer to being enlightened.
Somehow the approach of training the mind, of pouring beliefs or slogans into it, doesn’t ring true to me. I think at best you achieve a kind of pseudo enlightenment, where your mind is filled with the principles of enlightenment and you’ve had some lovely experiences and have managed to convince yourself you are far on the path, but most of the originality is gone
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 ...
I'm certainly enlightened about Enlightenment: It is a big blind Hoax, if ever there was one.
"What would it mean if?" is all this hoax says to me.
I call it "projected living." "Pie in the Sky. (Not the Apple of my Eye)
I believe that there are and have been thousands and thousands of very spiritually advanced and talented people in all places and times. But 99% of them are lost to us. But they really lived, and golly Did They!
The so-called avatars, such as Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Meher Baba, and many others we called Enlightened (These listed are just ones whose "temples" I've visited.) have reached this distinction by approbation, I think.
And sure, it is sweet and right and good to visit shrines and such and feel love and gratitude, honoring any of these wonderful people, saints, and Avatars. But truly, I don't believe they sought it. Nay, they caught it or were caught by it. "Seek and you shall find," surely, but do not grasp for it with your mind and heart [Philippians 2:6].
I believe we are put here to grow in love as grass grows green in spring and to bring joy to others —and to grow in wisdom to learn how not to ruin it and spread misery. That is enough for me. Others may need to believe in More. But for me, Enough! Be content and do good while seeking to be grounded in the Truth and in the Wisdom that is taught.
On a slightly different subject, the next post:
A retreatant asks Rabbi Rami a question: I’m a Christian, and I’ve been reading the Bhagavad Gita. Can God incarnate as both Christ and Krishna?
Rabbi Rami: If God can incarnate as one person, why not two?
I believe God incarnates as all reality. To borrow from Paul Tillich
and Saint Paul: God doesn't exist, God Is Existence: that dynamic,
evolving process in which we live and move and have our being
(Acts 17:28). Christ and Krishna knew they were God; you can
also. The great spiritual awakening that some religions foster
and others fear is that one day all humanity will put on the mind
of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and realize in all truth and humility
that “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and Atman, the
universal Self, is Brahman, Absolute Reality (Upanishads). So yes,
God can be both Christ and Krishna, and you and me as well.
I do know that in the inner space there is much to explore. It is not so straightforward as saying, we are already enlightened.
Well put, sometimes I think one of the things we are here to do is to learn not to be shaped by negative influences. It is easy to be shaped by trauma and hatred, it is more difficult to stay with loving kindness through these events.
I would imagine that happens from time to time.
I think everything is not only a result of conditions coming together but that which conditions. Just information being shared which produces a result which is more conditions coming together or information being shared.
There being no self only really means there is no permanence to anything that arises due to conditions. It doesn't mean we experience in vain.
Without mind, there would be no stories and no way to learn or experience. Anything can be a lesson or a distraction depending but it all conditions which is why we are taught to be mindful of what we consume.
Likening the mind to a machine seems a little cold for someone like myself with reverence for life but I can see it as an information processor of sorts except that it also uses that information by making choices.
Those choices can be less influenced by external conditions as we take our training or conditioning into our own hands.
Some of us may be able to stumble into it but it mostly seems like we have to put in the work.
Free will doesn't come cheap.
Reminds me of the koan:
"Teacher pacify my mind"
"Show me your mind and I will pacify it"
"Wherever I look I cannot find my mind"
"Your mind has been pacified"
And some strange sounding commentary that I guess is a part of the koan:
Commentary: Crowned with garlands the 3 year old plays the drum. An eighty year old man plays with a balloon.
Verse: If mind is not-mind who can we ask for advice? Is it possible to become a fetus again? The old monk who thinks he can calm the mind of another is just mocking everyone around him and he doesn't even know it.
I recalled the koan and found a 'longer version' here: Hasegawa, Seikan. The Cave of Poison Grass. Great Ocean Publishers: 1972. ISBN 0-915556-01-4: p. 11
“Eka was living in the chaotic darkness, not knowing what was his mind.
Then he asked to Bodhidharma, “My teacher, I don’t feel any satisfaction. Please let me be satisfied.”
Bodhidharma replied, “I see. I will satisfy you. Please bring your unsatisfied mind to me.”
Eka was an honest and pure trainer and looked for his unsatisfied mind for dear life. He was already a great scholar. He must have tried to find his unsatisfied mind in various directions.
His body and spirit became a lump of doubt. But he could not find any unsatisfied mind.
Then he said to Bodhidharma, “Though I sought the unsatisfied mind sincerely, there is no such thing.”
Bodhidharma said to him, “Already I satisfied you.”
Really Eka could understand that originally there is no such thing. He had been in suffering which he made by himself. He recognized the mind.”
That post is from January 19, and expresses my feelings about "enlightenment" as a Goal in life: Unreal and not to be sought.
I am enamored of @Bunks Buddhist Quotes thread, and I take so many screensavers from that wonderful site. Perhaps someday I'll add the below quote from Kosho Uchiyama to those illustrious quotes there. Here I put it for two reasons: Enlightenment is about our Consciousness. Secondly, pure consciousness is never empty of both light and heat, it is Lovingconsciousness.
Affinity. Not infinity. Love is Everything. Only Love is Infinite, but we cannot get it All by ourselves. But what we have is enough if our hearts not be hardened towards anyone.
Oops, I answered this thread twice, sorry.
Btw, @Kerome, thanks for taking the time to make all these thoughtful threads.
No problem. I find it pleasing that i have been sharing the contents of my mind in a fashion that is useful for the community. I hope the well never runs dry, or the repeating nature of my thoughts is laid bare....
And the more answers the merrier.
Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?
One ball of supportive kapok fluff sometimes claims...
a practice that unburdens the mind
of its conditioned responses to phenomena,
illuminates what was, is, and always will be
enlightened simultaneously with everything.
Can the mind be conditioned into enlightenment?
Can the mind be conditioned into awakening?
Can a bird be conditioned into knowing how to fly?
Can a squirrel be conditioned into gathering nuts?
... and now back to the 40% conditioned sense ...
The conditions are always pointing but there we stand, confused by the finger.
After the moon has its shine, we point aimlessly in every direction resting at the light
Not quite, but something similar I think. The mind can be conditioned to be more skillful, let go of much of what it clings to as self, and once it reaches a certain point, it is then able to cognize that which is unconditioned. In essence, the mind can't create it, but it can be trained to remove the barriers to knowing it.
This question might be related to the relationship between interconnection, emptiness, and luminosity?
~ Guru Rinpoche
I think so. The uncreated state sounds to me like pure potential which is what emptiness really implies. Without emptiness, no change could take place and without potential no event would have ever gone down.
As I understand it, no. The conditioning that we do is to generate the required karma to make the switch to the unconditioned, i.e. enlightened mind. Conditioning the mind to be enlightened would be like painting more to get a blank piece of paper. The switch is magical. You're attempting to paint the most beautiful picture possible such that in doing so the painting somehow reverts to the blank piece of paper. It makes no sense in other words. It's not a strict cause and effect process. There is nothing in the conditioned realm that can bring us to the unconditioned realm because the two are utterly distinct. All we can do is take ourselves to the point where the magic happens.
We muggle along ... or is that potter
and then ...
Yeah! [I knew there was a plan]
I guess enlightenment involves the awareness of the thing we call the self being just a construct...something continually being conditioned ...
Transient alas are all component (conditioned) things
subject are they to birth and then decay
Having gained birth to death the life flux swings
bliss truly dawns when unrest dies away
Which would mean whatever is conditioned will eventually be unconditioned and from what I gather enlightenment is/as always been unconditional ...so to speak...
One can not be conditioned into letting go one can only become aware of the benefits of not holding on, and from what "I" gather an enlightened mind is an unfettered mind...
Thus have "I" heard...
Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya Nothing whatsoever should be clung to...
I wish I could "insightful" and "hug" at the same time, @Shoshin1 because that really hit the spot.
Dharmic words are like the finger pointing to the moon... the raft on our way to the other shore.
They are not the true way of things...
So they can take you there.
There is something to the idea of becoming utterly relaxed as a path to enlightenment. However, if you do then you become kind of floppy. There is also viriya, energy that causes one to do whole some things, and thīna-middha or sloth-torpor, one of the five hindrances.
Methinks there is a Middle Way even in relaxation and in letting go.
This reminds me of my thread 'Growth through joy'. There has to be an internal motivation. And to make any kind of progress on this path then that motivation needs to be consistent and iron-clad. I've tried to 'let go of everything' but I ended up letting go of my practice too, and found myself drifting around aimlessly and flabbily.
I think the path is of stages. And what is correct for our current stage might not be so for the next one. We need to be flexible and adaptable. Always a 'beginners mind'. Just because something has worked for us does not mean it will continue to work for us.
When I first started the path I was very hard on myself. I was relentless in working on eradicating certain traits. This was very helpful at that stage because the harm I was doing through those traits was much more than the harm I was doing to myself through being hard on myself.
However, later down the path when those traits had been mostly eradicated, being hard on myself was causing more harm than it was preventing, and so I had to learn how to be more gentle with myself, which in turn allowed me to express more positive traits that I was overlooking because my mindset was so conditioned to only see the bad in myself.
The ultimate 'letting go' is not helpful at other stages. It's too hard for a beginner on the path to understand, and it will likely have counter-productive results. We can practice letting go gradually whilst retaining a firm and disciplined commitment to our chosen practice. And when that firm and disciplined commitment to our practice is counter-productive rather than productive - which I suspect can only be pre-enlightenment - then we can let go of that too.
It is a strange path. It is like we are untangling a giant knot to discover the rope, only to untangle the knot and realise that the rope was there all along. And yet, untangle we must.
The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences
I thought this quotation pertained to what we are talking about without detracting or distracting (from the Nyingma tradition I think):
~ Chamtrul Rinpoche