Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Counterintuitive? - Mind and Body

Before I get into some of my questions that are concerned with nondualism during meditation, here are some quotes from the reading that help contextualize what I’m discussing:

On the consciousness of the mind: “Likewise, is your mind an entity that can be identified as empty or as aware? Regarding the empty quality, does that mean being empty like nothingness or empty space? Is the lucidly aware quality radiant like .the light of the sun and moon, or the flame of a butter lamp? Examine what this lucidity is Investigate this until it is settled with complete and conclusive certainty. (28)

On the nature of the mind and stillness: “It is easy to resolve that (this conscious mind) does not consist of any shape, color, location, support or material substance. However, if you take it to be a definable entity that is aware and empty and you remain quietly in that state, you are still unresolved, since that is the meditative mood of stillness.” (28)

On the mind and nonarising: “You must experience the actual mode of this mind: a self knowing emptiness that from the very first cannot be pinpointed as arising, dwelling or ceasing.”  (37)

What is the nature of the mind -- is the mind separate from the body, or is it a body part? In the same way that our hands are? Thoughts and the mind are indivisible, perceptions and the mind are indivisible (as during meditation, “the mind has not turned into anything other than mind itself” 36 ish) but what about the mind and the body? Before Namgyal establishes the “identity of the mind,” he outlines instructions for meditation in terms of our bodily reality and function. He stresses the importance of posture and breathing, and doing these meditative practices to “capture the uncaught mind” (20). If in fact there is no division within a nondualist context, is it not counterintuitive that during meditation one distinguishes between bodily movements and movements of the mind? Or, working off this quote---“No matter what of thought occurs, its experience is, in itself, something unidentifiable - it is unobstructedly aware and yet not conceptualizing. As for perceptions, they are a mere impression of unobstructed presence, which is insubstantial and not a clinging to a solid reality. They are hard to describe as being such-and-such, and when you understand them to be this way you have reached personal experience.” (31) -- would Namgyal classify our bodies as perceptions? Also, it seems as if consciousness and the mind are used interchangeably, yet in what circumstance would their division aid in one’s training? If the mind and consciousness are not divisible, is it incorrect to describe the mind in terms of what is conscious and unconscious, ie, the conscious mind? Moreover, I am questioning the interesting relationship between the body and the mind during meditation and its practice in a nondual context.

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