Lorig: Way of Knowing Mind – Session 2


Mind, consciousness and soul,
Four cause and condition of mind,
Difference between mind and person (to be continued).



 Mind and soul


When we differentiate  the mind, consciousness and soul, it is very important to understand that in Buddhism, mind is formless phenomena which is like a mirror or a clear in nature and has an object, has an activity of knowing an object, so that is what it is called mind. And then if you understand the soul as something that is been created by God, if you think that the soul is something that when we die it has to go to the heaven or hell or this and that, if you think that soul is something that has a strong relation with the Creator God, then such soul, it is being explained or believed in Buddhism rather, instead of a soul, it is a mind which does the job for the soul, then there is no such Creator. If there is any Creator in this world, then it is the mind.  

If you take an example of a beautiful house, the beautifuf house has been created or done or made by a carpenter or maybe the construction team, so they are able to do it because of the mind, it is the mind which gives a sort of order to the body and let the body do that. It’s more like if a person makes a phone out of some instrument, so it is not the instrument, but it’s the peson who did it, again it’s not the person, but it is behind the person which is the mind and the knowledge which is again comes back to the mind. 

So it is the mind and also a lot of confusion is like why some people has to suffer and why some people has to be happy, why some people are riches, why some people are poor, again, it is the mind. Because of the mind, we do good or bad things from our physical or verbal, because of the good and bad things that we do in this life, we leave a karma, the second moment we do something good or bad, so those karmas or actions leave a sort of a imprint or a seed in the continuum of mind. 

So when this mind travels, those seeds activate and then we are experiencing happiness and suffering. It’s more like the reason why we are able to speak and speak more or less and understand English is because we have learned it. It’s not something, it’s not because somebody did it or because of the power of something or somebody. The reason why you understand what I’m trying to say, the reason why we all are able to say more or less English, it’s simply because when we want to remember, we have an ability to remember, when we want to say a word to express something through English, we are able to express. So before the expression, where and how this knowledge exists in our mind? If somebody asks, then it exists in our mind as a sort in the form of a seed. 

That seed is the seed which has been left in our mind when we learn English, in a simple word, we are able to speak in English because we have learned. So if you think that’s all has something to do with the Creator God, then such soul with such a meaning doesn’t exist. 

Mind and consciousness

According to the Buddhist philosophy, it is just the mind and the consciousness is just another word for mind. Consciousness is actually the same thing, but it is named from a different aspect, for example, a mother is a mother at the same time a daughter. Suppose if there is a person called mary, let’s say the Mary is a mother, but she’s also a daughter, so Mary is both mother and daughter, this is just a different level that is been given to a same person who’s called Mary. So similarly, consciousness and mind are just two different words for the same phenomena which is, as I mentioned earlier, the formless phenomena which is clear and has ability to know an object. So there is pretty much the difference between mind, consciousness and soul. 


So when you understand such a mind and its sort of nature, then you may think how it might activate? What is needed? and how it functions? If you talk about the function of mind, how does it comes to exist? But before that I just clear that there is not just one mind, yeah, countless minds, the mind that knows how to drive, doesn’t knows how to speak English; the mind which knows how to speak English, doesn’t know how to cook food; the mind which knows how to cook food, doesn’t know how to swim. So in us, there are countless of mind, it’s not just one mind. 

Each and every mind has its own object, so based on each own object, a new mind activates, it is more like the eye consciousness, when you look at the phone, the eye consciousness apprehends the phone. When you look at something else, the eye consciousness which apprehends the phone remains in dormant way or it  dissolves back and then every time you look at new thing and new eye consciousness appears. So  the mind and consciousness is not just one, it’s many but if we just classify to make it easier, then the mind can be classified into two parts: mental consciousness and the sense consciousness. These are  two types of mind, mental consciousness and sense consciousness. 

So the sense consciousness is basically related to the five senses, but when I talk about the eye  consciousness, I’m not talking about eyeball. Inside the eyeball there is this mind called eye consciousness which is why we are able to see things. So basically this eyeball is known as a sort of a home or a place where the eye consciousness abides or stays or remains.


Causal condition,
Immediate condition,
Objective condition,
Dominant condition.

So to activate such a mind, it needs four conditions. You look at the phone and you look at the world, you look at a window or you look at the door, you need four conditions to activate each and every mind. You think of a cow, and then you think of a car and you think of a swimming, with each eye consciousness or a thought or a mental consciousness that activates within you, you need to have the four condition to activate that. So today we will go through these four conditions.

If I just name the four condition of the mind, then the first one is a causal condition, it’s more like the cause and effect, causal condition; the second one is immediate condition; the third one is objective condition and the 4th one is dominant condition

When this four condition is ready, then the mind come to exist. So this four condition more like a parent, to give birth a child, there is a need of parents, so similarly to  generate a mind, these four conditions are needed. It’s quite interesting in a sense that it’s just different realm or the world, and with this you will be able to understand like to know things, it’s not really easy to see things, and then we take it for so granted, but there is a lot of things which go behind it, so the causal condition, immediate condition, objective condition, and dominant condition:

Causal condition

So the first one is causal condition. Basically let’s take an example of when a person see a car with eye consciousness, so the four condition has to go through that. The first one is causal condition, so the causal condition is you have to have such a karma to see the car, you have to have such a habituation to see the car, you have to have some karma, habituations and also lots of causes behind it, so I’m gonna explain it in a bit more. 

Each and every eye consciousness has its own ability, for example, what we see and what some animals see are very different. Suppose we are able to see many different kinds of colors, but there are many animals which are able to see just few colors. Even among the human, let’s say two persons are there, both look at the same car with eye consciousness but it appears different to both of them. Both look at  the same car, but one may like it, one may not like it. 

I heard that cockroach basically can’t see human because cockroach’s eyes can only perceive 2-dimension (2-D), if I remember it’s correctly, so the human eye can see 3-D –Researchers say that there are about 10 or 11 or 12 somewhere around that dimension. So, our eyes fall into 3-D, I mean, basically what our eyes can see is 3-D, the height, the length, and then the width, if I’m not mistaken, so the cockroach can see just as picture when the cockroach look at the human, the cockroach can see just a flat as if we are looking at a picture. 

So the reason is because of  the different causal conditions, so what we see is because of our own causal condition. If you know about the six types of sentient beings, there is one being called Preta [skt.] or hunger ghost, there are certain types of beings, there are certain types similar to an animal, but it’s not an animal which don’t see water. In many of the sutras, it is explained that they are so thirsty, but they can’t see water. 

If you know Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, there was a great master giving a teaching, but then a man came from afar away, he was a traveler when he arrived at that spot  where the teacher was giving a teaching. Everybody was hearing, at the same time, was able to see that the teacher was giving some profound teachings. Because of the karma, because of the past habituation, causal condition of that person, what he sees that the teacher is eating some food. The person was not able to see that the teacher was giving some teachings, he can’t hear anything, what he sees is that the teacher is eating some food. So likewise there are some beings when they look at the water, they can’t see water, they have to have such a karma. And also a very delicious food, generally may not be delicious for everyone, because of their own karma. So these are called causal condition. 

Causal condition is very important to understand, there might not be that much of issues in the problems, but because of the causal condition, many people they misunderstand and because of this, many, even the breakup between the couples, or between the friends or between the companies or anything, many of these is because of lots of misunderstandings. And the problem is that they can’t see the situation as been misunderstood but they see it as a fact. Sometimes they hear it as a fact, sometimes they see it as a fact and what they see or hear or misunderstand just by conceptual thought is because of one’s own habituation, is because of one’s own karma, many of the times. There could be reason in many cases, but there are definitely lots of cases where a very good friend, they just separate or they just becomes enemy. If you analyze thoroughly in many cases, you’re gonna find that it is just a misunderstanding, there is no actual basis which could make them unhappy about each other, it’s just a misunderstanding in the way a person talk, in the way a person listens and all these things. 

I’ve mentioned this in one of my previous classes that the general normal person can concentrate just about 8-10 seconds, so after each eight or eight to10 seconds, our mind distracts from the object even if we are trying our best to concentrate on a phenomenon or a thing, our mind can concentrate just about 8 to 10 seconds and then our mind jumps to something else. When the mind jumps to something else, and when you miss that short period of time, suppose you’re listening to someone for 15 seconds, in that 15 seconds, suppose you hear 30 words, each second, suppose you hear like two words, then in that 15 seconds generally a person get distracted, or at least a once. When you get distracted a once, in that 15 seconds, you’re basically losing two to four words. So a person said to you 30 words in a 15 seconds and you miss four words, but usually you don’t ask because you feel and you think that you have heard everything, but actually, in the fact  you lost two to four words. 

What person does usually is that you fill in the blanks by yourself, you just make up the words in your mind. We are very good with that, extremely professional in that, we just fill up with the thing that we want to listen or we think. If you are disturbed by something before, maybe you are not in such a good mood then you’re gonna fill up some negative words. If you’re in a very good mood then you’re gonna fill up with something positive words, even if the person who are listening to say something bad, you might say something bad, you might not take it in bad, you might not hear it or you might be happy because what you’re feeling that, what the words that the person said which is negative, you lose it in those one or two seconds and then you feel something positive. But  when you are not in a nice mood, then what you do is you fill up something negative, then you misunderstand, even if a person said I didn’t say that, you would say that “Yes, I heard you said that”. But that is not true and that is because of your own karma, because of your own past habituation, then past experience. 

When a person says something and then you lose two words and when you miss that, when you don’t hear it, you record, you immediately think of a similar past experience, “Oh OK”, so you fill up based on the past experience, past habituation. So there is again the past habituation and the past familiarization, it comes through a seed and then activate. So basically the causal condition, it can be many factors, but I would say it is the past karma, past habituation, past experience.

So even a mind, even the eyes, what you see from your eyes is not entirely outside, you’re not seeing entirely the way it is outside. Yes, you see what is out there, but there is lots of projections, lots of past habituation, lots of the past similarisation and experience that influencing what you see out there. Many animals, when they don’t have a karma to see a human, when they don’t have a karma to see all these different colors, they don’t see it. When you don’t have a karma to eat a delicious food, you don’t like it, if you don’t have a karma to eat a mango, you don’t like it. It’s quite simple.  

In many Asian countries, many people they like durian, this is one fruit, a durian, they call it the king of the fruits, and many people love it, and I saw in some trains, it is been reaching like ‘You cannot carry durian because it’s so smelly’, but people love it, people really love to eat, I know someone who literally fly from that country to Singapore to eat durian. And trust me, I’ve tried, that was terrible, I lost the tongue sense for few hours and after that people asked me to eat another food, it was sort of a mangosteen or something, they said like ‘one is like a king of the food, one is like a queen of the food, it balances, something and something’, and then I had no idea how the mangosteen taste because after having that durian, the tongue was literally numbed, may not that’s my karma, they love it, they really love it and I had it, it was terrible, there’s no way that I could explain how it tastes. 

But this is the way it acts, the causal condition, so whatever we see, we feel, we hear, we taste and then we think, there is lots of forces, there’s lots of influences that comes out from our past conditions, our past experience and habituation, that is causal condition, that is one condition, so there must be. If you see some nice is because of some past good karma, if you see something bad, I don’t like durian because of my karma, might be some terrible karma, so that’s why I can’t enjoy the durian but there are some good karma regarding, let’s say mangosteen, so that’s why some people like mango or mangosteen or whatever. So this is all influenced by this causal condition. 

Immediate condition

The second one is the immediate condition, before we see something, for example, when you look at the car, before the eye consciousness is generated, you must have a wish to see, a thought to see, a thought to see something. Sometimes some people say that when you open the eyes, you don’t aways have the strong intention to see, you don’t always have a motivation to see. Some peole say like when you wake up, you open your eyes and then you see the ceiling or a fan or whatever is on your roof, then in that particular you don’t have the immediate condition because you don’t have an intention to see that. You don’t have an intention to see a ceiling or a fan, but as long as you have the intention to open eyes, there is a slight intention to see which is why you open the eyes or some explanation says that when you open eyes, the first moment, even if you open the eyelids, the first moment you don’t get to see thing, the thing has to appear, I’ll explain it a bit later. That is why it s called immediate condition, so there should be a mental consciousness, a thought or a desire or a wish to see a car right before your eye consciousness see that. 

Without having a thought or a wish to see the car, your eyes cannot see. So the similar thought has to activate, for example, if you are very sad, let’s say somebody said something bad to you, somebody said that you are really so stupid. You got really hurted because you really trust the person and then that person said that you are stupid and even if you are not stupid, generally people become stupid at the time because of believing that if you get hurt by listening that you are stupid from somebody else. 

Actually, you should know that you’re not stupid, if you get hurt then you are believing to that person in some sense, if you believe in that person in some sense, then you are being stupid. What I’m trying to say here is that when you get hurt by something, let’s say somebody said something wrong to you, then you think of another thing: “Oh, last time he said that or last time somebody else said that, oh last year somebody else had said that.”When you have such a thought, it automatically generates lots of similar thoughts. If you are negative, you think of many things which makes you more negative, if you are sad you think of many things which make you more sad, if you are happy you think of many goodthings. Suppose you are so angry because somebody do something, you get more angry by thinking about “Oh he did this, this time he get this” , and so you think about many other things. It’s more like when you are sad you wish to listen to a sad song, when you are happy you wish to listen to a happy song.

Actually it’s the stupid, but then this is how our mind works. Actually when you are happy you should be listening to some neutral songs so that you don’t get too much, you don’t fly, and also when you are sad, you should listen to some happy songs so that you can overcome the sadness, but then usually no, when people are sad, they listen to the sad song. 

So what I’m trying to say here is that a mind, a particular mind activates, it helps other similar minds to activate. It’s more like one dog barks and then all the other dogs bark, if a like rose, even if there are some dogs around, they don’t bark, it’s a different species, if a dog barks then all the other dogs bark.

The reason why I’m saying this is for you to remember what I’m trying to say here is that one’s mind activates so similar minds get activated at that time. So immediate condition is pretty much like that, to be able to see a car, a similar mind which has to go before and we have to help it to activate: before you see a car you have a desire to see a car, you just feel like seeing a car or you just feel like looking at that phenomena, so that feeling helps the eye consciousness to activate. So that feeling is one of the parents which helps to generate the eye consciousness, without that mind you can’t see the car. 

So that is called immediate condition and the reason why this is called immediate is because that has to come right before. It’s more like you have a desire to see the car and then you see the car after 5-15 minutes, it doesn’t happen like that, it has to happen right moment, right immediate before. So that is one of the conditions which has to be there to generate the eye consciousness or any kind of consciousness. The reason why I’m saying with eye consciousness because it’s easier to understand at the same time, just an example so that you can apply to all the other minds. 

 Objective condition

The third one is objective condition, the objective condition is like the object itself, when you look at a car, your eye consciousness that proceeds from the car, it’s a result of the car. The car come to exist first and because of the car it helps your eye consciousness to generate. So that is also a condition, the object that your eyes see is the objective condition.

Dominant condition

The 4th  one is dominant condition, this is kind of interesting one. The dominant condition is what we call eye power, now the eye power is form, eye power is not formless, eye power is a form and eye power is not eye consciousness, eye power is something that has to go before the eye consciousness, let me give you an example, when you look at a car, first, the car appears to the eye power, that time you don’t see the car. 

When you open your eyelids, when you look at the car, the car first appears to the eye power and here eye power also act as a mirror, so it’s more like when you are driving to see if there is a car behind you or a truck behind you. You look at the mirror which is beside your car door, so you can see what is behind, you can see if there is a truck behind you in the mirror which is in front of you, so the eye power is like that mirror because through that mirror you can see the truck behind. 

Similarly through the eye power you get to see the car by your eye consciousness. So your eye consciousness is like you, the eye power is like that mirror and that car is like the truck. So the car first appears to our eye power, then our eye power helps the eye consciousness to see the truck. So it has to go through that sequence, first, the image or the car appears to eye power, eye power is like  a very subtle phenomenon, very subtle it means like even with the microscope is  very hard to see, it’s very hard to see, at the same time it acts as a sort of a mirror which helps the eye consciousness to see, without the help of the eye power, eye consciousness won’t be able to see. So the eye power is the one which controls that’s why it is called dominant condition. Whatever appears to the eye power, eye consciousness can see, if the thing doesn’t appear in the eye power, the eye consciousness cannot see. 

In Buddhism that eye power can be made a more powerful and powerful, at that time you are able to see more things. For example,  from Buddhist psychological point of view, I would say that reason why cockroache is not able to see 3-D is because the eye power of  cockroache is not as powerful as us. The reason why we are not able to see many phenomena is because our eye power has to be enhanced, if thing appears  to the eye power, eye consciousness can see. 

There are so many meditators through the meditation they enhance, they make this eye power stronger. That’s when they see the spirits;  that’s when they see a lot of things that our naked eyes cannot see; that’s when they see lot of subtle phenomena; that’s when they see things behind the mountain. And then there is also the ear power, so when they make the ear power strong, they can hear miles away. So some meditators in the mountain they enhance the power of ear power so that they can listen to the teachings even if he’s like 500 miles away. They’re meditating in a cave, they can’t attend to the teachings of the teachers in this world, so when they want to listen to different teachings, they just improve that. So because of this eye power, if somebody die and then is born somewhere, if it is your master or your students, if you wish to have the continuing relation with the master or a student that is just passed away, if you want to see where the person be born again, you use the eye power, if you have a very strong eye power then you can see with that eye power where the person is born and where this and that. So the meditators use those special powers by enhancing the eye power and ear power like that. So this is basically the dominant condition.

I’m going to repeat again, so the first one is causal condition which is pretty much the karma, the second one is immediate condition which is the mind that activates pratya [skt. codition] to the eye consciousness, right before the eye consciousness, the objective condition which is the object itself and then the dominant condition which is the eye power. So similarly there is eye power, there is an ear power, there is a nose power, there is a tongue power and there is a sense power and mental power. Those help – the ear power helps the ear consciousness, the tongue power helps the tongue consciousness, the smell power helps the nose consciousness or smell consciousness, the physical power helps the physical consciousness – to object the phenomena.  


And also I thought to explain the difference between mind and  person. First, maybe there is some questions I’ll go through.  


  1. Do we get each of our different minds from previous different lives we lived ?

Yes, generally, whatever we see now, we have seen something similar in the past as well, so that also helps. Let’s say if you are being raised in a country where everybody has one eye, or let’s say a black hairs then it is more likely that you feel more comfortable to be around a person who has a black hairs. The reason is the habituation, because you used to have a thought, an expectation of a person who is surrounded to you. So whatever we see right now is pretty much similar to that. 

To activate that particular mind you have to have such a similar thought before or a similar mind before and that mind activates and that helps to activate the new mind. So whatever you see or perceive right now in a way it’s a result of a previous similar thought that you have, maybe previously in this life or in past life, so that influences whether we like the thing that we see or not a lot. 

  1. Do you mean the eyeballs for eye power? 

No, eyeball is very gross, we can see the eyeball, eye power is very subtle, you cannot see with your eyes. So, eyeball is a house of eye power as well. 

  1. This enhanced eyepower is what we called Siddhi [skt.]? 

To enhance the eye siddhi, first one has to go through the general meditation, Vipassana and Samantha, the fourth level of Vipassana and Samantha and after that there is different techniques to activate or to enhance, we have a specific name for that in Tibetan which is among the five clairvoyances, there’s one clairvoyance related to the eye power, so that is something that has to be increased or enhanced or developed so that you can see more things than just normal person. 

  1. Could we say that people can sense or hear the dead(if that exists) are actually sensing the mind of the deceased? 

Sense is like a feeling, it’s all about mind and then sometimes it’s true, sometimes it may not be true and sensing the dead is like that is quite complicated to say whether the third person or the second person is being sensing that or not, because if you strongly try to feel something around, you feel it. 

  1. Maybe eyeball includes the lens,retina to help receiving the light from the object? But the eye consciousness is the analysis of brain through the eye nerve? 

Yes, it is true that the science explains that there is a lens, there is retina, there is iris, this and that, but, of course,  this could be the means, the process, but I’m talking about these all are small parts, they play role for the object to appear to the eye power. So with the help of eye power, the eye consciousness, so it helps. 

But the eye consciousness is the analysis of the brain through the eye nerves. But then basically it is not the eye consciousness which know, when you look at the car, the car appears to the eye power. The eye power helps the eye consciousness to see the car. You see the car, but you still yet don’t know, when you see the car the second moment it gives a message, it activates the mental consciousness,  it activates one mind, it gives a sort of a message to our mind. 

So similar mind activates so that mind thinks that “Oh I can see a car”, when you look at a car and when your mind thinks that “Oh, I’ve seen a car”, so that comes after. So before that mind thinks that you see a car, you have already seen a car with the eye consciousness. Before that eye consciousness, the car already appears to your eye power, that why it takes a bit of time.

You touch a fire and then by that time you think that “Oh it’s heat, I’m burning”. Before you think, the sense consciousness already has to feel, before the sense consciousness has to feel, the sense power has to go through, so that why the time you remove your hand, you already burn a bit because it takes a bit of time for your mind to think. So when your mind thinks that “I see something, I smell something, this and that”, it means that you already did it a moment before, because  your eye consciousness see first, then it gives a message to your mind, so when your mind think then you are the second moment. 

  1. From your explanation of causal condition, if a person enjoyseating fish and many meats, it is due past habituation. In this life, perhaps it’s important to correct some past habituation to reduce negative karma. Fruits are one thing, but eating other sentient beings seems to have more severe consequences. Why is it that some people might likes eating certain meats? 

Yes, it is definitely that, some children they like to kill animals, it is because of the past habituation, that’s why I said the body dies, the speech dies, but the mind continues. So if  the mind is habituated with killing animals, then in the next life  you will naturally feel like killing, if the mind is habituated with kindness and compassion, you’re born kindness andcompassion in the next life. 

  1. We take birthfor 1000 times on this planet. Indeed, but this theory, it teachs us to reduce our sufferings by taking less number of birth as possible. I want to know  where do we go after Nirvana? 

The mind itself is ãlaya. Ãlayah is like a mind where all the seeds of the karma sored, so ãlaya is like a storage which is the mind itself. So we take rebirth, we’re born again and again and our rebirth is because of negative karma or it can be positive karma but still our boat in Samsara without our control. After achieving Nirvana then we can have the control over where we’re born with and death. So that’s the difference.