Lorig: Way of Knowing Mind – Session 1


Why this Course?
Nature of mind. 


It’s very nice to be here. I will divide this session into three parts, but it’s just a small introduction in general, then I will talk a bit about why we choose this Course, the reasons behind this Course, and then I will be talking a bit about the mind, the mind in general, then hopefully we can have maybe a few minutes for some questions and answers. Let’s see how we go with the time and generally this is something that I’ve been thinking from quite a bit of time actually, the way it can be effective.

It’s something that I’ve seen in experience among the monks, especially at the monastery, when they are trained. One of the basic things that is being taught in the monastic university to the student monks, of course about meditation, but before the meditation, one very important class is to go through the mind. So this is why the Course that we are going right now is basically the second year Course for the monks. So monks have it on the second year when they enrolled in the profound Buddhist teachings. 

I thought this is equally important even in the lay practitioners and those who are interested in meditation. That is one of the reason why I thought it is very important, because without understand the concept of mind, without understanding the mind in some depth. There are many essences that you might not understand because sometimes when I give some classes, I felt there’s something that is missing; and also when I see some questions I see that many of you are lacking; when I give classes, many of the people who listen to the classes are lacking these basic understanding of the mind. So that’s why I can feel even if I’m trying to talk about general, people are not getting exactly as I wish to. One thing! 

And another thing is the emerging needs because the problem that people face nowadays and even, in general the emotions like anger, it can be greedy, it can be stress or depression or one of the another which is very common, anxiety that comes along with the stress. 

These are also something that cannot be treated with the materialistic things, so to treat these things, it is very important to understand the mind. Without understanding the mind, there is no way that we can get rid of these things. I try to go through this point how to get rid of anxiety and all these things, but deep down in my heart I feel the need of understanding the mind is so very much there.

The Course that we will go through is pretty much about the mind as you might be seeing what points and topics that we will go through that 12 classes. At the beginning today we will talk generally a bit about mind, so tomorrow we will go through the ‘Cause and Condition.’ To activate a mind; to form a mind; to form a mind for mind to come into existence, there are four conditions, and we will go through four conditions the next week. 

This is pretty much similar to science, the way mind perceive the phenomena and we will also go through what are the other phenomena we can also perceive. So that is why I thought the importance of going through the mind in general, I see a very huge need of understanding of the mind, especially those who are interested in meditation. Without understanding mind, when you start to meditate, it is more like driving into the ocean of mind, so it is always nice to understand it or maybe meditation is sort of a surfing on the ocean which is called mind. So, this understanding that ocean where you’re surfing is very important, because without understanding that you never know what kind of emotion arrives, what kind of the way or the  changes in that ocean of mind happen. This is another reason why we thought that it is very important to go through the mind. 


Now the  second part I wish to go through. There are many ways that the mind can be explained, but I would try to go specifically through one of the texts, I will share all of you the text very soon. The text is in English as well as in Vietnamese language translated, so whichever language you are comfortable with, I’m going to share the text through email very soon, and then my team will also share to individuals. I choose this particular text is because I also has been trained through that text. 

There are few texts on the mind, the reason why I chose this specific text because there is few points I would say, first there are not too many things which are not that much necessary in today world and according to the situation, that’s what I would say one thing, the second thing is that this text has been written by one of the Masters of one of the previous Dalai Lama. The text has been written so that Master let the one of the previous Dalai Lama understand about the mind in an easier way without going through a lengthy check, so it’s like sort of an abbreviation of a text about the mind. 

Generally to go through this Course, usually monks takes about a year to finish this text, so we’ll go through that text that’s quite easy and I’ll divide the whole points into these 12 classes which you already might have seen. So there are some points, and there are some topics which is not very much relevant if you are not going to a profound sutras, but still we  will cover those things which I see the need. And one of the another reason why we thought to go through this Lorig – I’m giving a lot of reasons – basically that is something which is common in all of us, which is to have a nice time, happy time, even in the classes, we expect to have a nice time. 

As a Buddhist practitioner if I tell you one of the importance expected that a meditator should have and see is that just imagine that you are in a prison, and imagine that you are in a terrible prison, it’s so much of troubles and sufferings. But there is an option, there is a way to escape from the prison or maybe there is a way that you can prove that you are innocent. There is this chance, last chance or a chance in general, so what would you do?  Would you work hard? Because the chance is after 3-4 days, now would you enjoy the food that you eat or you work hard to get that chance? Obviously everybody will work hard to get rid of the prison, nobody will think that “Oh, I’m I should enjoy the food or I should enjoy sleeping”, people might go like sleepless nights to work hard so that he or she can get rid of the prison, isn’t it? 

Exactly the same way, the world that we are living, those meditators see this world as a sort of prison, that’s suffering one or the other way. To get rid of the suffering, the one and only way to get rid of suffering is by understanding the mind and by practicing the way to get rid of those negative emotions which let us suffer. So those meditators, they don’t find a pleasure in the  worldly materialistic things, not just those meditators, but I see that each and every one of us, like those meditators, see the world now full of up and downs, there is a bit of suffering behind everything. No matter how pleasant you are having in terms of time, there is always this part where you might feel uncontent, and whatever you do in your life, there is always this part which makes you feel a bit anxiety, because we don’t know, we don’t have confidence of our mind, so we don’t  know how mind is gonna react. 

Many time that we think that things should go this way, we expect a lot of things, we expect on the time, we expect on people, we expect on the gadgets, for example a car, when you go somewhere, there is a good meeting or meeting with someone or you have any appointment somewhere and you drive a car, you expect that the car goes well, you expect that you reach there on time and everything. But not every time it happens, the car falls  all of a sudden or something happened to the car, because of which you are not able to get the thing that you have expected. If we ask where is the problem? And if you see “I think that the problem is in a car”, then that is how the car is? It’s more like if you expect the monkey to swim, that fish to climb a tree, then the problem is not in the fish or in the monkey, or in the tree, the problem is in that expectation. If you expect that the fish should climb a tree and the monkey should swim like a fish in water, then I would say that the problem is in the expectation. 

You are expecting thing which is beyond the limit of the phenomena, the capacity of phenomena, where there is a monkey or a fish or a car. So exactly the same way I would say that the problem is when we expect too much on the thing, that is a car or anything, or even a human. There’s lots of expectation towards the kids, especially in Asia, the parents pretty much decide what the kids, is gonna become in the future, sometimes even before the birth of the child. “Oh yeah, we’ll have a child and he’s gonna become a doctor or bla, bla,  something, something like that, they said a huge expectation even before the kid is born. 

Based on that, if there are some kids who are smart in a different way, there are kids who might not be smart in terms of science, but the kids might be very smart in some other, like thing in arts or anything. So by the parents have decided that the kid should become a doctor and the kid is not interested in doctor but kid is interested in something else. In such a kid, the problem is not in the kid, the problem is not that the kid is not interested in science, the problem is in the parents, because you expect a fish to climb a tree. 

Not everyone has the same capability, this problem is not something that is only with such Asian parents, but this problem is something that we all have. If you become a good friend with someone, you have certain expectations, if he or she is your father or mother, you have certain expectations, you know some, you have any such an expectation. So you have a different expectation with anything whether is human, whether is a thing or any phenomena, and based on that expectation, not everything goes along with our expectation, so there is a disappointment. 

And similarly, there’s lots of issues of anxiety these days, the fast changing world. If you look in the history, 1700s and like in the 6th century and 7th century, between the 10th century and  11th  century, between the 14th century and 15th century, even if you get to talk with someone, I don’t think that there is that much of change as we have seen in  the last 100 years. In the last 100 years, before 60, 70 years, who would have imagined that two people literally living a thousand of miles away, ‘hi talking’ and you’re pretty much seeing each other as if you are sitting right beside each other. Yeah, the industrial civilization and also this internet civilization, and many more and nowadays, I’m not sure, maybe it’s only the human brain that cannot be transplant, beside that human brain, as far as I understand, we can pretty much transplant everything, isn’t it? 

So it’s unimaginable, hunded years back, if you tell it to someone else, if you tell to a king that this will happen after hunded years, you might have a dead sentence. Nobody would ever imagine, never, ever imagine that such things happen. So in such a rapidly changing world there is always this fear of not being able to cope with the situation. There is always this fear in many people that “I may not be able to update”, and many people even use these words, like “Oh you are not updated, you don’t know now things have changed” or you live in 3D world or you live in 4.0 like people expect and these young kids or teen or  many of these teenagers might say to some elderly people that “Oh yeah, you are not updated”.

It’s true that the things are changing so fast and also if you looking forward for a peace of mind and this and that and if you meditate for like one or two years somewhere, it’s peacefully. But when you come back, there are literally a lot of things to be updated, then people might see you as a sort of an old version or something like that. Because things change so fast, it’s kind of hard to say it is wrong thing to do nowadays based on the situation that people, they have to go to these social media platforms to see what others are doing, “There is always this fear that I might have, I might left behind if I don’t cope with that, lots of stress and also this I always say, I mean I strongly feel it in my mind”.

The varieties of phenomena like nowadays that because of industries, even if you want to buy a phone, there is at least hunded types of phones in the market, literally at least hundred different types of the phones, 90% of them have pretty much similar features. They always have some, they have this a bit better future but they reduce the other, one so that they can have another phone with the better than that one. 

If there is like five futures in the phones A,B,C,D and E, then  first, they made  the phone with A Future, then they made a second phone with the B Future and then they made 3rd phone with C Future, the 4th phone with the D Future and 5th  phone with that E Future. And then they have these next versions, they have the next phone, such a phone that has like A and B Future together in this phone, and then there’s what is going to advertise in the world? They say that this is better than the previous 5th, because this is both A&B features, and then these go again in the fine manner and B&C, and B&D and A&D. So this is how every company can easily launch 10 or 12 or 15 phones pretty much in a year, so in such a community, in such a world that we’re living, it’s not just a phone, but it is pretty much everything. So obviously people get stressed out because the mind has to analyze a lot things, a lot designs and then there is a lot of other thing. So to cope with such a situation, to cover with such a stressful world, I won’t blame that people are getting bad, but the situation is getting in such a way that there are lot more to deal with for our poor mind.

If a person is not able to deal with it, a person is not able to cope with it, then obviously the mind falls into a difficult situation whether you name it a stressful life, whether you name it this and that. However, I talked with my great grand father, and my grand father – and you can also talk to someone who is around the age of your grandparents – when they were young, they only like one or, in some cases, few pair of shoes. If you ask to a teenager these days, they might have like 5-10-15-20 different shoes. So this is also something from where we can see lots of choices, you go and buy a toothbrush, you wanna see 10-15 different types of toothbrush and you are confused like you have to make decision, and  if you fail this time, fail next time then you start to have this anxiety whether that I choose is it right? is it wrong? 

In such a situation, such an era of time, a rapid change in time, a time where the need of analytical mind, the analytical mind, the need of capable mind, it’s so much than ever before which is why if you ask to someone like “How many person in depression have you heard of before?” No, you’re going to find much lesser, it’s not easier. You go to some remote areas, remote villages, like very poor villages, even these days, and you talk to them, they’re quite content with things that they have in many ways. I found some people, if you ask them “How many people have fallen into a depression in your village?”, you might find that few. And you go to some advanced countries, then you asked, “How many people might have fallen in depression in a small area, maybe in one building?”, you’re gonna find few people at least. It is the way things are, it is the way people are making the marketing of that industries, as I told you about those phones, the situation is such that it is inevitable. 

So there is the need of meditation, the need of understanding the mind and to be able to control our mind, to not let this mind  drag away by the flow of such a river. There has been directed by people who are smart on driving one’s mind, people smile in the favor of profit in the marketing field, we get the materialistic things because the industry these days, they  make the things, they advertise the things in such a way that people get affected. 

It’s more like people get lured to that, if you don’t have a stable mind, then it is really very difficult to hold our mind, it is very difficult not to get influenced by them, it’s very difficult to avoid us, ourselves, from influence by advertisement. If we’re not able to hold ourselves, hold our mind, then pretty much we become like a paper ship on a water, so the variable water goes, you don’t have control over it. So need of understanding the mind and to be able to control our mind is so very important than ever before which is why we come up with this Course about mind. 

So each session we will have a different topic, each and every one of  these topics is linked to each other. If you understand the first one, you’ll understand the second better, you understand second one, you understand the third better. And there are some points, for example, the 3rd-4th class which are very much important because first two  class we will lay a good foundation, and based on that foundation, we’re going to build up a correct understanding, and then when it comes to the main minds and the mental factors or the main minds and the secondary minds- there’s six main minds and 51 secondary minds – you will get to have a glimpse of the huge world of mind that we go through. 

From one angle is quite simple, at the beginning you might find it quite difficult because all these things we have been counting are the outer phenomena, how many this, how many that, you always count like what do we see from our eyes, it’s the external phenomena. Here there would be a bit of counting of inner mind, the features of the mind, the types of the mental factors, so this would be, I think, a kind of interesting that we will go through. So there is pretty much about the reason why we choose this Course and the reason why I see  it very important. 


But one of the interesting thing that people might have different ideas about the mind. So today the first class I just thought to go roughly about what the mind actually is. If any of you had an idea of the mind like “Oh mind is something that is in the brain”, then no, that’s not the mind that I’m talking about. 

If you think that the mind is something that is linked-there is really the nerves, or neurone–then pretty much no, that’s not the mind that I’m talking about. If you think that mind is something which is only related in the brain that is also not true because scientifically, if you do a bit of research about what different scientists and researchers talk about mind, you might find different ways, you might find different people explain it in a different ways and from a Buddhist point of view, I would say, they have no idea what mind is. 

It is formless so that’s why it is very difficult to prove with a third person’s approval. I usually say that if you need a third person’s approval every time, then you would never be able to describe or prove that you are dreaming something that you can see elephant in the dream,  because you see the elephant in the dream. But you can tell it to no one, nobody will understand, and you can prove it to no one because you won’t get a third person to approve that and the sign so far it will be able to describe the mind. 

But the mind that I’m talking about, if I make it quite simple, the ability in us to know things, the ability in us which can experience things, and it is absolutely formless. So in the ancient texts and Buddha sutras and the ancient texts composed by those great Nalanda Masters in 3rd century, 4th century, 6th century, 8th century, in those texts, in the field of Buddhist psychology, the texts of Masters written on the mind, they described mind in two ways: ‘Clear and Knowing’, the one which is clear, and the one which is knowing; the one which just has ability to know phenomena and the one which is clear. So when we talk about mind, it is something that is clear and the mind is something at the same time it has an ability to know. 

So the first one, a mind is like something which is clear, it means that mind is like a mirror. First, let’s take an example of our eye consciousness, it is exactly like a mirror, whatever you put in front of your eyes, it is going to appear to the eyes, you see what is in front of you, it’s not like you see something which is behind you. So eye consciousness is pretty much similar to a mirror in some sense. 

I’m gonna explain this in detail about the eye power and eye consciousness, but still for now you can just think that it is clear, that anything that you keep in front of it, it’s going to appear to it, so the eye is like a mirror for the form, the ear consciousness is a mirror for the sound, the nose consciousness is a sort of mirror for the smell, the tongue consciousness is like a mirror for the taste, the physical consciousness is sort of a mirror for the thing that it is a smooth or like a rough or this and that. So the mind pretty much it’s a clear like clear water or a clear mirror that the things appear to this. 

This is the nature of the mind, when we talk about the characteristic of mind, what mind does, it is such that it has an ability to know an object. It is not only a clear like a mirror, mirror is also clear, but it doesn’t have ability to know things, so our mind is something that is clear, at the same time it has an ability to know phenomena. Through such a formless, we all have such a formless thing in us, which is clear like a mirror, at the same time, which has an ability to know things. So one very interesting thing about mind. 

If you are able to jump like three meters and four meters, and you train your best, then you are able to jump, let’s say 10 meters or 11 meters, maximum is it? Is it the longest jump that the person can these days? Sort of 11 meters? I’m not sure. But even if you are able to jump 11 meters right now, if you don’t practice it for three months or five months or one year, then you won’t be able to jump 11 meters, you have to practice quite a bit of time to regain that bit of time again to regain that ability. If you boil the water, it would be really hot, like let’s say it reaches at 100 degree Celsius, but if you don’t keep boiling it, if you just keep it somewhere, it’s going to get back to its normal stage, a room temperature, you boil it again and then you keep it somewhere, it’s going to get back to the room temperature again. 

The mind is something interesting, if you practice compassion for like 2 years, and then you have a break for five years, if you practice compassion after five years, then it’s never like our body,  it is never like the water, it’s more like we are continuing from that. If you can jump like 11 meters in the previous life, there is no way that you can be able to jump 11 meters in this life. If you practice compassion quite good, quite nicely in a previous life, then you’re born compassionate, if you practice patience in your previous life, then you are born patience. There are some of these kids who are very compassionate, you also can see some kids who don’t have any feelings for others like insects or this and that, they just press it and kill. 

This is an interesting quality, so that’s why if you train your mind right now, then after 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, even if you are not able to continue it, the habituation, or the training that your mind receive right now stays there. I’m not talking about learning something, if you learn something, it’s gonna stay here, it leaves a sort of imprint, but   we might forget things. But once we get, once we let what we know dissolve in our mind through practices, through habituation that it stays in our mind, and it’s very much stable. 

So there is again one another reason why I would say that it is very wise to invest into the mind. If you train yourself or if you train your mind in such a way, then it is much more easier to achieve such happiness and contentment in your life, just regardless of what you have, regardless of what your position is, regardless of whether there are people around you or not, it will be quite content with where you are in your life, easily, just transform your mind. 

The mind don’t need a reason, the mind generally don’t need an ethical reason. There is this saying in Indian language, it’s pretty much like ‘Emotions are generally blind’. Emotions are generally blind, whether is anger, whether is a greed, whether is a compassion, whether is a love, these are generally blind, don’t have an ethical reasoning behind. One of the reasons why people suffer is because of that, because these emotions are blind like for example anger, complete blind, don’t know a reason, don’t see a reason. And also a mother has a love for the child, pretty much blind, you don’t have a lot of reasons behind, you just love. And then the greed is absolute blind, so those people who are so much greedy, even if they get the house of  the wealth of this world, I’m sure they still need more, even if they get the whole wealth of this world, I’m sure they’re not content, they will still look forward for some more.

I’ve heard that some people buy the land in the moon, I’m not sure if I’m mistaken, but I heard somewhere, I really don’t know what they want to do with that? I mean, you can spend the same amount of money to bring some positive things in this world so that the world can be more sustainable, livable. I don’t see a logic, I don’t know, like individuals buying a land in the moon, I really don’t know, maybe you don’t find a better way to spend your money, there are lot of people, there are lots of kids who die of hunger and I don’t know what the person want to do with the land in the moon. Generally nobody live more than hunded or maximum100, 200, 500 years, there are few people, you can literally count in your hand. A person more than 110 years old, it’s not really, I don’t know. 

It’s not that much of that logical when there are some people who think that “Oh yeah, the world won’t be a suitable place to live”, but let’s see you have land in the moon, but how you’re going to go there. Suppose something happened with the world now, tomorrow some country throw some nuclear and then the world no more suitable place to live on, but the question is how we’re gona go to the moon then. It’s really very much strange I see, but sometimes people just do such silly things, just for the sake of showing off like “I have a land in the moon”, so you see majority of these emotions, like it can be ego, pride as well people having ego of nothing to be honest in many sense. 

Whatever the work is, there is always the senior one, there is always the one which is on a higher position, regardless of what kind of work it is, the person still have this ego and there is a saying in my language ‘The Minister’. Among the kings, then they have a consulter; there is a king which is a bit more powerful, then the king has his ego, a bit understable; there is a bit powerful minister, then he has his own eg; and among the servants, there is a chief of servants, he has his own ego and everyone is good in something based on the good that they are in. If a person starts to have ego, it’s more like really a strange, a very much irrational. 

So to deal with the such blind emotions, you cannot eat paracetamol, here you have to have some understanding of mind and strengthen  those which act as an antidote for those who are blind. You have to activate those minds which act like eye to keep in control those minds which act like a blind. So this Course is mainly for that. 

So just a bit of a point about what the mind actually is, about what kind of minds, what are the conditions, how many types of mind, what are the types of mind, we’re gonna go slowly in coming classes, but today I just thought to  say  a bit about mind and at the same time a bit of encouragement of why we need to understand the mind and why we need this Course, especially more than ever before, because of the reasons that I have mentioned a bit earlier. We will have like 5 minutes, if there is any question, I would really be happy. And then, I’m gonna send the message to the team and then my team will soon share the text. It’s not like we’re gonna go exactly through the text, but the text is for you to just read when you have time so that you might understand a bit more and then the reason why I’m sending the text is because you have something to remember. 

And also the team will provide with the certificate at the end of the Course and they are providing the text right now. Sometimes we go through a lot of classes, but then we remember for two days, three days, three days, five days, 10 days, 15 days and then slowly the memory fades away and we forget things. So if we have a text that becomes a means for us to recall what we have studied before, and certificate is also just for that to recall you because that actually works as a way to remember that “Oh I studied that”, then along with that it is more likely that we remember things, we recall things that we have studied. 


  1. Hi Lama, is the 12 classes related in any way to the 12 links of dependent origination?

No, the 12 links of   dependent origination is the way we take rebirth by the karma, so there I the 12 sequences or links why we take rebirth into this samsara. So the number is same, both 12, but nothing to do with 12 links of dependent origination. 

One of the another reason is I try to make the classeses as short as possible, like we live in such a world, people like easier, faster, the technology and also this class, I thought and I wish to finish it as soon as possible, I understand that majority of you are lay persons, there are lots of things that you have to take care, you have the work, family and everything. So to give a lot of  time for such Course won’t be easy so I try to make it as less as possible, but not in an extreme way, so I come up with the conclusion 12 classes. We didn’t choose the number 12 first and then we choose the topics, in general we choose the topics and then we say maybe 12 class is needed for this, but generally nothing to do with 12 links dependent origination. 

  1. Hi Lama, is that mean we should not synchronize with the mind just like the body, the 5 senses?

But before I answer this question, there are lot of things that has to be understood. Generally people have lots of misunderstanding about the mind. And also  like a person, lots of misunderstanding on the person, what the person is? I with the mind, I with the body, who are we? where are we? There’s a very important question like who am I? Where is ‘that I’? I think we’re gonna go in next few classes, but here I would say that it is very important to understand our mind so that we can know which mind to follow and which mind not true. By understanding the mind, we will be able able to strengthen those which are positive and deal with those which are not positive, improve those which make us happier, reduce those which make us suffer, which make us uncomfortable. 

  1. So thing is that,as you said, you will be sharing the texts with us regarding the classes that you will be covering and beside that, will it be possible to share some of  the Buddhist texts for us? Like the layman people that we can actually follow like beings in a family, beings actually can follow those lifestyles and that is a bit different from the others because I’m not finding any monastery near to me. I’m from Bengal, India, actually in Southern Bengal, I don’t actually see any monastery

There is one of the reliable internet, website that I can recommend is FPMT. So you can message me later, I’m gonna see if I can share some PDF or text which is pretty much Buddhist and that could be a bit helpful, generally there is this FPMT which is very much reliable. In internet sometimes things are quite difficult to recommend, but FPMT is something that I would truly recommend to all of you [https://fpmt.org

  1. Regarding the School of Buddhism like you are teaching us, so this is from the Tibetan School or like we have in Bengal, we have like Theravada is the most common one that we see ? 

[…] Theravada and then Tibetan in general, these are, as I mentioned earlier about the mind, Buddha has mentioned in lots of sutras and then the Nalanda Masters, if you are from Bengal, there is  Atisha, so even if you go through eliminating the path to enlightenment, a book written by Atisha, the knowledge about these minds come from all those texts composed by Nalanda Masters mainly, of course these are commentaries by Tibetan Masters, but the main in the original text that we rely on doing these things.

Atisha Dipankar, that’s what I mean, a great scholar from Bengal, you should go through some of the books written by him, it’s wonderful, and then you’re going to find it in the same FPMT organization.  

  1. What are the causes of discontentment of the mind? 

Ignorance and then over expectation in the life manner. 

  1. Is lorigsimilar to the Mahayana, and the Dharma? not  different? 

Lorig is basically mind. 

  1. How to not repeat the mistakesof past again and again?

By thinking again and again of the wrong consequences and by training our mind into work on the different side of the road. 

  1. Do you have any story which is related to the mind you mentioned today?

Generally there are lots  of stories about the mind, and I think I mentioned like three or four points. Regarding that I’m not sure which one you’re talking about, but still I will come up with some more points in the future class. 

Lorig Course – Session 1 – 28/11/2021