Lorig: Way of Knowing Mind – Session 3


The science of mind or the origin of the mind.
Difference between mind and person.
Three object-possessors.
The way mind objects [realizes] the phenomena.


Hello and ‘trashi delek’ everyone, here I’m at Ladakh,  quite cold, you might wonder why master Kunphel is with the hat today because it’s freezing cold here. 

So the topic about mind, it is one of the phenomena which is still unknown to science, they’re talking about consciousness, and it’s really difficult to prove it to the third person. Although we all experience it very well, in fact, all the things that matter, all related to the mind, there is nothing which is not related to the mind. 

From many  Philosophical Schools of Buddhism, when it comes to explaining the mind in details, many masters explained the mind from different angles. But one thing that I want all of you to keep in mind is that mind is something which is formless, has an ability to know the object and a clear like a mirror. To train your mind it would be easier for you to remember if you go through some exercises, so our team has created a sort of a few pages where you can check, I mean we will send you, you can read that and then you can send the answers back to us. We just wonder and  we just wana make sure that you all understand, you all are getting what is been going through in the previous classes, because the more you are clear about the previous classes, the easier it would be for you for the next classes. 

So today we will go through few points:

  • first,we go through the science of mind or the origin of mind, in previous class we have been through ‘The four conditions of mind’, now you can go through ‘What is the cause of mind’ so that’s something that we will talk at the beginning and
  • we have left with the point of ‘The difference between mind and a person’, so we’ll go through the difference between mindand the person, and 
  • the third we will go through the three object-possessors: expressive sound, person and the mind,so we will briefly go through those three points, and
  • if we have enough time, then perhaps we’ll go through the way mind object the phenomena, it is pretty much similar as what we have been through last time, but still we will go a bit more if there is enough time. 

So if you have any question, you can write down in the box.  Last time there was few questions  that I couldn’t go in details, and today, if we have enough time, I would really be happy to go through, having a lot of doubts in questions are always nice. If you have anymore questions that you wanna asked, but if you don’t get enough time in the class, you can always get back to the email [auraofwisdom@gmail.com]. Those who are in the group, any of group like whether it’s a Facebook or whether it’s a WhatsApp you can just raise your questions over there, so we’ll try to get back as soon as possible. I would really be happy to have questions.  

The science of mind or the origin of mind.

Firstly, let’s go through the origin of mind or maybe the science of mind, because this is one of the questions that might make you wonder whenever we think about a mind, there is always different way of explanation in the different beliefs. When we talk about mind, it is very much related to how does the mind come to exist?  From where the mind comes at the beginning? Is this something that has been created by someone? Or is it something that was there from beginningless? – It is one of the biggest question, this big question is pretty much like a chicken in some sense, because people have this lot of curiosity and at the same time those people who believe in religions, they believe in a Creator God, they believe that all these mind, soul, person, they all come from the Creator God. 

But  let’s  go  through  how  it’s  been  explained  in sutras of  Buddha  and  those  Great Nalanda Masters of 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th centuries, the Masters how they explained, let’s go through that. So when it comes to the origin, according to Buddhism, there is no beginning, and if somebody asks what is the cause of mind, first we should understand, let’s take an example of a rock or a mountain. Mountain was not mountain all the time, there was a time when it was just a sand and there was the time it was a clay, there was a time it was not really hard, but it’s really soft.

Sometimes it becomes hard as a rock, sometimes it breaks down and then becomes a sand and sometimes it becomes a sort of a mud, and then sometimes it’s been pressed down under lots of pressures and then slowly become a rock. A formation of a big pressure of a huge mass amount of  a place or a mass if they’s been pressed down for very long time, it becomes a mountain if we  look at the origin of the rock or the sand and this is how it is. 

And also if you look at the water, water sometimes it’s a water vapor and then sometimes it is a cloud, sometimes it is in the form of a rain, sometimes it’s in the form of snowflakes or snow, sometimes it is a snow mountain and then when the snow mountain melts, it becomes a water. So the water, it changes form but it is like never ending. 

In some places there used to be a lot of river or water, but then the river dries, water dries, if we think in such a sense that there was a water, now there is no water, but then it doesn’t mean that water ceases to exist, it just changes the form, not even a single drop has vanished, it always changes  and remains in just a different form. 

Those people who believe in ‘Big Bang Theory’, let’s take a small rock, this rock was also there at the time of Big Bang, maybe under a different form, each and everything that you see, each and every phenomena that you see around you, used to be there at the time of Big Bang. Nothing is new in terms of like nothing comes to exist which was not there in some forms during the time of Big Bang Theory, I mean Big Bang. So everything that you see right now used to be there just in a different form. So even now, if many people think that “OK, the Big Bang was the origin, it was the beginning”, but that is also not true. 

The big explosion happened during The Big Bang, a huge explosion happened because there was a lot of pressures, because the thing was like squeezed and there was a huge pressure and when  the mass cannot hold the pressure it explodes,  that’s a small thing which explodes. Everything that you see on this world right now was there in that small thing which is been exploded. If you think of a previous how that small thing which has been exploded during The Big Bang come to exist? A huge mass shrinks and becomes a small. There was a huge mass before that and then that huge mass was again because of another Big Bang and then another and another. 

When you look at a mango, you might wonder “Ah this is a new mango” and then we have this in our mind that this was never existing in any form before. By its causes, as I always say, no mango without a mango tree, at the same time, no mango tree without a ptrya [skt., condition] mango, mango seed, so no mango seed without ptrya mango tree. 

But, of course, when a child is born, the child cannot be born with like both father and mother,  the child cannot be born male and female. When a product comes because of two causes, the two causes influence the formation of the product. So thing changes form, but substantially it is always existing, substantially thing never changes, substantially is the same phenomena. You might see the water becomes water vapor, water vapor becomes clouds, clouds become snow, snow becomes water. You see this change, a circle then it goes on again and again, but substantially it is the same,  substantially it is always been caused by its previous substantial.

Our mind is the same thing, no glass becomes a mind, no mind becomes a glass; no water becomes  a mind and no mind becomes the water. So each and every mind has its own causes, and that   substantial cause is known other than a mind. So the mind that we have right now is the result of the previous mind. Today’s mind is the result of yesterday’s mind, the mind you have in your  mental continuum, it’s a substantial result of the mind that you had yesterday, this is why the things that you know yesterday you still have in your mind because substantially it is the same continuum. 

So instead of seeing the mind in many Buddhist texts, you’re gonna find the mental continuum that’s exactly what it happened, that’s exactly what it means. Nothing can become mind and there’s nothing that mind can become, no form can be a mind, no mind can be a form which is also the reason with which we can understand. A water cannot become a rock, and the rock cannot become water. 

From this logic we can understand that our mind is not something that comes from our parents. Our physical body comes from our parents, but the mind is from the previous mind, so this is one of the logical approach with which you will be able to understand that our mind used to exist before this life started. So in Buddhist texts, the mind enters the womb of a woman, that’s when the woman gets pregnant, that’s how we start a new life. When we pass away, our body stop working, our brain, our heart they all may stop working gradually. But the mind is not died because many people have this wrong conception about the death as well. Many people think that is the end of something, but it is not true, it’s just a transformation. Exactly like when you see a small baby infant, it gradually transforms into a young boy or girl then slowly a teenager, then slowly an adult, then slowly one gets a bit older and older.

You see that a face changes, pretty much everything change in a physical body, but still we see that is the same person, exactly the same way, we just change our body. When a person passed away, when a person died, the person just go through a small transformation, that’s all. And many people might see this as a very everything but it is nothing in fact, it’s not something to be scared, it’s something to be as just a small transformation that we all have to go through and that’s not something new because we are going through such transformation every time in our life. 

If we look at a mirror, we don’t look as we do before 20 years or 30 years, we used to look totally different. Now we look totally different, we change our body, but the continuum of mind remains. So body, from a Buddhist perspective, the body is pretty much like a cloth, like we change the cloth, we change the body, but then we still remain. 

What I’m trying to say here is that the origin of mind is just the mind, no form can be a substantial cause of our mind, but just the mind. That’s why it’s very important to learn as much as you can, doesn’t matter even if you are 90 years old, you still should learn, you still can develop and become  better and better. You still can find a way to be more happier, you still can practice to be  more calm, peaceful harmony within yourself, so that is very important.

So one of the great Tibetan Master in his book said that “Even if you are dying tomorrow, don’t stop learning new things”. Because when you learn something you are not accumulating something on your body, but you are accumulating something in your mind, so it doesn’t matter even if you are dying tomorrow, your mind will carry that knowledge to the next life which is why for some people it’s easy to understand or learn languages, for some people is really difficult to learn  languages. Some people are born compassionate and kind, some people are born short-tempered, because it depends on the accumulation that a person has done in the continuum of mind. 

Previously, if you train yourself in maths, mathematics, when you’re younger, your brain would be much more faster to do any solution like multiplication or addition or subtraction in the mathematics. When you get older, because the same continuum of mind, exactly the same thing can be applied to this in the previous life into this in the next life. What I’m trying to say here is  the origin of mind is always a mind. So basically there is no origin, there’s no such time where  you can say that “OK, this is a time when the mind started”. 

People just wonder like “OK, there should be a time but it is not just the mind”, it’s not just us, but everything that we see, the water there’s no origin, the rope, the sand, house, cloth, everything, there was no origin, there is no such a time when it began, substantially it was there forever. These are something that I thought to share. 

The difference between mind and person.

And the second point that I thought to share here is about the difference between the mind and a person. It  was  the  last  one that we  thought to go last time and I’m not sure if we have been through, so the mind, as I told you earlier in the previous class, it’s a  clear ability to know  something and formless. 

But then what is a person? When we think about ourselves, very ourselves, when you look at your friend or  when you look at any of your family member, look carefully and think even more carefully very your family member. Suppose you are looking at me, so where is me, is it in the head? Is my body me? Is my face me? Or if there is something behold this, or is my mind me? 

Suppose you get so angry to someone, if you think carefully, where is that person to whom you get angry? If you look closely, the hand of the person is not the person, the head of the person is not that person definitely, because we are  seeing his head, so he is different from the head, that’s how we see, his hand again which differentiate him with a hand, his hand, his this, his that. 

Even when it comes to mind, we say like his mind, his knowledge, his wisdom, his anger, his this and that issue. So then where is he? What is he? If his mind is not him, if his body is not him, if his face or his knowledge is not him, then where is he? 

Where is he? Where is the person? Where are yourself? It’s very important to understand that a person is merely, when you look at a friend, there is nothing but just body and the mind. When you look at me, what you see is my body, the image of me in the device, even if you are standing right in front of me, what you will see it’s just the colour and the shape. That’s all you see from your eyes, nothing, just the color and the shape, all you see is my color and my shape, that’s all. The eye can see nothing but the color and the shape. So is my colour me? No. Is my shape me? No. Then basically are you seeing me? Are you able to see me? 

The reason why I’m asking these questions is just for you to think a bit closer. If a person’s mind is not the person, then we have to understand it very clearly and think it from this angle quite a bit of time. There are some people who get angry to person A, but the person shows the anger to person B, person 3, person 4, person 5. Suppose there is the boss in a company, the boss got angry with person A, then after the person A, whoever goes in the boss’s office, the boss shows that anger whoever comes in the office. 

We all know that it’s not fair, I also know one teacher, language teacher, he enjoys the cricket match, it’s like a football in Europe, European countries they really like football, a soccer. In India, they love cricket is like a basketball game, outdoor game, so that person really like the Indian team, he’s Indian so he like Indian team, he want Indian team always win, not really logical, but still that’s what people like that their side always win. But if the Indian team lose at certain time, if Indian team lose at that day, then he has the mood off, whoever comes around him, he shows some sort of anger. We all know that this doesn’t sound nice and it’s not  OK, but we are also doing the same thing. 

When somebody get anger, let’s say when you get anger, what do you usually do? Let’s say you got angry to someone, so do you show, you see or you wish to harm that person? That is one’s part, or at least you dislike that person, not just dislike the person but you dislike everything of that person, even if you know that the person’s hand is not the person, you dislike the hand as well, even if you know that the face of that person is not the person but still you dislike the face. Still like there is a saying in my home town: “If you dislike a neighborhood, you even dislike the cow of the neighborhood”. So pretty much you dislike everything related to the person. If that person belongs to certain country, you don’t like the country just because you don’t like that person, so the anger can go till that extent. 

So what I’m trying to say here is we have to know if a person said something bad to us, then you have to understand that the person said something bad because of his anger, person said something bad to us because he’s jealous. So if you wana get angry, then you can get angry to the jealous of  that person, to the anger of that person, not to everything related to that person, otherwise you also become like the teacher who show his mood to everyone who comes to him when  something goes wrong which is not related to the person at all. So that’s why the person and the mind is a huge difference.

The person and the body is a huge difference and if you want to know what the person is, it’s just a label, person is just a label given to the combination of body and mind. Sometimes person is just a label given to our mind. Generally, when you think of a person, when you think of a human, each and every human is nothing but just a label given to its own body and mind. It’s exactly like a car, if you look at a car, you won’t find the car, if somebody ask you to pinpoint: “Where is the car?” All you can see is the shape and the color of the car. The shape of the car is not the car, the color of the car is not the car, we all know it very clearly, but it’s just the label. If you pinpoint the engine, even if you remove the engine, the car is still there, if you remove the engine of the car, you don’t say that “I remove, I change the car”, you just change the engine. Even if you change the body of the car, you still see that “I just change the body of the car, not my car”. 

So you still think that car remains even if you change the body, even if you change the wheel, even if you change the engine, even if you change the window, even if you change the door, so basically the car is just a label given to. I think a collection of certain things which make you feel like this is a car, then you just give a label. It’s more like a principal, headmaster is more like a president, just a label. There’s no president in the person, the person is the same thing as it was yesterday, but when a person has been elected as a president, he or she is known as the president, we just give a label, there is nothing in there, we just give a name. Like we just give a name, if the dog is really big, a bit furry, you might give a label like a lion, it doesn’t mean that the dog becomes a lion tomorrow and just a label name that you give. A person is just a name, just a label. So this is how it’s very important to understand the difference between mind and a person. 

The three object-possessors.

The third point I just thought to go through the three object-possessors, this is the actual topic that you’re gona find in the lorig, in the text, the first chapter. Until now I’ve been through a lot of things because I want you to understand some of the basic things so that will be easier for you.

1. Mind

It’s quite easy, look now, there is object, the phenomena, you know it very clear if I explain what is phenomena. How do we say that thing exists and doesn’t exist? One of the very known topic is ‘horn of the rabbit’. The rabbit has an ear, a long ear but not a horn, the buffalo has a horn, a yak has a horn, not a rabbit, so that ‘rabbit’s horn’, the ‘horn of rabbit’ doesn’t exist. Or a lotus flower grown in a sky, there is no lotus flower grown in the sky. 

That thing doesn’t exist, so how would you say that the thing exists or not? If the thing can be realized by a valid mind, then the thing exists. The thing cannot be realized by a valid mind, then the thing doesn’t exist. For example, if you put your finger below your eyes and look at the moon or the sun, you might see two moons or two suns. In the desert you see the mirage,  you see like a water when the color of the sand and then the sunlight goes together,  it looks like a water from a bit far in the desert, you think that there’s a water, but it’s just a mirage, so that eye which see the water is mistaken. So the water doesn’t exist because there is no valid mind or unmistaken mind see it. If an unmistaken valid mind see or realize then it means that thing exist. If that be realized by mistaken valid mind then that thing doesn’t exist. So that each and everything that exists can be known as phenomena. If the thing cannot be realized by a valid unmistaken mind, it means that the thing doesn’t exist

Can you see a car around my face? Basically no. If I say “If the car exist around my face?”, you would say no. The reason why it doesn’t exist is because your eye is valid and not mistaken right now, these are valid eye consciousness. If that thing exists, if a car exists around my face and then your valid unmistaken eyes should see it, but when you don’t see, you can say that  thing doesn’t exist. If the thing is not being realized by any mind, that thing doesn’t exist. 

2. Person

These objects are object because of three object-possessors. So whose object is this? Who can object it? There are three: expressive sound, person and the mind. But the person we just say that the person realizes: “Oh, you know he know that, she knows that”. But if you look and think carefully, it is not him or her who see or who realize or who know, but it is the mind of him  or her who realize or know or see. If a person said “Oh I’m so angry”, it means that it is not the person, actually it is one particular mind that gets anger. If a person said that “I’m so jealous”, it means that a jealous is a particular mind that activates in person. So that’s why that mind feel jealous and the person say that “I feel jealous”. A person is basically just a label given to the body and mind, so whatever the body or mind does, we say that the person is doing that. So because of that, if a mind objects [realizes] phenomena, we say that a person object the phenomena.

3. Expressive sound. 

If somebody asked who and what else can object phenomena, we can see that a person can object phenomena, a person can see a car, the mind can see a car and also the expressive sound. The sound can also object the car, but not in the sense that the mind objects, the person objects the car, it’s more like the sound can object the car, when we say the sound objects the car is more like the sound can express the car. When I say “a car”, the expressive sound which says “a car” has an  object which is a car.

The way mind objects the phenomena.

So that’s why in this manner we have three object-possessors and then the way these object-possessors object the mind, for example, the eye consciousness, if you see, how the eye consciousness object the car, then the eye consciousness – the object will be only two, the color and the shape – either it objects by just appearing, appearing object, or it’s apprehended, apprehending object:

  • Appearing object, it means that the thing just appeared to your eyes, then the object becomes the appearing object.
  • Apprehendingobject is when you look at a car, if you think that “Oh, I see a car”, when the eye consciousness gives a message or induces the mental consciousness, if it makes you feel like “Oh, I see a car”, it means that the car is your apprehending object of your eye consciousness. 

I will try to make it a bit more clear in a writting, so that it would be more clear and I’m gonna share to all of you through my team. We will give more some more examples and then that things can be more easier. I’m gonna just say like 2 objects: when you think of a mother, the image of mother appears in your mind, so the mother is your apprehending object, but when you think of a mother, also when the image appears in your mind, you also see the eyes of the mother, the hairs of the mother, the nose of the mother, or a face of the mother or the body of the mother, but none of these is apprehending object, because when you think of a mother, you think that “Ah, this is my mother”.

So the whole mother, when you think that “I see a mother” then the mother becomes the apprehending object and everything that appears along. When you think of a mother, the mother becomes appearing object, whatever appears when you think of a mother, the image of the mother comes in your mind. When the image of the mother comes in your mind, many things appear to your mind like a face of the mother, eyes of the mother, hairs of the mother, these all become the appearing object. When you look at a mother, the mother is the apprehending object of your eye consciousness, but the face, nose, eyes, lips, color or maybe the cloth, all these are just appearing object. Whatever appears to your  eye consciousness becomes the appearing object of your eyes. Whatever you think that “Oh, I see that” becomes the apprehending object of your eye consciousness.

So I just want you to know until this, so that it’s gonna make more sense when we go deeper and deeper in the next class, especially, I think one of our next classes is the ‘Thought and then How the image becomes the object of a thought and what is the difference between this image and the real mother? Whether is a real mother, when you remember a mother, what you remember is really a mother? What you see in your mind is that really a mother? So what it has to do with the mother? These things will go in the next class. 

Questions and answers

 1.  So we can say that the mind is independent of brain in Buddhism?

Mind and brain is totally different, brain is form, mind is formless. Yes, the human mind is very much intelligent and that could be somehow related to the human body as well. But the mind is totally different from the brain.

2. Could we say that for a simple minded animal objects appear but we are not apprehended

The thing that appears but not apprehended, it’s more like, as I just mentioned, when you look at a car, the window of the car appear to our eyes, but we don’t apprehend because later when we see a car, we think that “Oh there’s a car”, we don’t think that there’s a window. But when you focus on the window, when you look at the window, the window becomes an apprehended object of the eye, but not the dust on the window. 

3. As in the example of the car, what if the car is burned out/totally destroyed. The memory of the car still exists even the car physically disappears?

Ah, that is very good question, yes it’s true. The memory of the car still exists when the car doesn’t exist. When you burn the car, the car ceases to exist, it means that the car doesn’t exist anymore, you can have memory of the car, you can still think of the car. It is more like before a person made the car, he already had the image of the car in his head, so the image of the car still exists but not the car. So there is a huge difference between the image of the car and the car. We will go through this in details, it’s quite interesting, we’ll go through in the future classes.

4. Can you explain more that the origin of the mind is the mind

Yes, you will be able to understand in the future classes the origin of the mind, and so the more you go in depth about the mind, the more you will be able to understand, and the purpose of understanding the mind so very clearly that the mind is different from the body, the nature of mind is this, the origin of mind is this, we have to think this and that, the mind can be classified. 

If you think that there is just one part of mind, it’s not the whole part of mind and when you understand all these things then you will be able to pretty much subdue the mind, control the mind. It’s not like you are controlled by your emotions, but rather you will be able to control your own emotions, hence it would be much more happier, things will be much more better.