Lorig: Way of Knowing Mind – Session 8


Wrong Consciousness,
Doubt Consciousness, and
Correctly Assuming Conceptual Thought.


So far we have been through valid minds and those mind which has an ability to realize its own object but besides that we have been through ‘awareness to which the object appears without being ascertained’ or without being realized. And today we will be going through mainly three types of consciousness, ‘correctly assuming conceptual thought’, ‘doubt consciousness’ and ‘wrong consciousness’. So these are the three topics or points that we will be going through today. 

So before going through this, remind or sort of remember, contemplate on the fact that majority of the people in this world haven’t or I would say, mind is not something that is widely known in this world. Now we are reading, we are studying about consciousness based on the text composed by Nalanda Masters and of course many commentaries by Great Tibetan Masters. 

So the commentaries that have been written by those Great Nalanda Masters and of course the explanation of all these minds by Buddha himself, it’s something that they have found through practices, something that they have found through meditation, something that they have been practicing for their whole life and establish the conclusion, not just with one and only motivation to benefit others and true share this awareness and understanding so that people can bring happiness within their life, within their mind, within themselves. So basically each and every teachings that Buddha gave, not only that, but each in every commentaries that those Great Nalanda Masters wrote is with one and only purpose, which is to benefit others and to bring happiness in the heart of each and every beings who wish happiness. 

So it is honor I truly feel privileged to be able to reflect on those commentaries, to be able to share a bit of what they have thought. And also I hope that with this understanding, may we be able to bring happiness, harmony within oneself, love and compassion, so that we can benefit many others who live around us. 

A common example about mind, feeding a dog with a fish.

When understanding about mind, one of the main things, one of the main factors that comes to me quite often, for example, in Ladakhi or in Tibetan community we often use this example like you are killing a fish and feeding a dog. Feeding a dog with a fish or it’s more like you wanted to help a dog, but then the way you’re helping a dog is by killing a fish. So what’s the point of doing that? This is one of the common examples, or one of the thing that everybody have heard of. Generally people just deny and this I agree in some sense, but generally people see totally wrong. By understanding ‘wrong consciousness’, ‘doubt consciousness’, and ‘correctly assuming conceptual thought’ which we will go through today, you should be able to understand or you should be able to know or realize. So far we’ve been talking about various mind and I’ve been telling that our mind is not just one phenomena, I mean, there’s not just only one mind, but there are many types of mind that activate in our mind, within us, every hour. 

Not just only one mind, but many types of mind that activate within us every moment. 

When we look at the screen, the mind which precede the screen is totally different from the mind which you think about something, with every object a different mind activates. You’re walking somewhere, and every millisecond, unless you close your eyes, when you’re walking every millisecond, a different eye consciousness activates. And so from that it’s kind of easier for us to understand that  every hour, but maybe every minute we have many multiple of minds which activate, which get active within ourselves. And the second, the moment it ends, it leaves an imprint, it remains in a dormant way and slowly it remains as a seed. With the circumstances and condition, it activates, that’s how you remember things in the past. 

But many of these minds remember different things which has a relation between each other.  Let’s say you have been to Washington DC , then you have seen lot of things, a lot of buildings and this and that houses in Washington, so the next time when somebody talk about Washington, you may not  mention about all these buildings that you might have seen over there, but you just remember all those things, this is because of the relation. Besides that, everything that we remember of the past is because you have experienced that and that mind leaves in a dormant way, so when the condition arises, those minds reactivate. 

Intention and action, there are two things: negative part, positive part in there.

Getting back to the example that I was mentioning before, people think that feeding a dog by killing a fish is completely wrong while it is very important to understand that you can’t say this is a right or a wrong. Because this is two things: there is a positive part in there, there is a negative part in there. So you cannot say it is a positive neither you can’t say it is negative. So the feeding a dog part is positive, killing a fish part is a negative. It’s more like if somebody say “Is your parents male or a female?”, you won’t say anything, you can’t say they are male, you can’t say they are female. Because parents consist of both male and female, so it is not right to say “my parents are male”, it is also wrong to say “my parents are female” because it consists of two different genders. 

So similarly, feeding a dog with the fish or killing a fish to feed the dog, there are two parts, because when you are feeding a dog you have this kindness towards the dog, so that is positive. I mean even if we just talk about the mind itself, you have this desire to feed the dog and then you also have this intention to kill the fish, so the intention to kill the fish, it’s negative. Some people might say that it is not really negative because it’s not like he or she is kiling a fish to eat by himself, but the motivation is to feed the dog who is dying, who’s maybe starving to death. So it’s like, the motivation is to save the dog, so it’s not something bad, some people might say that. 

Yes, the motivation or intention to save the dog from starvation is good but killing a fish is bad. Similarly, there are some people who talk about good life and bad life. As far as I understand, good life is a life which has a motivation to benefit someone but still is life. So the motivation to benefit someone is a positive, the motivation to deceive someone by saying seeing something which is not true is negative. It’s more like a father is doing something wrong to earn a bread for the family, so there could be a lot of people who think that “It’s OK because I’m doing it for my family” while it is OK if it is positive, it’s not positive if it is not OK, regardless of what you’re doing, I mean, what were you doing. 

Engaging into a negative action not only bring a suffering but also make an habituation.

It is not OK if it is negative, that’s because engaging into a negative action, it’s not only bring a problem or a suffering as a consequence by the karma, but it also makes you more habituate towards engaging into such kind of activities. Suppose to save a country, from a Buddhist perspective, you are not supposed to kill an enemy even if you are saving a country. The reason is like if you kill someone now, it is with the motivation to save the country, if you kill someone then the next time you won’t hesitate, it would be a lot easier for you to kill a person. The compassion towards a person automatically decreases, when you kill once, the second time is always easy. Whatever the crime is once you have done, the second time is always easy. 

So when you get more and more habituated to it then from Buddhist perspective it is something that we have done a lot in the past, so it’s very easy to get habituated with it. Then whenever you have an issue or a problem, you’ll think of this one.  Let’s say a person steal something from a bank to benefit other for the first time, so second time, whenever he or she has a problem, like he already have stolen before, first he was for others, let’s say, but the second time when he’s in a problem, he’ll think of that immediately “OK, I’m going to steal again”. So the second time he might be for his need, so then he get more used to it, then third time it will be for greed. 

Whatever happens without intention is because of karma.

That’s why generally whatever happens by itself, whoever experience without their intention is because of karma. Whatever happens to me without my intention is because of my karma. For example, if I get sick, it’s definitely because of my karma because I don’t have any intention to get sick. If I cut my finger intentionally, then it is not because of my past karma because it’s like you are creating a new karma. In a very gross manner, this is something that I would say, it’s a lot easier if you see things from this perspective. If you pay a fine, you are repaying some karma. If you offer to someone who is in need with your intention, this is something that you did it with your intention like you want to do that, so in that manner, in that case, you accumulated something new. 

So what I’m trying to say here is even in few seconds, like multiple things may activate in our mind, different minds activate, so that’s why in India or in Ladakh or in Tibet that is even a saying ‘Kid’s ear lies on kid’s butt’ or something like that, which means that you have to hit the kit when they won’t listen.  There are people who defended who say like “This is OK, because the parents or a teacher has an intention to help the kid”. 

I also heard that Asians, even if they’re living in the USA or Western countries, there is little bit of, sort of violence towards the kids, so they’re steadily better, or so they listen to their parents or dah.. and dah… There is a funny story about a Tibetan father, I’m not sure if it is a true, whenever the Tibetan father is trying to be a bit violent towards the kid, the kid always say like “I’m gonna call like is 911 or 119”  something like that. Then one time he brings the kid back to India by saying that “We have to go to India because I’m gonna hand over my land, and you have to come with me so that you can sign in, then land will be, you know, I have a piece of land over there in India, so I’m going to give it back to you”. So when they reach at the Delhi airport and the father lose his temper and says like “Now you call 911” 

This is how things are, but it’s still there is nothing that you can defend it because being violent is always negative. Because if you have being violent once you will think of it again and again, you will habituate to it, then the more you get habituated, the more it will drive you to act or to accumulate in similar karmas. So it’s very important to watch each and every actions by itself without looking back towards the motivation, many actions that we might engage without a second thought might be something negative. You always think that, “Oh I have a positive intention”. Yes, you might have a positive intention, but look at your actions whether it’s harming you or harming others. 

Generally I say that whenever you are harming others, every action that harms others also harms yourself, because many people think that “ I get benefit out of this” when a person robs a bank or maybe cheats someone. And then if other person, let’s say a person steal from a company that he or she is working in, if nobody find out, if this person makes something so that nobody will find out, generally the person might think that “Oh, I got this, or maybe it’s more like I win this” or something like that, person might think, but in actual you are the one in the loss. Because first, you lost your character, second, you lost the faith in yourself and also once you get habituated into something negative, it not only brings negative results in the future. Let’s say from a Buddhist perspective in the book, the explanation which is a kind of hard for one to know in a very limited time where in a very short time is that if you steal something then you will lose the things in the future, or maybe even if you gain something in the future, you won’t be able to enjoy it or this and that or you will also lose things in the future. This is a very subtle cause and effect, which is kind of hard to understand from a very limited time because you might see that a person is stealing and that person is getting a rich. 

So there could be some people who think that “Oh stealing is maybe not something bad, because look at the person, he has always been stealing from this and that, but then he became really rich and he’s really happy, so I think stealing is not a bad thing at this and that.” Yes, it might appear like that, if you look at the situation in a very short frame, in a very short moment, it is possible that you may not see a lot of things, but when there is a seed in there, it just needs to be accompanied by the conditions, as long as it is accompanied by the condition, there is always a negative outcome. So whenever you are hurting someone or hurting others, you’re also hurting yourself because you are accumulating such karmas with which you will suffer in a future or you are getting habituated to do something bad or you are getting habituated to do something without mindfulness or you get habituated with such an activity or action which harm others. So if you get habituated then it’s more likely that you do it again, if you do it again, you get more and more negative karmas with which you may suffer in the future. 

The reason why I say you ‘may’ is because there are some ways to purify such a certain level of karmas. There is one thing that I thought to share and also look for example, in Singapore I’ve seen lots of people who do volunteers in temples, in India I’ve seen lot of people who are doing volunteers in some charitable organizations. So there people give their time, there are people who voluntarily teach in  some slums, and in some remote areas to some kids. They’re contributing with their knowledge, there are some people who contribute with their time, there are a lot of people who contribute with even their old clothes, when they have old clothes they’re giving to those who are in need, who are in such a position, who need such things. 

I recently had a talk, I was with a group of Ladakhi, and we were just discussing about generosity, the way to be done, the benefits of doing that and things. Of course I was just sharing a lot of things, I’ve mentioned something that some of them I really like and I also I think it’s nice to share to you as well. If you are a Buddhist, if you believe in Karma, then it would be lots easier for you to understand. What I said was that the person’s wealth never gets less or more, it’s like a wealth, there is this term intellectual wealth. Let’s say, the person who made the Facebook, the night before he completes the Facebook or the year before he made this Facebook, he had this idea of making something called Facebook. At that time, it is a intellectual wealth, so he had this, but it is just in his mind so that the value of that is as much as Facebook itself. Yeah, gradually that he increases the values but still even before he launched or made the Facebook, from the moment he has the Facebook established in his mind, the intellectual wealth is already there. 

So similarly, if a person becomes billionaire today, if he becomes billionaire not because he has done some karma in this life, let’s say he has a karma to be a billionaire from a past life. He has some karmas in past life because of which a person is supposed to be a billionaire in this life. Suppose some of you may not be billionaire, but if you have a karma to become billionaire after 10 years, then whatever you have, you have the rest remains as a seed in your mind. Now that wealth remains in your mind, so the reason why I said that the wealth never get less or more, is that when you give something to other, let’s say, you give your old clothes to other, maybe the value of old clothes is this and that, when you give it to other, you get such a merit with which you can earn such a clothes again. When you steal something from other then a certain amount of merits you lose it from your mind. So person cannot think that “Oh I’ve stolen something, now I become a bit more richer”. No, in terms of external wealth, you might have increased a bit more, but you lose some internal wealths, some wealth from your mind, some wealth of merits from your mind. So from that perspective, one can say that a person never get richer or poorer, unless a person accumulates some new merits, then yes, it’s a different case. 

Every moment the mind changes, every mind could be different.

So today here what I thought to share is that when you understand that the mind changes every minute, every minute you think of some other things, the mind changes, but we think as if our eye is just one eye consciousness and whatever we see that same eye consciousness is able to see everything. But in Buddhist texts, we say that the eye consciousness to which, let’s say, a car appears has no ability to perceive a motorbike, so the eye consciousness which perceives a motorbike has no ability, it cannot perceive a car. So the moment you look at something else, you change your eye consciousness so that number of eye consciousness that you have within yourself is countless. 

So that’s why killing a fish to feed the dog there is a positive part in it, there is a negative part in it. Similarly, doing something negative to earn a bread for family there is a positive side and a negative side. The intention to earn a bread for a family or to feed a family or to take care of a family is something positive, but the way you are doing it, if it is something negative, then of course that action part is a negative. People talk about good life, so you cannot say that “good life is OK” to express or to say while intention is good, you earn some merits because you have an intention. Suppose you are working in the office and your colleague has to stay in office for this in that period of time, in the meantime, your colleague run away somewhere for some work, or this and that, and then you say lie so that your colleague don’t have any issues from a boss.  Your intention is good which is to help a colleague, but what you say was a lie, so you can’t think that “ Oh I’ve done something right”. Yes, you thought something right, but what you did was not right. The reason why I said this is because every moment the mind changes, every mind could be different.


Wrong consciousness.

Here we’re talking about ‘wrong consciousness’, attachment, for example, anger is always the wrong consciousness. People say that “I get angry and I show my anger because there were some beneficials, I get angry, because of something good”. Let’s say a father of the house got angry, then later, he’s trying to say that “Yeah, of course I get angry because I care about my family or this and that”. Yeah, the wish to care about the family is something positive, but getting angry is always negative. 

Anyways, so anger, those emotions which always give us issues and problems, those afflictive emotions, those negative emotions like anger, jealousy, ego and greed and all these things, they are all wrong consciousness. Meaning? What they perceive doesn’t exist the way it perceives. The anger exaggerates, if a person is 20% bad while the anger always see that the person is like 60 or 70% bad in most of the cases. If the anger is very strong, then it is very hard for you to see a thing objectively, then you exaggerate, if a person is 60% bad, you literally make it like 95% bad. You can’t even see any positive thing about the person. 

So anger is one of the example of a wrong consciousness and the wrong consciousness, as I’ve said, what it means is whatever it apprehends, the object that the wrong consciousness perceives doesn’t exist. If you get angry to another person, then what you see is the another person as 90% bad with exaggeration, so this why a person 90% bad doesn’t exist. If a person really is 90% bad, then you see much more than that when you get angry. 

Attachment, you see the thing much more nicer than it actually exists. It’s more like I know a child maybe 50% bad, but a mother always sees 20% or even lesser, there is a bit attachment towards the child. Everybody like one house or maybe some people, the reason why everybody feel more comfortable in the comfort zone is because there are some attachment involved. Everybody like their family, some kind of attachments. Everybody like to have for themselves, if somebody is giving something, let’s say, somebody is granting some wishes, then the first thing that appears in your mind is yourself and then your family and then maybe friends or colleagues and this and that. So these are also because of attachment and that attachment is also a wrong consciousness because it exaggerates and it sees the thing that it objects or perceives much better or more important than it is. So that is a bit about wrong conscious. 

Doubt Consciousness.

The ‘doubt consciousness’, I have a very positive point of view towards the ‘doubt consciousness’,  it’s kind of simple to know the doubt consciousness as it is something which thinks whether the object is as it appears or as it is not, for example, if you think of a car as an impermanence, then you might have a doubt whether is impermanent  or not. So the doubt, as I’ve mentioned in one of the earlier classes, it has three types, doubt tending towards the fact, doubt tending towards the wrong or the equal doubt. 

The doubt is when a person has a ‘wrong consciousness’,  a person doesn’t realize the fact, if you give some reasons to prove that the ‘wrong consciousness’ is a wrong, then slowly the wrong consciousness convert into doubt. So doubt is very important, it’s always important to have lots of doubts, because that’s what creates a sort of platform in our mind to realize things. When you have a doubt about something, if you are one step closer to realize that new thing, to understand a new thing because it set a sort of platform in our mind. If you don’t have a doubt, it is very less likely that you will know it or you will have a desire to know it or even if the case is different, when you have doubt then you will remember when you realize something. 

Suppose you don’t even have a doubt, even if you notice it, even if you see it, sometimes it is more like, the thing may appear to the mind, but our mind don’t realize it, or even if we know something today we may forget tomorrow. If you have been having some doubt then you get to remember things lot easier, when I read the book, I try to go through the content of the book and then I try to create it or what they might be talking, what this chapter might be talking or what that chapter might be talking. So a kind of create something or something like a doubt or a platform in my mind and I try to understand with this, this and this should be talking in this topic in this chapter, this and this should be talking in that chapter, this and this should be there in the next chapter. So when I think from that perspective, it is lots easier. 

And sometimes we see, but we don’t notice, it’s more like we’re not mindful and then we forget then even if we see something, after half an hour if somebody asks “Have you seen that?” We’re like ‘maybe’. 

So doubt is always nice, and I would say, this is the first step towards knowledge. 

Correctly Assuming Conceptual Thought.

A ‘correctly assuming conceptual thought’, it is the upgraded version, it’s more like the ‘doubt consciousness’ by giving some reasons. ‘The wrong consciousness’ converts into ‘doubt consciousness’ when you give some reasons to the person. Suppose a person is really bad, you have been thinking that the person is good, that is ‘wrong consciousness’ because the person is not a good, then, a person gives some examples which prove that person is not really good, then slowly you have a doubt whether the person is good or not. When you have a doubt, then you think of the reason again, you try to analyze again, you see the situation again, you meet with the person you talk,  you think of some other reasons as well. So when you are sure that the person is not something good, the person is really bad, when you’re sure of it, then that mind which is so sure, it’s correctly assuming conceptual thought. So the correctly assuming conceptual thought is one after that by thinking the reasons again and again, the second step of that would be you’re realizing the person as a bad.

So the first moment of that is, as I’ve said before, ‘inferential cognizer’. We think that the person is bad, then one day you see by yourself,  you see with your own eyes that the person is really bad then it is a ‘direct valid cognizer’. This is what the seven consciousness are and it is very important to know this sequence and with this I just thought to share that the mind always changes. So even if you have a positive thought at the first moment, it doesn’t mean that you might have a positive after like two or three minutes. Even if you’re doing something good many often, we go through lots of positive and negative minds or a thought in our mind. So it’s very important to be mindful of what you are thinking, why you are doing certain things. 


  1. When you say a good or bad person, is there ever a fully good or bad person? Don’t all people have some good and some bad?

Ah, that’s a very good question.
OK, as I’ve mentioned before, now a good person, when I said a bad person, I was just talking in general. But in fact, you can say,  if you look very closely, a person is nothing but the combination of body and mind. A person is just a label given to the collective of body and mind. More precisely, it is better to say if a person is doing, if a person is killing somebody else, if a person has a very selfish mind and a person is hurting others intentionally, then generally people say that it’s a bad person. If a person generally holds such a motivation, such a intention to benefit others and if a person doesn’t hurt others intentionally, then you can say that is a good person. 

Perfect person is very difficult in an ordinary person. In a Buddhist, it is lots easier to say Buddha as a perfect person, we call Buddha when a person get rid of all negative or afflictive emotions. But we should know when I say this is what we can call bad person and this is what we call good person, when I say that, I don’t mean that we should talk about others, that a person did this,  a person did that. 

For the sake of our own benefit, for the sake of our own peace of mind, if a person has done something wrong, there is no profit of thinking that person is bad. Instead of that, you can think that person is not bad, but it is just his greed that led him or her do that. So if you see from that perspective, it’s beneficial for yourself. That’s how we should see a person, if a person is doing something good here, you can say that, you can think that a person is really very good, you don’t need to filter things for our own welfare. If a person has done something bad or turn something wrong, you can see that it’s not the person himself, it is just those negative minds behind that person. That negative mind which use the person as we use a stick, so if you think from that perspective, it is the greed of the person who led that, it is the attachment of the person because of which this person did that. So if I should get angry or this and that, it should be that negative emotions like greed or attachment or anger or this and that. You think from that perspective then you are the one with the benefit for your own peace of mind and this is fact. 

Suppose a person has taken away something very important to you out of agreed, if you think that the person is really bad, then if you’re getting angry towards the person, if you get irritated towards the person then generally that anger is basically a narrow mind and what anger sees, perceives is not right because the anger exaggerates and it seems much more worse than it actually exists. And then you are the one who is hurting, it’s more like you are the one who hold that fire in your mind and then the first person that it burns is yourself, it burns your peace of mind. 

So instead of that, if somebody has done something wrong to you then you divide or you think by getting one step closer “It’s not the person, it’s his negative emotion, maybe anger or attachment or greed or this and that”. So this is how a practitioner should think for one’s own benefit. 

  1. So which case of ‘doubt consciousness’ is negative?

Nowadays have many people have complaints toward the parents. Of course it’s a different person, a parent is a different person. Even if the parents are doing nothing wrong, the parents try their best to save the child from getting into something strange and they try their best to bring/give the best of what they can for the child and for the future. But of course child is a different person, so he think a bit differently, he see the situation a bit differently, and the way parents want him to be and the way he want to be might be different in a way like a two different things, two different persons.

Sometimes our thoughts may go along, sometimes the thought and way we see things may be different. So when you see that the parents are doing the best they can for you, sometimes the parents do something really weird, and then you are having a doubt that maybe parents doing something. Maybe among the friends, a friend being very genuine, genuinely helping, the other person having a doubt maybe he’s expecting something, or maybe he’s thinking something, or maybe this and that. So these kind of doubts are negative. From the Buddhist perspective, doubt towards the karma, with negative intention is negative. 

  1. Lama, how can compassion also produce a ‘wrong consciousness’? 

Yeah, because of compassion also produces a wrong consciousness so that even if a compassion produces a wrong consciousness, it doesn’t mean that it is a fault of compassion. I would say ‘induce’, because a mother has compassion towards a child, so when a child do something wrong, mother get irritated or may get angry all of a sudden. Generally when the child do something wrong, she get a bit emotional and sometimes she may get angry. But that compassion is always positive, it always good, it is just that she want to see her child happy, she can’t bear to see child suffering or something going wrong to the child. Suppose a child is about to eat something really bad, let’s say a poison or maybe that child is walking towards the edge, infant baby is walking or crawling towards the edge of the building or nearer and nearer towards a swimming pool. Then a mother run to save and when the mother saved, she immediately is very much likely that she get a bit emotional, or maybe get bit angry, or maybe in some cases a mother might hit the child, “how can do this?”, the matter is how you can see, compassion can also induce a wrong consciousness, so the ‘wrong consciousness’ is because of our own habituation, our own issue. 

Actually, this is one important thing, let’s say a child is crawling towards a swimming pool, an infant baby, if a child falls in the swimming pool, then a child might die, the mother knows that, so mother tries to save it, so when mother save, mother maybe hit the child. When the mother hit the child, mother thinks in one way, mother is fearing of losing a child, that’s why mother is hitting, so hitting has its own negative intention behind. 

  1. For person with depression who think of commitment of suicide despite many people […] advise against, it is due to past karma currently efficient?

If a person have a intention, there are some people who naturally feel like this life is no meaningful or maybe I’m going to take some wrong action like suicide, this and that. It could be because of the past karma. So now it is because of the past karma that he/she has such intention. But if you take steps and kill a person, kill oneself or somebody else, then yes, you get a really huge negative karma which is exactly like killing somebody else. 

  1. How do you […] in terms of […] to the depression?

In such cases there are some analytical meditation that can be done and that I think it would be much effective.