MIND IN GENERAL
In this series, Mind in General, you will be listening to lightly edited audio teachings by Gelek Rimpoche. These teachings were part of a series on mind and mental faculties titled Inner World of Mind and taught at Jewel Heart in Ann Arbor and New York during 2007 – 2008.
The titles and descriptions of the five sessions are listed below –
The mind is the source of all development—material as well as spiritual. All achievements in modern science and technology as well as spiritual developments ultimately come from mind. Understanding the mind is crucial for the spiritual practitioner.
In this first session Gelek Rimpoche describes the basis of Buddhist psychology, Mind and Mental Faculties, based on an 18th century commentary by Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen, teacher of the 8th Dalai Lama. This teaching brings together important and practical features of a vast and sophisticated tradition in Buddhist psychology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive theory.
Definitions of Mind
According to Buddha, physical aspects of reality are not independent. They are dependent upon causes and conditions and thereby impermanent. We naturally recognize our bodies are not permanent and will change, fall apart, and dissolve, however Buddha also says even mind is dependent upon causes and conditions and impermanent. If this is so, how does mind carry on from life to life? What are the qualities of mind, and how does it function?
In this session, Gelek Rimpoche discusses the qualities of mind or the consciousness which perceives and knows, and introduces the concept of “Mental Faculties”, which are cognitive elements that allow the consciousness to discriminate, ascertain, and qualify the objects it cognizes.
Importance of Mind
Mind is not physical. While mind works in coordination with the physical body, mind has no form or shape. Mind functions to perceive reality. By nature it is clear and luminous, perceiving and reflecting reality like a mirror. But like a dirty rag rubbing oil over a mirror, our negativities can temporarily cloud and block the capacity of the mind to perceive reality purely.
Underlying the gross mind—which we ordinarily see and which is easily affected by emotions—we have a subtler mind, and deeper still, an even subtler mind known as the primordial mind. In this session, Gelek Rimpoche explains that through the process of meditation, it can become possible to unlock these various aspects of mind.
Subtle Mind and Subtle Physical Energy
Mind comes only from mind. Consciousness does not simply spring up out of nowhere due to a particular configuration of physical elements in the brain and body. Rather, today’s mind is a continuation of the mind from previous lives. In this session, Gelek Rimpoche explains that while mind is not physical, it does interact with the physical in the form of subtle energy or life-force that the Tibetans call lung.
The mind rides upon subtle energy like a rider rides upon a horse. It is the physical vehicle that carries the mind and allows it to function within the physical body. When the physical body becomes unserviceable at the time of death, the connections will be cut and the gross consciousness will dissolve. But Primordial Mind will remain and will be carried to our next rebirth.
Mind and Mental Faculties
Mind perceives and is aware. In this session, Gelek Rimpoche explains how the mental faculties help the mind to discriminate, recognize, ascertain and understand. The mind has six primary consciousnesses, corresponding to the five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch) and the primary mental consciousness.
The mental faculties are divided into fifty-one specific functions. The mental faculties have different functions and capacities which Rimpoche addresses over the course of this series.
Five sessions in total, they range from fifty to fifty-five minutes each in length.
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