Saturday, April 28, 2012

Mind by Many Names

The universal mind is Brahman from which the Cosmic mind of Brahma, creative consciousness, rose and all manifestations of individuated minds arose from the plurality of this cosmic mind. This is clearly stated in Katha Upanishad:

“Above the senses is the mind. Above the mind is the intellect. Above the intellect is the ego. Above the ego is the unmanifested seed, the Primal Cause. And verily beyond the unmanifested seed is Brahman, the all-pervading spirit, the unconditioned, knowing whom one attains to freedom and achieves immortality.” …………………………(Katha Upanishad 2:3:7, 8)

Yet we experience the world from our individual mind playing out its multiple characters through its restless nature.
In the introduction to Vāsiśthadarśanam, the philosophy of Vāsiśtha, B. L. Atreya, illustrates the progression of the mind in its manifested nature and the various forms and names it assumes in the following lines.

“It is one and the same mind that assumes various forms and is called by various names on account of their different functions. It is called buddhi (intellect), when it knows something definitely; ahańkāra (ego), when it assumes for itself a distinct individual existence; citta (thought), when it displays fickleness; karma (activity), when it is moved towards a desired end; kalpanā (imagination), when it thinks of some desired object; vāsanā (desire), when it longs for some object; indriyas (sense-organs), when it reveals external objects to the self; and prakŗti (matter)because it creates objects out of itself.”

A realization of this nature of the mind is embedded in the process of liberation.
This realization is a process. First of all we have to understand that the body which is the seat of individuated consciousness is known, according to Vāsiśtha, as the eight fold city. This consists of the five senses of vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste together with the mind, the intellect and the ego. There appears to be a conundrum as we have just seen in the philosophy of Vāsiśtha that the intellect and the ego are just different names and forms of the mind. This can be resolved by looking not at the concrete objective entities known as intellect and ego but as categories of  the attributes of the mind. Even the five senses are processed outputs of the human brain tapping into imprints in the mind field. So the human body is the aggregation of eight aspects or attributes of the individuated mind. It is only through dissolution of these objective perceptions one can transcend to the cosmic mind. But individual existence itself depends on these eight fold attribute of the mind. How do we then resolve and merge this dual polarity of existence and dissolution.
Philosophy can give us the guidelines and the in depth wisdom but a definition of the practice is mandatory.

In this arena of practice in attaining liberation or nirvana the teachings of Buddha comes to our help.
The concept of combining the mind with the senses in combating false perception was first seen in the teachings of Buddha. In my writing on the “Teachings of Abhidhammattha Sangaha” I had amplified the nature of the senses as propounded by the Great Sakyamuni.

In ‘Nagara Sutta’, Lord Buddha says:

“In the same way I saw an ancient path, an ancient road, travelled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road, travelled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times? Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration...I followed that path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death...Knowing that directly, I have revealed it to monks, nuns, male lay followers & female lay followers...”
The deeper understanding of the mental mode of perception combined with the following of noble eightfold path leads one to self realization.

Love to you all

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