Annual India Tours
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt
gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity.
These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
July 22 1990
Last week we discussed the mind only school which says there are no external objects, there is mind only. I know there was some discussion last week regarding what does that refer too. If you have the carpet in front of you. The question I would ask you is, when each looks at the carpet and we ask for a description of what is being seen, anyone have an idea of what would be said? Each one would have a different idea of carpet. The object would be registered in each mind differently, and if we got into it there would be discrepancies. One would talk about design, one would talk about adequacy, etc.
It means this object on it's side, doesn't have a reality. If it did, all of you would would register that one reality. If the external objects did have a reality then you would all have to have the same duplicated reality because that object would express it to you. But it isn't because we all have our projection on the object and the object is registered according to our previous dispositions regarding carpet or whatever experience we might have had. So really we have within their concept termed mind only and no external objects, we can say, there is something in that, that there is only our mind's reflection or idea about this.
And as I said before, reality is, this is a hand woven wool carpet with a cotton backing. None of you really know that unless you carpet. You see what I mean, when you say carpet, you have a label! This other carpet happens to be a carpet too. It is different totally. It has jute backing, and it's nylon. So carpet is just a label. So you can even verify it is just mind only. In this you are starting to approach mind only concept.
Then there was the secondary aspect brought up which is in the philosophy of the mind only school, it says there is no external objects. I know even for myself, when I first think about it, it is hard to swallow that one. But you have to look at it in this way. If you look at the substance of carpet, on a subtle level there is molecules and atoms and such things, you have to also say that your body is included within that. The nature of carpet as in having material properties such is built up in material molecules and electrons, you body is included in that. Just as you look at this and label carpet, your actual physical body, even the eye you have which is the sense door of your mind receiving data and information, even it is part of that phenomenal universe. so in that, all you really do have is mind.
You have to open your mind and go beyond thinking that out there beyond my skin is outside and me over here is inside. It is not that way. Your body is part of it. In that way when you say mind only, for the mind only school, it actually has a very encompassing vision. And so when it says there is mind only, if you actually took yourself and cut yourself up and looked inside you wouldn't find anything different. If you look at it in an more encompassing manner, the substance of of carpet or body, animate or not, the substance of it is not different. If you cut yourself open you will find substance like blood bone and marrow. So the external world, and even looking at other animated living things such as trees or grass or creature, in all that you apprehend, still there is only your mind as registering it.
My particular answer for this particular school is that if you start to think about the world around you, you can really only say that there exists your mind. And that is the mind only school idea. It doesn't say that you mind is the only valid object, because if it said that it would mean that all of the distorted ideas of reality you have would be true. And that is not true. There is sort of a valid cognition and an invalid cognition. But the emphasis in generating a wisdom consciousness which is, if you are developing your meditation, you have a quietude of mind, and then you have the insight of the mind, conscious mind which is generating wisdom, then generated wisdom consciousness, you have to take mind's experience and analyze it. Because if you don't analyze your mind's experience, how do you generate wisdom? What I am trying to say, is identifying the parameters of the generation of a wisdom consciousness, meditative wisdom.
To do that, development of wisdom, you have to ask what does my mind perceive in the world around me? What is actually happening in the world around me? When you look at the phenomenal world, you have things appearing but in the appearance all your mind can do is recognize it. As you sit in this room, the walls don't say to you, wall, wall, wall.... None of the objects say anything. Do they have a reality? They are a dependant phenomena, they are doing their thing. They are impermanent, we all agree on that. They are are interdependent because they are created and produced and such, we all agree on that. But do they have a reality? No. They are merely reflections for your mind.
In that way you actually include your body within that. And so whatever your mind registers via it's sense doors, eye, ear, nose, tongue and body, it is only in the realm of mind. So in that way you can discount that there is a reality external to your mind. And that is the whole point of the exercise of this particular philosophy.
I am not saying it is perfect, but it is a very profound area to move your mind into. To start to come to realize that the emphasis is what does your mind see anyway? In thinking about that, you have to start to appraise your mind really only sees it's own reflection. What it only understands. You can say there is substance there, and you can put these grand labels to it, but does it really have a reality? The reality is you can never really touch it. And if you start to analyze reality, you will find that every thing has to deal within that realm.
What you have done is drawn your mind back from projecting on reality. Now the response to that is to go to the extreme of annihilating everything. Saying nothing exists then. There is just my mind and obviously it is a bunch of hogwash so nothing matters. You might follow that extreme. But that isn't true. Because your mind right now is experiencing reality and creating happiness and sadness for you and all those things. And so you can't just turn around and say I'm not depressed. Because it won't work that way. If you are depressed you will stay depressed. And if you are happy and feeling really good, you will feel good. And if you get sick, you are sick. You cannot just negate those things by saying they are not there. So you can't say that just because everything is mind that all of a sudden it falls in a realm of being non existent. It isn't. It is existent. It is existent for your mind. Your mind has a very strong projections about reality. And that is what you have to live in. You cannot negate that because you now understand something a little more profoundly about reality.
So you try to avoid the two extremes. You don't negate by saying that everything is null and void, because there still is the reality you are experiencing. How your mind has created it to this moment. But in creating how you experience reality of this moment, you can't affirm and say there is truly external objects out there. BEcause if you analyze and think about it in a little deeper manner, you will have to say that really that there is nothing out that has a reality external to what your mind is seeing of it.
That is the meditation for this evening. The whole point is to get that balance between realizing that you are only seeing your own mind reflected, but not going to the 4extreme of saying that everything is non existent. Because if you go that far, then when you get unhappy you should say I am not unhappy any more and immediately stop. You can't. Your mind has deluded power right now. So if you detract your mind or detach your mind from external objects, you start to gain personal control, developing the wisdom. But you still have to deal with how your mind, empowered by previous delusions is creating itself. And you have to deal with that. That doesn't change because you have a better understanding. It changes with the development of stable concentration and the development of more penetrative wisdom that then allows your mind more and more freedom which is the definition of liberation.
So for this evenings meditation, try to think of it as two extremes. One, to say that there really is an external reality which is grasping to some sort of external phenomena that is truly existent. The other, to say that everything is just mind creation and therefore is non existent. That is also an extreme. You want to hit the balance between the two which is appreciating that your mind is registering its own reflection but it does not mean that it is non existent. It means that it has a valid reality, it's maybe been improperly understood and therefore delusions and suffering and happiness have been created. But it isn't truly an external phenomena, it's merely internal, alright.
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