From Monkey Mind to Luminous Mind

“Mind precedes all mental states.
Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.
If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him
Like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.
Mind precedes all mental states.
Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.
If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him
like his never-departing shadow.”

Yamakavagga

Most of us are often times, if not on a daily basis, struggling with what is referred to as the monkey mind – that is, a mind which jumps from thought to thought like a monkey swinging through the branches of a tree. This is an inconstant mind, constantly engaging with each passing thought processes rather than being focused on the present moment.

The Buddha once said that mind itself is luminous – although it is often tainted by mental effluents such as sensuality, ignorance, becoming, etc. This is like the transparency of water. If you add dye to water, it will change its color accordingly. The water itself, however, will never lose it’s innate transparency. If the water is purified through a process of distillation, it will resume its natural state. Thus, for the mind to resume its natural state, it must also be “purified” with contemplative practice. It is only after such development that the mind will once again realize its luminosity – much like a smith refining gold, removing its impurities, until it is ready to be fashioned into a final object.

In Buddhism, the mind itself is usually distinguished by citta, manas, and vinnana. Citta refers to one’s mindset or intent – that is, the emotive state of consciousness. Manas is the intellect in the sense of what grasps mental objects – it is the general thinking faculty closely associated with volition. Vinnana is cognizance or discernment, or the act of taking note of sense data and ideas as they occur. There is also a type of consciousness which lies outside of the skandhas, not related to the six senses at all, called the “consciousness without feature” (vinnanam anidassanam) which I discussed in my previous post.

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About bodhipunk

Just another anarcho-commie dhamma punk.

Posted on 11/15/2011, in abhidhamma, anatta, dharma, enlightenment, five skandhas, nirvana, suttas. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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