the excluded middle way

Huang po speaks of BigMind

Huang po:

“Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained. This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun…”


“The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be thought of in terms of new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measure, names, traces and comparisons. It is that which you see before you – begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured. The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifest in the Buddhas.”

Filed under: emptiness, form, inspiration, meditation, Mind, non conceptual mind, practice, Understanding the Mind, very subtle mind

BOTH Dennett AND Dharma?

C4Chaos has recently posted alink to a Jonathan Haidt essay MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF RELIGION.

But once again I’m frustrated by people, Haidt not Coolmel,  lumping Dennett in the with new athiests. Sure he’s riding the same road as the bandwagons of Dawkins and Harris and Hitchens and he’s put his head well above the parapet, but his philosophy of science and religion is sound and not just saber-rattling.

Thank you Integral Options Cafe for not lumping Dan Dennett in with the fundamentalist, or Loud, athiests. Haidt’s essay is a good example of where people are mis-understanding Dennett.

The Failure of the Loud Atheists blog post says the biggest flaw of the atheist fundamentalists “is their failure to distinguish between objective reality and subjective reality” and I couldn’t agree more.

But Dennett, in both ‘Breaking the Spell‘ and ‘Consciousness Explained‘ is playing a completely different game and to roll him up into the angry atheist crowd is mis-reading him almost completely.

Dennett recognises interiors and exteriors and he doesn’t ever collapse them. He recognises evolution and development. He recognises the difference between left and right-hand quadrants (although wouldn’t use those terms). And he states clearly that 3rd person methodologies have a large part to play in really understanding interiors, how they came to be, how they work, who has them, who doesn’t.

He’s got Zone1 and Zone2 of the 8 Integral Methodological Pluralism zones covered and he spotted the blind spot that phenomenology has to structuralism and 3rd person methods. His hetrophenomenological method addressed the problem back in the 1980s.

This, from his latest TED talk, says it nicely.

"Scientists, using their from-the-outside, 3rd person methods, can tell you things about your own consciousness that you'd ever dream of. And the fact that you are not the authority on your own consciousness that you thought you were.

Has anyone read anything other than ‘Breaking the Spell’? Its his most ‘populist’ to date and perhaps suffers because of that worldly connection but ‘Consciousness Explained’ lays it all our pretty clearly.

I also think Haidt is being disingenuous in saying Dennett is mis-reading the evidence. Haidt doesn’t show how the studies he cites are reliable and he fails to recognise Dennett’s main point in BTS, that giving is an outward show of ‘belief in belief’ rather than a result of belief itself.

To say “religious believers give more money than secular folk to secular charities” shows us very little about their interiors.

If giving is part of the creed and a way of proving you believe to your peers then that starts to sound like pre-conventional morality to me, rather than proving religious people are morally superior to secular folk.

This whole debate has been polarised for way too long. Can we please have BOTH Dennett AND Dharma.

Filed under: AQAL, Atheism, both/and, Brain, Dennett, Integral, Mind, Science, Understanding the Mind

Identifying our own mind

To identify our our mind we must meditate upon its nature, its function and its location:

  1. The nature of the mind is clarity
  2. The mind functions to cognize
  3. The mind is located at the heart, inside the heart channel wheel, within the central channel.

When we can attain a rough generic image of our mind, based upon the above pointing-out instructions, and hold it for 5 mins, we have completed the first stage, Identifying our own mind.

Filed under: conceptual mind, non conceptual mind, subtle mind, Understanding the Mind

The BrainVoyager

Wowsa… this looks awesome.

My ‘project’ this year is “Understanding my Mind“.

I’ve taken two guys, both considered by peers to be ‘at the top of their game’ when it comes to the mind.

Dan Dennett and Geshe Kelsang… both dealing with consciousness, but Geshe Kelsang helping shift some states and stages in the UL and Dennett rounding it off in the Right-Hand quadrants.

More to follow… but some people were starting to look here and I wanted to help clear up just what “Both/And” is all about.

Mission statement soon I promise!

Anyway… this month I’m delving into the BRAIN as well as the mind… and software and sites like this really are the bleeding edge right now.

More to come… but expect a piece on the difference between Brain and Mind, whether is really is as simple as a Hardware/Software, whether traditional dharma explanations might be falling for the age old Cartesian cock-up and whether… really we should be thinking of a Mindbrain ecosystem – rather than a split, a dualism or a material/spiritual divide.

This is “Both/And” so expect some fence sitting and a real attempt at some post-differentiated integration.

Filed under: Brain, Dennett, dharma, Mind, UL, Understanding the Mind, UR

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