by K.G. Justin de Silva

Buddhism and Mind

Lord Buddha dissected the being into two major components, namely Nama and Rupa. Rupa is the form or the physical figure that we see in a person. Nama however is the component in a being that we cannot see with the naked eye. Nama is the component of a being , directly and essentially linked with the mind. In the laws of dependant origination it is the mind that is instrumental in creating impression and thoughts. Eyes, nose ,mouth, ears and the body are bases of the mind when it comes to link with external objects. The receipt of signals from external objects, through these bases creates impressions, linking with sensual feelings. The law of dependant origination refers to the result of such thoughts as the basis of karma , either good or bad depending on the volition of thought. Mind and thought are like the two sides of a coin.

We have observed that science has investigated or examined practically, that the thoughts are linked with force. Through Buddhism we are able to identify the thought forces. Bodily movement out floating in air, directing solids to move by mere concentrated thoughts (Dyana) are described by Lord Buddha.

(Lord Jesus too have exhibited these extra sensory movements of thought, with taming the high seas etc)

In the identification of thoughts, Lord Buddha identified the roots of evil thoughts , as greed ,hatred and delusion as negative thoughts and non greed , non hatred and non delusion as roots of positive quality thoughts. Greed ,hatred and delusion are termed in Pali texts as Lobha, Dosa and Moha and non greed , non hatred and non delusion are termed Alobha, Adosa and Amoha . Alobha ,Adosa and Amoha are wholesome thoughts (Merits) while lobha , Dosa and Moha been unwholesome (Sins) in the karmic reactions of deeds or volition. Lobha , Dosa and Moha are also called Akusala Mula, which means Roots of Sins ,(resulting in unwholesome results) and while Alobha, Amoha and Adosa are called Kusla Mula which means Roots of Meritable action- rsulting in wholesome Karmic effects, All these Kusala mul and Akusala Mula are strictly connected to the mind .

Referring back to the First chapter, for a while, it is explained that beings are created by nature, as a requirement to maintain the stability of the earth; and how it happens is demonstrated by the ten points of Nerbadski.. The beings are a set of chemicals (consolidated) formed into one mass , so that this mass can be used , by nature for its requirements. These requirements are essentially, conversion of energy, both absorbed from the SUN and conversion of energy of matter available on the earth, for nature’s existence. In other words beings are a formation, conditioned by various terrestrial states of energy. Another way of explaining the “Being” , is that the “being” is a mass of chemicals, formulated for manifestation of energy for the requirement of the earth ; (and as a result the universe too)

The forces which condition, our physical form , arise from the very requirements that is necessary for our day to day existence, or survival. They are mainly nutrition and protection of life. The food that we eat out of temptation, is partly used by our system as nutrition, and the remnants which we pass out as excreta, sweat and urine, is used by the earth for its nutrition. This waste from our system decays and forms chemicals necessary for the environment .and the earth. The desires of all living organisms, in eating and or drinking is similarly conditioned as is required by nature. The desire to live, naturlal to all living organism, is gifted by nature, to protect life energy in the organisms or beings, so that organisms will not be extinct from the earth.

Buddha identified then, that desires (with craving and attachments) linked with the mind, govern the behavioral pattern of the beings, may it be humans or otherwise. The Kusala Mula and Akusala mula (mentioned before) as roots of thought , govern the causal effects of our thoughts . As beings are conditioned to live by sensual feelings. It is only by identifying the different feelings, the next step of controlling these feelings could be properly realized, as otherwise we shall have no opportunity, to control our morals. The satisfaction of feelings is linked with craving and desire, and the thoughts are directly linked with the mind. As another way of expressing this, I would say , Thoughts are turned into sensual desires and craving arises. Craving then becomes part of the process in conditioned arising of life, which then gets to the stage of rebecoming. Finally reaches the stage of Karma formations , as described by the causal law of dependant origination. Suffering is this entire process of re-becoming, in the event of a being been conditioned to suit the requirements of nature. This is his first noble truth. (please compare the explanation of the first noble truth.)

(it is worth mentioning now , that all forms of thoughts that arise to satisfy sensual requirements , if connected with ill will, and hatred , then these will become Karmically unwholesome thoughts) The result will be that the being in question , does not execute its duty towards the nature , but tries to selfishly enjoy the gift of nature owing to ignorance of this fact. Nature balances the ill effects of these unwholesome thoughts , by another causal result of setting back real enjoyment., as a Karmic effect.)

In my own view , the Akusala Mula lead thoughts, arise from a force similar to the force of gravity .(Mind and gravity are both unseen inertia) It is extremely hard for any being to remain escaped from gravity. So is the action of Akusala mula on all beings. Both Gravity and thoughts tend to preserve the being getting away from the terrestrial field.

All beings are trapped on the earth by thoughts of Lobha, Dosa and Moha. While craving arising from such roots of thoughts , enslaves the beings , to act as guided by the nature of terrestrial system. The being uses his sensual organs for mere satisfaction called enjoyment. If it is guided by craving.for tasty food, colorful sensation in the eyes, fragrant smells, and soothing sounds (music) they are all such so called joy.

It is evident that , (say) A has hatred in him, that A can kill a man out of hatred without realizing the error in his action., owing to natural cravings. It is delusion too, that leads him to cruel acts. Delusion is caused by ignorance, and if one develops wisdom, and knowledge, then through realization, one can stay away from action, though guided by natural desire. For example , a hunter kills an animal out of desire to eat tasty flesh. But if he is knowledgeable to realize the ill effects caused by his killing , then he would not have motivated himself in to this killing.

Such knowledge can be developed by taming the mind, by meditation. If a person , can reason out each and every action that he desires to do, and is doing, then he starts developing reasoning of his actions. Then a person can stop and think whether his action leads to wholesome or unwholesome action.

With the realization of good and bad morals of actions by a person, the desire to do good action will evolve. Then the need to do good and the need to tame the mind for such actions , will drive a person to develop the mind . It is the mind that is responsible in all actions.(This is so said in the First verse of the Dammapada. (DP! Manopubbangama damma Mano seta Manomaya..Manasa ce paduttena Bhasativa Karotiva .. tatonam dukka manveti cakkamva vahato padam. All mental phenomena have mind as their fore runner : they are mind made. If one speaks with an evilm mind dukka (sorrow) follows just as the wheel follows hoof print of the ox that draws the cart.)

The mind is described by Lord Buddha as a lonely dweller, that has no form , which can travel far, and is like an untamed buffalo. The tamed mind developed by meditation , will be like a tamed buffalo, tied so that its movements are restricted. When a desire arises in the tamed mind, then the mind will give a thought to find out whether the action created by a craving or desire , is wholesome or unwholesome. The mind then can either stop or control the resulting action. This way a person with a tamed mind can act in a wholesome manner thus resulting in good Karma. Developing a good and healthy mind is attained by Dana , Sila and Bhavana. Dana is giving in kind and wealth for the benefit of others, Sila is good moral conduct, such as refraining from killing, or harming animals, refraining from stealing ,refraining from sexual misconduct, refraining from abusive language and or lying and refraining from alcohol. All these actions of refraining as mentioned is wholesome. In other words , this way one looks after nature too.

As of nature and environment :

Killing creates a void in life energy (within the universe).
Stealing is taking what is rightfully others, which object may be such it is arequiremetn for living. Abusive language or misuse of words will mislead a person to incorrect action, or indescent living. Sex is a need to reproduce only, and misuse of sex for mere enjoyment can pilfer the correct use of sex, which is only for reproduction.
I need not emphasize the fact, that alcohol, misguides people, as it acts toxic in the brain. Alcohol acts against nature by damaging brain cells, and hence acton caused after consuming alcohol could be without reason. (The above is only a small introduction of the value of Sila or good moral living , and its effect on tenvironment and nature)

Abhidhamma explains in full that a person with greed , hatred and delusion receive more suffering through the formations of Akusala Mula Karma, as described in the law of dependant origination. The result from such Akusala Mula karmic effects is a state of life with more suffering , as described in the first noble truth.. To describe further, it has been observed that Akusala mula causal (karmic) effects results in losing sense organs (ear , nose , eyes etc.) in the next birth or even in this life before death.. Often mental disorders are observed as a result of Akusala mulas. This is the explanation to deafness, Dumbness, Crippleness etc. of people. It is not the will of god (as explained by theistism) , but it is ones own karmic action of the past..

To understand all these it is necessary to have some notion of MIND. If the mind is non form, and travels far at lightening speed , and is uncontrollable (if not tamed) , is there any way of imagining what the mind is.

Bring in the example of a radio.

Physically a radio consists of “electronic chips” and a circuit for the electricity to travel , in order to receive signals from outside. Knobs to isolate a channel out of many channels available. Finally the selected channel receives signals from the outer space and converts it to sound signals. The sound signals are converted to waves , in order for us to hear, may it be music, and or speeches etc.

Turning to a human being , he is similar to the radio. The human being is formed out of a structure of bones, with the flesh and the skin , like the physical structure of the radio. Among the structure of bones and flesh with arteries and veins , the body structure has a nervous system ,that carries signals , where these signals are carried by a medium similar to electrical current. The human beings have a brain. It is the brain that receives the signals from , outside into the system , and then produces the sounds , or other signals like the radio producing sounds. In receiving signals from outside , the brain of a person acts like a radio, as both , the human and radio, receives all sorts of electronic signals in to the system. Just as the radio receives signals from so many channels, the human also receives , signals in , through the five sensual doors.

By tuning we can listen from the radio a single channel,. Similarly , we humans too, have to tune in to a single channel, if we need to concentrate and act , along a single thought. The best example of a human who has no control , in the channels of brain signals, is a lunatic. The lunatic , becomes so, as his brain signals are not fine tuned. The brain produces signals, and the media (force) in which the signals are controlled , is the mind. The mind in other words is a form of energy, that is produced in the humans, similar to the controlling energy of a radio. The mind is tamed by a system of fine tuning, in to single channels. This fine tuning of the mind , is created by concentration, and meditation.

Taming of the mind is like isolaing a fine tuned channel, of a radio well controlled. The mind similar to a restless wild buffalo, can be tamed by concentration and meditation, like taming the buffalo by tying it to a post.

The stages in taming the mind is:

Vitakka:Thought conception or Application of a initial thought
Vicara:Sustained application of the thought
Piti :Blissful joy. (Equanous mindful awareness)

With these four stages of concentration, the taming (or fine tuning ) of the mind takes place.

It is the tamed mind that can be direct thoughts towards noble volition, (which protects the environment0 with the mental qualities , of alobha (Non greediness), Adosa (non hatred ness) , Amoha.(non delusion). The tamed mind is developed to achieve the qualities of mettha, karuna, Muditha. (Love kindness & equanimity) All these developments create Kuasla Mula _Roots of wholesome thoughts., which are thoughts of protecting the environment.

From the Budhist text “Dhamma Padha”

Mano pubbhangama Dhamma*
Mano settha manoamya
Manasa ce paduttena
Bhasati va karo ti va
Katho nan dukkha man vethi Chakkachcha vahatho padan

*(Dhamma here means – mental states which give rise to action guided by the mind)

Mind is the foremost Dhamma
Mind is supreme and creates
if with wickedness in a mind one does speak or he does act Then suffering follows him as cart wheels the oxen feet.

The 2nd verse:
Mano pubbhangama dhamma
Mano settha manomaya
Manasa se pasannena
Kathnan sukha man cethi
Chayava anuchayawa anupaini

Mind is the foremost dhamma Mind creates and mind is supreme If with cleanliness of mind one does speak or act Then happiness follow him as the never ending shadow.

The above two verses is the beginning of the Dhamma Padha , and it stresses the fact that mind is the most important guide for beings, for what they do ,physically or verbally.

Kusala Mula ( The roots of whole some action)

Kusala mula is the roots of thoughts exactly opposite to the akusala mula. As described in Buddhism Kusala Mula Dharma are roots of wholesome thoughts. Arising from non greed. Non hatred , and non delusion popularly known as Alobha, Adosa , Amoha.

Starting with non delusion , a person , aperson whi is not deluded , (or is not mislead by sense desires), can understand the reasons of use of the six sense bases, and its relationship with the related cnsciounesses, of Eye, ear, nose, mouth, body and mind. One would identify the reactions of the mind based consciounesses, as a magician’s tricks are divulged by a spectator, on watching the magician. Through awareness one learns that we should use our sense organs , only to satisfy the requirements of nature , (eg: which are listed by Nerbadsky.)

It is extremely important to know , that sense organs we possess, are gifts by nature, to cater for the needs of nature, (say for the chemical changes for the stability of earth) and are not for selfish enjoyment.
(It should be well noted that Lord Buddha expresses the idea, that eyes, ears, nose, mouth and proper limbs are gifts given by nature, as a karmic effect of wholesome acts performed in the past births. One may lose these gifts, in the present birth itself, with unwholesome acts done during thi birth itself. Dr Carl S Jung , while curing a cripple, by hypnotizing has proved this point)

However the forces of the nature has trapped us, beings, through our sense organs, to crave for sensusal desires, and to undergo suffering so that nature fulfils its requirements. The one so trapped, unless acts with awareness to understand the meaning of craving, will sink, like in quick sand., in the mud of suffering. By acting along with the forces of Kusala mula Dharma, (Roots of wholesome thoughts) one can escape suffering . By developing the mind through “kusala Mula Dharma”, the qualities which are Mettha , Muditha & Karuna (Loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity) beings can escape in to abodes, where there is less suffering or finally the stage of NIRVANA, where there is no suffering at all.

Next Chapter   Prev.   TOC