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Silence of the Mind


Q&A: If the mind is thought, then what is the silence?

Master Culadasa discusses what is going on when the mind is silent and the benefits of bringing the mind to a state of rest. He touches briefly on the mental states called the Jhanas or absorptions.

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Student: [00:00:00] If we make the dichotomy that the mind is thought, then what is this silence?

Culadasa: What is the silence?

Student: What is the feeling of immersion?

If we make the dichotomy that the mind is thoughts on what is the silence that comes that his mind to. It's. It is all the, all of your experience is mine. It's the mind experiencing itself in different ways. When your mind, when the mini and your mind at what's crucial, this is understanding your mind is not one thing. Your mind is many. And all of these different things that are your mind are all looking at each other and experiencing each other.

So when there's a lot of activity going on in your mind, then you will be consciously aware of some of that activity. Other of that activity will be in the penumbra of your awareness and some of it will be taking place, but you won't be consciously aware of. The silence you experienced is what happens with the line ceases to be so constantly active.

And the alternate silence is when the mind just stops looking at itself all the time.

When,

let me see if I can explain this.

Culadasa: You can.

I

Student: experienced any object without at the same time generating an experience on your cell.

Culadasa: So

Student: part of the crucial part of the activity of the mind is not. Processes that are going on, but it is the fact of the mind continuously taking itself as an object and at the same time generating itself as a subject. And so that's the core activity of the mind. The ultimate state of peacefulness is when, for a period of time, the mind just stops all of that stuff.

Stopping the mind stopping the world. And there is just being there is let's just fade a knowing, but without being conscious of anything. And without there being someone to be conscious of that there is just the peace of being in the present. So to some degree, we experienced that when the level of activity called the mind slows down, even though we're still watching the mind, it's still quite different than our ordinary experience of being lost in an ongoing activity of the mind and having every microsecond of awareness filled with a constant flux of one fodder idea or.

And then the mind slows down. So now by comparison, it is it's much more calm. It's much more peaceful. And as the mind as the different parts of the mind, start to synchronize and bunching together than the process of being conscious of becomes much simpler All or at least many parts of the mind are exercising the same function.

And they're being conscious of the sensations arising in the moment and the present moment. And that's a far more peaceful and still and calm place then when they're all doing different things. But the extreme that I can go to is the point where for a while, the mind just completely suspense all of this activity.

And he's just, you're just in a state of complete peace and quiet. We, the easiest ways to approach this is where we take one object and we take one object and focus. All of our mental capacity on one object become absorbed into it. Then we will experience a really profound kind of stillness and that's called.

And whenever the mind becomes unified and the terms that I was talking to Shelley about whenever the mind becomes unified, it creates a feeling of joy and happiness and peace. The cessation, all of this agitation, which is actually a kind of stress produces a state of joyfulness and. So when you take one object and you manage to immerse your consciousness and just that single object of awareness, you experienced a profound peacefulness, and there's a strong joy and happiness that [00:05:00] arises in association with that.

And then of course you can proceed through the higher John is by further refining that by dropping that object and just taking the mental state of joy and the feeling of happy. As the object and immersing yourself in that, and so forth. So you can come to more and more refined states of mental stillness.

These go all the way through to the eight Gianna. Used to spend the normal process of perception as called neither perception or non perception in the technical language of Buddhism refers to what happens in a deep sleep or unconsciousness or things like that. And the. This very deep state of absorption is called neither perception or non perception because ordinary perception taking the mind, reflecting on its own contents, taking as object and subject that's not happening, but it's also not the non perception of consciousness.

And so that's that is extremely profound state of stillness. So these. All of these different meditative states are approaching by degrees more and more stillness of mind. And and by comparing each of the, each of them by comparison to the last one seems to be so still. So incredibly peaceful and empty.

There is one of the sutures, I don't know if you have sutures at home, but. Somewhere. Okay. That's right. If you're interested in following this discussion out, just the thing that I'm talking about right here. There is one suture it's called the Moss and yatta two. And the Buddha describes in terms of, he describes his progression through the meditative states and through the Janez and how each one seemed so sublime, so peaceful, so empty.

And, as if there couldn't be anything better than this, and then after you've been there for awhile, you become aware though, there's still this. There's still movement. There's still agitation. There's still stress. There is still some vestige of duke or the mind is still grasping at a very subtle level.

And so then you go to the next one and it's oh, here we are. This is it. This is, oh, this is so peaceful. This is, ah, this is what I'm looking for. And then after you've been there for awhile accurate drawn, you start to realize no, there's still a subtle Duca there. Yeah, we keep going deeper and deeper.

It's an interesting thing, but so an answer to your question we're not dividing the mind into thoughts leading aside, the question of what is the stillness, all that you experience is mine, but there's the mind and the state of activity, and then there's the mind and the state of reps. And so the question might arise.

Okay, why do I want to turn my mind off? Why do I want to bring the wine to a state of grass? There's a variety of reasons, but I'll just, I'll give you one. If you can,

if you've trained your mind to the point that you can bring the mind to say to rest, it's not going to stay there very long. Some thought some sensation, something is going to rise in it, but this gives you the opportunity to examine the nature of the mind and to examine the nature of the objects that arise in the mind.

Because now they're going to arise one at a time with lots of time to experience the mind at rest in between those occasions of experiencing the horizon. Out of a phenomenon in the passing away. And so this is an insight practice. Now this your hat, your, you get having opportunity to directly experience the w in slow motion.

So to speak what's happening at a zillion times faster. And our daily life where we can't get a handle on it. And it's the same way that, that when a movie film is run at regular speed, it looks like it's continuous motion. You slow it down and you realize it's about some still pictures. And you can analyze it into its components when.

When you are able to examine the line in a stated dressed and the mind as has yet generates objects and takes those objects then it's your opportunity to understand the nature of the mind as emptiness and the nature of these objects as mind generated.


Automated transcription

if we make the dichotomy that the mind is thought, then what is this silence? What is the silence? What is the feeling of you know? So if if we make the dichotomy that the mind is thought then what is the silence that that comes? That is mine too. But it's it is all the all of your experience is mine. It's the mind experiencing itself in different ways. When when your mind when the vin... Your and your mind and what's crucial, this is understanding your mind is not one thing. And find as many things.

And all these different things that are your mind are all kind of looking at each other and experiencing each other. So when there's a lot of activity going on in your mind, then you will be consciously aware of some of that activity, other of that activity will be sort of in the pen number of your awareness. And some of it will be taking place, but you won't be consciously aware of it. The silence who you experience is what happens when the vine cease to be so constantly hacked. And the alternate silence is when the combined just stops looking at itself all the time.

When... Let me see if I can explain this. You cannot experience any object without at the same time, generating an experience of your yourself. Part of the a crucial part of the activity of the mind is not just the processes that are going on, but it is the fact of the mind continuously taking itself as an object and at the same time generating itself as a subject. And so that's sort of the core activity of the mind. The ultimate state of peaceful is when for a period of time, the mine just stops all that stuff, you know, stopping the mind stopping the world.

And there is just being. There's that's a state of knowing, but without being conscious part anything. And out there being someone to be conscious up. So there's is just just the peace of being in the present. So to some degree, we experienced that we experienced that when the level of activity of the mine slows down, even though we're still watching the mind. It's still quite different than our ordinary experience of being lost and and ongoing activity of the mind and having every micro sector of awareness filled with a constant flux of one plot idea or feeling.

Then the mine slows down. So now by comparison, it is it's much more calm, it's much more. And as the mine as as the different parts of the mind started to synchronized and function together then they... The process of being conscious of becomes much simpler. All or at least many parts of the mind are exercising the same function and they're being conscious of the sensations arising in the moment and the present moment. And that's a far more peaceful and still and calm commonplace than when they're all doing different things.

But the extreme that I can go to is the point where for a while the mine just completely suspend all of this activity. And he's just... You're just in a stay of complete. Peace and and quiet. We... The easiest ways to approach this is where we take one object. And we take one object and focus all of our mental capacity on one object become absorbed into it. Then we'll will experience a really profound time stillness. And that that's called John. And whenever the mine becomes unified in the turns that I was talking to Shelly about, whenever the mine becomes unified, it creates a feeling of joy and happiness and at peace.

I mean, the cessation all this agitation, which is actually a kind of stress produces a state of joyful s and p's. So when you take one object and you manage to reverse your consciousness and just that single object of awareness, you experience your profound peaceful for us. And there's a strong joy and happiness that arises in association with that. And then, of course, you can proceed through the higher on by further refining that why dropping that object and just taking the mental state of joy and the healing of happiness as the object and anniversary yourself in them, you know, and and so forth, so you can come to more and more refined space of mental stillness.

These go all the way through to the the eighth China where used to spend the normal process of perception and it's called neither perception or non perception non perception in the technical language of buddhism. Refers to what happens in a deep sleep consciousness or things like that. And the this very, very deep state of absorption is called neither perception or non perception because ordinary perception taking the the mind reflecting on its own contents taking as object and subject. That's not happening, but it's also not the non perception of unconscious.

And so that's that is extremely profound state of stillness. So these these are all of these different medi states are approaching by degrees more and more stillness of mine. And And by each of each of them by comparison with the last one seems to be so still. So so incredibly peaceful and empty. There is one of the sutra, I don't know if you have sutra at home, but somewhere somewhere. Okay. Well, that's right. If if you're interested in following this discussion up, just the thing that I'm talking about right here.

There is one sutra it's called the Mah and y su utah. And the buddha describes in terms out he he describes this progression through the medi states and through the Genres. And how each one seems so sublime so peaceful, so empty. And, you know, as if there couldn't be anything better than this. And then after you've been there for a while, you become aware, no, there's still there's still there's still movement. There's still agitation. There's still stress there. There's still some of Du. The mind is still grasping.

At a very, very subtle level and saying you go to the next one, and it's like, oh here we this is it. This is oh, it's so peaceful. Let's is say. Go This is what I'm looking for. And then after you've been there for a while after twelve you start real... Well, no. There's still a subtle duplicate there. Yeah. Keep going deeper and deeper. That's a it's an interesting thing. But so and answer to your question, We're not dividing the bind into thoughts leaving side of the question of what is stillness.

All that you experience is mine but there's the mind in the state of activity, and then there's the mind and the state regrets. And So a question might arise. Okay. Why do I wanna turn my mind off? Why do I wanna bring the mine to a state address? There's a variety of reasons, but I'll just... I'll give you one if you can If you've change your mind to the point that you can bring the mind to stay rest, it's not going to stay there. Very long. Some thought some sensation, something is going to rise.

But this gives you the opportunity to examine the nature of the mine and to examine the nature of the objects that arise in the mind. Because now they're gonna rise one at a time with lots of time to experience the mind at rest in between those occasions of experiencing the horizon phenomenon and the passing away of found. And so this this is an insight practice now. This this your your you get having opportunity to directly experience the in in slow motion, so to speak what's happening at zillion times faster in our daily life wherein we can't we can't get a handle on and it's the same way that that when a movie film is running at regular speed, it looks like it's continuous motion.

You slow it down and you realize it's bunch still pictures, and and you can analyze it into its components. With when you are able to examine the mine and a stated rest and the mind as has yet generates objects and takes those objects.

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