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Other talks from Triratna Buddhist Order

Mind and Mental Events (Subhuti 2001) - Talk 1

by Subhuti (2001)

How do you actually take a look at your own mind?

Mind is to be distinguished from mental states or events. It is not an object to be categorised among other objects; it is that which experiences objects - the subjective dimension of our experience. Just as the eye cannot see itself, so the mind cannot experience itself as an object.

Yet, although the mind is never an object of experience, the Abhidharma describes it as having certain distinguishing characteristics:

Clarity - the mind, according to Milarepa, is, 'Lucid, limpid, ungraspable, illuminating.' It is infinitely malleable, unbounded, indefinable.

Cognition - mind consists in knowing its object. All consciousness is consciousness of, however subtle the object may be; it is always relational.

Momentary - mind is ever-changing, in continuous flux. It is a process, a sequence of mind-moments.

Conditioned - each mind-moment is conditioned by previous ones. These tend to cohere and create habitual mental states - a skilful or unskilful 'groove'. These give the mind its flavour - like salt in water.

This talk is part of the series Mind and Mental Events (Subhuti 2001).