Được dạy bởi Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu
Dịch Việt: Việt Hùng
Lời người dịch: Trong các bài Hỏi & Đáp như vậy, tôi sẽ chủ yếu dịch thoát ý, chứ không chặt chữ. Một mặt đây là việc tôi làm để có thể nghiền ngẫm phần trả lời của Sư Yuttadhammo. Một mặt, tôi chia sẻ lại đây, và hy vọng nó hữu ích cho các thiền sinh Vipassana tham khảo.
Bài pháp ngắn này được đăng tải trên Youtube vào ngày 17/10/2010. Phần English transcript ở cuối bài. Link Youtube của bài nói ở đây: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dt7RNkLn-4
Mặc dù đã cố gắng tốt nhất trong khả năng của mình, tôi chắc chắn không thể ghi xuống được một cách chính xác 100% tất cả các từ ngữ, đặc biệt là các từ Pali mà Sư đề cập trong bài pháp. Tôi sẽ tiếp tục cập nhật bản ghi, bất cứ khi nào tôi thấy được những điểm còn thiếu sót.
Con xin thành kính đảnh lễ tạ ơn Sư Yuttadhammo về bài pháp thoại ngắn quí báu này. Con nguyện cho Sư được mọi thuận lợi và sức khoẻ trong hành trình tâm linh của Sư.
Các bạn có thể tìm hiểu thêm thông tin của Sư Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu và các lời dạy của Sư tại trang web: https://www.sirimangalo.org/.
English Transcript (quickly jotting down)
Question: Hey, welcome back to Ask a Monk. Today’s question comes from Fisk Dams Consultant. What is really the mind and how did the Buddha use the last forth part of the five aggregates and Nama in Nama Rupa to explain the mind? Did the Buddha use any other ways of explaining the mind? Understanding what the mind is is hard. Please help.
What is really the mind? The mind, the definition of mind and here this is the meaning of Nama or Vinnana or Citta which in the end are all just different ways of saying basically the same thing. It’s that which knows. In reality, we understand there are two parts. One part of reality isn’t aware of anything. It’s the unconscious part of reality. That part we call Rupa. And in English, we translate that into form or material or the physical. The other part knows something. It’s aware of things, generally aware of the physical, but also aware of other mental states. This knowing we call Nama. This is all that really exists in the mind. And the other aspects of it are the quality of knowing. Because not every knowing is the same. Sometimes this knowing, this awareness, this observation of things is based on a judgment, anger or greed. Sometimes it’s impartial. Sometimes it’s happy. Sometimes it’s unhappy. Not every knowledge is the same. And so these are the various qualities of the mind. But essentially, the meaning of mind is that which knows.
And in this sense, it’s really not very difficult to understand at all. It’s very much a part of meditation practice. And if you practice sincere meditation, it’s quite easy to to see that which is the mind. For instance, when you’re watching the stomach, if you watch it rising and falling, there is the reality of the stomach rising and falling. But there’s also the knowing of it. And these are two distinct things. We know this because you’re not always aware of the rising and falling. If the mind doesn’t go out to the object and there’s no awareness. Sometimes the mind is elsewhere. The rising and falling is still occurring, but the mind is not aware of it. So until the mind and the body come in contact, there’s no awareness. And this is what is meant by the mind. The body is one thing, the mind is another. And when they come together, that’s called experience.
As far as the five aggregates, this is one very important way of understanding what is the body and mind and essentially what is reality. The way the Buddha explained the five aggregates is: they are something that arises at what are called the six senses. So we always talk about the five senses, but actually there are six. The five that we normally understand, and the sixth one is the mind, the purely mental, the thinking, our mental landscape.
So when you see something, there are five things that arise. There’s the physical, which is the eye and the light that touches it. That’s a physical reality. Then there is number two, the feeling, which is in the beginning neutral, but can evolve into a pleasant or an unpleasant feeling based on what we see, whether it’s beautiful or ugly, or how we react to it in the mind. Number three is our recognition of it, our perception of it as yellow, white, blue, as a car, a bird, a tree, recognizing it as this person or that person. Number four is what we think of it. Our judgments, liking it, disliking getting angry or becoming attached to it and so on. And number five is the basic awareness which which governs all of the other which governs the whole of the experience. These five things are called the five aggregates. That’s how the Buddha explained it. And that’s what happens when you meditate, when you see something and you say to yourself, seeing, seeing, seeing. You’re aware of all of this. And sometimes one is clear. Sometimes the feeling is clear. Sometimes the memory, the recognition that this is something I’ve seen before. Sometimes it’s what you think of it, the judgment. But sometimes it’s just the clear awareness, the fact that you’re aware of things. You know that you’re seeing, this knowledge of it. When you hear, it’s the same. When you smell, when you taste, when you feel and when you think… When you think, there’s the physical, but it’s not really in play there. The physical is required as a base for the human experience. But basically the four experience is based on thought based on a thought that has arisen, which can arise because of the physical or because of the mental.
So did the Buddha use other ways of explaining the mind? Yeah. This is the the most standard explanation of how to understand the mind. But the Buddha used a lot of ways to explain both body and mind. And the most comprehensive, if you’re really interested in that sort of thing, is in what is called the Abhidhamma, which is the most detailed exposition on the body and the mind, which includes a hundred and twenty one different types of mind states. And it’s basically a permutation of the various types of mind states that can come together. For instance, there are eight types of greed, of consciousness based on greed or craving. And you get the number eight because there are three factors. There are greed states that are associated with pleasure and those that are associated with equanimity. There are greed states that are accompanied by wrong view, by the understanding that it is good to be greedy and there are greed states that are not associated with you. So the understanding that it’s wrong but still wanting something. You’re understanding that it’s not useful for you, but still wanting something. And the third one, whether it is prompted or unprompted, whether it comes from itself or whether there’s an external stimulus like someone urging you to steal or so on or some kind of other factor that it doesn’t spontaneously arise. So with these three factors, you have two times, two times two and you get eight different kinds of of greed lines. There are two kinds of anger mine, two kinds of minds that are simply based on delusion. And those are the 12 unwholesome lines. And then it goes on and on and on. There are eight great wholesome or eight essentials for your wholesome, then eight,… I can’t even remember. It’s been a long time. But I’ve got the book and you can go through it and there’s one hundred and twenty one of them. And some of them are super mundane. Some of them are based on meditative states. And then there are fifty two, I’m probably getting it wrong. There’s a whole bunch of mental states that are involved here, like the ones that are involved in all of these minds, the the mental qualities that are only in some of the minds, only in the wholesome minds, only in the unwholesome minds and so on and so on. It’s a very complex breakdown of the mental landscape. All of that’s really theoretical, but it does give a good understanding of the various details of the things that you’re going to run into in your meditation practice and in your life, understanding what a mind state is. And it also helps you to break down some of the, as I said, entities where we think this is a problem, something’s going on, to be able to break it down and see, oh, it’s actually just states of greed, states of anger, things that are arising in my mind, my extrapolation of something very simple. But certainly too much for a short video. I’m not going into detail about that. But just so you understand there are many different aspects or ways that the Buddha used of explaining the mind.
As you say, in the end, understanding the mind is hard. There’s no getting around that. You can theorize, you can read texts and so on. But until you sit down and practice meditation, you’ll never really understand the mind. And once you sit down and practice meditation, it may still not be clear how that relates to the five aggregates or how the Buddha talked about mind or consciousness or so on. But it’s not really important. Because you simply need someone like me to explain to you what is happening here and here and here, as I’ve just done, hopefully helps with that.
But the point is that you’re seeing reality. It’s not important that you understand the Buddhist concept of mind. It’s important you understand the truth of mind, the truth of the reality. It’s not so important that you can say, that’s mind, that’s body, that’s this, that’s this. It’s much more important that you see it for what it is. It is what it is at that moment. You see it clearly and you’re not judging it. You don’t have to be clearly aware of what part of the Buddhist teaching that that fits into, in terms of which one of the one hundred and twenty one mindset is, for example. When you can see that certain mind states are unwholesome, then you give those up and you see that certain mind states are wholesome, then you follow those and this comes naturally through the practice, and that’s most important. But certainly, it’s not easy. And as far as the fact that the mind is difficult to understand, there’s a quote of the Buddha that’s often often given. And in the Buddhist language, it goes [Pali], which means basically [Pali], it travels far along. [Pali] It travels alone. [Pali] It has no form, [Pali] dwells in the cave. And the point of this first part is to give you the idea of some terrible beast or demon or ghost, something that is very mysterious. Because it travels far and wide alone without form, living in a cave. And then the next part is [Pali], which means a person who can calm the mind, this person becomes free from the bonds of evil. So the mind is considered something that goes far. It travels far and can’t be controlled. In a moment you can think of, be thinking of something a million miles or a thousand miles away. And it travels alone means that you’re only aware of one thing at a time. So the mind is always on one thing or another. It’s never in two places at once, and it’s certainly not able to comprehend everything. And if you don’t catch it and fix it and focus on one thing, it’s going to jump back and forth between objects. [Pali] means it’s very difficult to understand. And this is why in Buddhist meditation, we always have you focus on the body And many people don’t understand this. They’ll say, you know, what’s the point? I really want to understand the mind. I want to understand how my mind works, and that’s where the problem is. True, but it doesn’t have a physical form. [Pali] the mind is not something you can grab at and say, there it is. It’s something that relies on the physical. And so we have you focus on the physical. And this is another thing that the texts talk about saying that we have you always focus on the physical first. And the point is that when you focus on the physical, the mind becomes clear by itself. Once the body becomes clear, then the mind becomes clear automatically and you don’t have to do anything special. You don’t have to be chasing after the mind, just like a hunter when they want to catch a deer or a wild animal. They don’t go running up, running through the forest after the wild animal, they sit by the place where they know the deer is going to come, either the waterhole or the fruit trees, or someplace where they know that the deer are bound to come at some point. And they sit there and they wait. And sure enough, the mind will come, come to them and they’ll be able to catch what they want. The same… In our meditation, we don’t have to go chasing after the mind. When we focus on the rising and the falling, well, that’s the mind going out to the rising and to the stomach, and we’re going to see how the mind works. We’re going to get angry, sometimes, frustrated at it sometimes. We’re going to be happy, sometimes unhappy sometimes. We’re going to see how our mind reacts to things. We’re going to see the quality and the characteristics of our mind, our habits and so on.
So it’s very difficult to catch the mind without this sort of a technique. This is why we use the body first, because it’s [Pali], it has no physical form. And [Pali] means is the other part of this. It dwells in a cave. And that cave is the body. This mind is somehow trapped in the cage of the body. It always has to come back and be dependent on it. So when you focus on any physical part of the physical, reality as it arises, you’re going to be able to see the mind, you’re going to be able to catch it. It’s like finding the cage of the wild beasts and know where its limits are. You just watch those limits, which is, in this case, the body.
Ok, so good luck training the mind, calming the mind and keeping the mind clear and out of difficulty. This is the way, as the Buddha said, to overcome the bonds of Mara, which is like the Buddhist version of Satan. But it just means the evil that exists in our minds, and it’s the way to overcome these things. Ok, so thanks for the question. I hope that helps.