Friday, May 27, 2011

The Dalai Lama: On the Nature of the Mind

"Human beings by nature want happiness and do not want suffering. With that feeling everyone tries to achieve happiness and tries to get rid of suffering, and everyone has the basic right to do this. In this way, all here are the same, whether rich or poor, educated or uneducated, Easterner or Westerner, believer or non-believer, and within believers whether Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and so on. Basically, from the viewpoint of real human value we are all the same."
[H.H., the XIV Dalai Lama, from "Kindness, Clarity,and Insight."]
H.H., the XIV Dalai Lama
All religious traditions and faiths are part of mind, notes the Dalai Lama in the video, below, and their methods and practices are, therefore, all based on developing the mind - be they theistic, like Islam, Judaism or Christianity, or non-theistic, like Jainism, Buddhism or certain lineages of ancient Indian wisdom traditions like the Sankhya.

"According to the laws of causality," he notes, "things which we want and things we don't want are all ultimately part of motivation and the mind. So in order to have a happy life (and) a joyful life we have to take care of the mind."

However, within mind or consciousness, he observes, there are thousands of types of mind. Therefore, he notes, to take care of the destructive types of mind which cause anger, suffering and conflict, one must cultivate different, contradictory types of mind based on compassion.

Yet, as a start we must distinguish between what states of mind are destructive and which are constructive. And, to do so, each individual must investigate for him or herself the ultimate nature of mind. Beyond a certain point of consciousness, the Dalai Lama observes, the coarser, destructive states of mind cannot exist, hence the importance of developing the mind, bringing it progressively closer to the ultimate state of mind which, he posits, will be realized upon death.

In the Tantric texts, he explains, a basic continuum of mind is described along with the scientific methods one can apply to the differing states of mind, and the states of mind one can achieve by application of the methods - a methodology which leads ultimately to a clear, purified state of consciousness and being.
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The Dalai Lama's lecture on "The Nature of the Mind" was recorded at the University of California, Santa Barbara in April, 2009. (Note, the first part of the lecture is merely introductory, so you may want to scroll forward to the 14:00 minute mark, where the lecture proper begins.)

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