September 10, 2010

Daily Dharma: The Natural Activity of Mind

Just as awareness is a natural activity of mind, so, too, feeling, perceiving, and thinking are natural, impersonal activities of mind. They condition judging, liking, disliking, explaining, strategizing, and rehearsing. While these are all natural activities of mind—meaning they appear due to causes and conditions— these secondary activities of mind enhance the sense of self even as they ensnare it into identifying with the content of thoughts. Deeply habituated cultural, social, religious, familial, and personal karmic conditionings dominate the untrained mind. Awareness practice brings these forces into view for observation.

-Steve Armstrong, "Got Attitude?" (Fall 2010)

Read the complete article here.

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universal law's picture

Awareness (the objectifying and resulting ability to observe one's own life from the perspective of a buddha) may take, literally, a lifetime of Buddhist practice. Steve Armstrong observes that "deeply habituated cultural, social, religious, familial, and personal karmic conditionings dominate the untrained mind." The remedy is our actions as bodhisattvas who are determined to work for the happiness of our fellow beings as much as for our own personal development .

Chana Dennis's picture

I don't buy the idea that having an angry response to , lets say, blatant injustice is such a terrible thing. Awareness also brings with it the understanding of the conditions that an angry response is what is needed at the time. This attitude of loving kindness as a supreme virtue, is misleading, and impossible to maintain for most Buddhist practitioners. A well placed blow of anger has been the most skillful means in many occasions. It puts an end to ongoing ignorance, arrogance, dullness, and insensitive behavior in others and they well deserve the response. When someone is angry at you the tables are turned. That is when a cool head is sometimes required. No action is a great weapon against an outright assault on you, but also having a goof argument or fight can clear the air like a good thunderstorm can clear the heat and humidity of an oppressive atmosphere. We are not robots, and when living out or original face and nature there will be times of anger, no need to get all holier than thou about it. :)

Chana

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