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Understanding the mind

Understanding the mind

A talk given at PUB Auditorium, Singapore.

Meditation and motivation

  • Brief meditation on breathing
  • Cultivating our motivation for the listening to the teaching

Understanding the mind: Meditation and motivation (download)

What is mind in Buddhism?

  • Why it is important to understand the mind
  • Differences between the Buddhist concept of mind, which includes consciousness, intellect and emotions, as compared to western concept of mind
  • The mind reflects (is clear) and engages with objects (is aware)
  • Different levels of mind
    • gross (associate with brain, senses, feelings)
    • subtle (sleeping, dying, other)

Understanding the mind: Part 1 (download)

How the mind creates our experiences: Part 1

  • The mind as a constantly changing source of happiness and pain
  • How our attitude frames our experience, which is not an objective experience of reality

Understanding the mind: Part 2a (download)

How the mind creates our experiences: Part 2

  • Examples from Venerable Thubten Chodron’s life
  • First become aware of our thinking, then transform our mind so we can be happy no matter where we are or what is happening

Understanding the mind: Part 2b (download)

Relating to friends, family members, boring or disagreeable people

  • Seeing each living being as an unknown treasure
    • Makes us curious, interested and engaged with people and family
  • Drawing out their qualities and talents like a musician brings forth a beautiful piece of music from an instrument
  • Strategies for getting along with disagreeable people

Understanding the mind: Part 3 (download)

The second way in which our mind creates our experiences

  • Karma: volitional actions of body, speech and mind
    • leaves energy traces or imprints in our mind which ripen and bring about experiences and circumstances
  • Good motivations and positive actions bring about good results and happiness for ourselves and others
  • Creating the causes of happiness is both the result of our current interpretations of our experiences (mind) and the ripening of our previous actions (karma)

Understanding the mind: Part 4 (download)

Questions and answers

  • How our pets help to calm our anger
  • Our interdependence with others
  • Flight SQ 006 that had crashed recently, coping with grief
  • Becoming Buddhist
  • Being truly happy when others are not
  • The meaning of “no self”
  • Rebirth and enlightenment

Understanding the mind: Q&A (download)

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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