Professor: Eleanor H. Rosch
Buddist psychology – looking at the mind from the point of view of someone who has a mind.
Psychology – looking at mind from 3rd person point of view.
Direct experience – knowing what is going on with you.
• Alienated from direct experience by personal judgments.
3 major forms of Buddhism in the world:
- Teribata – speech of the elders
- Mahariana – great vehicle – china, vietnam
- Diamond vehicle – japan, china, tiabet
- Perhaps a 4th form: Shabala – incorporate wisdom of buddism. Incorporate other features from world. Say individual dev and enlighted society needed to happen at the same time.
Buddhism started in india. Earliest form spread to lower eastern asia.
3 yana approach: way of teaching.
• Dev of historical mind (see what earlier buddist ppl saw). Each buddism form builds upon each other.
• Like a fetus going through evolutionary stages.
Gave out a few short readings in different voices. Many articles, trying to get students to feel a connection with an article.
After death – nirvana. Don’t specify what nirvana is.
Legend in which man finds meaning of words. He doesn’t know meaning of words but thought he did. Went on a quest to find the meaning.
Buddism class does not interfere with other religions.
- Takes time for material to soak in.
Scientism – think science is right, set in stone, unchanging. An obstacle for buddism class, don’t try to analyze how buddism topics fit with other topics.
Kids come for an experiment. Some told will get a treat if good job, others not told anything. Kids later brought in and those who were in treat condition did not want to draw, while those told nothing still wanted to draw.
Ask self – what is my mind doing right now and is that true?
Lecture 2: summarized
Life of buddha. Some evidence that buddha was a real person in existence.
16 000 yrs ago. Indigenous ppl who may have done some meditating. Archealogists found evidence of shiela.
Warrior tribe arose in germany. Had good tech, smelted copper. Made chariots very fast. Spread over much of europe. Himilaya, hindu, india.
Conquered local ppl and then settled down. Became farmers and such. Develop castes in india. Religious organization of ppl. Kings, administrators, untouchable doing religiously dirty work.
Iron smelting came into existence. Improved quality of life, created more leisure time, created more arts and such. Made more weapons, kingdoms became slightly larger. Made possible collection of taxes, created courts. Helped culture dev. Travel increased. Communication improved. Boats improved. Trade increased. Greeks and Phoenicians trading.
War tribe had sky gods as their religion. Similar to greek. Greek religion due to war tribe.
Bramans – kept religion in order, sang hyms to sky god while drinking substance.
Many rival religious views. Many religions came into being and many faded. Buddha born around this time. He was suppose to be a son of a king. (In myths, most protagonists are suppose to be kings/princes/princesses or woodcutter/beggars.)
Little buddha was visited by a sage who prophasized something. Prophecy – either a religious leader or a universal monarch.
• No families want their kids to be a religious leader, no family saves for that.
King tried to keep everything at the palace perfect to try to make son monarch. Son very good at most things he does. Ppl like him, kept entertained.
Buddha falls in love with chief administrators daughter. They get married. Buddha had perfect life, but was not satisfied. Remained in palace grounds for all this time. King finally agrees, orders that city outside palace be cleaned up and made perfect. Day comes for buddha to go out, ppl are suppose to be in their best dress and throwing flowers.
In some versions of story, gods provide him with 3 visions. Other versions – can’t clean up human life so much.
First thing buddha sees is sick man. Chariot driver explains to buddha what is wrong with the man and that everyone can get sick.
Next thing – old lady. Chariot drivers explains that buddha will get old and so will evyone else.
Finally, buddha sees a dead person be carried through streets. Buddha asks chariot driver and receives a similar answer.
Some versions, he sees a vision of a monk walking peacefully. Monk seems to be not part of whole thing.
Buddha goes back to palace and is disturbed. He leaves palace and studies with religious teacher. In each version, he attains what he was suppose. None of the religions worked for him. Does some meditation.
Evy religion says others are making mistakes.
Buddhism says that 2 types of meditation.
- 1 type is where you enter a state of ignorance about the quality of the world. Ignore problems, but think above world.
- Other about sterity, great discipline, achieve great power.
Buddha has found evything dissatisfactory.
Psyc: 2 basic motivations: motives/action tendencies/attractor principles.
• Approach – want something. (grasping in early buddism.) Scientist in the crib starts that way. Buddism says it doesn’t work. Wanting things is a someone adversive state. Getting something doesn’t make wanting go away, wanting changes to a different obj.
• Avoidance – don’t want something (can be fighting). If flee, then doesn’t remove fear. Destroying something makes someone more aggressive. Trying to get better.
• Third: ignoring things. Not officially a psyc motive. Not considered in folk psychology as well. Type of meditation, buddha found it not effective.
All 3 of those^ like a carrot in from of a donkey.
Buddha saw that human suffering inevitable.
Buddha sat under a tree until he found an answer and the tradition started.
Some proof that too much choice can be bad for ppl.
Experiences go through phases, at first very novel, then novelty dies – elenor.
Sit still and feel like what it is to be you for 1 minute. Premeditation.
Other one is ‘what is my mind doing’.
Lecture 3: summarized
Meditation is not learning a new skill, it is discovering what is already there. Getting to know the mind that is already there.
• Inclusive, not trying to fix things, trying to find everything there is to find. Everything your mind can do is included in this practice.
• Cannot be done wrong.
• Including (gently). Meditating is not a battle, if it is, then do it gently. Not too tight, not too lose.
Vipassana – classic, basic mindfulness.
• Polyword, language spoken by terivata. Language of text. Derivative of indian. Means “inside, where clear seeing.” Be presence in experience where they occur in a nonjudgmental fashion. Not related to conceptual mechanisms, different from attention.
• The meaning of mindfulness changes as buddism changes.
Post colonial revival in south east asia. Initially conquerors disliked buddism and banned it. When colonialism officially ended, buddism came back into popularity. Ppl tried reading the different scripts and thinking back to grandparent techniques.
Body scan –
Mahasi technique – (from east bay)
Parts of meditation:
• Shamata – peace. When you let mind, mind will naturally come to peace with contents, despite emotions. Clarity, insight/wisdom.
• Traditionally with eyes close.
• Try to sit as straight as possible, feet flat on floor (helps with grounding you).
• Breathing – simple, reliability. Constant obj of attention.
◦ Trying to focus attention right where breath leaves nostrils. Ex. guard at gate, mule train leaving, then mule train entering, but guard does not move position. Ex. carpenter moving hand saw, if focus on spot where saw sawing through wood, saw remains straight. Shouldn’t focus on movement of saw.
Or can try:
- paying attention to breath by diaphragm.
Can imagine physically wherever.
Mind often tries to do other things, like thinking. The mind if like waves, doesn’t just lie there. When attention is lost, turn attention to distraction. Label distraction, if it helps, as what it is (“worring”, “hearing”, “remembering”, “planning”, repeated thoughts; “that one”.) Keep noticing it until it stops coming or changes. Then return to breathing. Don’t worry too much about label name.
• Don’t have to label if it is confusing. It’s a way of seeing what mind is doing. Settles world down.
Student commented that he noticed he labels a lot throughout his day, noticed due to meditation.
• Not emotional labeling, simply detached labeling.
Breath is thought of as chi in chinese. Prana in indian.
• Meditation practice is to be as simple as possible. Trying not to think of energy component of breath. Maybe don’t want to focus on energy. Can be very individual about meditation choices. Each person can have own way of being mindful.
If sleepy, get sleep.
If itch, can try to repeatedly notice itching. If too much, scratch it.
Not trying to analyze thoughts or suppress thoughts.