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The Real And Unreal Mind

Update: 05/12/2015
Question: To become a Bodhisattva or Buddha, one has to realize one’s nature, so what is called true nature?

The Real And Unreal Mind



A person is combination of physical body and spirit which is named Name and Form in Buddhism. The part of Form consists of hair, nail, skin, flesh, bones, tendons, head, body and the four limbs. These things are componentForm, therefore, is temporary and impermanent, which will be ruined on one day. Although we try to pamper it with delicious food, good clothes and luxurious dwellingit will leave one day without parting words. In Dharmapada sutta the Buddha said:

Ere long, this body

Will be lie upon the earth

Unheeded and lifeless.

Like a useless log.


 The mind part includes corporeal (rupa), feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formation (sankhara) and consciousness (vijnana). It is impossible to know the doctrine of cause and effect as well as the combination of four elements to make the beings’ existence, which asserted as soul or self without studying Buddhism. For the whole life we are in grasping of thinking and feeling then claim that is happy or suffering, right or wrong. There are two kinds of mind according to Buddhism: a relative mind and absolute mind. The relative mind always changes for a moment and the absolute mind is called one’s nature. The practitioner has to recognize this nature to be free from human’s bondage. To recognize this nature people who even spend their whole life or many lives still can’t see. In Buddhist texts mentioned that when this world is going to end the seven suns will rise at the same time and burn everything to ashes, however people still don’t recognize what is mind, let alone  one’s nature. We all are living with the changing mind and normally don’t remark the true to one’s nature. 

Why is called unreal mind? It’s unreal because its being is the loan from many previous lives and changing in every moment. On the contrary, the real mind is immutable and having no loan. Taking an example for these minds, there are two closed-friends, once day one uses hard words to the other then they become angry to each other so which is the real mind of before and after using harsh words. The mind suddenly comes and goes is not the real mind. Just because people every day follow the changing mind they get suffering. Money that, for example, all kept in the safecase was stolen after a night, which causes a miserable mind. Or the family felt happy the day before become sorrow when they know the baby was infected cancer after being tested.

 All transfer to grief. 

Buddha has taught there are three kinds of suffering one of them is changing makes suffering.

Buddha once asked the monk: â€œ For this physical body do you think it is permanent or impermanent?”

“Oh Lord, it is impermanent,”  the monk replied.

“Then how about impermanent, is it happy or suffer?”   Buddha asked.

“Oh Lord, it’s suffering,” the monk replied.

Obviously, the unreal mind is continuous changing but it changes because we are affected by outside and followed then we are suffered. Due to outside condition, our mind often changes, without in self source. For example, when watching comic film they laugh satisfactorily, but with tragic scents, they are mourning in tears. It is obsreved that they are in common manner before watching the film. Therfore, about the real mind is unchanging no matter how it is affected by outside it always awakes in the mindfulness.

The Lokavipatti sutta or The Eight Worldly Conditions mentions of the eight conditions which is enough power to make our mind changing consist of gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain.

However, the real mind will not be changed before these things because it is always in awakened thought. If we are always in this awakening we will easily recognize the changing mind and no more following them. Practicing to keep this state we gradually step higher of dhyana or reaching to the ultimate beyond thinking to get the same level of the Buddha’s mind.

Thích Minh Thành.

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