Saturday, 12 January 2013

Definitions of Mind

Assalaamu'alaikum wa rahmatullah

Definition of Mind

In Arabic, we call the mind as 'aql. What I understood about the mind? This is just my personal understanding based from my notes or experiences related to the philosophical and metaphysical part of Buddha's teachings. It is a non-physical phenomenon which perceives, thinks, recognizes, experiences and reacts to the environment. It is described as possessing two main aspects...

The first one is the clarity and knowing which means that the mind is clear and formless where it allows for objects to arise in it. The second one is the mind is knowing, or the awareness of mind when the mind is conscious and it could engage with objects. Basically mind is a phenomenon which is not body, not substantial, no form, no shape, no color but like a mirror as it clearly reflect objects. 

Mind consists of two types... Conceptual and non-conceptual. The conceptual one refers to normal mind aspect that beings use to survive in daily life but is ultimately mistaken about as the way which reality exists. The non-conceptual mind which is known as enlightened nature is the fundamental pure nature of mind where it realizes the emptiness. This is what I read in the Astrachakram poem by father Serlingpa who is a Malay Buddhist monk of the 10th century Srivijayan empire. Weird it is, huh... I am an Arab descent but learning the heritage and wisdom which was possessed by Malay Buddhist monks and Malays were propagated toward Islam by our ancestors and people along with other nations at the coastal areas, hehe : )

To study the mind and to train it with wisdom requires the uses of conceptual mind. For e.g preparing the mind before the underlying non-conceptual enlightened nature of the mind may appear. I learned about delusions where we need to diminish and eventually even eliminate it forever for spiritual progress... There is a saying by a philosopher of the middle path school of Buddhism known as father Nagarjuna which says that without the discipline of guarding the mind, what use are any other disciplines? Which means that guarding the mind is a part of the vast disciplines practiced by the beings...         

What are the definitions of mind according to Islamic framework... Mind is crucial and essential for human being. With it, they could differentiate their selves with the beasts and other beings. There are at least three definitions posed in the notes that I have...

1. The Dewan Bahasa dictionary defined the mind as thinking activities and the level of human-being's intelligence.

2. Al-Manzur mentioned in his lexicon the Lisaan al-'Arab that mind refers to the intelligence.

3. Al-Muhasabi defines the mind as a natural characteristic of human-being and their ability to understand something.      

The conclusion made by some people is that, mind is the essential nature and the main concept which makes them responsible with the "burden" and conditions as a sane human-being. Mind is among the greatest grace and blessings of the God to human-being. It is considered as a trust just like other graces of the Lord.  

Sealed with prayers for mercy, peace and love, amin! 

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