Power of the Human Mind – Introduction

1. Most people know about Buddha Gotama as a very intelligent and compassionate human being. In “Dhamma and Science – Introduction“, I pointed out the similarities and differences between a scientist and a Buddha. Here I want to discuss in detail the incomprehensible complexity of a human mind, and how a Buddha achieves the peak performance of that complex entity.

  • As I pointed out in “Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem“, a normal human mind works within the sense sphere of a normal human and thus inherently incapable of providing a complete theory about our world; but the mind of a Buddha can transcend our sensory experience and see the whole of existence.
  • Here I point out, in a systematic way in a series of posts, the progression of the human mind to higher levels achieved by purifying the mind (not by merely learning), and why a Buddha is at the very pinnacle. At the end of this series you will see why no other human being, no matter how intelligent, can even remotely approach the mind of a Buddha.

2. In the “Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“, we discussed the 31 realms of existence as laid out by the Buddha.

  • Out of these, the human realm is at the fifth level (and our knowledge base is limited to our sensory experience within it, and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem applies to any theory derived within it). There are four realms below the human realm, AND 26 realms above.
  • Out of the 31 realms, we can see only the human realm and the animal realm (which is one of the four lower realms or the apayas). But we can access the thoughts enjoyed by the beings in the higher realms, AND we can access the transcendental (lokottara) cittas too. Please do not put too much significance initially to the number of cittas in each realm, etc. Be patient with me as I need to lay out the “big picture” first.
  • As we proceed systematically in a few posts, you will see various connections to other concepts discussed in other parts on the site, and eventually all fit together. This is why I keep saying that it is a complete and self-consistent world view on a scale unimaginable to a normal (unpurified) human mind.

3. The types of thoughts (cittas) that can be experienced in the whole of existence (31 realms) is 89 (or 121 depending on the scheme); see, “The 89 (or 121) Types of Cittas“. In the three main lokas (or planes) of kamaloka, rupaloka, and arupaloka, different types of cittas are of common occurrence. While most of the 89 cittas are possible in all three lokas, normally a subset of cittas operate mostly in a given realm. 

  • For example, in the kamaloka, only 54 cittas are mainly experienced. The kamaloka consists of the lower eleven realms, with sixth through eleventh shells representing the realms of the devas. Beings in these 11 realms have all six sense bases, and in the deva realms the sense pleasures are higher than in the human realm.

4. Out of all 89 types of thoughts, only 12 are immoral or akusala cittas and these are experienced only in kamaloka; see, “Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipaka Citta”.

  • In the higher 20 realms belonging to the rupaloka and arupaloka, only jhanic cittas are mostly present, and akusala cittas normally do not arise.
  • So, as one can imagine, the beings in the lower realms entertain more immoral cittas, and with higher frequency too. It is said that the beings in the lowest realm, niraya (hell) experience mostly the two immoral cittas based on hate, because of the high degree of suffering there.

5. The human realm is unique in that the human mind can access not only the cittas in the rupa and arupa lokas, but also the eight types of cittas that transcend the 31 realms. These citta are the four path (magga) cittas for the four levels of Nibbana (Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahant), and the corresponding resultant (phala) citta. Thus all 89 types of citta are possible for a human.

  • Furthermore, the most potent cittas, those with highest javana (impulse) power in “mahä kusala citta“. They are accessible only by humans; see, “Javana of a Citta – Root of Mental Power“. More posts will follow in the future.
  • This is the basis of the power of the human mind. It is possible for a human to attain the mindset of a being in the lowest realm (niraya) and it is possible also to go all the way up to the mindset of a Buddha.

6. The cittas in the rupaloka and arupaloka are easily categorized according to the jhanic states. These are the same jhanic states attained by humans via meditation.

  • A human can attain all eight jhanic states, and the lower four correspond to the rupaloka and the higher four to the arupaloka.
  • Each jhanic state correspond to three types of citta: wholesome (kusala) citta and the corresponding vipaka (resultant) citta are two; when the same jhanic kusala citta experienced by an Arahant it is called a kriya (functional) citta, because it does not lead to a vipaka citta.

7. In the 16 realms belong to the rupaloka, where only two physical sense faculties (eye and ear) are active. These beings have very fine (less dense) bodies.

  • In rupaloka 15 types of thoughts (citta) are mostly experienced corresponding to the five jhanic factors: vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha, ekggata; see, “Power of the Human Mind – Anariya or Mundane Jhanas“. These are the lower five jhanic kusala cittas, corresponding five vipaka cittas and five kriya cittas (the last five are effective only for the Arahants who get into these jhanic states).
  • The highest four realms represent the arupa lokas, where beings have ultra fine bodies and only the mind faculty; no physical senses. Here there are only 12 types of jhanic cittas mainly present. These are the higher four (fifth through eighth) jhanic kusala citta, corresponding four vipaka citta, and corresponding four kriya citta (which are effective only for the Arahants who get into these jhanic states, which do not have corresponding vipaka citta).

8. The rupaloka and arupaloka are collectively known as Brahma realms, which comprise the higher 20 realms. In the Brahma realms, beings are mostly devoid of both greed and hate, but they have dormant ignorance (moha) in their kamma seeds; see, “Sankhara, Kamma, Kamma Beeja, Kamma Vipaka“.  In the deva worlds (which belong to kamaloka), those beings are mostly devoid of hate-rooted cittas, but have greed-rooted cittas since they enjoy sensual pleasures.

  • It is possible for a human to attain any of those jhanic states via samatha meditation, and one does not have to be a Buddhist to attain those mundane or anariya jhanic states.
  • Those anariya jhanic states are temporary; a yogi in a jhanic state can be “taken out” of the jhana; see the next post. They may be lost if one does not keep practicing, and the ability to enter such jhanas is lost when one dies, i.e., he/she may not have the ability to get into jhanas in the next life, even if they are born human.
  • However, if one dies while in even an anariya jhanic state, he/she will be born in the corresponding rupaloka or arupaloka. Yet, a being who gets into even the highest arupaloka via anariya jhanas will end up eventually in the four lower realms (apayas).
  • However, Ariya jhanas are permanent. Once one gets into an Ariya jhana, it cannot be shaken by any external disturbance.

Next, “Power of the Human Mind – Anariya or Mundane Jhanas“, ………….

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