Mind

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The mind (citta) is that part of the individual that allows them to be conscious, to feel emotions, to think and to reason.

What God is to some religions, the mind is to Buddhism - in two ways. (1) While the theist turns all his or her attention to God, the main focus of the Buddhist’s attention is the mind. (2) All the powers, abilities and apparently miraculous happenings which the theist attributes to God, the Buddhist knows to be actually the working of the mind.

A large percentage of the Buddha’s teachings as recorded in the Tipitaka is devoted to describing the nature of the mind, examining its various characteristics and abilities and detailing how it can be modified and freed. The Buddha says that ‘the mind and body are dependent on each other the way two sheaves stand up by leaning against each other’ (S.II,14). ‘All things are preceded by mind, have mind as their leader, are made of mind’ (Dhp.1). ‘Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch, letting it go only to grab another, so too that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continuously both day and night’ (S.II,93). ‘Beings are defiled by having a defiled mind and they are purified by purifying their minds’ (S.III,151). ‘I know of no single thing as conducive to great benefit as a developed mind. Truly, a developed mind is conducive to great benefit’ (A.I,4). ‘The spiritual life is not lived for the benefits that come from gains, honours or fame, the benefits that come from morality, from meditation or from knowing and seeing. But complete freedom of mind, that is the aim, the goal and the culmination of the spiritual life’ (M.I,197).

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