Mind in Mindfulness


Recently, a reading of Ouspensky made me realize that Mindfulness provides a framework that is not at all common. It differs sharply from the framework that Ouspensky is using, or from the popular framework.


(a)   The popular framework maintains that the existence of our inner life, and the existence of the external world in which we live, are fundamental facts that cannot be argued against.

From the viewpoint of mindfulness the above framework is using an undefined boundary to designate “inner life” and “external world”. Since such a boundary has not been proven as factual we cannot regard the above as fundamental facts.

In the framework of mindfulness the fundamental fact is manifestation which is proved by perception.


(b)   According to the popular framework, the direct outcome of these two fundamental data (inner life and external world) is a division of everything we know into subjective and objective.

From the viewpoint of mindfulness “subjective and objective” is derived from an unproven arbitrary boundary.

In the framework of mindfulness, there are mental objects and physical objects. 

The physical objects are perceived by the physical sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue and body). The mental objects are perceived by the mind.



Mind in the Framework of Mindfulness

In mindfulness, the mind is looked upon as a sense organ. The mind perceives thoughts and mental phenomena as mental objects existing in their own mental space. Mindfulness does not imply that mind has to be full of thoughts or mental activity.

In the framework of mindfulness, the mind is a sense organ that simply observes thoughts and mental activities from a distance.

From the book What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula

A word about what is meant by the term ‘Mind’ (manas) in Buddhist philosophy may be useful here. It should clearly be understood that mind is not spirit as opposed to matter. It should always be remembered that Buddhism does not recognize a spirit opposed to matter, as is accepted by most other systems of philosophies and religions. Mind is only a faculty or organ (indriya) like the eye or the ear. It can be controlled and developed like any other faculty, and the Buddha speaks quite often of the value of controlling and disciplining these six faculties. The difference between the eye and the mind as faculties is that the former senses the world of colours and visible forms, while the latter senses the world of ideas and thoughts and mental objects. We experience different fields of the world with different senses. We cannot hear colours, but we can see them. Nor can we see sounds, but we can hear them. Thus with our five physical sense organs— eye, ear, nose, tongue, body—we experience only the world of visible forms, sounds, odours, tastes and tangible objects. But these represent only a part of the world, not the whole world. What of ideas and thoughts? They are also a part of the world. But they cannot be sensed, they cannot be conceived by the faculty of the eye, ear, nose, tongue or body. Yet they can be conceived by another faculty, which is mind. Now ideas and thoughts are not independent of the world experienced by these five physical sense faculties. In fact they depend on, and are conditioned by, physical experiences. Hence a person born blind cannot have ideas of colour, except through the analogy of sounds or some other things experienced through his other faculties. Ideas and thoughts which form a part of the world are thus produced and conditioned by physical experiences and are conceived by the mind. Hence mind (manas) is considered a sense faculty or organ (indriya), like the eye or the ear.



The idea of “No Mind”

The idea of “no mind” has been promoted by some philosophers. This idea needs to be clarified.

“No mind” does not mean banishment of all thoughts, which is impossible. Thoughts are mental objects. They are always going to be there like physical objects are there.

In the framework of mindfulness, one observes not only the physical objects, but also the mental objects. There is always a distance between the point of observation and the object being observed. There is no identification with what is being observed.

The point of observation beefs up as it starts to identify itself with the thoughts it is observing. The distance to such thoughts is eliminated. These thoughts get absorbed and become part of the point of observation. The observation now takes place through a “filter” of thoughts. The point of observation is oblivious of this filter.

A “filter” basically acts as an unconscious assumption that one is using. However, as one starts being mindful, such assumptions come to view and drop out.

Thus, “no mind” does not mean elimination of thoughts that one is conscious of. It is more like the elimination of assumptions that one is using unconsciously. Such assumptions are created from identification with thoughts.

“No Mind” simply means no identification with thoughts, or an absence of assumptions.

Mindfulness is a state where nothing is being assumed. One is simply looking at ‘what is’ non-judgmentally and without any filter. If there is a filter, one will discover it sooner or later as one continues to be mindful. At that point the filter will no longer act as a filter. It will go back to being a mental object that one is now conscious of.


Mindfulness is defined correctly at the following link:


One may train oneself in mindfulness by means of the exercises at the following link:


Hope this clarifies the concept of mindfulness as it is being used in KHTK.


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  • vinaire  On April 26, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    This is in response to the chapter “The Nature of Mind” by Osho, which Ivan gave to me today.


    Comment’s on Osho’s no-mind

    These are the main points:
    1. The root cause of all problems is the mind itself.
    2. Problems cannot be solved individually to completeness.
    3. The visible is not the root. The root is always hidden.
    4. The very nature of the mind is to be in confusion. Clarity is possible without mind only.
    5. Mind is not a thing. It is a process. Mind is like a crowd of thoughts milling around.

    Osho says, “Watch the mind and see where it is, what it is.” To me the mind is a sense organ, and thoughts are mental objects. In the above example it is the mind sensing the mental objects. There is no separate ‘you’. So, my definition of mind is different from Osho’s definition of the mind. What I am calling the mind is the ‘you’ of Osho. What Osho is calling the mind, is mental objects for me.

    6. There are gaps among the thoughts. The deeper you go the larger are the gaps.

    How does Osho define deeper? To me as one looks mindfully, the complexity reduces to simplicity. There is much less confusion.

    7. Osho says correctly that difficulty is caused by thought identifications.

    But Osho is identifying ‘you’ with awareness.There is no awareness possible without having thoughts to be aware of. Thoughts cannot be separate from Osho’s ‘you’.

    Osho is talking about inner and outer realities. There is no inner or outer reality without a concept of ‘you’ dividing them. The concept of ‘you’ that divides ‘inner’ from ‘outer’ is thought identification.

    There cannot be a person with no mind because the very idea of ‘person’ is identification with awareness in Osho’s system. That is the mind.

    Thought is not a non-spatial phenomenon as Osho believes. Thought resides in mental space, which is a higher dimension of space.

    No-mind simply means no identification with thought. In Osho’s system there is identification of ‘you’ with awareness, so there is still a mind.

    There can still be thoughts around, but if there is no thought identification, there is no-mind.

    No-mind does not mean complete absence of thoughts. It means complete non-identification with thoughts.


    • Chris Thompson  On April 27, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      osho: 6. There are gaps among the thoughts. The deeper you go the larger are the gaps.

      Chris: I don’t know what he means by gaps but I infer he means space time. This is consistent with there being more actual time available during the standard clock second, much more than we use to think. By deeper, I infer he means something akin to focus and zoom from camera lingo.

    • vinaire  On April 27, 2013 at 6:43 AM

      To me “deeper” means the realization of consistencies below the surface layer of inconsistencies.

      • Chris Thompson  On April 27, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        I think we have to be mindful that it is not necessary for there to be neither deeper, nor layers, nor 3 Dimensions in our minds. It might be that way but I want to not have that assumption in case a different understanding arises.

        These sensations of dimensions seem to be able to arise in the mind no matter what else is out there. For now, I am trying to focus my attention on what I see; to see more; to expand my senses ability to see more.

        • vinaire  On April 27, 2013 at 11:36 AM

          Yes,,, see things as they are.

          Different people see them differently because of their unknown filters.


        • Chris Thompson  On April 27, 2013 at 1:57 PM

          Vin: Yes,,, see things as they are.

          Chris: Each time I read “as they are” I get that funny inconsistent feeling. Nothing wrong with that on the surface. Seems fine. But what about Kant’s “thing in itself” that is how he saw it. As it is — to him. To look at a thing as it is seems judgemental. Time and distance seem to condition consistency vs inconsistency.

        • vinaire  On April 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

          To me, mindfulness means,

          (1) See what is there without interfering with it.

          (2) Notice inconsistencies as and when they appear. Do not ignore them..

          (3) Look at inconsistencies more closely until the factor generating inconsistency comes to view.


        • Chris Thompson  On April 28, 2013 at 8:53 AM

          Vin: (1) See what is there without interfering with it. (2) Notice inconsistencies as and when they appear. Do not ignore them.. (3) Look at inconsistencies more closely until the factor generating inconsistency comes to view.

          Chris: Good Sunday morning! I stand at forks in the road and there are many possibilities. To the degree that I have learned and understood what I am observing, the fork leading down this particular road holds the most consistent possibilities for me.

          “I” appears to have been assigned all manner of significances as well as responsibilities to which it can never measure up. In other words, that discipline which smashes “I” with personal responsibility beyond what can reasonably be assumed has hit an impassible block.

          The mantra of the power of positive thinkers is “Who is doing the thinking? Who has that thought? Who?” They are begging the question for the answer, “I.” For me, “I” is the star of its own personal system. It seems to respond to and be subject to the usual habits of the universe. It seems to be subject to every condition that other space-time is subject to. Its creative power seems to lie within its system of thoughts which seem to condense into usual humanoid activity.

        • vinaire  On April 28, 2013 at 11:04 AM

          (1) Is it an inconsistency to have many possibilities? No

          (2) Should one be looking at consistencies? No

          (3) Is it an inconsistency to treat “I” as a cause and assign responsibliities to it? Yes

          (4) Is it an inconsistency to make assumptions about “I” rather than inspect it? Yes

          Alright then, follow the trail of inconsistency.


        • Chris Thompson  On April 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM


  • vinaire  On April 27, 2013 at 6:45 AM

    Osho seems to have the same confusion about self that Ouspensky and Kant have.

    It seems to be much easier to visualize the “donut” than the “donut hole”.


    • Chris Thompson  On April 27, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      haha so true! In fact, it is not only easier, but only possible to visualize the donut and never the hole! We imagine the hole, or the spaces between the leaves of the tree — whatever. If we meditate on these reverse shapes, interesting things happen. Such as I become mindful of the conditioning, the relativity, and the impermanence of the donuts and of the leaves of the tree.

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