Geshe Sonam: "Unanalyzed, people do come and go. But on analysis, the object totally disappears!" At his 'Insight' teaching on Tuesday 22 April, Geshe Sonam shook our belief in solid, truly existing objects.
Analyzing to Try to Find the Mind
Consider the mind. It has gross, subtle and very subtle aspects. All sense consciousnesses are part of the gross mind and cease at death. The dream state is a subtle mind. The clear light mind at death is the very subtle mind. The very subtle mind is beginningless and endless. It goes to buddhahood and continues. It can be said to be ‘everlasting’. But we are not saying it is ‘permanent’ in the sense that it never changes. The very subtle mind is everlasting with respect to the gross mind that ceases at death. It is separate from the possibility of being annihilated. But on analysis, you can’t find its everlasting quality. The past has already ceased, the future is yet to be, and this present moment of mind can be subdivided infinitely. You can’t find this present moment. By this analysis, the very subtle stream of mind doesn’t exist.
Unanalyzed, people do come and go. Is the self that comes the same as or different from the self that goes? It is not the same but nor is it different. Therefore that self that comes and goes can’t exist.
What appears to us seems truly existent. But on analysis, the object totally disappears. You will know that your analysis is correct if the object is no longer solid and your attachment to it has abated. Over time, the mind will have less attachment and aversion. For example, after analysis, the ‘object of your anger’ may disappear. Then there will be nothing to point the finger at anymore.