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November 24, 2017
WE ARE OUR MINDS NOT OUR BRAINS
By Madawala Hemananda
Madawala Hemananda, the author of 'We are our minds, not our brains', was invited by the Most Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala Sanga Nayaka Thera to give a talk about his book on 4th November 2017 at the London Buddhist Vihara.

Friends keep asking me what motivates me to write, and where the ideas come from. Of course, writing keeps me out of mischief. That is not really true. I am too old, for any mischief now. Seriously, the motivation is to let the world know what I know, and the ideas come from thinking, which the Buddha encouraged us to do, in his advice to the 'Kalamas.' He said not to accept even his own teachings, without first thinking about them, as to their usefulness to our well being.

I recently heard a true story about 'thinking.' Henry Ford, one of the biggest car manufacturers, in America, once instructed a 'management consultant', to identify those who were idling, not doing their full quota of work, because he wanted to sack them all. The specialist noticed one person in an office, doing nothing, but sipping tea. He immediately reported the man to Henry Ford. Henry Ford shouted, 'No! Not him, I can't sack him, because I have employed him only to think and come forward with new ideas to improve, production.' That shows how important 'thinking' really is.

Two years ago, I read the highly acclaimed book, the best seller, "WE ARE OUR BRAINS", by the world renowned Professor Dick Swabb and it started me 'thinking.' His view was diametrically opposite to what the Buddha said 2600 years ago, after subjecting his mind, to the highest possible scrutiny, humanly possible, and having achieved supreme refinement of his mind, to gain enlightenment. The more I thought about it, the clearer it became, that the Professor has put,the cart before the horse, as it were.

I was one hundred percent convinced that, 'we are not our brains' having remembered the three words, said to have escaped the lips of the Buddha, immediately after his enlightenment. "Visankara Gatam Chittam", were the three words that escaped the lips of the Buddha. The word 'Chittam', means the mind. The three words when translated into English, reads "It is liberated." The Buddha did not cry out, "I am liberated, but instead proudly declared that, it is liberated", which meant, very clearly, that it was his mind, he liberated, having gained enlightenment to experience the supreme bliss of Nirvana. Only by liberating his mind, from the conditioned (sankara) to become unconditioned (visankara), the Buddha liberated his mind, from being reborn, ever again, in a time limited and conditioned physical body. The words of the Buddha, "It is Liberated", unambiguously referred to his impersonal, intangible and elusive mind, making it absolutely clear, that there is nothing in human existence, other than the mind, around which, a series of impersonal processes take place, and that there is no permanent hardcore whatsoever, that could be identified as self. 'I',' me' and 'mine', that each one of us use, to identify ourselves, as individuals, the Buddha said, was a total illusion. This truth is incontrovertible.

What did the Buddha use to discover this truth? Definitely not the 'Large Hadron Collider', but only his mind and practicing 'Insight Meditation', which he himself discovered, to elevate his mind, to its pristine purity and radiance, by removing every conceivable pollutant that defiled his mind. In his first sermon, to the five Ascetic friends, the Buddha explained that when his mind was completely cleared of all pollutants, light arose in him, which was not known to him before, and that luminous mind, alone, allowed him access to the fundamental nature of reality, to experience Nirvana.

What were the pollutants that defiled the mind of the Buddha? They were the main emotions of greed, hatred, delusion and their derivatives, envy, jealousy, ill-will, malice, distrust, animosity and hostility, which, as we know, very well, are incapable of arising anywhere else in the universe, but only in human minds. If you think about it, even for a moment, you will realise that they are indeed the root causes of human misery.

As I was convinced beyond all reasonable doubt, that the human mind with the ability to think was invincible, I decided to write 'WE ARE OUR MINDS NOT OUR BRAINS', highlighting the superiority of the mind. But before sending it to the Publisher, I took the precaution, to wait, until a piece of evidence, became available, from the contemporary digital world that could make, what I was going to say, convincing.

This was because, it would have been very risky, to go against the established view of Cognitive Neuroscientists, without some convincing evidence, which everybody could relate to. The widely accepted view of the scientists was that consciousness and mind were both emergent properties of the whole brain activity, which meant that the brain manufactured both consciousness and mind. The piece of evidence, I was waiting for, came when Professor Daniel Dennett, the world renowned researcher on brain, consciousness and mind, said at a Royal Institution lecture that the most appropriate analogy, that can be used to understand the brain and mind, was the modern computer.

He said that the human brain was an organic computer; the network of neurones in the brain, was the hardware, and the energy of the mind was the software operating that hardware. Furthermore, in his view, the net work of neurones in a physical brain was just like a Termite Colony, a bottom-up operation, where individual Termites worked, without knowing what exactly they were doing (just like neurones), and their efficiency was due to the complete absence of an overall boss, in the Colony.

I take it that all of you are conversant with computers and also used to downloading information from the World Wide Web. Your brains are, right now, downloading, the information, I create, disturbing the particles in the 'emptiness' by the sounds of the words, I am speaking. The World Wide Web for your brains is the 'emptiness', from which you keep downloading information using your mind, the software, operating the network of neurones in your brain. Right now, you are downloading the information I am putting into the 'emptiness.' Using the same comparison, it is correct for me to say that the fabric of 'space time', right in front of your eyes, i.e. the outside world you see, is very similar to the figures and images, that appear in your computer monitor. Looking at the computer monitor is exactly like looking at the outside world with your naked eyes.

It was very comforting to note that the 'Daily Mirror' article, about my book, which was very kindly reproduced in "Newslanka", highlighted the computer terminology, to attract the attention of the modern day reader. The article started with the words "To lead the life of a rational human being, the imperative is not the brain, the hardware, but the software of the conscious mind, working in good order." This digital age narrative seems to have caught the eye of the editor of the 'Daily Mirror', as well as the editors of Google, because Google is still showing the book in their web site. Having mentioned computers, which were developed using Quantum mechanics, I think, it is incumbent upon me to dwell more on the aspects of Quantum mechanics, which I consider relevant to the better understanding of Buddhism and also its intimate connection with the human being. Only a few years ago now, leading scientists of the world, built the most expensive machine, the 'Large Hadron Collider', costing billions of pounds in Geneva, Switzerland, to explore what existed during the first fraction of a second, after the 'big bang'. It revealed the existence of many subatomic particles, including the elusive Higgs Boson, but the latest revelation is that there is absolutely nothing but 'emptiness', which the Buddha found 2600 years ago, using only his radiant mind, seated under the Bodhi-tree in India. I do not think the Buddha spent any money at all, to find that truth, because he did not handle money. What he found was entirely due to his dogged determination and monumental personal effort to find the truth.

For the very first time, in living memory, it was the Buddha, who mentioned 'emptiness' in his teaching. In Buddhist Insight Meditation, which the Buddha himself discovered, there are 8 Jhanas or absorptions to be completed before reaching enlightenment. Beyond the penultimate 7th Jhana, there is only 'nothingness' or 'emptiness.' Only in the 20th century with the development of Quantum mechanics, scientists found that the 'ground state' of the universe was the 'Quantum Vacuum', which was their posh scientific name for 'emptiness.'

When you say that there is only 'emptiness' to describe a world you see full of wonderful things, people sometimes get offended. Once, I almost lost my long-standing, good friends, because of the word 'emptiness.' My friends are a church going, God fearing, decent Christian couple. During a lengthy conversation, I said that in reality, we are only empty people, doing empty things, in empty space, to which the wife of my friend took umbrage and shouted, "That is absolute rubbish. I am here to do my God's will and certainly not doing empty things, but trying to create his kingdom on earth, to the best of my ability."

That reply did not come, as a complete surprise, knowing their unswerving belief in the almighty God. I said that they should not totally dismiss what I said, but contemplate on it, because it was the naked truth, and nothing to do with any religion. My friend rang later to say that there was some truth in what I said, but made no further comments.

To find out whether 'emptiness' is really empty, I would like to take a real time example. Take a biscuit, in the palm of your hand, and crush it into pieces and if you continue to do so, making the pieces progressively smaller and smaller, a stage will soon be reached, where the pieces will become too small to be seen, with your naked eyes. That means the pieces have reached the size of atoms. Your solid biscuit will then only be a heap of invisible atoms. In exactly the same way, the entire universe could be crushed or pulverised, reducing it to atoms or particles. The universe in its entirety will then only be an empty space, but filled with invisible particles. We call this 'emptiness' filled with particles, the quantum realm, and the larger bodies like biscuits, made out of those particles, the classical realm.

These are the only two realms in the universe, energy (quantum) and matter (classical). However, they are two manifestations of one and the same thing, cosmic energy. The universe is only energy and each one of us is nothing but a time-limited, dancing pattern of that energy. We have found the space around us is not empty at all, but full of particles. It is the interaction between those particles that provides the energy, to power the likes of universal gravity, electromagnetic spectrum, radio and sound waves. The entire energy content of the universe is in this empty space or 'emptiness.'

A biscuit is matter, it can be seen, felt, eaten, held in your hand, given to a friend or thrown away, knowing, beforehand, where the biscuit will land. But you cannot do any of them, with particles, because they are so weird, in their behaviour that a particle could be in two places, at once, and can also behave both as a particle and a wave. Although the computer, mobile phone and other digital technologies were developed using quantum mechanics, no one really understands, how it actually works.

An interesting story, from the time of the Buddha, I am sure, will put 'emptiness' in the proper context. Once the Buddha held a Lotus flower in his hand and asked the audience, to describe it. Descriptions came thick and fast from all directions. They said that it was a Lotus flower, with beautiful petals, pink in colour, the stem had thorns; grew in the mud, in shallow water lakes, and many other descriptive aspects of the flower. There was an Arahath in the audience, an enlightened one. He said that he saw the Lotus flower, beautiful petals, long stem, Lotus seeds, mud, nutrients, water, earth, heat, light, sun, moon, solar system, universe and 'emptiness.' I hope you will be able to remember this story, from this day forward, because it encapsulates the essence of Buddhism.

If the whole universe is only 'emptiness' with microscopic particles, your body and life, forming an integral part of that 'emptiness', must obviously be formed of particles as well. As we all know, our bodies are not only made up of particles, but every single one of us, began life, as a particle, a single cell, in our mothers' wombs. As you will no doubt appreciate, having started life as a single particle it is impossible for us to ignore either the quantum realm or the quantum reality. A human DNA chromosome, starting life as an invisible single cell, becomes a foetus, a fully grown human baby, within a period of nine months, by the process of cell division. One cell replicating and becoming trillions of cells. There are about 100 trillion cells in a typical human body. It is said that the only burning ambition of a cell is to make another cell. There are even more reasons why 'emptiness' is of critical importance to our survival as human beings. For us to operate with optimum efficiency, our five senses must keep supplying us with information, about our habitat and our immediate external environment. Of the five senses, vision is the one that is absolutely vital. It is our ability to see everything with our naked eyes.

As you know, we can only see the external environment, when photons, particles of light, enter our eyes. But they are only particles of light and do not mean anything at all, to us until they are converted into three dimensional images, in colour, that our awareness can recognise. What is it that converts, the stream of particles entering our eyes into images that our awareness can recognise? This miracle is performed by our conscious minds, in conjunction with the energy of karma deposits, in the wave frequency, within which each one of us is operating. What is performed is one of the most important functions enshrined in quantum mechanics, the "collapse of the quantum wave function." Our minds and karma deposits keep performing this function, in respect of all our senses and keep on doing so during our entire life span of a human being.

"Collapse of the quantum wave function", could easily be understood by the famous thought experiment. Imagine a cat locked inside a box containing a virulent form of a lethal poison, which if activated, could kill the cat. So, when the box remains shut, there could at least be two possible quantum states; the cat is either dead or alive. Only by opening the lid and looking inside the box, we could see a definite result; a living cat or a dead cat. The two quantum possibilities have therefore collapsed into one definite result.

This is the "collapse of the quantum wave function" that our conscious minds perform, proving the vital importance of the quantum realm, which enables us to operate as human beings. Also it is important to understand that only the mind possesses the capacity to function in both realms quantum and classical. When formulating a thought, by thinking, the mind operates in the quantum realm, and when converting that very thought into action, the mind operates in the classical realm. Only the mind has this incredible ability to operate in both realms. This makes it absolutely clear that your physical naked eyes, on their own cannot see, your ears, on their own, cannot hear, and your nose, on its own, cannot smell. It is because all those functions are performed by your mind. Without your mind in good working order, the images you see, the sounds you hear and the smells you smell, will not make any sense at all, unless interpreted, coordinated and translated by the mind. We see this in real life, watching our relatives and friends, who were so unfortunate as to suffer from loss of mind, due to amnesia, dementia or any other type of mental impairment.

About 20 years ago now, our next door neighbour, a retired Organist Instructor at the Royal College of Church Music, knocked on our door, instead of ringing the bell and wanted me to try the key to her front door, as she had accidentally locked herself out. By her not ringing the door bell, as usual, made me think that something could be either urgent or gone wrong. I accompanied her to her front door and found that the door was wide open. You can just imagine my amazement. I knew that something was very badly wrong. I escorted her inside the house, sat her down and prepared a cup of tea and rang her daughter, who arrived a few hours later.

Her daughter greeted me first and said "Hello! Mummy", to her Mum, to which her mum promptly replied: "Do I know you?" We both were horror struck, hearing that, and knew that something was very seriously wrong. This highlights, what I said before, that our eyes and ears do not see and hear without the mind in good working order. The old lady saw her own daughter but could not recognise her as such without the mind in good working order.

The poor lady was later admitted to a Nursing Home as she needed round-the-clock care. As a result of losing her mind, she ceased to be an independent operational unit of a human being, although her consciousness was completely intact and unimpaired. The imperative therefore for a human body to operate as a rational human being, is not consciousness, but a mind, working in good order.

Let us now turn to consciousness and mind, the two cardinal forces of the 'emptiness', keeping each one of us alive and active, enabling us to behave as independent, operational units of rational human beings. Consciousness, in my view, is very different, from the mind. This is because consciousness is a property of fundamental particles, in the 'emptiness' and therefore static, unchangeable and omnipresent. Consciousness is not an evolved faculty by natural selection, like the mind. Therefore, where there is emptiness, there are particles; where there are particles, there is consciousness, and as emptiness pervades the universe in its entirety, consciousness is everywhere, and common to all living beings. You may have seen on TV, a massive roaring African elephant falling to the ground, when shot with a tranquiliser dart, and remaining lifeless until an anti-dote is administered.

What the elephant loses, is the same life giving energy of consciousness that we lose, when put under an anaesthetic, proving that consciousness is common to all living beings.

There are no living beings, without physical bodies. Physical bodies occupy emptiness, filled with particles. It is the consciousness inherent in those particles that energises our bodies with consciousness. Also, more importantly, it is this consciousness that micro-manages the internal environments of all our living bodies, to which none of us have access. You do not know what is going on inside your own body, at any given point in time, because it is on automatic pilot, micro-managed by consciousness, and it is the same with the internal workings of all living bodies. I think, you will agree with me, when I say that only a supreme intelligence, like that of cosmic consciousness, has the capacity necessary to manage the extremely complicated and complex mechanisms, we have inside our bodies. When we die and disappear, we leave behind the empty space that we once occupied, which energised us with consciousness. When a living being is put under an anaesthetic, what happens is that consciousness, goes back into the particles in the space that living body is occupying, only to return when the anaesthetic loses its potency. Only consciousness has this unique flexibility, to move to and fro from a living body, simply because it is the property of fundamental particles.

The Buddha explained his philosophy using the law of 'cause and effect.' Accordingly, the arising of certain conditions the 'cause', gives rise to the arising of other phenomena the 'effect.' The ideal conditions for forest fires in Australia, for example, are dry weather, fanned by oxygen rich gusts of wind, low relative humidity, and trees accidentally rubbing against each other, providing the tinder. The inevitable consequence of these conditions coming into being can only be fire. The phenomenon of fire is completely different to the conditions that brought it about. Equally, the ideal condition for full blown consciousness to manifest in a human brain is when its neurones, oscillating quantum coherently, reach a frequency of 40 Hz. When oscillations fall below this frequency, the brain loses consciousness. The variations in neuronal oscillations therefore guarantee flexibility and that piece of scientific research is consistent with what the Buddha said.

In my view, there are only two possibilities in consciousness. A human being is either conscious and alive, or unconscious and dead. There cannot be any 'altered states of consciousness' in between, as many neuroscientists are happy to confirm. Only the mind is capable of having 'altered states.' Each time, a pollutant such as hatred, is expelled permanently from the mind, the mind is elevated to a serene and peaceful state. The human mind, that can think is completely different from consciousness. Mind is not omnipresent like consciousness. Mind is an evolved faculty, by natural selection and consequently personal and private, to each human being. Animals do have minds, but their minds cannot think. Having a mind that can think, we can commit suicide, but animals cannot, because they cannot think. Have you ever heard of an animal who has committed suicide? Although physical brains are identical in all human beings, thinking is different, because the mind that each one of us inherits is different.

When a human being loses consciousness, without any hope of being resuscitated, he or she is completely dead. But losing the mind (e.g. patients suffering from memory loss, amnesia, Alzheimer's and dementia) a human being does not die, but ceases to be an independent operational unit of a human being. If therefore, one cannot operate as an independent human being, without the mind, in good working order, then what is of paramount importance is not consciousness, but the human mind, that can think. Believe you me, when I tell you, that I was not able to find a religious Leader, other than the Buddha, who has provided a clear and understandable definition of the human mind. The Buddha's definition goes back 2600 years and enshrined in the 'Dhammapada.' His definition was clear, concise and accurate, because he understood the human mind perfectly, having subjected it to the most rigorous scrutiny.

The Buddha said that the mind had no physical body. Now we know that mind is a form of energy and therefore incapable of having a body. The Buddha said that the mind lived in an empty cave. Now we know that the mind operates in the 'emptiness.' The Buddha said that the mind worked all alone. Your mind only works with you and with no one else. No one has access to your mind and no one knows what you have in your mind. The Buddha said that the mind had the unique capacity to walk long distances, leaving the body behind. Mind can do that because unlike the human body, mind is not circumscribed by time and space, which gives it the capacity to roam around anywhere and everywhere, at any time, day or night.

Neuroscientists and Philosophers are still struggling to come up with an accurate definition of the mind. The latest definition compiled by a group of eminent American scientists is that, the "mind is an embodied, relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information." This may be the modern definition of the mind, but it is far more complicated than what the Buddha said.

I remember my friend phoning me to say that, on certain occasions, he would go up to his bed room, to get something urgently, but by the time he got to the bed room, he had forgotten what he came up for. I said join the club. It was even worse with me, because sometimes I forget even before I reach the bed room. This is what you are. You are only your mind. The moment you lose the proper working of your mind, you become disorientated, not knowing what you are doing, or where you are going. Of course, during the momentary loss of your mind, your consciousness continues and remains unchanged and intact, because you can see, hear, eat, drink, walk, sleep and have the ability to digest the food you eat.

Your mind is personal and private, as I said before, because it is continuously being energised by the energy of the karma deposits embedded in your unique wave frequency, you brought forward with you from a previous existence. Given the opportunity, I am pretty certain, youngsters of his age, would have given an arm and a leg, to be born Prince George. Prince George, we know, will never be called upon to do a day's work, to earn a living. All his needs, not only will be supplied, but delivered to him by those employed to serve him. This is the great miracle of karma. His birth alone guaranteed him that life of pomp, glory and circumstance.

For a long time, I harboured my own distrust and serious doubts, about karma. But after learning that the Buddha had based his entire philosophy on the law of 'cause and effect', and having tested its veracity, employing my own simple methods, I found that the law really works and therefore the word of the Buddha must be the truth. If I were to abuse the any one of you, sitting right here, in the front row using bad words, I will be looking at a very unhappy face.

By the same token, if I were to praise you, using kind and pleasant words, I will definitely be looking at a happy face. If I were to punch this Lectern with my fist, severe pain in my fist will be the unavoidable result.

In the former, I only used words, and in the latter, I used physical contact, but in each case, a 'cause' yielded an 'effect' and the 'effect' always came after the 'cause.' It was only the Buddha, in all human history, who, not only, declared that in the ethical world, nothing can arise without a prior cause, but also, predicated his whole philosophy on the law of 'cause and effect.'

Would you believe, that the final and definitive confirmation that the law of 'cause and effect' is absolutely true, comes from nowhere else, but from the most venerated 20th century scientific theory, the Theory of Relativity, formulated by Albert Einstein, who won the Nobel prize for the 'Photoelectric effect', the forerunner of the Quantum Theory.

Albert Einstein proved for the first time, in the history of theoretical physics that the speed of light was a constant, 186,000 miles per second, and under no circumstances it can be varied. If the speed of light was not a constant but a variable, it would be possible to know the 'effect' before the 'cause' and as a direct consequence, the Buddhist philosophy predicated on 'cause and effect', would have completely collapsed and fallen apart. The Buddha's true greatness is demonstrated here, by the fact that his omniscient mind saw, what one of the greatest scientists, of all time, could prove only in the 20th century.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other scholars have confirmed that karma and dynamics of karma are known only to an omniscient mind of a Samma Sam Buddha. This being the case, the only way, for us, mere mortals, to comprehend karma is to accept that the power behind the operation of karma is the watertight law of 'cause and effect', which guarantees that whenever a 'cause' comes into existence, its 'effect' is unavoidable and will definitely take place either in this birth or in any other future births. I think it is important for me to repeat what the Buddha said, in summary, about karma. "Karma is the womb from which I have sprung. I am the owner of my karma. I am the heir to my karma. Karma is my relations. Karma is my protection. Whatever karma I do, good or bad, of these, I shall become heir." This summary puts it beyond all doubt that our minds are the creators of the energy of karma, and in turn, we are made by our own karma.

We are embodiments of actions. Doing things using the mind, speech and body, are actions. Eating, drinking, thinking, reading, speaking, looking, moving the body or a limb are all actions and they create karma deposits, the energy of which, in turn, energise our minds. This is the rolling phenomenon of human life. There are only actions and absolutely nothing else.

We do these actions immersed in 'emptiness' filled with particles and our actions, no matter how insignificant they may be, disturb these particles, creating energy in the form of waves. Right now, I am creating energy in the form of sound waves, by speaking and disturbing the particles in the emptiness. The energy I create is recorded as a karma deposit, in my unique wave frequency. The truth that each one of us operates in a unique frequency is confirmed by the fact that each one of us has a unique voice, and a voice can be modulated, only in a wave frequency.

The empty space around you is absolutely jam packed with the energy of the 'emptiness.' You can test this truth, right now, by switching on your mobile and logging on to Google. Where was the information about Google, before you switched on your mobile? It was present in this room, in the empty space, right in front of you, as an invisible radio wave frequency, and it has been there, ever since Google started transmitting programmes using a particular electromagnetic radio wave frequency.

This is exactly what the network of neurones in your brain does. It downloads energy from your unique frequency, right in front of you, and uploads energy created by your actions. Majority of our actions are done in the classical realm of larger bodies, but the energy they create, is in the quantum realm, because they are vibrations of particles. Energy is a quantum phenomenon. It can only be recorded in the quantum realm, and when the energy of your action is recorded in a wave frequency, it is called a karma deposit. Once recorded, a karma deposit belongs to 'emptiness', and not to you, the creator.

Recordings of karma deposits are free from human error, because they are performed, by emptiness. As you will no doubt appreciate, energy of karma cannot be recorded in the neurones of our perishable, constantly changing, physical brains. Neurones are only machines, the hardware, just like your I Phone.

I Phones only process information. They cannot manufacture them. Likewise, neurones process information, back and forth from our wave frequencies, downloading energy of karma and uploading the energy of our actions.

Neurones are also responsible for downloading and masterminding the life giving energy of consciousness, the management of the internal environments of our bodies which include instinctual responses, like instantly removing your hand from a hot oven. As you will, no doubt appreciate, it would have been impossible to use the words download and upload, if not for the advent of the computer and the I Phone developed using the principles of quantum mechanics. Your intentional action, this evening, to come to the London Buddhist Vihara, is now only a karma deposit, recorded in your own unique mind wave frequency. You cannot erase it or alter it in any way, because that action is now energy, a quantum phenomenon, and no longer belongs to you, but to the emptiness. Although, it lies beyond your control, you can still recall it, in detail, at any time, in the future and its beneficial effects will continue to influence your life, from this day forward. Recordings, by definition, are absolutely accurate, especially the recordings of faces of people, because they are vital to civilised living. If you cannot, for example, recognise your mother, by looking at her face, you will agree that civilised living would simply be impossible. This means that there must be a net work of neurones, dedicated to the processing of people's faces recorded in our unique frequencies.

There is a very amusing story in Professor Dick Swaab's book, where a man suffering from 'Prosopagnosia', a disease that affects the neurones dealing with face recognition, was able to clearly identify his Ford Fiesta, but not his own wife. You can just imagine the scene that would have created. But of course, he could have recognised his wife, by listening to her voice, because the neurones dealing with the processing of sound were in good working order.

If you look back on your own life, it will become extremely clear that your life to-day is the result of your intentional actions or karma of your past, like for example, passing the driving test, getting good marks in those final Exanimations.

It was the energy of those karma deposits that is fashioning your life, right now, and your current actions, no doubt, in the same way, will be guiding the rest of your life here, and by inference, your future births.

Only by practising insight meditation, which requires only time and effort, the Buddha was able to eliminate all pollutants from his mind. This is what you must try and practice every day, devoting at least 10 minutes as soon as you get up from bed and immediately before going back to bed. Very soon thereafter you will begin to feel its beneficial effects. If you think about it, for a moment, it will dawn on you that it is all in the mind and not anywhere else. Having thought about it, are you able, right now, to imagine what a mind would be like, when completely and utterly free from greed, hatred and delusion? This is the mind of a Buddha. I am sure, it is virtually impossible for us, even to imagine, the quality of such a mind, because such a mind would have transcended humanness.

The IPhone, without which modern life is almost impossible, was developed thanks to the initial work done by Albert Einstein, on Quantum mechanics. He developed his theories, without conducting any experiments in a laboratory, using only his incisive thinking mind, just like the Buddha did, 2600 years ago, seated under a tree, using only his mind. The majesty of the human mind that can think is therefore insuperable.

Listening to a talk like this, there must be, at least one useful item, you can take home. 'Cause and effect' would be a good one, knowing perfectly well that it is the absolute truth. As it is impossible to opt out of this law, you must try, to avoid creating 'causes', likely to yield undesirable 'effects.' Your mind, your only bone-fide, life-long companion, the keeper of all your inner most likes, dislikes and secrets, will keep churning out thoughts, but it needs your body, speech and limbs, to put those thoughts, into action.

This is where you have complete control. By refraining from executing any action, you think, that is likely to create a bad 'cause', you eliminate its corresponding 'effect' altogether. Once this practice takes root in your mind, it will begin to deliver answers, to all your problems, stresses and strains. The answers you are seeking are always within you, in your own mind, the software that is operating in your brain. What is important therefore, is to improve the software, your mind, to which no one else, but only you, have access.
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