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If a human being consists of two parts as mind and body, is it then possible to live without mind?

Appreciate your ideas.

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    I edited grammar and spelling. Please roll-back if not agreeable. – Lanka Aug 10 '16 at 14:51
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To answer this question accurately is very difficult if you are not a scientist but often people have accidents that results in them being in a coma for an extended period, where their physical body is alive but their mind is not conscious. If the mind is not conscious at all here then that physical body is living without mind (however from a Buddhist perspective, this is probably not a "human" living since, in Buddhism, the word translated as "human" means to have a reflective & wise mind).

Also, there is a meditation state where the mind becomes unconscious, called 'the cessation of perception & feeling'. This meditative state is compared to a dead body, where even breathing cannot be felt yet the 'life force' or 'vitality' of the body & heat remain.

For example, in the Buddhist scriptures, there are stories about monks that enter into the meditation state of 'the cessation of perception & feeling' & people watch them meditating (not moving) under a tree for many days, believe they are dead & try to bury or cremate them.

Therefore, it appears it is possible to that a 'human' can live without mind.

What is the difference between one who is dead, who has completed his time; and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling?

In the case of the one who is dead, who has completed his time, his bodily fabricator (breathing)...his verbal fabricator (thinking) ... his mental fabricator (perception & feeling) have ceased & subsided, his vitality is exhausted, his heat subsided & his (five sense) faculties (eye, ears, nose, tongue & body nervous system) are scattered.

But in the case of a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling, his bodily fabricator... his verbal fabricator ... his mental fabricators have ceased & subsided, his vitality is not exhausted, his heat has not subsided & his (five sense) faculties are exceptionally clear (pure).

This is the difference between one who is dead, who has completed his time, and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception & feeling.

Mahavedalla Sutta

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Without the mind the human body dies, there are many case of people in comas, but in cases where there is absolutely no brain activity these people are kept 'alive' using life support.

So I would argue that you can't live without the mind.

  • mind is not brain, or not even part of the brain. Brain is part of the body, but mind is not part of the body. – tech share Aug 12 '16 at 5:36
  • @techshare your question asked if the body can live without a mind. I was illustrating that a mind is a required component of the body, whether you believe the mind drives the body through the brain or whether the brain is the mind is an arbitrary point and another question. At the moment we measure whether a mind is present in a body with brain scans, seeing electrical activity, if there is no electrical activity we consider the mind to be absent, and in these cases the body is kept alive using life support, otherwise it dies. Thusly the body can't live without a mind. – Alexander Ingham Aug 12 '16 at 6:06
  • I'm not sure that this is about the mind: I'd say that it's about the brain, i.e. Body can't live without brain. Brain is a required component of the body. We measure whether a brain is active in the body using brain scans. If there is no electrical activity we consider the body to be "brain-dead"; in these cases other organs of the body can be kept alive using life-support. – ChrisW Aug 12 '16 at 11:05
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    @ChrisW Um sorry but no. The mind is not the same as the brain. Let me explain in a metaphor; the brain is like a computer, it requires a program(mind) in order to work(live). A computer without a program is just an object as it is unable to do anything. – Alexander Ingham Aug 12 '16 at 12:12
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Mind is Vinnana and is one of the very basic six elements (Dhatu) that constitute you and me. What would it be if we take out this ‘Mind’ element?

Viññāna as dhatu or elements, are divided into 7 classes: cakkhu-vinnana-dhatu = cakkhu-vinnanadvi. They depend on cakkhu-vatthu for their arising. (eyes) sota-vinnana-dhatu = sota-vinnanadvi. They depend on sota-vatthu for their arising. (ears) ghana-vinnana-dhatu = ghana-vinnanadvi. They depend on ghana-vatthu for their arising. (nose) jivha-vinnana-dhatu = jivha-vinnanadvi. They depend on jivha-vatthu for their arising. (tongue) kaya-vinnana-dhatu = kaya-vinnanadvi. They depend on kaya-vatthu for their arising. (body) mano-dhatu = panca-dvaravajjana and sampaticchanadvi. They depend on hadaya-vatthu for their arising. (mind)

Mind is Vinnana and is one of the four type of food that is required for our survival. What would it be if we take out this ‘survival’ factor – the Nutriment of Consciousness (Vinnana Ahara)?

There are six classes of consciousness. When eye and forms are both present, eye consciousness arises dependent on them. Similarly when ear and sounds are present, ear consciousness arises dependent on them; nose and smells are present, nose consciousness arises dependent on them; tongue and tastes are present, tongue consciousness arises dependent on them; body and tactile objects are present, body consciousness arises dependent on them; mind and mental objects are present, mind consciousness arises dependent on them. This is a cause which results in the our existence.

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When I was about 17 years old, my grandmother told me she would sometimes suddenly come out of her body.

I was thinking that in all the time I had lived with my grandmother as a child, I never seen her fall unconscious or anything. She told me that was because her body would never loose consciousness when she went out of it.

She would feel "herself" or her "mind" hovering above her body but the body was still walking and talking.

Apparently, a lot of the time when my grandmother was lucid and holding intellegent conversations with me and everyone else, she wasn't even in her body!

I don't claim to know if this means there actually was no mind in her body but I thought it might be worth mentioning nonetheless.

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