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More specifically, Buddha informs the Kurus thus:

"Contemplating mind internally. Contemplating mind externally. Contemplating mind both internally and externally"

How is one to contemplate the mind externally?

Additionally, in chapter 1 of the Shurangama sutra, the Buddha skillfully guides Ananda into locating his own mind by searching not just within the body but outside of the body. This throws Ananda and the other monks into mental and emotional upheaval (quite fascinating actually).

So, from the perspective of satipathanna sutta, is one to contemplate mind beyond the boundaries of the body?

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Abhidhamma Vibhaṅga Khandhavibhaṅga:

Therein what is internal consciousness? That consciousness which, for this or that being, is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped (by craving and false view), (i.e.) eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, mind consciousness. This is called internal consciousness.

Therein what is external consciousness? That consciousness which, for this or that other being, for other persons is personal, self-referable, one’s own, individual and is grasped, (i.e.) eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, mind consciousness. This is called external consciousness.

  • This is it. Simple and concise. It resonates perfectly. Thank you. – user14148 Sep 27 '18 at 5:55
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Contemplating mind means contemplating defilements (rather than thoughts) and the absence of defilements.

For example, when contemplating externally, the mind views that there are no people or no beings or no selves. All that exists is physical forms animated by mental defilements; such as the mental defilement (urge) to eat and the mental defilement to have sex and reproduce.

Thus contemplating mind externally is contemplating the greed, lust, anger, violence, psychopathy, delusion, ignorance, etc, in external forms and seeing how these defilements are elements of nature rather than selves or self-generated.

For example, in what is ordinarily called a “sexy woman”, one contemplates how there is physical matter with a physical womb saturated with various chemicals and hormones which give rise to various mental defilements that animates that form to move, act and behave in the way it does.

When contemplation of mind is done properly, external life forms will be veiwed as programmed robots.

  • Thank you but your answer still points to an internal contemplation of mind. To eat and to have sex are biological mechanisms. I appreciate that they are bound to the functions of mind but they are still internal contemplations. However, the arising of external phenomena seemingly influences mind. Could it be the contemplation of how external phenomena shapes the weather of mind? – user14148 Sep 26 '18 at 21:20
  • My answer refers to external minds. Thanks – Dhammadhatu Sep 26 '18 at 21:21
  • Thanks. I see that you've added further. ;-) – user14148 Sep 26 '18 at 21:22
  • DD, does this mean to view all beings as 5 aggregates? Or is this contemplation only possible during deep meditation. – Val Sep 27 '18 at 16:53
  • It can be started analytically; similar to meditation on the parts of the body. You sit on the bus & analyse the so-called "people" in terms of aggregates. For example, an unhappy looking "person" as "a mind with sorry". A person is dressed with make up to attract attention and you analyse "A mind with lust or craving". A person looks angry or unfriendly: "A mind with hatred". Then there also is consciousness. I emphasize the physical body in my post because it provide a grounding to the meditation. Most mentality such as desire to eat, to work, look sexy, etc, arises because of the body. – Dhammadhatu Sep 27 '18 at 20:43

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