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 stunning piece of work is the one you should read, to change your life, by freeing yourself from all stresses and strains. It is truly a classic, a real life changer, replete with penetrating insights into the nature of the human mind, our only life-long companion, the proper understanding of which, the author says, is the direct way to change our lives, in the here and now.
The recent book, We Are Our Brains, by the internationally renowned neuroscientist Professor Dick Swaab, based on his years of experience treating patients with brain damage and diseases of the brain, seems to have provided the stimulus for Hemananda to write We Are Our Minds Not Our Brains, using Buddhist doctrine of karma, to establish the incontrovertible truth that the brain is subordinate to the superior mind, both of which predate birth.
Like a highly charged, enthusiastic religious preacher, who has found a universal panacea for all our ills, Hemananda, makes a single-minded effort to accomplish this enviable task, utilizing the ‘emptiness’, realm of fundamental particles; Buddhist doctrine of karma and quantum field theory. For all living beings and us the quantum reality is simply inescapable, because each one of us began life as a fundamental particle in a human female womb.
We are our minds; not our brain-The Buddha Discovered, Pp 372, hard cover. Available for sale at the Buddhist Cultural Centre, Nedimale, Dehiwala, Rs. 950.
While, wholeheartedly, agreeing with Professor Daniel Dennett, the world renowned researcher on consciousness, that the brain is an incomparable organic computer, where the network of neurons is the hardware and the mind the software, the author says, what really happens when listening to a lecture is that the neurons in the brains of those in the audience, download the lecture from the ‘emptiness’, just like a computer downloading information from the World Wide Web.
If not for the mind software, running in the brain hardware, the human being will only be a living and breathing lump of flesh.
Two exceptionally original concepts are introduced to assist the discussions. First, the existence of an observable pyramid of life, the apex of which is occupied by humans, the only supremely evolved species on earth, and the second, that life is impossible if the ‘collapse of the quantum wave function’, is not continuously being performed by our conscious minds.
Although the life-giving energy of consciousness manifests a living human body, that body is of little or no use, if it is incapable of operating as an independent unit of a rational human being Therefore, what matters is what a human does, using his or her body driven by the intentions generated in the mind, energized
Also, in a complete departure from received wisdom and prevailing scientific view, the author draws an unprecedented distinction between consciousness and mind, demonstrating that they are mutually exclusive, using simple, but convincing logic. Losing consciousness, with no chance of a speedy resuscitation, death is the definite outcome. A mind not working in good order, however, a human does not die, but ceases to function as an independent unit of a rational human being. These truths are incontrovertible.
Therefore, 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. If, our survival depends entirely on rational conscious minds, then mind must obviously be infinitely superior to consciousness, from all possible perspectives.
Neuroscientists hold the view that consciousness and mind are emergent properties of the whole brain activity. While politely refuting this view, the author, argues that the network of neurons in a perishable brain is designed purely to process information relating to both consciousness and mind, and certainly not to manufacture them. This view is supported by the radical idea that consciousness is omnipresent and universal, being an intrinsic property of fundamental particles, common to all living beings, whereas the mind with the ability to think, an evolved faculty, by natural selection, is personal, private and unique to an individual human being.
No scientist has so far explained what was there before the big bang, but the author says that there was only emptiness, because even after the big bang there is only emptiness, based on the fact that an atom, the building blocks of everything is 99.9 percent empty
The idea that the mind is an evolved faculty is further confirmed by the truth that, of all living beings, only the human mind has the unique ability to think, endowed, in the author’s view, exclusively to establish the supremacy of the humans, as the most evolved species on earth.
The unique ability to think makes us invincible. All living beings have minds, but only the human mind has the ability to think. It is this unique ability that separates us from all other living beings. The mind, though intangible, is our only bona-fide, life-long companion, capable of delivering solutions to our problems, right now and even beyond, proven by what the Buddha achieved, the conclusive end to the unsatisfactory human existence. This he accomplished, only by elevating his mind, to its pristine purity and radiance, by totally extinguishing greed, hatred and delusion and liberating it from being reborn, ever again, in a time-limited physical body.
Intentions, driven by the mind are converted into actions using the body, voice and limbs. However, when intentions are tainted by pollutants their corresponding actions, by definition, are unwholesome, the primary cause of our unsatisfactory existence. The moment an action is executed, it becomes history, indelibly recorded as a karma deposit, and once recorded, it no longer belongs to the doer, but to the ‘emptiness’ and as a result, it can never be erased, but can only be recalled at any time in the future.
A human being is only an embodiment of actions. Actions create energy. Energy, no matter how insignificant, does not dissipate without a trace, but recorded as a karma deposit, unique to that individual, in a wave frequency, of the electromagnetic field. It is this frequency that modulates from one birth to the next, to energize the mind of a future embryo, thereby perpetuating a particular mode of thinking. This is the underlying reason why, ‘no two humans are identical.’ This obvious truth is underpinned by the fact that our individual actions could be identical, but the intentions driving them could be vastly different, thereby creating infinite variety of modes of thinking minds and humans.
Using the law of ‘cause and effect’, on which the philosophy of the Buddha is predicated, the author says that, ‘quantum coherently’, vibrating neurons in living brains, provide the unique conditions, the ‘cause’, for the energy of the omnipresent consciousness, to manifest, the ‘effect’ and also the conditions necessary to download, upload, process, coordinate and interpret the energy of karma deposits, recorded in a wave frequency. A wave frequency where karma deposits are recorded does not form an integral part of a human body, but remains detached, as the overarching force controlling its entire interface, with the external world.
The human body possesses the sole monopoly on execution of actions and as the body cannot live in the past or future, actions are always executed in the present moment. Although the mind continuously generates intentions, only the body is able to turn them into reality, by converting intentions into actions. This sole discretion of the body was one of the powerful tools, the Buddha used to convert those intentions that had the potential only to create neutral karma, bringing the rebirth to an end. Neutral karma deposits are created by neutral actions, which are the mandatory functional actions, wholly devoted to the maintenance of the body, only in a reasonable state of health. When a wave frequency has only the energy of neutral karma, it is incapable of energizing future embryos, consequently, rebirth is brought to an end and that frequency re-absorbed into the emptiness.
Cyclical activity is the primary mode of operation known to ‘emptiness’, because it is perpetually recycling the same volume of energy, created by the big bang, as energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
No scientist has so far explained what was there before the big bang, but the author says that there was only emptiness, because even after the big bang there is only emptiness, based on the fact that an atom, the building blocks of everything is 99.9 percent empty.
Only cyclical activity guarantees perpetuity. Light, fresh water and electricity are all cyclical operations, so is the ‘karma cycle’, keeping us enmeshed in the unsatisfactory cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is the energy of un-expiated karma that unilaterally determines our gender, where and when to be born, with what type of body, endowed with what particular brand of individual characteristics.
Karma and rebirth are notoriously difficult concepts, to comprehend at the best of times. However, the author says, that it is incumbent on us, in this digital age, to make an effort, at least, to understand why each human being is different, although manifested by the same human DNA.
The incredible diversity of human births is the only clue, he says, that we have, to gain an understanding of the operation of karma, leading to the birth of a human being, who in reality is only a series of processes, which the Buddha outlined in his ‘dependent origination.’ In reality, there is only giving and receiving; no one giving or receiving.
Although the life-giving energy of consciousness manifests a living human body, that body is of little or no use, if it is incapable of operating as an independent unit of a rational human being. Therefore, what matters is what a human does, using his or her body driven by the intentions generated in the mind, energized by karma.
A human being is defined by the quality of his/her interface with the fellow beings and the external world. The only way to achieve inner peace and contentment is to purify the mind, using direct knowledge gained through the practice of insight meditation. It is only a mind completely devoid of pollutants that has the potential to access the fundamental nature of reality, to experience the bliss
An extremely important reference is made, though briefly, to dispel the popular misconception that meditation leads to the achievement of ‘altered states of consciousness.’ It is impossible to alter the unchangeable state of consciousness, because it can have only one state.
A human being is either conscious and alive, or unconscious and dead. There cannot be anything in between. It is the mind that is flexible e.g. a mind free of greed is serene, free of greed and hatred is serene and tranquil and hence free of all pollutants, greed, hatred and delusion a mind is totally blissful. They are altered mental states, of the many, that could be achieved only through meditation.
This book is yet another rare combination of Buddhism and science, with groundbreaking ideas, suitable to be read by everybody, and in particular, the modern inquisitive reader, conversant with the mobile phone, created using the quantum theory. Illustrations provided are concise and relevant.