Thursday, July 31, 2014

Entheogenic use of Cannabis and Yoga

Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon, CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly (Wikipedia edits)
Sadhus: India's Mystic Holy Men (Dolf Hartsuiker). Reviewed at hermitary.com.

An entheogen ("generating the divine within") refers to substances or practices used in a spiritual, religious, shamanic, or sacred context, whether natural or human made, to expand consciousness. Checking out is abuse, but tuning in may be searching (WQ).

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What, man? I'm cool. I can maintain.
Cannabis (street name Mary Jane) has been used in an entheogenic ("generating the divine within") context in India since the Vedic period dating back to approximately 1500 BCE but perhaps as far back as 2000 BCE.
 
There are several references in Greek mythology to a powerful drug that eliminated anguish and sorrow. Herodotus wrote about early ceremonial practices by the Scythians [some argue that the Buddha's family, the Shakyans, were in fact the Scythians], thought to have occurred from the 5th to 2nd century BCE.
 
WARNING: Avoid intoxicants (fifth precept, see below). Wisdom Quarterly advocates only the healing use of plants and exercise, not their abuse or exploitation. Hemp is miracle. High-CBD, not high-THC, content can cure.
Spiritual endeavors are not about partying.
Itinerant Hindu sadhus (revered full-time spiritual seekers) have used it in India for centuries (Edward Bloomquist. Marijuana: The Second Trip. California: Glencoe, 1971). And many yogis look like it, which is not to their credit or benefit, with their dreadlocks (jata), droopy countenances, and failure at spiritual attainments.
  • The goal of the Eightfold Path of Yoga, according to Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, is the stilling of the mind, the vrittis. What does this have to do with Buddhism? Patanjali's whole system of exposition and language (hybrid Sanskrit) would not have been possible without Buddhism:
Patanjali's "eightfold path" of yoga
The factors of the Path to enlightenment
Vyasa's Yogabhashya, the commentary to the Yoga Sutras, and Vacaspati Misra's subcommentary state directly that the samadhi techniques [right concentration] are directly borrowed from Buddhism's meditative absorptions [the Noble Eightfold Path defines samma samadhi as the first four jhanas], with the addition of the mystical and divine interpretations of mental absorption.1
 
Even if you get blissed out, remember to breathe! Maty Ezraty teaching (lansingyoga.com)
 
According to David Gordon White, the language of the Yoga Sutras is often closer to "Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, the Sanskrit of the early Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, than to the classical Sanskrit of other Hindu scriptures.2 According to Karel Werner,
Patanjali's [yoga] system is unthinkable without Buddhism. As far as its terminology goes there is much in the Yoga Sutras that reminds us of Buddhist formulations from the Pāli Canon and even more so from the Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma and from Sautrāntika."3
Uma's dad Robert (nymag.com)
American Buddhist and Dalai Lama translator Prof. Robert Thurman writes that Patañjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered [Vedic] orthodox.4

However, it is also to be noted that the Yoga Sutras, especially the fourth segment of the Kaivalya Pada, contains several polemical verses critical of [some] Buddhism, particularly the [philosophy of the] Vijñānavāda (Yogacara, "Yoga Practice") school of Vasubandhu.5
 
Ancient and modern India and Nepal
Sick hippies, intellectuals, and sell outs
The earliest known reports regarding the sacred status of cannabis in India and Nepal come from the Atharva Veda estimated to have been written sometime around 2000-1400 BC,6 which mentions cannabis as one of the "five sacred plants."7
 
There are three types of cannabis used in India and Nepal. The first, bhang, consists of the leaves and plant tops of the cannabis plant. It is usually consumed as an infusion in beverage form and varies in strength according to how much cannabis is used in the preparation.

The second, ganja, consisting of the leaves and the plant tops, is smoked.

The third, called charas or hashish, consists of the resinous buds and/or extracted resin from the leaves of the plant. Typically, bhang is the most commonly used form of cannabis in religious festivals.
 
Maybe it's called "pot" because it makes couch potato's pot bellies crave potato chips or called "dope" because... well, it isn't making Bud any wiser. If beer is "liquid ignorance," dope may be its gaseous form. Moreover, CBD is more useful than THC.

  • “After years of [pot] growers aiming to boost THC percentages in their crops, many growers have switched to focusing on producing CBD-rich strains because of the increasing demand by medical users” - WQ (ProjectCBD.com)
Marijuana in modern Hinduism
Aghori yogi ritually drinking sacred bhang from human skull cup with Shiva behind.
 
During the Indian and Nepalese (particularly in the Terai and Hilly regions) festival of Holi, people consume bhang, which contains cannabis flowers.8,9

According to one description, when the amrita ("elixir of life") was produced from the churning of the ocean by the devas and the asuras, Shiva created cannabis from his own body to purify the elixir (leading to cannabis' epithet, angaja, or "body-born").

Yogi dozing off on nails (petermalakoff.com)
Another account suggests that the cannabis plant sprang up when a drop of the elixir dropped on the ground. Therefore, cannabis is used by would be Hindu sages due to its association with the mythical elixir and Shiva. Wise drinking of bhang, according to religious rites, is believed to cleanse karma, unite one with Shiva, and avoid the miseries of hell in future lives. [It may well have the opposite effect depending on what one does, the karma one engages in, while intoxicated.]
 
It is also believed to have medicinal benefits. In contrast, foolish drinking of bhang without rites, which is considered bad karma.10 Although cannabis was regarded as illegal and designated a Schedule 1 drug (no redeeming value), many Nepalese people consume it during festivals (like Shivaratri), which the government tolerates to some extent, and also for personal and recreational purposes.

Buddhism and pot
I'm totally into Buddhism, yoga, veg food. I just use this as like medicine, man. - Yeah, right!
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In Buddhism, the Fifth Precept is to "abstain from wines, liquors, and intoxicants that occasion heedlessness."

How this applies to cannabis is variously interpreted. Cannabis and some other psychoactive plants are specifically prescribed in the Tibetan Mahākāla Tantra for medicinal purposes.

However, Tantra is an esoteric teaching -- a questionable blending of Hinduism and Buddhism -- not generally accepted by most other forms of either Buddhism or Hinduism.11 More

FOOTNOTES
Meditate for health and to end all suffering.
1. John David, The Yoga System of Patanjali with commentary Yogabhashya attributed to Veda Vyasa and Tattva Vaicharadi by Vacaspati Misra. Harvard Univ. Press, 1914.
2. White 2014, p.10.
3. Karel Werner, The Yogi and the Mystic, Routledge, 1994, p.27.
4. Robert Thurman, "The Central Philosophy of Tibet." Princeton Univ. Press, 1984, p.34.

5. John Nicol Farquhar, An Outline of the Religious Literature of India, p.132. 
6. Courtwright, David (2001). Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World. Harvard Univ. Press. p.39.
7. Touw, Mia. "The religious and medicinal uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet". J Psychoactive Drugs 13 (1).
8. Report of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission. Simla, India: Government Central Printing House. 1894. Chapter IX: Social and Religious Customs.
9. "The History of the Intoxicant Use of Marijuana". National Commission of Marijuana and Drug Abuse.
11. Stablein WG. The Mahākālatantra: A Theory of Ritual Blessings and Tantric Medicine. Doctoral Dissertation, Columbia Univ. 1976. pp.21-2,80,255-6,36,286,5.

Psychedelic Rock at The Terrace (cartoon)

Erik Morgan (Collective Consciousness), Anonymous, Dev, Wisdom Quarterly
The earthbound fairies (bhumi devas) have their own instruments (CC)
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(collectiveconsciousnessband)
We're looking for bands to book for psychedelic rock in Pasadena (in the foothill area of Los Angeles) on Thursday nights at The Terrace (next door to the Pacific Asia Museum and its many Buddhist exhibits) on Colorado Blvd. at Los Robles Ave.
 
Collective Consciousness
We want bands that will bring a lot of friends so that everyone's circles and musical creations can connect into a collective of memories and new friendships, coming together and forming greater networks between everyone in SoCal sharing in this beautiful collective consciousness. Infinite heart vibrations connect us.
 
The devas' music
Hey, Erik, can the Wisdom Quarterly house band audition? We only have two songs -- "Noble Indian Chief" and "Do Her" -- so far but lots of hipster/hippie friends and fans. Granted the songs are covers paying homage to Peter and Lois Griffin of "Family Guy" fame. We're called "Handful of Amber," psychedelic death metal/vegan grindcore, pro-entheogen, lute/harp music. Well, here, have a look:

Peter and Lois are "Handful of Peter" performing "Do Her" while taking medical cannabis, which does not end up helping their music or public performance.

Fusion Fridays, Chinese and Mexicans return to America (pacificasiamuseum.org)

What is "consciousness" in Buddhism?

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. Nyanatiloka Maha Thera, Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines (viññāna)
Buddhas of the past, sacred Dambulla cave, Sri Lanka (inquiringmind.com)
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How are living beings conscious? (WHP)
"Consciousness" is one of the Five Groups [that comprise] Existence (Five Aggregates of Clinging). It is one of the Four Nutriments. It is the third link of the causal chain on the arising of suffering called Dependent Origination. It is the fifth in the sixfold division of elements.

Viewed as one of the Five Aggregates [trillions of discrete phenomena lumped into five groups or categories], it is inseparably linked with the three other mental aggregates (feeling, perception, and formations) and furnishes the bare cognition of the object, while the other three contribute more specific functions.

Conscious awareness (dhammawheel.com)
Its moral and karmic character, and its greater or lesser degree of intensity and clarity, are chiefly determined by the mental formations associated with it (particularly the most salient formation, "volition" or cetana, which determines if a karmic act is beneficial, unwholesome, or neutral).
 
Just like the other aggregates or "groups of existence," consciousness is not so much a thing as a flux (sotā, a "stream of consciousness") and does not constitute an abiding mind-substance. 

Free your mind. Rest will follow.
Nor is it in any way a transmigrating soul, entity, or abiding self, even though it is commonly regarded as such by ordinary uninstructed worldlings not yet freed of ignorance regarding existence. Arhats, the noble ones, who gain knowledge and vision recognize it for what it is and are freed of suffering, which is called enlightenment, the realization of nirvana, "the end of all suffering").

The Three Marks or Characteristics of Existence (the impermanent, unsatisfactory/disappointing/woeful, and impersonal nature of all conditioned phenomena) are frequently applied to consciousness in the texts (e.g., in the Anattalakkhana Sutra, S.XXII, 59).

The physical base of the "mind" is the heart (K)
The Buddha often stresses that "apart from conditions, there is no arising of consciousness" (MN 38). And all of these statements about its nature hold good for the entire range of consciousness -- be it "past, future, or presently arisen, gross or subtle, in oneself or another, that is, internal or external, inferior or lofty, far or near" (S. XXII, 59).
  
Six consciousnesses
The seven main chakras,energy centers, along the spine (Manifesto-Meditations)
 
According to the six senses it divides into six kinds: eye- (or visual), ear- (auditory), nose- (olfactory), tongue- (gustatory), body- (tangible), mind- (mental, intuitive, memory, psychic) consciousness. 
 
About the dependent origination or arising of these six kinds of consciousness, the Path of Purification (Vis.M. XV, 39) says: 
  • "Conditioned through the [sense base or sensitive portion within the] eye, the visible object, light, and attention, eye-consciousness arises.
  • Conditioned through the ear, the audible object, the ear-passage, and attention, ear-consciousness arises.
  • Conditioned, through the nose, the olfactive object, air, and attention, nose-consciousness arises.
  • Conditioned through the tongue, the gustative object, humidity, and attention, tongue-consciousness arises.
  • Conditioned through the body, bodily impression, the earth-element [the solid quality of materiality or rupa], and attention, body-consciousness arises.
  • Conditioned through the subconscious [or default, underlying] mind (bhavanga-mano [manas, mind]), the mind-object, and attention, mind-consciousness arises."
The Abhidharma literature distinguishes 89 classes of consciousness as being either karmically wholesome (skillful), unwholesome (unskillful), or neutral, and belonging either to the Sensual Sphere, the Fine-Material Sphere, or the Immaterial Sphere, or to supermundane consciousness. See Table I for the detailed classification.

Ralph Nader; Jewish voices for peace (video)

Ashley Wells, Sheldon S., CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ralph Nader, Mitch Jeserich (KPFA.org, Berkeley); Amy Goodman, Nermeen Shaikh (DemocracyNow.org, July 31, 2014)
Why do you steal our homes, take our land, and kill us, even our babies? - I'dunno, It's my job. I was only following orders. Hey, why do wear that towel? (Corey Gil-Schuster/Ask-Project)
Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan
Amys_column_defaultThe Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has entered its fourth week. Henry Siegman, a venerable dean of American Jewish thought and president of the U.S./Middle East Project, sat down for an interview with Democracy Now! An ordained rabbi, Siegman is the former executive director of the American Jewish Congress and former executive head of the Synagogue Council of America, two of the [three] major, mainstream Jewish organizations in the U.S. [The other being the ADL.] He says the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories must end [now]. LISTEN
Unrwasheltercreditchrisgunness
Death toll tops 1300. "Enough blood has been spilled": Israel CONDEMNED for striking U.N. shelter with precision bomb (then trying to blame war crime on Hamas' homemade rockets)


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has publicly condemned Israel for what he called its "outrageous" and "unjustifiable" shelling of a U.N. shelter in Gaza that killed 20 Palestinian civilians on Wednesday.

Many of the dead were children who were sleeping. The U.N. itself has not directly condemned Israel [how could it with the U.S. promoting and protecting Israel's war crimes?] But it admits that all available evidence points to Israel's responsibility for the terrorist act and crime against humanity.

It was the sixth time Israel had hit [targeted] a U.N. shelter since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began 24 days ago. The United Nations said it had given the coordinates of the shelter to the Israeli military 17 times prior to the attack. [They knew exactly where to aim or to definitively avoid aiming.] 
 
According to the United Nations, more than 240,000 Palestinians are now staying in U.N. shelters in Gaza. Another 200,000 Palestinians have been displaced and are staying with other overcrowded families without sufficient food or water. 


Democracy Now! is joined by Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. "UNRWA has reached a breaking point," Gunness says. "Eight of our staff have been killed. Our facilities are overwhelmed. Because of the continued displacement...we may soon find ourselves where there are tens of thousands of people in the streets of Gaza -- no food, no water, no shelter, no safety [suffering illegal collective punishment at the hands of Israel's military], frankly, after we’ve found that Israeli artillery is capable of hitting our shelters. And we’re saying: enough is enough."

The world's greatest MANTRA

Crystal Quintero, Seth Auberon, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. Thanissaro
Daibutsu, or "Giant Buddha," in Japan (Paul & Shellie Davis/flickr.com)
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Daibutsu (Marcus Antonius Braun/flickr)
According to Yogini Leith, the greatest and most powerful mantra in the world is pronounced tan/kuu, two syllables holding the second syllable longer, which in Spanish is pronounced gracias.

As we began to chant, we started with OM, an acronym for "omniscient mind," which Leith pronounces AUM: three blended sounds that stand for everything we are Aware of, everything we are Unaware of, and everything, the MMM of the humming universe.
 
The Buddha did not make much of mantras. After all, he was making known a "Higher Teaching" (Abhi-dharma) toward complete liberation in a Vedic land consumed with empty ritual, sympathetic magic, and elitist temple priests (the Brahmins of Brahmanism).

Many centuries later, "Hinduism" (Indus river valley civilization -ism) was formed. By systematizing disparate Indian teachings into a coherent message, Sri Shankara created a "religion" born out of a spiritual culture. Then the clinging began as later came the warring over it by nationalistic Indians. Modi may remember them, as they are alive and well in his party.

But there were protective (paritta) chants and monastic sermon memorizations and recitals (bana). And with Mahayana, a popular blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, there were mantras, too. Tantra-yana, mantra-yana, but for all that complexity, Leith is right:

The best mantra is "thank-you" repeated as often as possible.

The Lessons of Gratitude

Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff), Abbot of Wat Metta
Sometimes a smile is all the thanks we give, all the gratitude we show (baconbabble.com).
 
Gratitude (pirith.org)
The Buddha taught: "Two people are hard to find in the world. Which two? The one who is first to do a kindness, and the one who is grateful/thankful for a kindness done" (AN 2.118).
 
In saying that kind and grateful people are rare, the Buddha is not stating an obvious truth about the world. He is advising us to treasure these people when we find them and -- more importantly -- he shows how we can become them.
 
Kindness and gratitude are virtues we can certainly cultivate, but they must be cultivated together. Each needs the other to be genuine, which becomes obvious when we think about the three things most likely to make gratitude heartfelt:
  1. We've benefitted from another's actions.
  2. We trust the motives behind those actions.
  3. We sense the other person had to go out of his or her way to provide that benefit.
Points one and two are lessons that gratitude teaches to kindness: If we want to be genuinely kind, we have to be of actual benefit. No one wants to be the recipient of "help" that isn't actually helpful. And we have to provide that benefit in a way that shows respect and empathy for the other person's needs. No one likes to receive a gift given with calculating motives or in a disdainful way.
 
Points two and three are lessons that kindness teaches to gratitude. Only if we've been kind to another person are we likely to accept the idea that others can be kind to us. At the same time, if we've been kind to another person, we know the effort involved.

Kind impulses often have to do battle with unkind impulses in the heart, so it is not always easy to be helpful. Sometimes it involves great sacrifice -- a sacrifice possible only when we trust the recipient will make good use of our help. So when we're on the receiving end of a sacrifice like that, we realize we've incurred a debt, an obligation to repay the other person's trust.
 
This is why the Buddha always discusses gratitude as a response to kindness. He does not equate it with appreciation in general. Gratitude is a special kind of appreciation, inspiring a more demanding response. The difference here is best illustrated by two passages in which the Buddha uses the image of carrying.
 
Sutra: Parable of the Raft
What is the "Parable of the Raft"?
The first passage concerns appreciation of a general sort: "Then the person, having gathered grass, twigs, branches, and leaves, having bound them together to make a raft, would cross over to the safety of the farther shore by depending on the raft, struggling, making an effort with hands and feet.

"Having crossed over to the farther shore, one might think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my own hands and feet, I have crossed over to safety on the farther shore. So why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying it on my back, go wherever I like?' What do you think, meditators? Would the person, in doing so, be doing what should be done with the raft?" -- "No, venerable sir."
 
"What should the person do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is another case where the person, having crossed over to the farther shore, might think: 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my own hands and feet, I have crossed over to the safety of the farther shore. Why don't I, having docked it on dry land or sunk it in water, go wherever I like?' In doing so, one would be doing what should be done with the raft" (MN 22).

Sutra: Who can repay parents?
Let me down, dummy! - But I'm repaying you!
The second passage concerns gratitude in particular: "I tell you, meditators, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Our mother and father.

"Even if we were to carry our mother on one shoulder and our father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, and rubbing their limbs, and even if they were to defecate and urinate right there [on our shoulders], we would not in that way ever repay our parents. Even if we were to establish our mother and father as rulers of the whole world, abounding in the seven treasures, we would not in that way repay our parents. Why is that? Mother and father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.
 
"But anyone who rouses one's unbelieving mother and father, settles and establishes them in conviction (confidence, faith), rouses one's unvirtuous mother and father, settles and establishes them in virtue, rouses one's stingy mother and father, settles and establishes them in generosity, rouses one's foolish mother and father, settles and establishes them in wisdom -- to this extent one indeed repays one's mother and father" (AN 2.32).
 
In other words, as the first passage shows, it's fine to appreciate the benefits we've received from rafts and other things without feeling any need to repay them or cling to them. (In this parable the Buddha was referring to the Dharma as a "raft" or vehicle meant for crossing over not for clinging to). We take care of them simply because that enables us to benefit from them more. 
 
The same holds true for difficult people and situations that have forced us to develop strength of character. We can appreciate that we've learned persistence from dealing with... More

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Monkey Mind" in Meditation

Michael Carr; CC Liu, Pat Macpherson, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly (Wiki edit)
What's monkey mind? Hold on a second, I'll look on Wisdom Quarterly (Huffington Post).
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Obsessed with sexy distractions (Uhohbro).
Monkey mind (or mind monkey) comes from the Chinese word xinyuan and the Sino-Japanese shin'en (心猿), literally, "heart-/mind-monkey").

It is a Buddhist term meaning "restless, unsettled, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, uncontrollable." In addition to Buddhist writings -- including Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen (two Mahayana sects giving their pronunciations of the Pali term jhan'a and the Sanskrit dhyan'a), Consciousness-Only, Pure Land, and Shingon -- this "monkey mind" psychological metaphor was adopted in Taoism, Neo-Confucianism, poetry, drama, and literature.

"Mind-monkey" occurs in two reversible four-character idioms with yima or iba (意馬), literally, "thought-/will-horse," most frequently used in Chinese xinyuanyima (心猿意馬) and Japanese ibashin'en (意馬心猿).

The "Monkey King" Sun Wukong in the Journey to the West personifies the mind-monkey. Note that much of the following summarizes Michael Carr ("'Mind-Monkey' Metaphors in Chinese and Japanese Dictionaries," International Journal of Lexicography 1993, 6.3:149-180). 

Linguistic and cultural background
Mind monkey piggy backs on horse idea (Tang Dynasty)
"Mind-monkey" (心猿) is an animal metaphor. Some figures of speech are cross-linguistically common, verging upon being linguistic universals.

Many languages use "monkey" or "ape" words to mean "mimic," for instance, Italian scimmiottare "to mock, to mimic" and scimmia "monkey, ape," Japanese sarumane (猿真似), literally, "monkey imitation," "copycat, superficial imitation," and the English monkey see, monkey do or to ape. Other animal metaphors have culture-specific meanings. Compare English chickenhearted as "cowardly, timid," "easily frightened" and Chinese jixin (雞心), literally, "chicken heart," "heart-shaped, cordate."
 
The four morphological elements of Chinese xinyuanyima or Japanese shin'en'iba are xin or shin (心) "heart, mind", yi or i (意) "thought," yuan or en (猿) "monkey," and ma or ba (馬) "horse."

The 心 "heart, mind" and 意 "idea, will"
Mr. Simian! - No, I just meant a pony ride on the "will horse," not us horsing around!
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The psychological components of the "mind-monkey will-horse" metaphor are Chinese xin or Sino-Japanese shin or kokoro () "heart, mind, feelings, affections, center" and yi or i () "thought, idea, opinion, sentiment, will, wish, meaning."

This Chinese character 心 was graphically simplified from an original pictogram of a heart and 意 "thought, think" is an ideogram combining 心 under yin () "sound, tone, voice" denoting "sound in the mind, thought, idea."
 
In Chinese Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism, xin/shin (心) "heart, mind" generally translates Sanskrit citta "mind, process of mind, state of mind, consciousness" and yi/i (意) translates Sanskrit manas "the mental organ, deliberation."
 
Some Buddhist authors have used 心 and 意 interchangeably for "mind, cognition, thought." Compare these Digital Dictionary of Buddhism glosses:
  • 心 "Spirit, motive, sense. The mind as the seat of intelligence, mentality, idea. (Sanskrit citta)... Thought, intellect, feeling (Sanskrit mānasa)"
  • 意 "Thought, intellect (Sanskrit manas, Tibetan yid), the mind, (Sanskrit citta, Tibetan sems)."
For example, take the Buddhist word Chinese xin-yi-shi or Japanese shin-i-shiki (心意識), literally, "mind, thought, and cognition" that compounds three near-synonyms.
 
The Abhidharma theory uses this word as a general term for "mind, mentality." But Yogacara's theory of Eight Consciousnesses distinguishes xin/shin (心) "store consciousness," yi/i (意) "manas consciousness," and shi/shiki (識) "six object-contingent consciousnesses."
 
Xinyuanyima (心猿意馬), literally, "mind-monkey idea-horse," "distracted, indecisive, restless" is comparable with some other Chinese collocations:
  • xinmanyizu (心滿意足) "heart-full mind-complete," "perfectly content, fully satisfied."
  • xinhuiyilan (心灰意懶) "heart-ashes mind-sluggish," "disheartened, discouraged, hopeless" (or xinhuiyileng (心灰意冷) with leng "cold, frosty."
  • xinhuangyiluan (心慌意亂) "heart-flustered mind-disordered," "alarmed and hysterical, perturbed."
  • xinfanyiluan (心煩意亂) "heart-vexed mind-disordered," "terribly upset, confused and worried"...
"Mind-monkey" in English
Prozac (fluoride) calcifies the pineal gland
Monkey mind and mind monkey both occur in English usage, originally as translations of xinyuan or shin'en and later as culturally-independent images. Carr concludes:
Xinyuan-yima (心猿意馬) "monkey of the heart/mind and horse of the ideas/will" has been a successful metaphor. What began 1500 years ago as a Buddhist import evolved into a standard Chinese and Japanese literary phrase.
Rosenthal (1989:361) says a proverb's success "'depends on certain imponderables," particularly rhythm and phrasing. Of the two animals in this metaphor, the "monkey" phrase was stronger than the "horse" because xinyuan "mind-monkey" was occasionally used alone (e.g., Wuzhenpian) and it had more viable variants (e.g., qingyuan 情猿 "emotion-monkey" in Ci'en zhuan).
The "mental-monkey" choice of words aptly reflects restlessness, curiosity, and mimicry associated with this animal. Dudbridge (1970:168) explains how "the random, uncontrollable movements of the monkey symbolise the waywardness of the naive human mind before it achieves a composure which only Buddhist discipline can effect" (1993:166). More

    What is mind? What is consciousness?

    Amber Larson and Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly (COMMENTARY)
    No one has to lose his or her head wondering where "mind" is (MaretH/flickr.com)
    "God made Man, but he used a Monkey to do it. Apes in the plan, we're all here to prove it"
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    The brain starts at the base of the spine
    Does Buddhism have an answer? The Dharmic religions are very interested in "mind," which is roughly the equivalent of heart, the seat of consciousness. We think the brain is the mind, but it is not. The base of physical base of consciousness was not spelled out by the Buddha precisely the way the other senses were. Buddhism acknowledges six senses, mind being the sixth.
     
    Mike, a living headless chicken (MTHC)
    But it is pretty certain, and individually verifiable, that the "mind door" is near the are of the physical heart not up in the head. If anyone considers the matter for a moment, it becomes obvious that the entire body is conscious -- informed by a gut feeling, a broken heart, a mild headache, a strange tingling feeling, and so on -- all playing a part in what we are conscious of at any moment and what we feel about it; "thought" is a minor part.

    A powerful placebo
    For example, few people have been told that there are many neurons -- "brain" cells -- in the lining of the gut and in the heart. But we walk around all "scientifically minded" thinking neurons are somehow exclusive to the brain, up in the head, limited to the cranium. Neurons, ganglia, axons, and all that hardware extends down the brainstem into the spine innervating every part of the conscious body. We don't need a brain to live; a brainstem is enough -- ask anyone with microencephaly. We sure do need a heart. Some cruel/greedy humans chop off the head of chickens to sell their bodies and are surprised that they live on. Ask Mike, you know, Mike the Headless Chicken.

    I'm not a monkey! My doctor takes them, too!
    We are all taught, mostly by long winded drug commercials that depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders are due to "imbalances" in our neurotransmitters (actually, that's at least as much of an effect as a cause in the feedback loop of the body), but what we are rarely if ever told is that most of these transmitters are in other parts of the body. Case in point, if one has a section of the colon removed for whatever reason, one is almost certain to come down with severe clinical depression. Yet, look how we treat our beautiful colons. Why would that be? It's the brain in the gut, the brain in the heart, the brain in the glands -- the rolled up gut, which is 23 feet long, has a lot of braincells.

    However, of all the sages of India and Vedic Indus Valley Civilization, no one went further in detailing the "mind," consciousness, software, mental processes, and mental concomitants (cittas and cetasikas) than the Buddha. It is what the entire Abhidharma (the "Higher or Ultimate Teachings") is about -- one third of the Dharma alongside the conventional sutras and the monastic disciplinary code.
     
    Mind is more complicated than a clock.
    So what is "monkey mind"? Try to meditate and you, too, will find out in about a minute. But, first of all, What is MIND?

    The individual (let's say the gandhabba or Sanskrit gandharva) is body and mind, the physical-psychological process of becoming, of phenomenal conditioned-existence, the world, the process of perception. The Buddha outlined this as a conglomeration of eight impersonal heaps called the Five Aggregates. (I thought you said eight? Yes, the first four are collapsed into one category simply called "form").

    "Mind" in Buddhism is defined as the remaining four categories: feelings, perceptions, formations, and consciousnesses (viññāna). All of these are plural because they are heaps, aggregates, countless discrete units within each category, always changing, always impersonal, always unsatisfactory.
    Clinging -- to ego, notions of self, soul, eternal existence, selfishness, possessions, likes and dislikes, strong preferences, sensual pleasures, and so on -- occurs because of this illusory separate "being" or personality which arises dependent on causes and conditions, nutriments. What are the causes and conditions? They are explained in the meditation on Dependent Origination as 12 causal links to be contemplated, penetrated, and experienced for liberation.

    Shut up, monkeys are cool! - the Beebs
    Traditionally, in Buddhist instruction, early teachers noted that just as a monkey going wild in a tree grasps one branch and before letting go of it is grasping at another so, too, the meditator barely gets done with one line of thought and s/he's onto another. This is called discursive thinking, a great impediment to calm and insight IF we identify with it. Just let it be. There is no reason to try to stop it; it is usually enough to detach enough by becoming an observer. It really is ridiculous and like a chattering, clambering, confused monkey, full of frenzy, restless, and craving constant stimulation and/or entertainment.