A Buddha and a Rock: various rock similes

can you please give me some links to source texts.

But according to them, depending on what does this mind exist?

It’s not super on-topic for the board, but I’m sure a small aside does no harm, especially since it’s purpose is for education. You can see some of the arguments of the mind-only school if you look for Venerable Vasubandhu’s Vimśatikāvijñaptimātratāsiddhi or Triṃśikāvijñaptimātratāsiddhi. Alternatively, look at the Wikipedia articles for those texts. Another, probably more general search, would be to look up the terms “Cittamātra” or “Yogācāra” on Google or Wikipedia.

AFAIK the “mind-only” schools generally posit a fundamentally unconditioned mind. I know that some early Buddhist sects held the mind to be unconditioned/uncreated, but I don’t know if that perspective is represented in the EBTs, nor do I know of any early sectarian recensions of older Buddhavacana that have the Buddha say anything to that effect.


Whether the sense object, the rock, is internal, external, or internal-external, and how we conceive of these three localities, has relevance to whether or not the paraphrase of Ven Dōgen holds ground. IMO.

Venerable Puññaji’s rock-simile is a little different.


Agreed. The rock has taught one many lessons of life and death. Many lessons about greed, aversion, and delusion. For this reason one can no longer see a rock, any rock, any earth as empty of Dhamma or separate from the Buddha.

:pray::pray::pray:Rock Buddha student

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I don’t know if you intended this association, but reading this my mind went to “the Buddha as the rock” in a very Christian sense. In Christianity as it is interpreted by the Roman Church, the first Pope, Saint Peter, is the “rock” on which the church is built. Excerpt for when Christ himself is that rock. But metaphors are best not taken too literally.

I think the metaphor is also appropriate for the Buddha, as his experience and teaching is the foundation for that dharma which we call the “Buddha’s”.

“Holding tight to the rock” is also a saying in Christianity. I think this is also appropriate for Buddhism. When reflecting on the Triple Gem Refuge, I imagine the stormy sea of transmigration, with the Buddha’s rock unmoving in its centre, unaffected by the waves crashing around it.


Yes. That is the anchor, the rock.

Oddly, the rock taught me to let go. When I started, I held tight and shut my eyes. Then the rock did nothing, so I opened one eye. Nothing happened. Then I opened the other eye. Metaphorically simple, that process took many years of letting go. Many years. So I let go, let be, let become and felt secure. Felt secure in my ephemeral existence. Secure in the vast comfort of the rock above, below, beneath.

And then the rock broke.

One day climbing I witnessed a rock fall that killed someone. A sharp crack, a roar, a cloud of dust. Gone the life. Gone the refuge. All gone. A blue sky day of death and change. On that day I learned the urgency of living here with commitment now, not later, not some day. Just now.



reading this i was reminded of the following verse Sn 4.15

Wanting a haven for myself,
I saw nothing that wasn’t laid claim to.
Seeing nothing in the end
but competition,
I felt discontent.
And then I saw
an arrow here,
so very hard to see,
embedded in the heart.
Overcome by this arrow
you run in all directions.
But simply on pulling it out
you don’t run,
you don’t sink.

I guess in your case
You don’t scramble up, Nor
you will fall down.



At a purely materialistic level, only the rock-body-brain exists. At an a bit more introspective level, a mind and even more, awareness, can be introduced. In this phase internal external ayatana can be described. At a more subtle degree of understanding the causally arisen sense object+sense base > consciousness > contact etc. This is beyond ontological explanation and relies on experiences in vipassana, with a mind of samadhi. The world exists/doesn’t exist are seen not to true, as categorical generalisations as stated in the Kaccayanagotta sutta, at Stream entry where the cessation (Nibbana) is seen.

Most would think of the mind as something which exists in the world as an ontological ‘reality’, in its own right. However I think the Kaccayanagotta Sutta doesn’t allow the mind to exist in this manner but rather says it doesn’t exist as we generally understand it. The mind has many different parts (like 31 parts of the body) and they are causally arisen, one after the next. There’s no single visible entity. It arises from what arises at the senses, and rapidly fades away, one after the next. It arises one at a time, idapaccayata.

With metta

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How does this relate to the rock? I am interested in following your thoughts, but I can’t connect them with the OP.

Where did the exists vs not exists binary come into the conversation for you?

Does this mean, to you, that “there is no rock”? Or “the rock is (merely) mind” because it " arises from what arises at the senses, and rapidly fades away, one after the next"?

Or were you meaning this, the above, only about the mind?

In that case, I think I agree with you, but I do not know if you agree with me.

Either way, we still use this word “mind” as if there were a “singular thing”. Just like we still use the words “sentient being” and “Buddha”.

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There are certain religions that use stones as the central object of their rites, people of Animism in ancient times also believed that a large stone also had great force, but for me personally, I considered that the Buddha statue was only a a symbol to symbolize the presence of the Buddha in the real world ( because the real historical Buddha was already attained parinibbana more than 2,500 years ago ). For certain people whose spiritual development is not higher enough, such spiritual symbols like a statue might still be needed as an intermediary object to focusing the mind properly…

I don’t think that the Buddha taught that there is no person. The Buddha was asked directly if there was no self and he remained silent. He certainly said a lot about what wasn’t self, and picked apart what people tried to boil self down to, but I don’t think he ever said that there is nothing there. Being a person, a process if you will, is different than a fixed entity.

Also, a rock is not subject to four of the five aggregates of clinging.

[Does this mean, to you, that “there is no rock”?] - A thought born from contact at the mind.

[Or “the rock is (merely) mind” because it " arises from what arises at the senses, and rapidly fades away, one after the next"?] -A thought born from contact at the mind.

[Or were you meaning this, the above, only about the mind?] - A thought born from contact at the mind.

when there is eye contact: We see a rock
when there is mind contact : we think about a rock

If there is no contact whatsoever nothing would be discernible.

…at the mind. It seems to be the common theme?

A rock born from contact at the mind? A sentient being born from contact at the mind?

ahh i see what you mean

but the pali makes it clear " Manosampassa"

No “at” there.

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We can get rid of the “at” then.

A rock born of mind contact? A sentient being born of mind contact?


ok. if there is no contact at the mind or mind-contact.
what is there?
A mind without any object(arammana)?

one more question.

eye-consciousness & ear-consciousness

are they two different things ? or
one consciousness paying attention to one, at a time?

Sense bases are the cause, consciousness (at each sense base) is the effect.

Dependent on the eye and forms, eye-consciousness arises MN148 MN 148: The Six Sets of Six (English) - Majjhima Nikāya - SuttaCentral

Each one dies when it gives rise to contact, as there can be only one thing at a time.

Consciousness arises and passes away very rapidly, allowing multiple stimuli from sense bases to be discerned.

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