Learning Dhamma in a small way
Mano or Mind
Mind or Mano is one of the six Inner Sense Bases of man and only with its activity of manasikara or attention, that Eye consciousness ,Ear consciousness, Nose consciousness, Tongue consciousness, Body consciousness and Mind consciousness can take place.
All Inner sense Bases are the cause and effect result of Nama-Rupa. It means that they are Dependent Oriented due to Nama-Rupa.
The man is a combination of Nama-Rupa or Name-Body. Here Nama is Vedana, Sanna, Sankhara, Phassa and Manasikara. Rupa is Patavi Dhatu, Apo Dhatu, Thejo Dhatu and Vayo Dhatu,and the combination of them. Gautama Buddha's discourses ascribe Mano or Mind to be Rupa as well as Nama. Rupa can be either tangible or subtle. Though we can readily cognize the other Inner Sense organs, at least by it's outer shape, we cannot do so with the Mano or Mind organ. What is important here is to identify the Mind as an Organ. We need to understand that our other sensory organs are not capable to distinguish the mind organ. We need to think it as a very fine inner organ that is also based on Patavi, Apo, Thejo and Vayo Dhatu. Lord Buddha has not stated a specific place of our body for the mind's location but stated that it lies with in our body. It could be that with manasikara (which originates from the Mind),taking place in a inner sense base, the vinnana or consciousness will arise pertaining to that sense base. From Buddha's discourses we know that for the vinnana to occur, it needs Rupa, Vedana, Sanna and Sankhara. so without Rupa there cannot be a vinnana. Extending this to the Mind (as well as the other Inner sense Bases), without Rupa, Mind cannot acquire a vinnana.The inherent weakness we have that of not being able to fathom the Mind, needed to be overcome by the teachings of the Buddha so that Vinnana can be properly understood. ( Note1)
Manasikara or Attention
A very special ability of the mind is it's capability of focusing for attention or Manasikara. Vinnana or the Consciousness cannot take place with out this capability. The Eye, Ear, Nose,Tongue, Body or Mind would not function to bring about a vinnana or consciousness through those sense bases if Manasikara or attention is lacking.
Dhamma or Thoughts
Just as Mind is a Inner Sense Base, Gautama Buddha ascribed that it's corresponding Outer Sense Base as Thoughts. We need to give much thought here why it has been considered as an Outer Sense base. It is because it has to be originated apart from the Mind organ so that it can be regarded as originating from an Outer Sense Base though still based inside the body. The important factor to learn here is that Thoughts are originating apart from the Mind Sense Organ.
Realizing the Mind, Attention and Thoughts as above explanation makes it remove any doubts and distractions and let a clear understanding on the matter to be grasped by the reader.
When we are considering Mind, we have to realise the close connection of Manasikara (Attention) and Vinnana (Consciousness) to the Mind. Either will not take place without the Mind. As Mind is said to be embracing the whole body , so does the activities of Manasikara and Vinnana. Taking a close look at the main components of Nama as the Buddha has described, are Vedana, Sanna ,Chetana, Phassa and Manasikara. Vedana (Feeling), Sanna (Perception), Cetana (Intention) and Phassa (Contact) has the factor of Vinnana included though not mentioned separately. In reality the whole of the Human being is a complex phenomena and with the aid of Gautama Buddha's explanations, we are having a way out from the complexity to look at the subtle factors of the formation of the individual human being or us. There are duality , triplicity or more for many a phenomena as can be learnt from these explanations.
Manasikara is a factor originating with the collaboration of the Mind for the Consciousness to take place not only in the Eye,Ear,Nose,Tongue or the Body, but the Mind itself. The Mind consciousness take place due to Thoughts. Without the aid of Manasikara or Attention, a consciousness due to Thoughts cannot take place in the Mind. A thought process initiates only with due Attention or a Manasikara only.
It is similar to above for Ear and Sound, Nose and Smell ,Tongue and Taste, Body and Touch and Mind and Thoughts