Author Topic: Questions from a newbie  (Read 1018 times)

Offline Gtf

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Questions from a newbie
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:04:57 am »
I had a few thoughts and questions that i thought id ask on here in order to get an idea of where buddhists stand on certain issues. Ive had a look at a few q&a's on certain sites but havent really found a specific answer to what looking for yet so thought a forum such as this would be the best way to go. Bear with me, this may be a bit convoluted :)

Ok, so firstly id like to get an idea of where buddhists stand on the idea of interconnectedness. I know it is a central belief but i was wondering how far it extends? I guess i should be honest and say that my reason for asking this is due to a profound experience i had on psycadelic drugs a few years ago. At this time i felt completely connected to the entire universe. My 'energy' flowed into everything else and the energy of everything else also flowed into, and through, me. There was no seperation and yet at the same time i, and everything else, was still a distinct entity. Kind of like waves in the ocean. You could point at an individual wave and it exists as a definite seperate form, and yet it is simultaneously part of the ocean as a whole. I found the experience quite life-changing and was wondering what buddhists opinions on this kind of thing are.

Secondly, and this kind of assumes that the first point is true, i was wondering about the idea of of the internal mirroring the external (and vice versa maybe?). Studies have been done which suggest mass meditation on peace and love produce measureable reductions in crime in that location. Similarly, experiments in quantum physics - specifically the double-slit experiment - would also suggest that consciousness affects external matter. Do buddhists believe that the external and the internal are ultimately one then? Ive heard mention of the idea that there is one universal consciousness and that we humans (and everything else) are merely that consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. Is that a concept that buddhists believe?

If youve made it to the end of this abstact ramble my congratulations :) Thanks for reading and id appreciate if you could spare a few minutes to share your thoughts

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Questions from a newbie
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 11:51:35 am »
Ok, so firstly id like to get an idea of where buddhists stand on the idea of interconnectedness. I know it is a central belief but i was wondering how far it extends?

It actually depends on the tradition, but "interconnectedness" refers to pratitya-samutpada, also know as dependent origination, dependent arising, dependent co-production, dependent co-arising, interdependency, interbeing, and so forth --- for example, one of the basic ideas behind the Buddha's teaching of mutual interdependence is that ultimately there is no demarcation between what appears to be an individual creature and its environment.

read more here >>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pratityasamutpada


I guess i should be honest and say that my reason for asking this is due to a profound experience i had on psycadelic drugs a few years ago.

It's best not to read that much into an altered-mind experience that's been induced by drugs, not to mention that the psychoactive effects of drugs, alcohol included, don’t exactly jive with the goals of Buddhist practice.


Do buddhists believe that the external and the internal are ultimately one then?

According to the Buddha, there are two worlds, the internal world and external world. Most of the time the Buddha has talked about the internal world. If one can understand the internal world one can understand the external world too. How can you understand the external world when you understand the internal world?  Because, what we find in the internal world is the same with what we come across in the external world.

read more here >>> http://bhavanasociety.org/resource/the_buddhist_concept_of_world/


Ive heard mention of the idea that there is one universal consciousness and that we humans (and everything else) are merely that consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. Is that a concept that buddhists believe?

It depends on how you're using the term "universal consciousness" --- for example, the Theravada position would be that there's no permanent substantial ego entity, neither individual or universal, but if you were using the term in the manner of the "universal mind" (true self, Buddha-nature, ect.) then it might possibly be in line with the Mahayana position. It really depends on what you're referring to, not to mention that there's also a bit of new age baggage attached to the concept of "universal consciousness".
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 07:17:20 pm by Dharmakara, Reason: spelling »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Questions from a newbie
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2015, 07:08:00 am »
Quote
If youve made it to the end of this abstact ramble my congratulations :) Thanks for reading and id appreciate if you could spare a few minutes to share your thoughts


All we can do is share our experiences derived from study (theory), and our practice (application).  If this is helpful to answering your questions, then good, but the responsibility for understanding is purely yours, as it is you, who must apply what you learn, as there can be no discovery of truth for you without your personal verification and validation.

Buddha discusses his teaching in this regard here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/soma/wheel008.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Questions from a newbie
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2015, 07:30:10 am »
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I guess i should be honest and say that my reason for asking this is due to a profound experience i had on psycadelic drugs a few years ago.


The mind is but one part of our existence.  We are composed of many different parts /organs which are critically interdependent in order to sustain life.  Each of these are comprised of cells, also made of interdependent parts / organelles, which are composed of proteins, which are in turn composed of biological macro-molecules, such as DNA and RNA, which are themselves composed of atoms, composed of subatomic particles, composed of quarks, composed of strings, convertible to energy as explained by Einstein's equation:  "E=MC^2.

Until you have studied, comprehended and experienced these truths, why try to imagine less wondrous, some would say preposterous realities, which are but drug induced distortions of the magnificence of the truth of existence?

Buddha taught the interdependence of all reality in his teaching regarding Dependent Origination:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.15.0.than.html

Where, it becomes apparent after reading for understanding its meaning, that all components of existence are interdependent.  This is a profound example of agreement between Buddha's teachings and modern scientific discovery.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2015, 07:32:52 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Questions from a newbie
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2015, 07:41:29 am »
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Ive heard mention of the idea that there is one universal consciousness and that we humans (and everything else) are merely that consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. Is that a concept that buddhists believe?

It is not a concept that I have ever read, or heard taught by the Theravadan tradition.  I will let those from other traditions answer for themselves.  Sounds more like "Star Wars", e.g. "The Force", more than any Buddhist concept to me.  But, try to tap in to it and see what happens.  Maybe you will discover something of which only science fiction authors have been previously aware.  Let us know how you make out!   :wink1:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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