Author Topic: New to Buddhism  (Read 2782 times)

Offline hectory12

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New to Buddhism
« on: June 06, 2016, 10:38:36 am »
I am researching Buddhism and I have a few questions based on what I've read...
If the mind and body depend on each other how can the mind continue without a working body after death? How is the mind transferred to a new being without the body? The mind would be no more if it depends on the body.

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Offline Kenneth Chan

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Re: New to Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2016, 05:58:03 pm »
Hi hectory12. There is actually no scientific evidence that the mind depends on the body. While there is definitely a link between the content of our thoughts and the brain, a link here does not mean that one is dependent on the other. For example, the electron is linked to the proton, but no one claims that the electron is derived from the proton.

I am well aware that many scientists insist that the conscious mind is derived purely from matter. This is actually only an assumption, and there is no scientific evidence whatsoever for this assumption.

The fact is that scientists know next to nothing about consciousness. The reason for this is simple. There is no scientific equipment that can directly measure or detect consciousness. And no such scientific instrument means no recordable data. And no data means no scientific theory. And no scientific theory means they know next to nothing, in a scientific sense, about consciousness. That is the reality, although many scientists do not want to admit it. A lot of what is written by scientists about consciousness is actually just speculation by them and is not verified science.

If you look at another thread on this forum entitled “Relativity Supports Buddha’s Words,” you can find evidence that our science is actually a science of our conscious experience, and not a science of a universe “out there” that is independent of the conscious mind. That means that the conscious mind plays a central role in our science, and a science that artificially relegates the mind to a secondary role (as though it was derived purely from matter) is actually an incomplete science.

If our science is a science of our conscious experience, is it even logical to propose that what we can observe in nature (which is dependent on our conscious mind) is sufficient to derive our consciousness? It would be like claiming that the light and images that a camera can detect is sufficient to account for everything about the camera. Unfortunately, that is akin to what many scientists are trying to claim!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2016, 07:04:05 pm by Kenneth Chan »

Offline chowkit74

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Re: New to Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 03:26:03 am »
Mind is known as consciousness in individuality.  Hence, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind.  Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects.  One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness.

Mind and body are simply two aspects of the same thing.  Manas that unfolds against the backdrop of consciousness (preliminary) is an architect or a designer that activates the mind and body creations.  Manas would vibrate in a certain unique frequency pattern – a wave of collated high and low vibrations.  This blueprint of vibrations would subsequently bring forth a conflation of mind and body.   The principle in effect: the lower the frequency, the slower the vibration; the higher the frequency, the faster the vibration.  Slower vibration (standing waves) would lead to the body and the sense bases formation and faster vibration (travelling waves) would lead to the mind formation. 

Collectively, it brings about a new life existence with a unique individuality that would not allow the disruption by any kind of external interference; thus it maintains a self-identity.  In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole.  Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised.  The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality.  As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing. 

For general understanding, awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness.  The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object.  Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind.  When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously.  Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time.  In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation.  Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness.

Awareness (e.g. pre-1,2,3)  -->  Consciousness (e.g. 1,2,3) --> Mind (e.g. 1+2, 2-3, 3/2)

The prevailing mind consciousness is regarded as the ‘working’ consciousness or the mind-in-command i.e. the kind of mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action.  However, subtle mind consciousness is like a herd of wild horses - roaming in discrete directions and needed domestication.  This means the prevailing mind consciousness would act as a guarding chain to the wild and monkey-like subtle mind consciousness.  Basically, prevailing mind consciousness is closely related to the physical body or more specifically, the brain.  This means there would be a biological clock being attached within it i.e. there would be duration for staying awake and for resting.  Without the brain, there would be no prevailing mind consciousness in existence.   

On the other hand, the subtle mind consciousness does not consume as much energy as the prevailing mind consciousness.  Subtle mind consciousness can process and store information without a lot of work or the intervention of prevailing mind consciousness.  In other words, subtle mind consciousness could operate in the absence of prevailing mind consciousness with the least of energy consumption on 24 hours/day and 365 days/year - this would mean a plenty of energy reserves for prolonging the lifespan of a body in a lifetime.

In fact, for over 90% of the time in a lifespan, the body is administered by subtle mind consciousness and it simply operates like a radar detector – sensing all spectrums of vibrational frequencies from the surroundings and across the time stream (past, present and future).  As such, one would notice that an enlightened subtle mind consciousness would operate like a long range radar detector which is highly luminous and vigilant to any development of circumstances and surpassing time. 

When one has reached the maturity of a lifespan, the mind and body would go through a dying process, inevitably.  And the first type of consciousness to depart the body would be the prevailing mind consciousness.  For the sentient beings, the prevailing mind consciousness that bonds strongly the atoms and the molecules together would die out and evolve into other energies concurrently.  This incidence would lead to an impulse occurrence with a demonstration of a final burst of energy (the snapping of a guarding chain of consciousness) nearing the moments of death.  Subsequently, the segregating process would conquest with most of the subtle mind consciousness departing the death body. 

For an ignorant being, during a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force) would overcome the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force).  The elements of subtle consciousness would then liberate into fragments.  The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being.  And for an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening.  A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming.  A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments.  On the other hand, for an awakened being, the amount of liberated fragments is much lesser than an ignorant being because there is lower intensity of Ignorance as compared with the intensity of Awakening.  Also, the dispersion of liberated fragments is more confined and restricted to much fewer new individuals.

Last of all, during segregating process, sense consciousness and the lingering subtle mind consciousness would evolve into other energies concurrently with the body decomposing process.  At the end of the day, the fragmented subtle mind consciousness with some retained subtle information within the elements of subtle memory would sustain freedom of sorts and waiting for the next aligning process and the new balanced phenomena to arise, thus depicting the continuous flow or repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth - known as samsāra. 

Simply, mind and body arising are analogous to the origination of fire.  From an article pulled out from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the origin of fire is described as follows: -

‘Fires start when a flammable and/or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist that can replace oxygen), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction.  This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron.  Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions.  Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not directly involved in any chemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily.  Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.’

The mentioned comparison can be depicted as below: -

Combustion                --> Sparkling process
Fire                      --> Sentient being
Flame              --> Prevailing mind consciousness
Fuel/combustible material  --> Sentient body
Oxidiser                   --> Oxygen intake
Heat                      --> Subtle mind consciousness
Chain reaction                -->   Electrochemical impulse/transmission
Catalyst                   -->   ‘Free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness 

The principle in effect:  When the flame is blown off, the chain reaction stops and the fire would be vanished.  However, the ambient temperature (heat) remains temporarily but below the flash point for fuel/oxidiser mix and waiting for all the right elements in place and on the right proportions.  Likewise, when a sentient being has passed on, the prevailing mind consciousness dies out and the electrochemical impulse/transmission would lapse.  However, the subtle mind consciousness still remains temporarily in liberated forms before subscribing to the next becoming process under a balanced phenomenon.

Offline Peter Vredeveld

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Re: New to Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2016, 05:44:44 am »
Hi Welcome to Free Sangha.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: New to Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2016, 03:58:12 am »
I am researching Buddhism and I have a few questions based on what I've read...
If the mind and body depend on each other how can the mind continue without a working body after death? How is the mind transferred to a new being without the body? The mind would be no more if it depends on the body.

First of all the responses you receive to this question will be dependent upon the tradition followed by the responder.  Therefore, you should ask in what tradition the responder is practicing.

As a Theravadin my response would be that "mind" does not move on from one incarnation to another, just as the wax from a candle does not move on from one candle to the next should you use the prior candle's flame to ignite the wax on the wick of a subsequent candle.  What does move on is the effect of combustion due to the heat of the flame of the igniting candle.  Theravadin Buddhists label this kamma and kamma vipakha:  cause and effect.  The flame of the igniting candle is the cause, and the burning wick of the subsequent candle is the effect.  Heat, fuel (wax), and oxygen must all be present for the combustion reaction (a visible flame) to take place.  This is an example of not only "rebirth" with respect to the flame, but also dependent arising with respect to the fact that the process of combustion (the flame) is dependent upon the presence of an ignition source, fuel, oxygen, and what a chemist or physicist would call an activation energy complex ( a process whereby sufficient energy is present to separate the atoms of the fuel molecules from each other so that they are free to combine with atmospheric oxygen).

In either case, when the fuel (wax) of either candle is spent (totally consumed during the combustion reaction) the flames are extinguished.  The flames can only be passed on in the process of the combustion reaction while the first is burning and producing heat, and the next has fuel (wax, a wick, and sufficient oxygen in the atmosphere).  Similarly, when the mental condition of the dying individual is given off into the universe it is said to cause an effect in an unborn fetus within a mother.  ( I personally think this concept is totally unscientific and  not verifiable.)  What does work and can be verified is that one person can pass on their thoughts by word or in writing as we have just done.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 03:25:43 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.


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