Author Topic: Buddhism as the science of the mind  (Read 840 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Buddhism as the science of the mind
« on: June 30, 2016, 10:32:19 am »
Buddhism has been aptly described as the "science of the mind". It is everything to do with the investigation of personal experience, and nothing to do with beliefs and metaphysics.

Discuss!

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2016, 02:27:18 am »
Buddhism has been aptly described as the "science of the mind". It is everything to do with the investigation of personal experience, and nothing to do with beliefs and metaphysics.

Discuss!
It's important that science can track changes to the brain when people start to meditate, changes that have positive impact on health and well-being. It means that, although 'belief' can be useful in helping maintain practice, people who don't want to buy into the belief can buy into a rational understanding of why they should continue. So can belief change from irrational to rational?

For me, the metaphysics part comes from instances of insight, which are so different to normal experience that our minds have difficulty coming to terms with what they saw- hence the metaphysical aspect. We interpret in different ways, but often use prevailing understanding to reinterpret what we think we saw. Our new shared understanding then conforms to the prevailing norms, and metaphysical interpretation continues. As a scientist I found enough 'metaphysics' at the cutting edge of real science, but that's probably just me?

Which leaves the 'investigation of personal experience' bit. So how does this differ from psychoanalysis? Is it the way we Buddhists explore our personal experience to bring about changes to ourselves, maybe more like cognitive behavioral therapy? Or is it that we investigate our personal experience to go beyond what we think it is- to see things as they really are rather than what we think they are?

Anyone?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline moSh

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2016, 11:28:52 am »


Buddhism has been aptly described as the "science of the mind". It is everything to do with the investigation of personal experience, and nothing to do with beliefs and metaphysics.

Discuss!

As much as I agree that it's the best scientific tool we have to investigate our consciousness and the true nature of our minds, I would say that the word science is slightly restrictive. Science uses reductionist techniques to build a bigger picture piece by piece, whereas meditation is holistic and experiential, and its findings are not wholly expressable (is that a word?) in the way that science strives to be. Just me being pedantic really, but if we had a word for the way in which a baby explores its new world with wide eyes and a complete openness to experience, I reckon that would be slightly more accurate!

Offline Dianet

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2016, 05:21:40 am »
Hi all

Wikipedia tells me:
"Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined."

My thought is that Buddhism is somewhat unique in using personal experience as a lens to focus on the "fundamental nature of being".

At some point, though, it seems that the task is to move through and beyond the "personal" from a self-centered to "selfless-centered" orientation?


Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2016, 04:39:04 am »
Hi all

Wikipedia tells me:
"Metaphysics is a traditional branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it, although the term is not easily defined."

My thought is that Buddhism is somewhat unique in using personal experience as a lens to focus on the "fundamental nature of being".

At some point, though, it seems that the task is to move through and beyond the "personal" from a self-centered to "selfless-centered" orientation?
Buddhism is there to change your relationship with the world. You have to let go of 'personal attachments' to things and ideas, a state which appears as 'selfless-centered'. Once you get to that state, flashes of insight start to happen and set you on the path to enlightenment. For some people, these flashes appear as revealed bits of knowledge about the fundamental nature of reality, so it's easy to see why this aspect of the journey can take on meaning for people. For me it took the form of understanding the 'oneness' of everything and a sense of belonging to all time and space, of finally being home. I wouldn't call it revealed knowledge, but it changed forever my relationship with the world, and for me, that's enough.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2016, 08:32:55 am »
My thought is that Buddhism is somewhat unique in using personal experience as a lens to focus on the "fundamental nature of being".

Interesting point, and I think the different Buddhist schools would have different responses here.  Are we developing insight into "our world" or "the world"?   It's a philosophical can of worms I suspect.  :wink1:

Offline ECS

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Re: Buddhism as the science of the mind
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2016, 05:18:07 pm »
Buddhism has been aptly described as the "science of the mind". It is everything to do with the investigation of personal experience, and nothing to do with beliefs and metaphysics.

Discuss!
Perhaps " science" is resulted from human desire to know but Buddhism is the realization that human are the desire itself .......as one awaken to Buddhism , there will be no longer desire to know ... the questioning will stop and one realize without having desire to question

 


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