Author Topic: New around here  (Read 539 times)

Offline tj

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New around here
« on: July 08, 2017, 04:55:40 pm »
I often describe my world view as 1/4 Buddhist, 1/4 Pagan, 1/4 Atheist, and 1/4 baffled. Often I wish that the Buddhist part would grow but, as is my experience with all quasi-religious ideologies, it stumbles on close examination. For example, I would like to think that we are all expressions of some universal consciousness, that the eons of cosmic history have passed (in whatever that means when time is not a constant) to allow for a constant movement toward understanding, wisdom, and compassion. But my experience of the cosmos suggests nothing of the kind. Since I have no recollection of any life before this one, and my memories of this one are fuzzy, questionable, and suspect at best, what does karma mean to me? A white, male, American born in 1955…I am one of the most privileged of persons in all of human history. What did I do to deserve this and, given that much of my privilege is the result of a society that has a history of racism, genocide, oppression, slavery, and war, how is this some kind of “reward”? Also, what will my “next life” be that is better than this one, and what did I do to deserve it? I don’t remember much of what this life has been.

If I were some expression of eternal, cosmic, consciousness, what purpose is served by my not knowing that, not experiencing that, not being able to take advantage of that? I would love to remember all of the mistakes I have made, all the things I have learned, every interaction I have had that has helped or hurt me in this life. How much better off would I be if I could remember the lessons of hundreds of lives lived over the course of all of human history? If that were the case would not all all of human kind be, by now, be far along in our evolution of wisdom and compassion? The fact that we are such a miserable excuse for “intelligence” in the cosmos would suggest we will turn out to be a short-lived, failed, evolutionary experiment.

Anyway, I thought I would drop by, see what kind of trouble I could get myself into.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2017, 10:45:46 pm »
I would like to think that we are all expressions of some universal consciousness, that the eons of cosmic history have passed (in whatever that means when time is not a constant) to allow for a constant movement toward understanding, wisdom, and compassion. But my experience of the cosmos suggests nothing of the kind. Since I have no recollection of any life before this one, and my memories of this one are fuzzy, questionable, and suspect at best, what does karma mean to me? A white, male, American born in 1955…I am one of the most privileged of persons in all of human history. What did I do to deserve this and, given that much of my privilege is the result of a society that has a history of [colonial & imperialist theft] racism, genocide, oppression, slavery, and war, how is this some kind of “reward”? Also, what will my “next life” be that is better than this one, and what did I do to deserve it? I don’t remember much of what this life has been.


 :goodpost:

If I were some expression of eternal, cosmic, consciousness, what purpose is served by my not knowing that, not experiencing that, not being able to take advantage of that? I would love to remember all of the mistakes I have made, all the things I have learned, every interaction I have had that has helped or hurt me in this life. How much better off would I be if I could remember the lessons of hundreds of lives lived over the course of all of human history? If that were the case would not all all of human kind be, by now, be far along in our evolution of wisdom and compassion? The fact that we are such a miserable excuse for “intelligence” in the cosmos would suggest we will turn out to be a short-lived, failed, evolutionary experiment.


 :goodpost:  However, what you have written is unrelated to the essence of Buddhism because original Buddhism did not teach about an eternal cosmic consciousness.

Welcome, TJ  :namaste:

Quote
"Now what do you think of this, O monks? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?"

"Impermanent, O Lord."

"Now, what is impermanent, is that unsatisfactory or satisfactory?"

"Unsatisfactory, O Lord."

"Now, what is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard it as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?"

"Indeed, not that, O Lord."

"Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever consciousness, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that consciousness must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

Anatta-lakkhana Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.059.mend.html


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It would be better for the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person to hold to the body composed of the four great elements, rather than the mind, as the self. Why is that? Because this body composed of the four great elements is seen standing for a year, two years, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred years or more. But what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another. Just as a monkey, swinging through a forest wilderness, grabs a branch. Letting go of it, it grabs another branch. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. Letting go of that, it grabs another one. In the same way, what's called 'mind,' 'intellect,' or 'consciousness' by day and by night arises as one thing and ceases as another.

Assutavā Sutta: Uninstructed http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.061.than.html


« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 11:01:19 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2017, 11:00:51 pm »
To add, about the original Buddhist view of consciousness:

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'Consciousness, consciousness': Thus is it said. To what extent, friend, is it said to be 'consciousness'?

'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus, friend, it is said to be 'consciousness.' And what does it cognize? It cognizes 'pleasant.' It cognizes 'painful.' It cognizes 'neither painful nor pleasant.' 'It cognizes, it cognizes': Thus it is said to be 'consciousness.'

Mahavedalla Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.043.than.html


Quote
'The six classes of consciousness should be known.' Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said? Dependent on the eye & forms there arises consciousness at the eye. Dependent on the ear & sounds there arises consciousness at the ear. Dependent on the nose & aromas there arises consciousness at the nose. Dependent on the tongue & flavors there arises consciousness at the tongue. Dependent on the body & tactile sensations there arises consciousness at the body. Dependent on the intellect & ideas there arises consciousness at the intellect. 'The six classes of consciousness should be known.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

Chachakka Sutta: The Six Sextets http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.148.than.html


Quote
It's good, monks, that you understand the Dhamma taught by me in this way, for in many ways I have said of dependently co-arisen consciousness, 'Apart from a requisite condition, there is no coming-into-play of consciousness.'

Just as fire is classified simply by whatever requisite condition in dependence on which it burns — a fire that burns in dependence on wood is classified simply as a wood-fire, a fire that burns in dependence on wood-chips is classified simply as a wood-chip-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on grass is classified simply as a grass-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on cow-dung is classified simply as a cow-dung-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on chaff is classified simply as a chaff-fire; a fire that burns in dependence on rubbish is classified simply as a rubbish-fire — in the same way, consciousness is classified simply by the requisite condition in dependence on which it arises.

Consciousness that arises in dependence on the eye & forms is classified simply as eye-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the ear & sounds is classified simply as ear-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the nose & aromas is classified simply as nose-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the tongue & flavors is classified simply as tongue-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the body & tactile sensations is classified simply as body-consciousness. Consciousness that arises in dependence on the intellect & ideas is classified simply as intellect-consciousness.

Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.038.than.html


 :listen: :namaste:

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2017, 11:14:21 pm »
And this:
Quote
Now suppose that a magician or magician's apprentice were to display a magic trick at a major intersection and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a magic trick?

In the same way, a monk sees, observes & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?

Phena Sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.095.than.html


 :namaste:

Offline ground

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Re: New around here
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2017, 11:40:48 pm »
However, what you have written is unrelated to the essence of Buddhism because original Buddhism did not teach about an eternal cosmic consciousness. 
Is there any type of buddhism that does? To my knowledge, none of the many kinds of traditional buddhisms does teach that.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2017, 11:44:23 pm by ground »

Offline ground

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Re: New around here
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2017, 11:51:31 pm »
I often describe my world view as 1/4 Buddhist, 1/4 Pagan, 1/4 Atheist, and 1/4 baffled. Often I wish that the Buddhist part would grow but, as is my experience with all quasi-religious ideologies, it stumbles on close examination. ..

Hi!

Since present day buddhist sphere also knows 'secular buddhism' which is kind of 'non-religious' the rationality of a non-believer and buddhism may go together quite well.

Offline Pixie

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Re: New around here
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 02:33:12 am »
Quote
Since I have no recollection of any life before this one, and my memories of this one are fuzzy, questionable, and suspect at best, what does karma mean to me?....


Hi  tj,

You might like this article "Natural Buddhism" by Gil Fronsdal of the USA Insight Meditation Centre:

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/natural-buddhism/

Excerpt:

Quote

Beliefs found in Buddhism that could be called supernatural are rebirth, the working of karma over multiple lifetimes, heavens and hells, devas and Māras, miracles, merit and merit transfer, and many of the psychic powers mentioned in Buddhist texts (e.g., walking through walls, flying, and talking with gods.)

None of my Buddhist teachers in either the West and in Asia required me to have faith in unverified beliefs. Instead, they instructed me to be deeply aware of my experience, including what beliefs I was holding. In fact, I suspect the deep questioning of my views and beliefs that they expected would have been inhibited by believing in what is supernatural.



With best wishes,

Pixie _/|\_

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be deprived of true happiness devoid of any suffering.
May they abide in great impartiality, free from attachment to loved ones and aversion to others.

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2017, 02:45:06 am »
However, what you have written is unrelated to the essence of Buddhism because original Buddhism did not teach about an eternal cosmic consciousness. 
Is there any type of buddhism that does? To my knowledge, none of the many kinds of traditional buddhisms does teach that.

Most Buddhists schools have ideas of re-linking consciousness; stream of consciousness; mind-stream; bardo; etc; which are alien to original Buddhism and, despite the excuses, basically pupport a permanent consciousness that transmigrates over billions of lifetimes (which TJ pointed out is illogical).  :listen:

Offline ground

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Re: New around here
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2017, 05:26:15 am »
However, what you have written is unrelated to the essence of Buddhism because original Buddhism did not teach about an eternal cosmic consciousness. 
Is there any type of buddhism that does? To my knowledge, none of the many kinds of traditional buddhisms does teach that.

Most Buddhists schools have ideas of re-linking consciousness; stream of consciousness; mind-stream; bardo; etc; which are alien to original Buddhism and, despite the excuses, basically pupport a permanent consciousness that transmigrates over billions of lifetimes (which TJ pointed out is illogical).  :listen:
But that's not considered to be an 'an eternal cosmic consciousness'. An eternal cosmic consciousness is only asserted by Hindu-related religions and is similar to a kind of non-personal theistic belief.

And as to 'stream of consciousness' this is a general buddhist concept also found in 'original Buddhism' since the 'stream' is just one moment of consciousness following after the other.

Belief in re-birth - what you call 'transmigration' - however is a general feature of all traditional buddhisms, incl. 'original Buddhism'. Only present day 'secular buddhism' does not affirm such beliefs.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 05:36:37 am by ground »

Offline tj

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Re: New around here
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2017, 06:08:47 am »
Much thanks to all for the friendly and thoughtful replies. It seems to me that the idea of reincarnation is a kind of cosmic consciousness, how else could it be described? My "cosmic consciousness" is a thought the seeps across from my overall view of a universe of "deep time" (13.8 billion years), and deep space (some 46 billion light years across - more - infinite). Since quantum mechanics suggests that, in ways that might always be beyond our ability to understand, all of the universe is a single, evolving event, where every particle "knows" every other particle, (including the particles that currently make up our brains); that consciousness itself is more than a emergent property, having its foundations in the most fundamental energy exchanges everywhere in the cosmos.

And yet, (my) experience of life doesn't seem to reflect that kind of reality. Mostly "I" seem to be a bauble, an utterly inconsequential bit of flotsum that exists for minute spark of time. 

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2017, 12:02:48 pm »
And as to 'stream of consciousness' this is a general buddhist concept also found in 'original Buddhism' since the 'stream' is just one moment of consciousness following after the other.

It is not found in original Buddhism, which is why you cannot support this erroneous idea with any reference.

I quoted the Pali suttas about consciousness. No 'stream' in mentioned.

'Stream of consciousness' is found in only one single place in the Pali suttas (DN 28); is not related to reincarnation; is of questionable meaning; due to having no similarities to anything else taught in the Pali suttas.

 :curtain:

Quote
In this body are hairs, down, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, spleen, lungs, bowels, mesentery, stomach, faeces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, saliva, snot, synovial fluid, urine, and goes on to meditate after that on the human skeleton [as covered by] skin, flesh and blood; and he goes on after that to discern the stream of human consciousness established both in this world and in another world. DN 28

Purisassa ca viññāṇasotaṃ pajānāti, ubhayato abbocchinnaṃ idha loke patiṭṭhitañca paraloke patiṭṭhitañca.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 12:08:12 pm by VisuddhiRaptor »

Offline VisuddhiRaptor

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Re: New around here
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2017, 12:25:02 pm »
Much thanks to all for the friendly and thoughtful replies. It seems to me that the idea of reincarnation is a kind of cosmic consciousness, how else could it be described?

Reincarnation is a superstition. Regardless, in Buddhism, consciousness is mental cognition, namely, seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling, knowing, etc. It is not an eternal energy.

Quote
My "cosmic consciousness" is a thought the seeps across from my overall view of a universe of "deep time" (13.8 billion years), and deep space (some 46 billion light years across - more - infinite).

Sounds like the idea of 'god'.

Quote
Since quantum mechanics suggests that,...

Where? How?

Quote
in ways that might always be beyond our ability to understand,

Where? How?

Quote
all of the universe is a single, evolving event, where every particle "knows" every other particle

I doubt forces of physical & chemical reactions are "knowing". For example, when cool wind from the sea blows towards a hot land mass, this is not "knowing"; similar to when water flows into a low land mass. These forces of gravity, magnetism, physics & homeostasis are unlikely "consciousness".

Quote
(including the particles that currently make up our brains); that consciousness itself is more than a emergent property, having its foundations in the most fundamental energy exchanges everywhere in the cosmos.

This is unrelated to Buddhism. In Buddhism, consciousness is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling & mental knowing.

Quote
And yet, (my) experience of life doesn't seem to reflect that kind of reality.

Yes. This is because the ideas or theories you posted are unknowable superstitions.

Quote
Mostly "I" seem to be a bauble, an utterly inconsequential bit of flotsum that exists for minute spark of time.

Buddhism teaches the manufactured superstitious idea of "I" creates suffering.

However, what is called an individual life, namely, "the five aggregates", yes, they are an inconsequential bit of flotsum, exactly as Buddhism explains, below  :listen::

Quote
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Ayojjhans on the banks of the Ganges River. There he addressed the monks: "Monks, suppose that a large glob of foam were floating down this Ganges River, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a glob of foam? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any form (the physical body) that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in form?

"Now suppose that in the autumn — when it's raining in fat, heavy drops — a water bubble were to appear & disappear on the water, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a water bubble? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any feeling that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in feeling?

"Now suppose that in the last month of the hot season a mirage were shimmering, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a mirage? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any perception that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in perception?

"Now suppose that a man desiring heartwood, in quest of heartwood, seeking heartwood, were to go into a forest carrying a sharp ax. There he would see a large banana tree: straight, young, of enormous height. He would cut it at the root and, having cut it at the root, would chop off the top. Having chopped off the top, he would peel away the outer skin. Peeling away the outer skin, he wouldn't even find sapwood, to say nothing of heartwood. Then a man with good eyesight would see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a banana tree? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any fabrications that are past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing them, observing them, & appropriately examining them — they would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in fabrications?

"Now suppose that a magician or magician's apprentice were to display a magic trick at a major intersection, and a man with good eyesight were to see it, observe it, & appropriately examine it. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in a magic trick? In the same way, a monk sees, observes, & appropriately examines any consciousness that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near. To him — seeing it, observing it, & appropriately examining it — it would appear empty, void, without substance: for what substance would there be in consciousness?

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. Through dispassion, he's released. With release there's the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, said further:


Form is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick —
   this has been taught
   by the Kinsman of the Sun.
However you observe them,
appropriately examine them,
they're empty, void
   to whoever sees them
   appropriately.

Beginning with the body
as taught by the One
with profound discernment:
when abandoned by three things
   — life, warmth, & consciousness —
form is rejected, cast aside.
When bereft of these
it lies thrown away,
   senseless,
   a meal for others.
That's the way it goes:
it's a magic trick,
an idiot's babbling.
It's said to be
   a murderer.
No substance here
is found.

Thus a monk, persistence aroused,
should view the aggregates
by day & by night,
   mindful,
   alert;
should discard all fetters;
should make himself
   his own refuge;
should live as if
his head were on fire —
   in hopes of the state
   with no falling away.

Phena Sutta: Foam http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.095.than.html


 :namaste:

Offline ground

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Re: New around here
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2017, 07:41:44 pm »
Much thanks to all for the friendly and thoughtful replies. It seems to me that the idea of reincarnation is a kind of cosmic consciousness, how else could it be described? My "cosmic consciousness" is a thought the seeps across from my overall view of a universe of "deep time" (13.8 billion years), and deep space (some 46 billion light years across - more - infinite). Since quantum mechanics suggests that, in ways that might always be beyond our ability to understand, all of the universe is a single, evolving event, where every particle "knows" every other particle, (including the particles that currently make up our brains); that consciousness itself is more than a emergent property, having its foundations in the most fundamental energy exchanges everywhere in the cosmos.

And yet, (my) experience of life doesn't seem to reflect that kind of reality. Mostly "I" seem to be a bauble, an utterly inconsequential bit of flotsum that exists for minute spark of time.
Seems you're into New Age fantasies more than into buddhism.  :teehee:

Offline asifshaikh

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Re: New around here
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2017, 08:56:30 pm »
Welcome TJ..you will be a value addition to Free Sangha with your philosophies. Look forward to hearing more from you.
As an artist, I find these Buddha paintings truly inspirational.

Offline tj

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Re: New around here
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2017, 05:21:57 pm »
ground, thanks for the smile... There is no way you can know this, but about the last way anyone would describe me is "new age". My musing about consciousness stem more from my understanding of quantum mechanics (admittedly a lay person's understanding) and the mystery (to me) that is self awareness. One could argue that the cosmos could, in fact should, exists exactly as it is except that we should be automatons; no more aware of ourselves and our surrounds than is any machine. The overwhelming majority of the physics of the cosmos happens without any self awareness, at least that we can observe. Yet, somehow, complex life forms display that rather astounding quality.

So it seems possible, even likely, that the foundations of consciousness lie somewhere deep in the workings of the universe, that we enjoy that emergent property as a function of layer upon layer of complexity. And, to me, it is a complexity of energy rather than matter as it it entirely proper to see every interaction in the cosmos as a play of energy fields, and equally accurate to describe matter as condensed energy.

This is the universe as we have discovered it to be and yet; as J.B.S Haldane states in one of my favorite quotes:

"I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."



 


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