Author Topic: Self and Re-incarnation  (Read 4069 times)

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2018, 02:20:04 am »

It's saying that there is something beyond the conditioned world of our "normal" experience, ie Nibbana.  There are different ideas about what this means.  You could interpret it as referring to a radically different state of mind free from the taints, or as another sphere or realm which becomes accessible on the attainment of certain meditative states.  It depends whether you view such statements as epistemology or ontology.

I don't need Buddhism to teach me the blindingly obvious. Most things, by far, have always been beyond the conditioned experience of everyone, whether  normal or not, Nirvana or not.

Currently, the total, combined knowledge of modern Physics implies that we have reached the stage of potentially being able to detect, with our latest, most sophisticated scientific instruments, only 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Its existence cannot be detected, but only inferred from our current theories, which might be wrong on a cosmic scale.

Nibbana is nothing to do with dark matter and dark energy.  You're comparing apples and oranges.
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2018, 06:40:08 am »

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist,

please define "exist".

That's not difficult. Anything which can be detected by any means available can be said to exist. However, our interpretations and descriptions of what is detected can vary enormously.

You seem to have jut contradicted yourself.


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according modern science and all rational thought,

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in the context of this discussion, who cares about science?

I do, for a start.

That's fantastic, but in the context of this topic, it is wholly irrelevant.

Science has absolutely nothing to say on this subject.  There are no studies, experiments or any research finding that either prove or refute the Buddhist concepts of self and rebirth.



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The vast majority of the current population exist as a result of the benefits of science and technology. Prior to the development of science, the world population was very small.
A major criticism I have of many religious adherents is that they often seem to ignore the knowledge of modern science and sometimes believe to the death that certain concepts in the scriptures are true, despite the contrary evidence of modern science. An example would be the Christian denial of the theory of evolution.
As I've mentioned before, my interest in Buddhism increased after I came across the Kalama Sutta, because that sutta directly addresses what I see as a major flaw in most other religions; the blind acceptance of everything which is written in the scriptures.

THis is irrelevant to the topic as well, and takes us completely off-topic.

Let me remind you, I said in the context of this discussion.


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Well, if it is subject to c & E it does not exist inherently.

Absolutely true. Science confirms this.

Really now.  Can you cite a specific example where science confirms the Buddhist concept of inherent existsence.



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Some obvious examples: Water exists as a liquid only in certain conditions.

I'm talking about inherent existence.  Do you even know what that means?

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It would seem to me, logically, that it is impossible for a living person to experience something which is not conditioned, because life is a conditioned process.


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You have Buddha Nature

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I have no objection to such a statement. I interpret it as meaning that each person, however awful their behaviour has been in the past, has the potential to become 'good', by practising the teachings of the Buddha.
[/quote]

Well, you sure got that wrong.  That might work for a crowd of new agers, but it's not what Buddha Nature is.

Offline VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2018, 07:05:35 am »

It's saying that there is something beyond the conditioned world of our "normal" experience, ie Nibbana.  There are different ideas about what this means.  You could interpret it as referring to a radically different state of mind free from the taints, or as another sphere or realm which becomes accessible on the attainment of certain meditative states.  It depends whether you view such statements as epistemology or ontology.

I don't need Buddhism to teach me the blindingly obvious. Most things, by far, have always been beyond the conditioned experience of everyone, whether  normal or not, Nirvana or not.

Currently, the total, combined knowledge of modern Physics implies that we have reached the stage of potentially being able to detect, with our latest, most sophisticated scientific instruments, only 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Its existence cannot be detected, but only inferred from our current theories, which might be wrong on a cosmic scale.

Nibbana is nothing to do with dark matter and dark energy.  You're comparing apples and oranges.

How do you know? If your statement is true, then that would imply that you know what Nirvana is, and you know what Dark Matter and Dark Energy is. You must be very enlightened. Even Gautama Buddha did not know about Dark Matter and Dark Energy.  :wink1:

Anyway, my point wasn't to make a connection between Nirvana and Dark Energy, but to emphasise that there's an awful lot of knowledge and understanding which is beyond so-called normal, conditioned experience, and even more which is beyond anyone's understanding and experience.

PS. There are those who know that they don't know, and those who don't know that they don't know.  :wink1:
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 05:24:14 pm by VincentRJ »

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #33 on: August 20, 2018, 01:35:37 am »

It's saying that there is something beyond the conditioned world of our "normal" experience, ie Nibbana.  There are different ideas about what this means.  You could interpret it as referring to a radically different state of mind free from the taints, or as another sphere or realm which becomes accessible on the attainment of certain meditative states.  It depends whether you view such statements as epistemology or ontology.

I don't need Buddhism to teach me the blindingly obvious. Most things, by far, have always been beyond the conditioned experience of everyone, whether  normal or not, Nirvana or not.

Currently, the total, combined knowledge of modern Physics implies that we have reached the stage of potentially being able to detect, with our latest, most sophisticated scientific instruments, only 5% of the matter and energy that surrounds us. The other 95% is called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Its existence cannot be detected, but only inferred from our current theories, which might be wrong on a cosmic scale.

Nibbana is nothing to do with dark matter and dark energy.  You're comparing apples and oranges.

How do you know? If your statement is true, then that would imply that you know what Nirvana is, and you know what Dark Matter and Dark Energy is. You must be very enlightened. Even Gautama Buddha did not know about Dark Matter and Dark Energy.  :wink1:

Anyway, my point wasn't to make a connection between Nirvana and Dark Energy, but to emphasise that there's an awful lot of knowledge and understanding which is beyond so-called normal, conditioned experience, and even more which is beyond anyone's understanding and experience.

PS. There are those who know that they don't know, and those who don't know that they don't know.  :wink1:

Meh.
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Offline Chaz

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2018, 06:31:36 am »

How do you know? If your statement is true, then that would imply that you know what Nirvana is, and you know what Dark Matter and Dark Energy is. You must be very enlightened. Even Gautama Buddha did not know about Dark Matter and Dark Energy.  :wink1:

There is a huge difference between "knowing about" something and enlightenment.

And DL is correct. Nibanna has nothing to do with dark matter and energy.  Neither does this topic.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #35 on: August 20, 2018, 08:12:02 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!

IMHO they probably refer to the same general experience, but as soon as it's objectified or reified it becomes something else and falls into the secondary, which is not at all satisfying.

But what is your understanding of "Original Mind"?  I have come across different descriptions.

Yes, “different descriptions,”  but all pointing to the same elephant, which defies accurate description in words.

“Original Mind” is unborn, so it’s said to be “original.” The term itself is pretty self explanatory. Although it essentially refers to the same thing as your nibbana or the unborn, it’s a more hopeful, even romantic, aspect because it emphasizes that everyone already has it complete and readymade. Your Sutta quote says, “If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born..” In other words, it’s always present, right here, right now. Trying to grasp it intellectually only takes one further away from it.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 08:30:40 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Chaz

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #36 on: August 20, 2018, 12:57:43 pm »


“Original Mind” is unborn, so it’s said to be “original.” The term itself is pretty self explanatory.

Some schools refer to it as "Ordinary Mind", which isn't quite as self-explanatory.

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2018, 01:28:58 am »

"There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned."

That's another profound Sutta quote I really like, which is much like zen and sunyata, although in zen it's usually called "the Unborn" (not to be confused with the "undead" or the "unborn" of abortion opponents -- at least I don't think so).

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!

IMHO they probably refer to the same general experience, but as soon as it's objectified or reified it becomes something else and falls into the secondary, which is not at all satisfying.

But what is your understanding of "Original Mind"?  I have come across different descriptions.

Yes, “different descriptions,”  but all pointing to the same elephant, which defies accurate description in words.

“Original Mind” is unborn, so it’s said to be “original.” The term itself is pretty self explanatory. Although it essentially refers to the same thing as your nibbana or the unborn, it’s a more hopeful, even romantic, aspect because it emphasizes that everyone already has it complete and readymade. Your Sutta quote says, “If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born..” In other words, it’s always present, right here, right now. Trying to grasp it intellectually only takes one further away from it.

So then presumably the point of Buddhist practice to get rid of the ignorance and delusion that prevents us seeing ( being? ) original mind / nibbana / unborn?
Or is it more like "seeing through" the conditioned, and recognising something deeper? 
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Offline Lone Cypress

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2018, 07:35:56 pm »
.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 08:15:15 am by Lone Cypress »

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2018, 02:25:32 am »
My understanding of original mind is not so much a matter of “seeing through” conditioning, but rather a return to something you had and lost, as distinctions, perspectives, opinions, etc., developed. Unlearning bad habits? Perhaps zafrogzen said it better.
One way of looking at original mind is that it is the one a person would have had if not for all the assumptions and beliefs imposed on it by society.
“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 zafrogzen

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #40 on: August 22, 2018, 11:49:57 am »
From Dairy Lama --
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So then presumably the point of Buddhist practice to get rid of the ignorance and delusion that prevents us seeing ( being? ) original mind / nibbana / unborn?
Or is it more like "seeing through" the conditioned, and recognizing something deeper?

I'd say both, although it's more like a "letting go" of ignorant and delusive thinking. Countless enlightening moments have given me a firm faith in the original mind, but I can't say that I've got a real handle on it or that I'm always able to find it whenever I want to. I'm still working on that. I certainly hope there are additional lives to keep practicing, because I'll need them.

At least I know there's that ultimate refuge. It's a matter of stabilizing it through consistent practice (letting go). I don't think anyone is ever really done, despite what you might hear.

« Last Edit: August 22, 2018, 10:09:35 pm by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline Dairy Lama

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #41 on: August 23, 2018, 01:09:58 am »
My understanding of original mind is not so much a matter of “seeing through” conditioning, but rather a return to something you had and lost, as distinctions, perspectives, opinions, etc., developed. Unlearning bad habits? Perhaps zafrogzen said it better.
One way of looking at original mind is that it is the one a person would have had if not for all the assumptions and beliefs imposed on it by society.

So would that be like the mind of a young child, prior to conditioning by family, etc?
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2018, 02:54:14 am »
My understanding of original mind is not so much a matter of “seeing through” conditioning, but rather a return to something you had and lost, as distinctions, perspectives, opinions, etc., developed. Unlearning bad habits? Perhaps zafrogzen said it better.
One way of looking at original mind is that it is the one a person would have had if not for all the assumptions and beliefs imposed on it by society.


So would that be like the mind of a young child, prior to conditioning by family, etc?

I like to think that long before religions arose people sometimes continued with this kind of mind as they grew up, sat around the fire or collecting berries or waiting by a trail, and would slip into insight meditation, being then free to interpret such experiences in their own unique way. So much of the Buddhist path is unlearning conditioning, which is one reason I like it so much.
“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 VincentRJ

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2018, 07:11:46 am »

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist,

please define "exist".

That's not difficult. Anything which can be detected by any means available can be said to exist. However, our interpretations and descriptions of what is detected can vary enormously.

You seem to have jut contradicted yourself.


Really! I'm all ears. Please explain how I appear to have contradicted myself. There's not much point in making bald statements like, 'you're wrong', 'Buddhism has nothing to do with science', 'Buddhism has nothing to do with Dark Energy', and so on, unless you can explain why, and give reasons for your point of view, as I always try to do.

Without such explanations, there is no learning. The reason I'm interested in Buddhism is because I'm interested in the 'truth'. Science is also all about truth, so there is the connection.

Of course, certain disciplines of science, such as Psychology and Neuroscience, will have a more direct connections to Buddhism than other disciplines.
The relevance of Dark Matter and Dark Energy to certain Buddhist concepts of the 'unborn', the 'self', 'rebirth', and so on, is that the concepts are all unclear and impossible to accurately describe because they are beyond our conditioned experience, or, in the case of Dark Energy, beyond the conditioned and generally acceped theories of science. The term 'Dark' is used because there just appears to be a type of energy and matter which is currently invisible and undetectable. Its existence is just hypothetical.

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Science has absolutely nothing to say on this subject.  There are no studies, experiments or any research finding that either prove or refute the Buddhist concepts of self and rebirth.

That's simply not true, although it's true that such concepts have not been either proved or refuted beyond reasonable doubt, in accordance with the most rigorous scientific methodology. However, there are a number of studies which suggest that some type of rebirth, or a recollection of a former life, is the most plausible explanation for certain observations.

Try reading the following article:

https://buddhaweekly.com/rebirth-part-2-is-there-scientific-evidence-of-rebirth/

"Scientists have routinely been presented with evidence to at least partially support the notion of rebirth. Reincarnation or rebirth serve as the only conceivable explanation for children as young as three years of age, having detailed knowledge of their past lives, where they stayed, what they did, even how they died. Other evidence of reincarnation includes xenoglossy, or the ability to speak in a language a person has never learnt and the existence of matching scars and birthmarks."

"In theory, the human body is constantly being reborn. Cells in the body are constantly reborn. Even though we might hold  the illusion that we are unchanging, in fact we are a different physical human being now, than we were one month ago. The same is true of the Universe. Of every atom and molecule in the Universe. We are constantly recycling, even within our “one lifetime.” It is, perhaps, for the more science-oriented, easier to accept the notion of some form or rebirth. It’s easier to accept recycling of energy and matter, certainly, than extinction."

"The landmark work of Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, still best introduces the parallels between modern physics and eastern philosophical thought: “Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated “building blocks,” but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitutes the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the object’s interaction with the observer”

Offline Chaz

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Re: Self and Re-incarnation
« Reply #44 on: August 23, 2018, 09:41:04 am »


Really! I'm all ears. Please explain how I appear to have contradicted myself. There's not much point in making bald statements like, 'you're wrong', 'Buddhism has nothing to do with science', 'Buddhism has nothing to do with Dark Energy', and so on, unless you can explain why, and give reasons for your point of view, as I always try to do.

You're the one who made the positive statement , and by the "rules" of debate/discussion, the burden is on YOU you support YOUR assertion regarding Dark Matter/Energy

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Without such explanations, there is no learning. The reason I'm interested in Buddhism is because I'm interested in the 'truth'. Science is also all about truth, so there is the connection.

Science is about money.  Science only studies what what can be funded and/or that can post a profit later.  They don't give a shit about the truth.  Ask the people of Hiroshima.

As the good Dr. Jones said about truth, "If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's Philosophy class is right down the hall."

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Science has absolutely nothing to say on this subject.  There are no studies, experiments or any research finding that either prove or refute the Buddhist concepts of self and rebirth.

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That's simply not true, although it's true that such concepts have not been either proved or refuted beyond reasonable doubt, in accordance with the most rigorous scientific methodology.

Wow! you contradicted yourself again!

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However, there are a number of studies which suggest that some type of rebirth, or a recollection of a former life, is the most plausible explanation for certain observations.

Suggestion based on inference.  Not enough to base an assertion on.

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Try reading the following article:

https://buddhaweekly.com/rebirth-part-2-is-there-scientific-evidence-of-rebirth/

"Scientists have routinely been presented with evidence to at least partially support the notion of rebirth. Reincarnation or rebirth serve as the only conceivable explanation for children as young as three years of age, having detailed knowledge of their past lives, where they stayed, what they did, even how they died. Other evidence of reincarnation includes xenoglossy, or the ability to speak in a language a person has never learnt and the existence of matching scars and birthmarks."

"In theory, the human body is constantly being reborn. Cells in the body are constantly reborn. Even though we might hold  the illusion that we are unchanging, in fact we are a different physical human being now, than we were one month ago. The same is true of the Universe. Of every atom and molecule in the Universe. We are constantly recycling, even within our “one lifetime.” It is, perhaps, for the more science-oriented, easier to accept the notion of some form or rebirth. It’s easier to accept recycling of energy and matter, certainly, than extinction."

"The landmark work of Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics, still best introduces the parallels between modern physics and eastern philosophical thought: “Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we cannot decompose the world into independently existing smallest units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated “building blocks,” but rather appears as a complicated web of relations between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way. The human observer constitutes the final link in the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can be understood only in terms of the object’s interaction with the observer”

None of that is really proof of anything.  More likely it's to help insecure Buddhists feel better about their irrational beliefs.

The thing is, we need not bother with science when it comes to the Path.  It's an unnecessary encumbrance.  The truth we seek is not to be found in facts.

 


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