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Archives => Mahayana => Topic started by: zencat999 on August 11, 2018, 05:55:56 am

Title: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zencat999 on August 11, 2018, 05:55:56 am
I've been listening to some old recordings of a teacher talking about 'voidness' or 'wisdom' and I must admit to being very confused.

If there is no 'fixed, permanent self' then what gets re-incarnated? A quantum 'stream of consciousness' or what?  :pray:
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on August 12, 2018, 04:26:49 am
The old original Pali scriptures generally did not teach "anatta/sunnata" ("not-self"/"voidness") and "kamma & rebirth" together and generally referred to a "self", "person", "being", "man" or "woman" that is "reborn". However, over time, later-day Buddhists manufactured different theories to negate the "self" being "reborn". Therefore, its all generally convoluted and confusing.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 12, 2018, 08:21:01 am
I've been listening to some old recordings of a teacher talking about 'voidness' or 'wisdom' and I must admit to being very confused.

If there is no 'fixed, permanent self' then what gets re-incarnated? A quantum 'stream of consciousness' or what?  :pray:

As I understand, it is character traits and tendencies which are transmitted through the processes of reincarnation, rather than a composite self or identity.

However, the precise methods by which such tendencies are passed on to future generations are most likely mere speculation when they are addressed and explained in the scriptures.

One should bear in mind that people in ancient times had no understanding of modern genetics. However, they were able to observe that people seemed to inherit certain traits, and the mystical, spiritual, process of reincarnation was one of their explanations, which is perhaps a better explanation than Christianity can provide.

One of the puzzles of the belief in a Creator God, which is never fully explained, is why a loving and caring God could allow an innocent child to be born into suffering due to genetic deformities, disease, an abusive environment, and so on.

The Buddhist explanation seems more rational. All our actions have consequences. Bad behaviour has bad consequences, and good behaviour has goood consequences, and such consequences are passed on from generation to generation.

There's a branch of modern genetics called 'epigenetic inheritance', which offers a possible explanation for how character traits resulting from our behaviour in this life, might be passed on to our children. Following is a link which tries to explain the process. However, the field of genetics is enormously complicated.
https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/inheritance/
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 12, 2018, 08:30:06 am
I've been listening to some old recordings of a teacher talking about 'voidness' or 'wisdom' and I must admit to being very confused.

If there is no 'fixed, permanent self' then what gets re-incarnated? A quantum 'stream of consciousness' or what?  :pray:

I've always like the story about Trungpa Rinpoche when he was asked this question:

"With rebirth what is "reborn"."

Trungpa answered:

"Our bad habits."
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zencat999 on August 12, 2018, 12:50:10 pm
From this site:

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/general-buddhism-discussion/rebirth-resources-and-links-only-please-post-opinions-in-the-danger-zone/ (http://www.freesangha.com/forums/general-buddhism-discussion/rebirth-resources-and-links-only-please-post-opinions-in-the-danger-zone/)

The above uses Professor Ian Stephenson's 'research' as the main source of evidence for re-incarnation but then many are skeptical about this research. Where does that leave us?

http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html (http://skepdic.com/stevenson.html)
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 13, 2018, 01:21:58 am
The old original Pali scriptures...

Which ones are you referring to exactly?
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: stillpointdancer on August 13, 2018, 01:48:21 am
There are a number of ways of dealing with rebirth. You can accept it, reject it, remain puzzled by it, ignore it, spend your life trying to understand it, you can even wait until you die to see whether you get the 'bright/dull' light choice (always the bright light apparently). I rephrase a famous zen saying, 'There is neither rebirth nor not rebirth', and this pretty much covers it for me.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on August 13, 2018, 03:53:03 am
'Birth' ('jati') means the production of the view or idea of 'a being', 'self' or 'person'. 'Death' is the idea that 'being' will cease (which is painful). '

'Re-birth' is merely the perpetuation of these 'self' ideas based on kamma (action). For example, a person, who thinks they are a person, does a good action and delights in the results of that good action, thinking: "I did good; I am happy". This is "re-birth" of the idea of "I" or "self". "Happiness" is "heaven".

If a bad action is performed, the mind (or idea of "person") suffers with regret or unhappiness. This is "re-birth" of the idea of "I" or "self". "Unhappiness" is "hell".

Thus, the old Buddhist scriptures teach "a being" or "self" is "reborn" because that is actually what is "born" again, namely, the idea of "self" or "me".

Quote
There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — assumes the five aggregates to be self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.081.than.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.081.than.html)

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When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, & mind, who did not revile noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.004.than.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.004.than.html)

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Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Mara, have you grasped a view?
This is a heap of sheer constructions:
Here no being is found.

Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.010.bodh.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.010.bodh.html)



Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 13, 2018, 07:52:21 pm
Raptor, what you're saying makes sense in regards to assuming and getting attached to an "identity" in this very life, but the OP asked,
Quote
"If there is no 'fixed, permanent self' then what gets re-incarnated?
You say it's the "idea of self" that continues into another life? Isn't that just a mental fabrication or collection of thoughts? How does something so superficial and bound up in the circumstances of this present life continue, when the individual brain, the source of thinking, is dead and gone? Or is there something beyond the physical body and brain? If so, what is it?
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 14, 2018, 01:26:04 am
'Birth' ('jati') means the production of the view or idea of 'a being', 'self' or 'person'. 'Death' is the idea that 'being' will cease (which is painful). '

This is incorrect.  In the suttas birth, aging and death are clearly described as physical events and processes, not as views.

See for example the nidana "definitions" in SN12.2:

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.
"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html)

And of course birth arises in dependence upon bhava ( existence ) in the three realms, as explained in the same sutta.

Quote
When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings.  ....with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.004.than.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.004.than.html)

Quote
Why now do you assume 'a being'?
Just as, with an assemblage of parts,
The word 'chariot' is used,
So, when the aggregates are present,
There's the convention 'a being.'
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.010.bodh.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn05/sn05.010.bodh.html)

It's clearly the convention "a being" which is being referred to in the first passage.  So your argument falls flat here.

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on August 14, 2018, 07:23:38 pm
'Birth' ('jati') means the production of the view or idea of 'a being', 'self' or 'person'. 'Death' is the idea that 'being' will cease (which is painful). '

This is incorrect.  In the suttas birth, aging and death are clearly described as physical events and processes, not as views.

See for example the nidana "definitions" in SN12.2:

"Now what is aging and death? Whatever aging, decrepitude, brokenness, graying, wrinkling, decline of life-force, weakening of the faculties of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called aging. Whatever deceasing, passing away, breaking up, disappearance, dying, death, completion of time, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called death.

"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html)

And of course birth arises in dependence upon bhava ( existence ) in the three realms, as explained in the same sutta.

Best wishes with those fruitless studies....  :curtain:

As for "bhava", it is an "asava" or mental defilement.  :smack:
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on August 14, 2018, 07:27:48 pm
This is incorrect.  In the suttas birth, aging and death are clearly described as physical events and processes, not as views.

"Birth" is not physical at all. Each adjective word in the Pali is mental.

As for "aging" & "death", it is when "self" or "a being" is imputed upon those aggregates that are greying, wrinkling, lifeless, etc.  :curtain:

For example, a doctor calls you to a hospital and shows you a corpse. When you identify the corpse as "my mother", "my wife", "my son", "my daughter", you suffer over the laying down of that corpse. Its not the corpse or aggregates that result in suffering but the identification of those aggregates as "my mother", "my wife", "my son", "my daughter".

Please try to avoid the kamma of misguiding others away from the True Dhamma.  :namaste:

Quote
“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing—are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time—crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing—are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

https://suttacentral.net/sn15.3/en/thanissaro
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 15, 2018, 01:14:55 am
This is incorrect.  In the suttas birth, aging and death are clearly described as physical events and processes, not as views.

"Birth" is not physical at all. Each adjective word in the Pali is mental.

Yet another unsupported claim.   I have just quoted SN12.2 which clearly describes birth, aging and death as physical events and processes.
 
Please try to avoid the kamma of misguiding others away from the True Dhamma.

This is pure projection on your part, given that your interpretations are idiosyncratic, and unsupported by the suttas.   You continually try to bang square pegs into round holes, and end up with a mess.  You continually draw false conclusions, and misrepresent what the suttas actually describe.

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 15, 2018, 01:25:32 am
As for "bhava", it is an "asava" or mental defilement.  :smack:

"Bhava" is continued existence, or becoming. 

"And what is continued existence? There are these three states of existence. Existence in the sensual realm, the realm of luminous form, and the formless realm. This is called continued existence."
https://suttacentral.net/sn12.2/en/sujato

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhava
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 15, 2018, 01:51:28 pm
Since there is no permanent abiding entity and a separate self is just a concept, Raptor indicates that that is what is reborn -- the "idea of self." But even when the concept of “self” is forgotten there is still an actual separate five-skandha movie or mind-stream running. That individual mind-stream arises within a larger stream and then disappears back into it with death, like a bubble in a stream. That should be obvious.

Does that separate, individual “movie” keep on running somehow after death due to the propelling energy of karma, even though the  empty five-skandha “chariot” of the body is no more? A lot of religions are preoccupied with guaranteeing that the individual bubble appears again downstream someplace. Buddhism by contrast says that it is always re-arising (rebirth) again and again, which is a real pain. Then the task is to find a way to cease that process.

I'd say that every bubble is always also the larger stream and the point is to realize that right now, in this very life -- because ignorance of that fact is suffering.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VisuddhiRaptor on August 15, 2018, 10:45:28 pm
Since there is no permanent abiding entity and a separate self is just a concept, Raptor indicates that that is what is reborn -- the "idea of self." But even when the concept of “self” is forgotten there is still an actual separate five-skandha movie or mind-stream running. That individual mind-stream arises within a larger stream and then disappears back into it with death, like a bubble in a stream. That should be obvious.

No. The Pali suttas say when "self" is forgotten; craving ends. Therefore, the "moving" also ends, per the suttas.

 :namaste:

Quote
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 16, 2018, 06:42:02 am
No. The Pali suttas say when "self" is forgotten; craving ends. Therefore, the "moving" also ends, per the suttas.

So life stops when the self is forgotten and craving ends? That hasn't been my experience.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 16, 2018, 08:02:04 pm
Quote
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

I think there's a major problem in interpreting the scriptures here. The above quote seems to suggests that the author is stating that suffering ends when absolutely everything ends, including life and the entire universe.

Well, such a statement is very obvious, but not particularly helpful. If nothing exists then of course suffering cannot exist.

Perhaps the confusion lies in the term 'base'. If we define 'base' as a 'state of mind', then the quote begins to make more sense.

"There is, bhikkhus, a state of mind where there is no thought of earth, or water, or fire; a state of mind where there is no thought of the infinity of space, the infinity of consciousness, the sun or the moon, etc. etc......."

In other words, suffering ceases when the mind is still, and free of all thoughts.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 17, 2018, 01:58:03 am
Quote
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

I think there's a major problem in interpreting the scriptures here. The above quote seems to suggests that the author is stating that suffering ends when absolutely everything ends, including life and the entire universe.

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"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."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html)
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 17, 2018, 02:00:50 am
A lot of religions are preoccupied with guaranteeing that the individual bubble appears again downstream someplace. Buddhism by contrast says that it is always re-arising (rebirth) again and again, which is a real pain. Then the task is to find a way to cease that process.

Yes, it's a significant distinction.  Though even Christianity has a heaven-realm and a hell-realm - though these are permanent rather than transient.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 17, 2018, 06:47:05 am

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"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."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html)

Okay! I'll do my best to make sense of the above quote.

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist, according modern science and all rational thought, including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect, and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

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. Whatever state of bliss one might experience through meditation practices and a stillness of mind, such states are dependent upon and conditioned by bodily processes, heart beats, blood flow, and so on, which keep the body alive.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 17, 2018, 06:56:09 am

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

please define "exist".




Quote
according modern science and all rational thought,

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



Quote
including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect,

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

Quote
and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

I'm not so sure that's true.

Quote
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.


You have Buddha Nature


Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 17, 2018, 10:30:48 am

Quote
There is, bhikkhus, that base where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.


I like that quote. It reminds me of the Heart Sutra that's chanted before zazen in zen centers. Is that from an "early" Sutta? It sounds like sunyata to me.

I don't thinks it's saying that the "moving also ends" or that life doesn't continue -- just that nothing has an independent, separate existence of its own. Thus, although life is not a dream, it's LIKE a dream in the sense that when one wakes up, all of the different things in the dream are none of them truly existent -- except in one's mind. Or as is sometimes said in zen -- the One Mind of Emptiness.

At the risk of irreverence, I can't resist repeating an old ditty --

"Row, row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."


Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 17, 2018, 10:59:19 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).

The only distinction I make in all of this is that in my experience, in actual practice, sunyata naturally leads to a realization of interdependence and interconnectedness. As the zen teacher Dainin Katagiri once said, "If you think you're suffering now, wait until you're enlightened." Then we have to deal not only with our own suffering, but everyone else's as well.

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 18, 2018, 01:14:31 am

I think it's saying that Nibbana is beyond all "normal" experience, all "normal" perception, beyond the conditioned world.  See also Ud 8.3:

"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."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.8.03.irel.html)

Okay! I'll do my best to make sense of the above quote.

That which is not born, not brought-to being, not made, not conditioned, does not and cannot exist, according modern science and all rational thought, including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect, and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

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. Whatever state of bliss one might experience through meditation practices and a stillness of mind, such states are dependent upon and conditioned by bodily processes, heart beats, blood flow, and so on, which keep the body alive.

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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 18, 2018, 01:17:17 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).

The only distinction I make in all of this is that in my experience, in actual practice, sunyata naturally leads to a realization of interdependence and interconnectedness. As the zen teacher Dainin Katagiri once said, "If you think you're suffering now, wait until you're enlightened." Then we have to deal not only with our own suffering, but everyone else's as well.

Is there an equivalence with "Original Mind" in Zen?  Though I'm not at all clear what "Original Mind" actually refers to!
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 18, 2018, 09:59:52 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.



Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 19, 2018, 01:22:21 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.


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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. 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.

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including the interpretations of certain Buddhist suttas which make the very rational point that everything is subject to a cause and effect,

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

Absolutely true. Science confirms this. Some obvious examples: Water exists as a liquid only in certain conditions. At temperatures below zero Centigrade it becomes a solid. At temperatures bove 100 degrees C, it becomes a gas.
All life forms in general are dependent upon the surrounding environment. You and I could not exist if all the air in the room were removed. We'd explode and die immediately.

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and everything is connected in some way and to some degree.

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I'm not so sure that's true.

Science can't confirm that truth absolutely because of the terms 'in some way' and 'to some degree'. Sometimes the connection is very clear and unequivocal, but often there are numerous connections and influences of varying degrees, sometimes infinitely small, which are beyond the precise detection and quantification of even the latest science and technology.

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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

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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 19, 2018, 01:58:07 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on August 19, 2018, 02:18:28 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ 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:
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama 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? 
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Lone Cypress on August 21, 2018, 07:35:56 pm
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Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: stillpointdancer 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen 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.

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama 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?
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: stillpointdancer 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ 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”
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz 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.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 23, 2018, 09:59:30 am
  The truth we seek is not to be found in facts.

That sounds familiar!
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 23, 2018, 10:50:38 am
  The truth we seek is not to be found in facts.

That sounds familiar!

Really?  I just sorta made it up on the fly.  I hope I didn't plagiarize  :D

But I think it's true.  Truth and fact are not always the same thing.  It's kinda like, "Truth can be fact, but fact isn't necessarily the truth." at least not in the context of discussions like we have here.

For example, when studying the so-called "Two Truths"  we examine relative and absolute truth.  Neither truth is a "fact" in the scientific sense, yet, they are still truth.

I think chasing science to reinforce Buddhist thought, or doctrine, or to even look for parallels  to be an exercise in futility.  Pointless.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 23, 2018, 07:05:24 pm

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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."


You seem to have some strong grievance or hostility towards science, so I'm not sure there's much point in continuing the discussion, but I'll try.

Science is about money just as everything in a modern society is about money. If you want to offer your services 'for free', to help underprivileged, sick and starving people in some remote society, then money is required to transport you to that remote region, and to transport the medicines, food supplies and equipment.

Money is also required to produce the medical equipment, vaccines, antibiotics and so on.
If you don't supply that money yourself, then someone else has to supply it, otherwise nothing happens.

Perhaps you are confused about the distinction between 'about money' and 'all about money'.

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Wow! you contradicted yourself again!

Wow! And you forgot again to explain why and how I have contradicted myself.

There are many issues that science tries to address which are not settled, that is, they are neither refuted nor confirmed. This why science is a continuous work in progress. Even matters which are accepted as true, in accordance with the best scientific practices, are often found later to be untrue, or at least imprecise. The rate of expansion of the universe is just one glaring example.
Until recently, it was thought the expansion of the universe was slowing down. Most scientists accepted that as fact. However, as technology advanced and our telescopes allowed us to see more distant galaxies, it became apparent that the expansion of distant galaxies was accelerating, not decelerating. The possible existence of something we call Dark Matter and Dark Energy is just one explanation, and work is being done to try to confirm this.

Money is of course involved, and it is true that research in particular fields progresses more slowly due to a lack of funding, because there's little hope of any return on the investment. Research into the memories of 3-year-olds who appear to have memories of a previous life, is just one example. Another example would be the benefits of fasting for several days.

Hope I have managed to dispel some of your delusions and increase your degree of enlightenment by at least a little bit.  :wink1:
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 24, 2018, 06:23:40 am


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Wow! you contradicted yourself again!

Wow! And you forgot again to explain why and how I have contradicted myself.

No I didn't forget.

But if it will make you happy....

I said,

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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.

You replied,

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That's simply not true,

Which is, of course nonsense, but you go on to say, and this is the clincher ...


Quote
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.

Which contradicts what you had just said and actually agrees with my assertion.

Science doesn't deal in metaphysics.  It won't.  It isn't equipped nor inclined to study the more metaphysical aspecs of Buddhism like self, consciousness, rebirth, karma, etc., even though some studies leave tantalizing ideas, that's all they are.  No evidence. No proof.  The reason is money.  Nobody is going to fund research to anwser the questions raised by Buddhist thought, you can't make money from it.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on August 24, 2018, 09:23:07 am


Quote
Wow! you contradicted yourself again!


Wow! And you forgot again to explain why and how I have contradicted myself.


No I didn't forget.

But if it will make you happy....

I said,

Quote
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.


You replied,

Quote
That's simply not true,


Which is, of course nonsense, but you go on to say, and this is the clincher ...


Quote
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.


Which contradicts what you had just said and actually agrees with my assertion.

Science doesn't deal in metaphysics.  It won't.  It isn't equipped nor inclined to study the more metaphysical aspecs of Buddhism like self, consciousness, rebirth, karma, etc., even though some studies leave tantalizing ideas, that's all they are.  No evidence. No proof.  The reason is money.  Nobody is going to fund research to anwser the questions raised by Buddhist thought, you can't make money from it.


Sorry! I can't understand your logic and reasoning. You write that 'science has absolutely nothing to say on this subject and that there are no studies, experiments or any research finding that either prove or refute the Buddhist concepts of self and rebirth.'
I reply this is not true and produce the evidence from the internet that science does have something to say on such issues of self, consciousness and rebirth. But I also concede that the issue is not settled or either proved or refuted beyond reasonable doubt.

It's very strange that you see this as a contradiction. It's as though you are stating that science has nothing to say on any issue that it cannot prove or refute.
This is not how science works. Science begins with a hypothesis based upon the available evidence at the time, and after much research and experimentation, sometimes over a long period of time, such hypotheses sometimes, eventually, become proven theories. Before those hypotheses become proven theories, a lot is said and done.

An example would be the now proven heliocentric theory that the Earth revolves around the sun. You might associate such a theory with Copernicus and Galileo of the 16th century AD. However, the hypothesis that the Earth and other planets revolve around the sun was first proposed by Aristarchus in ancient Greece (310BC–230 BCE). It took about 1800 years for this hypothesis to become a proven theory. Here's the story.
http://www.astronomytrek.com/who-discovered-the-earth-moves-around-the-sun/ (http://www.astronomytrek.com/who-discovered-the-earth-moves-around-the-sun/)

Another example is the hypothesis that 95% of the matter and energy that surrounds us is currently undetectable (Dark Matter and Energy). Scientists are working on the problem and a lot is said on the issue, but no proof so far.

Yet other examples are hypotheses relating to self and consciousness. Neuroscience and psychology are tackling the problems, and have a lot to say on the issues (consider Freud and Jung), but there is no definitive proof yet.

Here's a scientific paper you might find interesting, which addresses the problems and issues of the concepts of self and consciousness.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337993/ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337993/)
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 24, 2018, 10:14:41 am

Sorry! I can't understand your logic and reasoning.

That's ok.  Apology accepted.

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

Quote
I reply this is not true and produce the evidence from the internet that science does have something to say on such issues of self, consciousness and rebirth. But I also concede that the issue is not settled or either proved or refuted beyond reasonable doubt.

Yes, of course and I should be a bit clearer.  There is nothing definitive coming from science.  They dance around the issues, but really never say anything that pins down the issue and chews it up real good.



Quote
It's very strange that you see this as a contradiction. It's as though you are stating that science has nothing to say on any issue that it cannot prove or refute.


It doesn't have anything definitive to say. 

Back in the day, I worked as a field archaeologist.  We spent hours off-site, drinking beer and smoking pot and talking about all kinds of what-ifs we found in our studies.  One was the idea that during the last period of glaciation, the reduced humidity created a high level of dust in the air, over the 50,000 years of glaciation dust settled, some of over the expanding ice sheet.  This built up over time to eventually provide topsoil, vegetation, animals and humans hunting them - all on top of the ice sheet.

All this drunken discussion was science at work.  It is how science is done, and while we battled back and forth over the hows, whys and wherefores, we never had any real proof one way or the other - just really cool ideas based on circumstantial evidence, hypothesis, creative thinking and cannabis. Had we taken ourselves seriously enough, we could have published.

Quote
This is not how science works. Science begins with a hypothesis based upon the available evidence at the time, and after much research and experimentation, sometimes over a long period of time, such hypotheses sometimes, eventually, become proven theories. Before those hypotheses become proven theories, a lot is said and done.

I know that.  I made a living on the scientific method for years.


Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: zafrogzen on August 24, 2018, 01:33:41 pm
I just read this on James ford's blog from an interview with Japanese zen teacher and can't resist posting it, since it nicely states the zen approach to birth and death.

Being born is, of course, a physical and psychological fact. So, to speak of something prior to that does not mean prior in the temporal sense; it’s what is actually present here and now. In other words, the self in which body-mind have fallen away is what is prior to the arising of body-mind. Again, “before birth” is not meant in the usual sense; rather it is prior to anything arising right here. There is no time, no before or after, for it is right here and now, prior to anything arising. This is where the true self is. It’s the original self in which body-mind have fallen away, prior to all physical and mental phenomena. Conceived temporally, one might think that this “falling away” occurs after we’ve acquired body and mind. But returning to what is prior to one’s birth means that the very body-mind born and alive at present falls away; thus, it truly is prior to anything arising.

From -- http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/08/true-sitting-the-fundamental-koan-a-discussion-with-shinichi-hisamatsu.html
 (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/08/true-sitting-the-fundamental-koan-a-discussion-with-shinichi-hisamatsu.html)

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on August 24, 2018, 01:38:23 pm
I just read this on James ford's blog from an interview with Japanese zen teacher and can't resist posting it, since it nicely states the zen approach to birth and death.

Being born is, of course, a physical and psychological fact. So, to speak of something prior to that does not mean prior in the temporal sense; it’s what is actually present here and now. In other words, the self in which body-mind have fallen away is what is prior to the arising of body-mind. Again, “before birth” is not meant in the usual sense; rather it is prior to anything arising right here. There is no time, no before or after, for it is right here and now, prior to anything arising. This is where the true self is. It’s the original self in which body-mind have fallen away, prior to all physical and mental phenomena. Conceived temporally, one might think that this “falling away” occurs after we’ve acquired body and mind. But returning to what is prior to one’s birth means that the very body-mind born and alive at present falls away; thus, it truly is prior to anything arising.

From -- [url]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/08/true-sitting-the-fundamental-koan-a-discussion-with-shinichi-hisamatsu.html[/url]
 ([url]http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2018/08/true-sitting-the-fundamental-koan-a-discussion-with-shinichi-hisamatsu.html[/url])


Wow!  Very good!
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 02, 2018, 07:35:23 pm

Sorry! I can't understand your logic and reasoning.

That's ok.  Apology accepted.

Yes, of course and I should be a bit clearer.  There is nothing definitive coming from science.  They dance around the issues, but really never say anything that pins down the issue and chews it up real good.

Hi Idlechatter,
I've been abroad for some time, travelling in China and photographing ancient Buddha statues in Hangzhou, so have not had the time to reply. I've also been wondering if there is any point in continuing with this subject, but have decided that I should at least thank you for admitting that you should have been more clear, and admitting that you should have stated that 'science has nothing definite to say on this issue.' At least we are in agreement on that point.  :wink1:

There are a lot of issues on which science has nothing definite to say, and often those issues which we think are 'settled', are often later proved to be at least partially wrong, and sometimes completely wrong. That's the nature of science. It's always a work in progress.

Your following statement also needs some clarification:
Quote
Back in the day, I worked as a field archaeologist.  We spent hours off-site, drinking beer and smoking pot and talking about all kinds of what-ifs we found in our studies.....All this drunken discussion was science at work.

Are you sure this is how science works? My understanding of science is that it is based upon clear thinking, using words that are very precisely defined. Drinking beer and smoking pot would not be advised for either Science or Buddhism.

In common language, words can have a variety of meanings which are not only dependent upon the context, but also the individual's interpretation of that context, which in turn is dependent upon the individual's background, experiences and education.

A major problem I see in the Buddhist scriptures is a lack of clarity of expression. This problem is also compounded by the introduction (or contamination) of previous religious views that existed during the times of the Buddha, and which existed in other areas to which Buddhism later spread.

An example would be the description of the Buddha's night under the Bodhi Tree where he is reported to have gained full enlightenment. He is reported, in the Pali Canon, to have recalled thousands of previous lives in all their detail, such as name, occupation, deeds, and so on.

This represents the old Vedic, and later Hindu, concept of reincarnation with an eternal soul. It's not Buddhism, which expresses a concept of 'rebirth of characteristic tendencies' which is more in line with the modern concept of 'Epigenetic Inheritance'.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 03, 2018, 07:34:33 am

I've been abroad for some time, travelling in China and photographing ancient Buddha statues in Hangzhou, so have not had the time to reply.

Quote

That sounds excellent!  Why don't you post some pix and commentary.  That would be very cool.






Quote
Your following statement also needs some clarification:
Quote
Back in the day, I worked as a field archaeologist.  We spent hours off-site, drinking beer and smoking pot and talking about all kinds of what-ifs we found in our studies.....All this drunken discussion was science at work.  Are you sure this is how science works?

Well it is.  This is, oftentimes where ideas start - causal conversation.  Shop talk.  In the sciences I'm familiar with these "casul" sessions usually involve something intoxicationg - beer, liquor, wine, or light narcotitics like pot.

Now you couldn't record, transcribe and submit these discussions for per review, but they can and often do lead to more "sober" study.

The "social lubricants" we employed in our shop talks tended to squelch inihibition.  WE all have our various inhibitions of course, one of the more subtle forms involve what we've been taught and believe to be true.  These beliefs tend to hold back or limit our more creative thought processes. 

So we'd find a quiet liitle roadhouse near the site and stop in for a couple beers after work.

Quote
My understanding of science is that it is based upon clear thinking, using words that are very precisely defined. Drinking beer and smoking pot would not be advised for either Science or Buddhism.

Maybe, but sometimes you need to think outside the box and whatever helps you get there is ok.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Lone Cypress on September 03, 2018, 09:01:16 am
.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 03, 2018, 10:25:54 pm

I've been abroad for some time, travelling in China and photographing ancient Buddha statues in Hangzhou, so have not had the time to reply.

Quote

That sounds excellent!  Why don't you post some pix and commentary.  That would be very cool.


I'll try to make a post with one of my shots, to see if it works on this site. In Hangzhou, the temple area I found the most interesting, from a photographic point of view, was the Lingyin temple which dates back to 328 AD, although the current temple is not the original one, and has been rebuilt several times.

What was more interesting for me, were the older Buddhist statues carved into the rocks of the surrounding area, known as the Feilai Peak. These carvings go back to around 900 AD, apparently.

The most amazing one is a well-preserved depiction of the 'Laughing Buddha' (or extremely obese Buddha), surrounded by his admirers. This is the shot I've attempted to post. Hope it appears.

I've always found the obesity of the 'Laughing Buddha' to be paradoxical. It seems to be in total contradiction to Gautama's teaching of moderation and eating sparingly to merely sustain the body.

I came across one suggestion that the Laughing Buddha is a depiction of Maitreya, the Buddha of the future. In view of the increasing obesity across the world, due to the slavish indulgence in the pure pleasure of eating, and the huge industry that caters to that pleasure, it occurred to me that maybe there was something prescient in that hypothesis.

Quote
Well it is. This is, oftentimes where ideas start - causal conversation. Shop talk. In the sciences I'm familiar with these "casul" sessions usually involve something intoxicationg - beer, liquor, wine, or light narcotitics like pot.

Now you couldn't record, transcribe and submit these discussions for per review, but they can and often do lead to more "sober" study.

The "social lubricants" we employed in our shop talks tended to squelch inihibition. WE all have our various inhibitions of course, one of the more subtle forms involve what we've been taught and believe to be true. These beliefs tend to hold back or limit our more creative thought processes.

So we'd find a quiet liitle roadhouse near the site and stop in for a couple beers after work

You have a point there, which perhaps deserves further investigation. Perhaps someone could fund a study to find out what brilliant ideas in the past have resulted from social discussions whilst the participants were under intoxication.  :wink1:

I've heard of examples of scientists struggling to understand a particular problem or issue, who, after a good night's sleep, wake up and see the solution. Their brain has, apparently, continued to work on the problem whilst they were asleep, without the intrusion of other sensory perceptions that are usually present when awake.

I've also heard of drunken poets inspired by intoxication, but not scientists.  :wink1:

PS. I've discovered that the maximum file size on this site for an image is just 200KB. That's just 1/5th of a Megabyte...ridiculously small. The large, fat Buddha deserves a much larger file.  :wink1:
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 03, 2018, 10:46:44 pm
Okay! I'll try again, on the assumption that the compressed jpeg should not be greater than 200 KB. I've used a 'low quality' compression factor to reduce the compressed file size. Usually I use the highest quality, because, of course, I'm Buddhist in nature.  :wink1:

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 04, 2018, 06:45:44 am
I've always found the obesity of the 'Laughing Buddha' to be paradoxical. It seems to be in total contradiction to Gautama's teaching of moderation and eating sparingly to merely sustain the body.

His obesity is a means of symbolizing wealth.

The story goes that a Buddhist monk called Ho-Tai wandered the roads of China.  when he'd come upon a village, the children would come out to meet him.  He would give then candy from a bag he carried over his shoulder.  The happiness of the children gave him great joy.

So Ho-Tai is called the "Laughing Buddha".

His joy is seen as "wealth".  Only wealthy people have enough food to become fat, so he is depicted that way.  The length of his ear lobes is also symbolic of wealth.

With statues of just about any sort, in Buddhism, the form is mostly symbolic.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 04, 2018, 07:02:29 pm
I've always found the obesity of the 'Laughing Buddha' to be paradoxical. It seems to be in total contradiction to Gautama's teaching of moderation and eating sparingly to merely sustain the body.

His obesity is a means of symbolizing wealth.

The story goes that a Buddhist monk called Ho-Tai wandered the roads of China.  when he'd come upon a village, the children would come out to meet him.  He would give then candy from a bag he carried over his shoulder.  The happiness of the children gave him great joy.

So Ho-Tai is called the "Laughing Buddha".

His joy is seen as "wealth".  Only wealthy people have enough food to become fat, so he is depicted that way.  The length of his ear lobes is also symbolic of wealth.

With statues of just about any sort, in Buddhism, the form is mostly symbolic.

Exactly! I know very well that any statue of the Buddha is not actually the Buddha but is merely a symbolic representation of him, and/or his teachings. That's pretty obvious.

The usual type of symbolic representation of the Buddha depicts him as a very calm and peaceful person, consistent with the fundamental teachings and lifestyle as described in the Buddhist scriptures.

However, the gross and extremely obese 'Laughing Buddha' seems to mostly represent what Buddhism is fundamentally not about. That's my point.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 05, 2018, 05:36:17 am
However, the gross and extremely obese 'Laughing Buddha' seems to mostly represent what Buddhism is fundamentally not about. That's my point.

To you, perhaps, and that's legit.  You get what you get from viewing forms with your particular mindset.  Where many will see it as an example of the benefits of great joy gained through kindness to others, others will see only ugliness.

Oh, and next time you see a Ho-Tai in a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant, don't forget to rub his belly.  It bestows good luck!
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 05, 2018, 10:20:15 pm
However, the gross and extremely obese 'Laughing Buddha' seems to mostly represent what Buddhism is fundamentally not about. That's my point.

To you, perhaps, and that's legit.  You get what you get from viewing forms with your particular mindset.  Where many will see it as an example of the benefits of great joy gained through kindness to others, others will see only ugliness.

Doesn't everyone view everything and anything with their own particular mindset? Isn't that fundamental to the Buddhist terachings, that sensory perceptions are actually, in realty, illusory?

The issue for me, however, is, 'how are such a views supported using rational criteria in accordance with what one understands to be true', which is a process the Kalama Sutta recommends.

I understand perfectly that for some people, even many people who could be considered a part of the ignorant masses, might interpret a symbolic representation of an extremely obese person with a wide smile, as an embodiment of wealth and happiness.
I understand that, and I can understand why the ignorant masses might accept that, which must be also part of the reason why so many people nowadays fall into the obese category, although nowadays obesity is not so much an indicator of wealth. In Australia, one can buy a litre of Ice Cream in the Supermarket for as little as $5, and/or Hamburger and Chips, which have much more calories than any standard meal one would buy in a restaurant at triple the price.

There might be certain studies that suggest that obese people can be happy, and sometimes even happier than many normal-weight people, but that's probably because obese people treat the eating of tasty, sugar-laden and fat-laden food, as a comfort. It's their main pleasure in life. Without the constant eating they would probably become depressed, which is why it's so difficult for most obese people to lose weight.

Buddhism addresses these fundamental problems of taking comfort, delight and happiness in sensory pleasures. When one is deprived of such pleasures, one begins to suffer. The suffering can be temporarily removed by engaging in yet more sensory pleasure, then more and more. It gradually escalates to addiction, whether food addition, sex addiction, wealth addiction, ego and vanity addiction, power addiction, and so on, by which time the consequent suffering will unavoidably rear its ugly head and be very difficult, if not impossible to dispel.

This is why I consider the Laughing Buddha to be unrepresentative of fundamental Buddhist teachings, and therefore a paradox.

Quote
Oh, and next time you see a Ho-Tai in a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant, don't forget to rub his belly.  It bestows good luck!

I think I might be more concerned with the possible contamination of my hand, touching something that has been rubbed by thousands of ignorant people with unwashed hands.  :D
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 06, 2018, 07:08:12 am


The issue for me, however, is, 'how are such a views supported using rational criteria in accordance with what one understands to be true', which is a process the Kalama Sutta recommends.

Not really.

The only criteria for evaluation of teaching, given by the Buddha is this:

Quote
..... These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

There is nothing there about established truth, fact, science, or rationale.  In fact to call it an endorsement of "free inquiry", as many do, seems a little silly to me.  Not free at all.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 06, 2018, 11:05:07 am


The issue for me, however, is, 'how are such a views supported using rational criteria in accordance with what one understands to be true', which is a process the Kalama Sutta recommends.

Not really.

The only criteria for evaluation of teaching, given by the Buddha is this:

Quote
..... These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

There is nothing there about established truth, fact, science, or rationale.  In fact to call it an endorsement of "free inquiry", as many do, seems a little silly to me.  Not free at all.

You missed out an essential part of that quote, Idlechatter. Here is the full quote:

"Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

This is the criterion for acceptance that something is true; personal knowledge and understanding, rather than unquestioningly accepting whatever is stated in the scriptures, or by a teacher or by some renowned authority.

Likewise, the criterion for rejection is as follows:

"Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; and you have undertaken and observed that these things lead to harm and ill,' abandon them."

Now it's true that the Sutta does not go into great detail about the analytical processes that should be employed by these Kalamas in order to get their knowledge, or understanding, that certain types of behaviour have good or bad consequences. However, it seems clear to me that the broad recommendation is to exercise a free and unbiased inquiry into the subject under consideration, whenever there is reason for some doubt about the truth of certain claims.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 06, 2018, 01:03:52 pm


You missed out an essential part of that quote, Idlechatter. Here is the full quote:

"Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

Dude.

What you added is not "essential", but regardless, it changes nothing.  Remember it's "when you, yourself know:"  that's a colon on the end.  It means that in this case, what follows is what you need to know.  You don't need to know anything else, apart from those 4 things.  No other criteria is needed.  Doesn't matter what science says.  Does it conform to those criteria?  If it does, you're gold.

You don't have to, nor should you go off on a tear as to what sciences, or philosophies, or histories say about a teaching such as those we discuss here.

Another person can tell you how a teaching conforms, but the truth is, if you follow that you're kind of dumb.  You make the determination based on your own analysis.  It's simply common sense.  So  what you do or don't do is secondary to how you should analyse.

People seem to think that the KS gives them license to analyse the Dharma by whatever standard suits them.  That's not what the Buddha taught.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: VincentRJ on September 06, 2018, 09:52:48 pm


You missed out an essential part of that quote, Idlechatter. Here is the full quote:

"Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them."

Dude.

What you added is not "essential", but regardless, it changes nothing.  Remember it's "when you, yourself know:"  that's a colon on the end.  It means that in this case, what follows is what you need to know.  You don't need to know anything else, apart from those 4 things.  No other criteria is needed.  Doesn't matter what science says.  Does it conform to those criteria?  If it does, you're gold.

You don't have to, nor should you go off on a tear as to what sciences, or philosophies, or histories say about a teaching such as those we discuss here.

Another person can tell you how a teaching conforms, but the truth is, if you follow that you're kind of dumb.  You make the determination based on your own analysis.  It's simply common sense.  So  what you do or don't do is secondary to how you should analyse.

People seem to think that the KS gives them license to analyse the Dharma by whatever standard suits them.  That's not what the Buddha taught.

Well, I'll try to do my best to explain the glaring contradiction in your above response, in case other readers get confused, (and because I'm so compassionate, of course.  :wink1: )

As I understand, from the story in the Pali Canon, the Kalamas, a group of villagers in Kessaputta, had experienced numerous ascetics, gurus, brahmans and so-called religious teachers of various sects (and perhaps even 'cults'  :wink1: ),  passing through their village, declaring their own teaching to be the correct and the right one, and sometimes denouncing other gurus who had previously passed through the village expressing a different doctrine.

When Gautama Buddha arrived on the scene, the Kalamas thought, "Oh! Here's another one, probably promoting his own doctrine which will likely be different again to the teachings expressed by those previous wandering ascetics who have passed through our village."

However, on this occasion, the villagers confronted Gautama with this problem they had in determining which of the different doctrines that had been expressed by different gurus, was correct.

In my view, the Buddha's response to the concerns of these villagers was quite admirable. If Gautama had replied along the lines that you have expressed above, ie. (You don't need to know anything else, apart from those 4 things. No other criteria is needed. Doesn't matter what science says. Does it conform to those criteria? If it does, you're gold."), then the Kalamas' questions would not have been answered. The Kalamas could have replied to the Buddha, 'But you are just again dogmatically expressing a different doctrine, as all the other gurus have, who have passed through our village.'

Do you really not see the contradiction? Know for yourself, rather than unquestioningly accepting the authority of others, is the fundamental message of the Kalama Sutta.

No intelligent person needs to be taught that bad things are bad and should be avoided, or that good things are good and should be embraced. That message is fundamental to the meaning of the words.
The important question is, why and/or how are certain actions harmful or beneficial. How does one determine that? The answer in the Kalama Sutta suggests that one should observe and experiment in as unbiased a manner as possible.

However, you make a good point when you write:
Quote
People seem to think that the KS gives them license to analyse the Dharma by whatever standard suits them. That's not what the Buddha taught.

I agree with this point. Bias can be a problem for all of us. It's sometimes very easy to delude oneself that one is being rational and logical when a particular view resonates with one's own feelings.
An example that springs to mind is the argument sometimes presented by overweight people. In order to justify their continuation of excessive consumption of food, and avoid uncomfortable fasting and diet restrictions in order to lose weight, such people will often claim that their overweightedness or obesity is due to their genes and there's nothing they can do about it.

The specious reasoning they sometimes use is that they have observed certain friends and acquaintances eating the same amount of food as they do, if not more, but who are not overweight. Using such observations, the overweight person can rationalize that the amount of food eaten is not the problem, and that they are being very logical when they arrive at the conclusion that it's all about their genes.

The major principle such people miss as a result of such specious reasoning, is that it's possible for some people to eat too much and not become overweight (because of their genes), but it's not possible for a person to become overweight without eating too much, whatever their genes.

No-one has yet discovered how to create something from nothing. The excess fat of the Laughing Buddha, if he's really representative of an actual person in history, was created by excessive consumption of food. If that excess of food had been given instead to undernourished or starving people, those starving people would have benefited and the Laughing Buddha would also have benefited. He would have become healthier and would have lived longer.

This problem of bias is addressed by the Buddha's advice in the Sutta, 'to not follow specious reasoning which might appear to be logical because it resonates with one's own feelings.'
Any view or belief should be tested by the results it yields when put into practice.
In order to guard against the possibility of bias or the limitations of one's understanding, the Buddha also recommended that such beliefs should be further checked against the experiences of people who are considered to be wise.

The ability to question and test one's beliefs in an appropriate way is called appropriate attention.

Thus endeth the lesson.  :wink1:

Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Chaz on September 09, 2018, 05:34:39 am
Do you really not see the contradiction? Know for yourself, rather than unquestioningly accepting the authority of others, is the fundamental message of the Kalama Sutta.

But it's not a contradiction.  "When you know for yourself" those 4 things.  "When you know for yourself" is not an independnt statement.  It relates to those 4 things and literally, nothing else.  Simple sentance structure that most of us learned in grade school.

Is this the statement that so many people rely on to evaluate the Buddha's teachings so wrecklessly?
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dharma Flower on November 26, 2018, 12:52:33 pm
If there is no 'fixed, permanent self' then what gets re-incarnated?

Buddha-nature, not the ego-self, passes on from life to life.
Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: paracelsus on November 26, 2018, 02:05:21 pm
  Where many will see it as an example of the benefits of great joy gained through kindness to others, others will see only ugliness.

Oh, and next time you see a Ho-Tai in a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant, don't forget to rub his belly.  It bestows good luck!
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Funny you should say this about the Ho-Tai's belly. My grandmother had a beautiful brass Ho-Tai, large and heavy and we children were told that to rub his belly would bring good luck. I did. A few days later, returning on a boat trip on a local lake, aged about twelve I sat on the engine box cross legged in a golden bliss sat as a buddha all the way back to the launching ramp. It took a few years to actually connect with the Dharma and begin real practice but my connection started back there. I don't think I could have been much luckier.

That is of course only a story, a true story but only a story, and proves nothing except perhaps that if we connect with a positive mind we will find beauty and joy and if we criticise with a negative mind we will miss the opportunity. In this life maybe that determines our rebirth, moment by moment.

Anyone tried going back into the past? One minute ago is the land of the dead.

Zen art and literature is full of pebbles and frogs. It doesn't have to be a golden buddha that wakes us up.



Title: Re: Self and Re-incarnation
Post by: Dairy Lama on November 27, 2018, 04:09:35 am
Buddha-nature, not the ego-self, passes on from life to life.

This sounds much the same as the Hindu idea of a soul passing from life to life.  Do you think of Buddha-nature in that way?
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