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Thread: Yep, rebirth again...

  1. #51
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    From my reading, it seems clear that there is no doubt that the brain creates the mind. However, the question of whether the brain or the mind create the self is a totally different story. While we get input from much more than just the senses-connected-to-the-brain, that's where thinking happens. I don't think any scientists dispute that. (And by brain, I mean all of the structures in the skull, not just the cortex.)

  2. #52
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    From my reading, it seems clear that there is no doubt that the brain creates the mind. However, the question of whether the brain or the mind create the self is a totally different story. While we get input from much more than just the senses-connected-to-the-brain, that's where thinking happens. I don't think any scientists dispute that. (And by brain, I mean all of the structures in the skull, not just the cortex.)
    Keep in mind that most people have no doubt that there is a self. It's only when you look that you find that at the very least, this is not always the case.

    I just want to add that I do not find this conversation the least bit acrimonious. Please let me know if it feels like it is becoming so.

    Chet

  3. #53
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    I don't feel that way. I'm all in favor of lively debate. I think we're all after the same things, and discussing complicated subjects like this is a learning experience.

  4. #54

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Hello,

    I just finished reading the German translation of what seems to be the following:

    http://santifm.org/santipada/2010/rebir ... -buddhism/


    Obviously this article doesn't resolve anything per se, but I find it highly interesting to see how much variety of interpretation there exists even "just" with the early Buddhist perspective.

    I can highly recommend this article (at least the German version).

    In the mean time, just chop water and cary wood...or something like that

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  5. #55

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    I feel scientific thinking is critical to our survival and continued development. If you cannot think of a way to disprove something (even if it may not be able to be tested at this time technologically), then you should be a skeptic and you should be careful about basing decisions on that belief. Basing decisions on these kinds of beliefs are how witches get burned at the stake. In science, everything is open to being disproved.

    I don’t see how rebirth can be disproved at this time. Therefore, I am a skeptic and I wouldn’t base decisions on this concept. Personally, I do believe that I am part of the whole, the whole continues after someone dies, so in some way “I” continue, but probably not in the way rebirth is intended. So, I don’t live my life with an eye to rebirth. Gassho, Grace.

  6. #56
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    I feel scientific thinking is critical to our survival and continued development. If you cannot think of a way to disprove something (even if it may not be able to be tested at this time technologically), then you should be a skeptic and you should be careful about basing decisions on that belief. Basing decisions on these kinds of beliefs are how witches get burned at the stake. In science, everything is open to being disproved.
    I'm not disregarding science, but I acknowledge its limits. What does or can science say about morals or values? Furthermore, what can it say about the internal experience of being a human being? We do have an internal science, however - I call it 'Zen'.

    Chet

  7. #57

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    I feel scientific thinking is critical to our survival and continued development. If you cannot think of a way to disprove something (even if it may not be able to be tested at this time technologically), then you should be a skeptic and you should be careful about basing decisions on that belief. Basing decisions on these kinds of beliefs are how witches get burned at the stake. In science, everything is open to being disproved.

    I don’t see how rebirth can be disproved at this time. Therefore, I am a skeptic and I wouldn’t base decisions on this concept. Personally, I do believe that I am part of the whole, the whole continues after someone dies, so in some way “I” continue, but probably not in the way rebirth is intended. So, I don’t live my life with an eye to rebirth. Gassho, Grace.
    I tend to agree with what you say here, Grace, and tend to be skeptical and strongly disbelieve anything which seems to have no scientifically verifiable backing or which has testable evidence which seems to point very much against the proposition. I do not think the moon is actually made of green cheese.

    But on the other hand, I think we have to also be skeptical of an overly broad faith in science, as if science has all the answers (yet or ever). We need to be careful of asserting that anything science cannot prove ... or even currently seems to point against, is necessarily untrue. I often say that people of future centuries will look back at many of our firmly held beliefs and chuckle at our quaintness ("Oh Martha, do you know that those primitive folks way back in the 21st century still believed in Darwin and the Law of Gravity!?"). I truly believe so. Perhaps (though seemingly most unlikely) the moon is made of green cheese.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


    So, for that reason, I tend not to say that "literal post-mortem rebirth" and "1-to-1 Karmic payback" are definitely not the case ... just that I am skeptical to the point of not believing, tend to doubt very greatly based on the evidence so far, and (anyway) it is not so vital to practice here and now.

    And as Chet said, I think that there are some things that science might never grasp, and maybe only poets ... such as the beauty of a summer day (even if science finds the formula for it), a warm embrace, a child's smile.

    I wrote this on another thread, about Buddhism and magical powers ...

    See the miracles and magic all around life, and our lives too.


    viewtopic.php?p=49912#p49912

    Gassho, J

  8. #58
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    I feel scientific thinking is critical to our survival and continued development. If you cannot think of a way to disprove something (even if it may not be able to be tested at this time technologically), then you should be a skeptic and you should be careful about basing decisions on that belief. Basing decisions on these kinds of beliefs are how witches get burned at the stake. In science, everything is open to being disproved.
    I'm not disregarding science, but I acknowledge its limits. What does or can science say about morals or values? Furthermore, what can it say about the internal experience of being a human being? We do have an internal science, however - I call it 'Zen'.

    Chet
    All due respect, but that's the kind of thing you hear religious people say in debates with atheist. Why should science have anything to say about moral values? No more reason for that than for science to have something to say about art. It can say certain things about our internal experiences, but not about our subjective experiences, other than to posits reasons to explain why we feel what we do.

  9. #59
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Quote Originally Posted by Graceleejenkins
    I feel scientific thinking is critical to our survival and continued development. If you cannot think of a way to disprove something (even if it may not be able to be tested at this time technologically), then you should be a skeptic and you should be careful about basing decisions on that belief. Basing decisions on these kinds of beliefs are how witches get burned at the stake. In science, everything is open to being disproved.
    I'm not disregarding science, but I acknowledge its limits. What does or can science say about morals or values? Furthermore, what can it say about the internal experience of being a human being? We do have an internal science, however - I call it 'Zen'.

    Chet
    All due respect, but that's the kind of thing you hear religious people say in debates with atheist. Why should science have anything to say about moral values? No more reason for that than for science to have something to say about art. It can say certain things about our internal experiences, but not about our subjective experiences, other than to posits reasons to explain why we feel what we do.
    Further respect, but it seems you're on the whole agreeing with me. Does science recognize that all its splendor rushes headlong through a subjective primacy that it acknowledges it cannot access? Of course not. It takes such primacy for granted and then pretends it's just dealing with fact - ignoring that NOTHING is simply given.

    Chet

  10. #60
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean. But if you're saying that "science" is erroneous because it doesn't take into account subjectivity, I think you're mistaken. Scientists know that subjective elements affect a large number of experiments. Look at drug testing - double-blind trials are used to eliminate subjective influence. Even the social scientists are strongly aware of what is called the "observer's paradox," whereby the presence of an experimenter affects the results of the experiment.

  11. #61

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Don't know.

  12. #62
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean. But if you're saying that "science" is erroneous because it doesn't take into account subjectivity, I think you're mistaken. Scientists know that subjective elements affect a large number of experiments. Look at drug testing - double-blind trials are used to eliminate subjective influence. Even the social scientists are strongly aware of what is called the "observer's paradox," whereby the presence of an experimenter affects the results of the experiment.
    But that's still considering the 'subject' as an object. It's not considering the subjective on its own terms because it can't. Keep in mind, I'm not saying that makes science bad, just that the interiors are inaccessible to science. Also, I'm not trying to place science behind the primacy of subjective experience, I'm trying to avoid reducing either one to the other without remainder.

    Gasho

    (I'm far closer to your end of the spectrum in most things, Kirk.)

    Chet

  13. #63

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    The more I sit, the more I realize that the only thing that comes and goes, the only thing that is born and dies, is thought. Endless streams of thought. I don't mean this in a cliche way. When all thought stops, we are just HERE. Here doesn't change. It doesn't come and go. It isn't born and it can't die. It looks that way through the individual lense of thought. But that is an illusion. In deep sleep, where did we go? Yet when we wake we know that we slept well. There is something beyond thought. Something beyond the beyond. :wink:

    gassho
    Greg's thoughts

  14. #64

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    the reason they say that Buddhas are not reborn is because they have attained their true selves which is unchanging, without time and space
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    The more I sit, the more I realize that the only thing that comes and goes, the only thing that is born and dies, is thought. Endless streams of thought. I don't mean this in a cliche way. When all thought stops, we are just HERE. Here doesn't change. It doesn't come and go. It isn't born and it can't die. It looks that way through the individual lense of thought. But that is an illusion. In deep sleep, where did we go? Yet when we wake we know that we slept well. There is something beyond thought. Something beyond the beyond. :wink:

    gassho
    Greg's thoughts
    Check. Out the nirvana sutra which explains the diff between ego empty self and eternal true self.

  15. #65
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    The more I sit, the more I realize that the only thing that comes and goes, the only thing that is born and dies, is thought. Endless streams of thought. I don't mean this in a cliche way. When all thought stops, we are just HERE. Here doesn't change. It doesn't come and go. It isn't born and it can't die. It looks that way through the individual lense of thought. But that is an illusion. In deep sleep, where did we go? Yet when we wake we know that we slept well. There is something beyond thought. Something beyond the beyond. :wink:

    gassho
    Greg's thoughts
    I'm not sure what the word for that is - the idea that thought is the only thing that exists, and the rest of the world is merely something we create - but I'm pretty such that all forms of Buddhism reject that tenet, and do recognize that things in the world - be they plants, water or rocks - arise and dissipate. That thought _is not_ an illusion, but that we can't separate ourselves from the world around us, even though our interpretations of the world are colored by our thoughts.

  16. #66
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    The more I sit, the more I realize that the only thing that comes and goes, the only thing that is born and dies, is thought. Endless streams of thought. I don't mean this in a cliche way. When all thought stops, we are just HERE. Here doesn't change. It doesn't come and go. It isn't born and it can't die. It looks that way through the individual lense of thought. But that is an illusion. In deep sleep, where did we go? Yet when we wake we know that we slept well. There is something beyond thought. Something beyond the beyond. :wink:

    gassho
    Greg's thoughts
    I'm not sure what the word for that is - the idea that thought is the only thing that exists, and the rest of the world is merely something we create - but I'm pretty such that all forms of Buddhism reject that tenet, and do recognize that things in the world - be they plants, water or rocks - arise and dissipate. That thought _is not_ an illusion, but that we can't separate ourselves from the world around us, even though our interpretations of the world are colored by our thoughts.
    I would say 'color' is not strong enough a word. Myth of the Given again.

    Chet

  17. #67
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I would say 'color' is not strong enough a word.

    Chet
    Perhaps. But think of, let's see, a chair. That chair has a shape; it is not our mind that gives it that shape. It's not our mind that gives it the color of the chair (that's caused by physical properties of the sun, paint and the eye). Our mind interprets how we think about the chair, whether it might be comfortable, whether it looks old or new, etc.

    Apply that to any physical phenomenon, and you will see that, in spite of any ultimate inherent emptiness, the item in question is still perceived as-it-is based on its physical properties.

    Sound is heard based on the properties of sound waves and our ears. Smells, our smell receptors. Etc.

    Once we overlay emotions and feelings, that's where the color comes in.

  18. #68

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    This thread is beginning to remind me of a recent series of podcasts from Upaya Zen Center.

    John Dunne: 7-24-11: Mind And Meditation: The Self Beyond Thought
    This is a unique time in the history of Buddhism. Different Buddhist traditions are meeting and interacting with one another here in the West, often for the first time in centuries. Just as the dharma spread from India through many countries in Asia,


    http://feeds.feedburner.com/DharmaPodcast

  19. #69
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I would say 'color' is not strong enough a word.

    Chet
    Perhaps. But think of, let's see, a chair. That chair has a shape; it is not our mind that gives it that shape. It's not our mind that gives it the color of the chair (that's caused by physical properties of the sun, paint and the eye). Our mind interprets how we think about the chair, whether it might be comfortable, whether it looks old or new, etc.
    Yep, still stuck in the Myth of the Given (Skip to 'Empiricism and the philosophy of Mind'), I'm afraid. A 'chair' does not have a 'shape' without the mind - in fact, without language to describe it, and language is a mental phenomenon, none of these qualities is simply given. As for color, did you know that many asian languages have no strict delineation between 'green' and 'blue'? This is not due to a biochemical omission in the brains (or eyes) of asians, it's due to a quirk of language. Furthermore, language is more than simply a tag affixed to phenomena, it is a vast web of context without which any word in the language has no intrinsic meaning. This is a short way of saying that no phenomena have physical properties in and of themselves - without recourse to a vast web of internal processes of mind and language. All of post-structuralist philosophy and linguistics, including some of its easily criticizable excesses, spring from this incontrovertible understanding.

    Apply that to any physical phenomenon, and you will see that, in spite of any ultimate inherent emptiness, the item in question is still perceived as-it-is based on its physical properties.
    This is all based on an empirical structuralism that is, quite simply, dead. It died in the early to mid-20th century - the news simply hasn't spread to many disciplines in academia that rely on structuralism as their foundation.

  20. #70

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Hi,

    I want to pour a little water (in a Zenny way) on some of this "chicken-egg" philosophizzzzing on brain-mind-self-language-chairs-chickens-eggs! There is this old classic:

    Bodhidharma faced the wall. The Second Ancestor ... said, "Your disciple's mind is not at peace yet. I beg you, Master, please put it to rest."

    Bodhidharma said, "Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest."

    The Second Ancestor said, "I have really searched for my mind, but I cannot find it."

    Bodhidharma said, "There, I have put it completely to rest."
    Here are some big questions like those being asked in this thread ...

    So, is the chair "really there"? Or is it only "in the mind"? And where is that "mind"? Is "the chair" only wood in a certain shape or is it just wood ... and what would be remaining if a woodchuck chucked it's wood? Is the chair comfortable or hard, and where are such qualities found ... in the chair or in the mind (or in the backside sitting on the chair)? Would a space alien lacking a sit-able backside, if visiting earth and encountering a chair for the first time recognize its chairness? How about an ant crawling up its side? Does that mean that the chair disappears if there is nobody to label it, sit in it ... if it falls in the forest?

    These are big questions. All good questions ... but also not good questions for some aspects of Zen Practice which should be put aside.

    All Buddhist schools, in one way or another, teach that the chair is ... in one way or another ... not there, empty ... and the mind, in one way or another (depending on the school, either by encountering something "out there" and catergorizing/judging it, or by dreaming the whole darn thing up completely) makes "a chair", comfortable or not, for one to rest one's backside. So, chairs are a product of "mind" ... and also: wood, atoms, backsides, stars and sunlight and rain to grow the trees, and a carpenter's hands are each a product of "mind". Same with the concept "mind" ... which is just a product of "mind". But, ultimately, chairs and mind and backsides and sun and stars are "not there", because all are "empty" ...

    ... yet, all Zen Masters sit on 'em and profess 'em, like 'ol Dogen here!



    That's about all one needs to pierce for Zen Practice. 8)

    And now that I have cautioned against getting caught in philosophy ... let me caution again something else ... (and maybe have to fall into a bit of philosophy myself) ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    the reason they say that Buddhas are not reborn is because they have attained their true selves which is unchanging, without time and space. ... Check out the nirvana sutra which explains the diff between ego empty self and eternal true self.
    One may perhaps need to be a bit cautious here, for there is a tendency in Buddhism, and corners of Zen Buddhism, to get caught in something like "The Unborn", "The Unchanging". Most Zen teachers throughout history (at least, the good ones! 8) ) would caution against reifying Buddhist concepts of "buddha nature" "emptyness" "enlightenment" etc. ... even "Buddha" or "unborn" "unchanging" ... into a thing ... ("reification" meaning to turn something into a fixed, rigid, concrete idea, separate from other things ... a separate and half dead mental object). In so doing, you kill the subtly of what is there ...

    Better than "eternal self" ... I would advise to find that beyond and swallowing whole all human judgments and categories of "eternal" or "not eternal" ... "unchanging/changing" ... "without time and space vs. with time and space" etc. etc. Drop all need to call some something as "eternal, unchanging" or not.

    Let me give you an example ...

    I sometimes try to express this inexpressable "Emptiness" thingy as "a dance in which you and me are dancers" ... ever changing, yet going on and on. Yet, if we say that "the dance" is "timeless and eternal" ... we lose something vital. What is more ...if we say that the dance is "just change" ... we lose something. In fact, if we say that "the dance" is some thingy called "The Dance" ... we lose something. What to do?

    Get out there and just dance! Pouring one's little self into that dance (a dance that was "you" all along, me too) ... losing oneself in the dancing, thus to find one's self.

    Something like that.

    I am reading Batchelor's "Confession" today, and he has something nice to say about why not to "reify" ...

    To embrace the contingency of one's life is to embrace one's fate as an ephemeral but sentient being [but is not easy]. ... One needs to make a conscious shift from delight in a fixed place to awareness of a contingent ground. Places to which I am instinctively attracted are places where I imagine suffering to be absent. 'There,' I think, 'if only I could get there, there I would suffer no more." The groundless ground of contingency, however, holds out no such hope. For this is the ground where you are born and die, get sick and get old, are disappointed and frustrated.

    Sounds a bit bleak, perhaps, but is truly liberating if one dances this dance.

    Gassho, Jundo

  21. #71
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi,

    I want to pour a little water (in a Zenny way) on some of this "chicken-egg" philosophizzzzing on brain-mind-self-language-chairs-chickens-eggs! There is this old classic:

    Bodhidharma faced the wall. The Second Ancestor ... said, "Your disciple's mind is not at peace yet. I beg you, Master, please put it to rest."

    Bodhidharma said, "Bring me your mind, and I will put it to rest."

    The Second Ancestor said, "I have really searched for my mind, but I cannot find it."

    Bodhidharma said, "There, I have put it completely to rest."
    Here are some big questions like those being asked in this thread ...

    So, is the chair "really there"? Or is it only "in the mind"? And where is that "mind"? Is "the chair" only wood in a certain shape or is it just wood ... and what would be remaining if a woodchuck chucked it's wood? Is the chair comfortable or hard, and where are such qualities found ... in the chair or in the mind (or in the backside sitting on the chair)? Would a space alien lacking a sit-able backside, if visiting earth and encountering a chair for the first time recognize its chairness? How about an ant crawling up its side? Does that mean that the chair disappears if there is nobody to label it, sit in it ... if it falls in the forest?

    These are big questions. All good questions ... but also not good questions for some aspects of Zen Practice.

    All Buddhist schools, in one way or another, teach that the chair is ... in one way or another ... not there, empty ... and the mind, in one way or another (depending on the school, either by encountering something "out there" and catergorizing/judging it, or by dreaming the whole darn thing up completely) makes "a chair", comfortable or not, for one to rest one's backside. So, chairs are a product of "mind" ... and also: wood, atoms, backsides, stars and sunlight and rain to grow the trees, and a carpenter's hands are each a product of "mind". Same with the concept "mind" ... which is just a product of "mind". But, ultimately, chairs and mind and backsides and sun and stars are "not there", because all are "empty" ...

    ... yet, all Zen Masters sit on 'em and profess 'em, like 'ol Dogen here!



    That's about all one needs to pierce for Zen Practice. 8)

    And now that I have cautioned against getting caught in philosophy ... let me caution again something else ... (and maybe have to fall into a bit of philosophy myself) ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    the reason they say that Buddhas are not reborn is because they have attained their true selves which is unchanging, without time and space. ... Check out the nirvana sutra which explains the diff between ego empty self and eternal true self.
    One may perhaps need to be a bit cautious here, for there is a tendency in Buddhism, and corners of Zen Buddhism, to get caught in something like "The Unborn", "The Unchanging". Most Zen teachers throughout history (at least, the good ones! 8) ) would caution against reifying Buddhist concepts of "buddha nature" "emptyness" "enlightenment" etc. ... even "Buddha" or "unborn" "unchanging" ... into a thing ... ("reification" meaning to turn something into a fixed, rigid, concrete idea, separate from other things ... a separate and half dead mental object). In so doing, you kill the subtly of what is there ...

    Better than "eternal self" ... I would advise to find that beyond and swallowing whole all human judgments and categories of "eternal" or "not eternal" ... "unchanging/changing" ... "without time and space vs. with time and space" etc. etc. Drop all need to call some something as "eternal, unchanging" or not.

    Let me give you an example ...

    I sometimes try to express this inexpressable "Emptiness" thingy as "a dance in which you are me are dancers" ... ever changing, yet going on and on. Yet, if we say that "the dance" is "timeless and eternal" ... we lose something vital. What is more ...if we say that the dance is "just change" ... we lose something. In fact, if we say that "the dance" is some thingy called "The Dance" ... we lose something. What to do?

    Get out there and just dance! Pouring one's little self into that dance (a dance that was "you" all along) ... losing oneself in the dancing, thus to find one's self.

    Something like that.

    I am reading Batchelor's "Confession" today, and he has something nice to say about why not to "reify" ...

    To embrace the contingency of one's life is to embrace one's fate as an ephemeral but sentient being [but is not easy]. ... One needs to make a conscious shift from delight in a fixed place to awareness of a contingent ground. Places to which I am instinctively attracted are places where I imagine suffering to be absent. 'There,' I think, 'if only I could get there, there I would suffer no more." The groundless ground of contingency, however, holds out no such hope. For this is the ground where you are born and die, get sick and get old, are disappointed and frustrated.

    Sounds a bit bleak, perhaps, but is truly liberating if one dances this dance.

    Gassho, Jundo
    My original post was about rebirth, but my most recent posts have been about the idea of an internal science of the mind - one which, although correlative to science, also has its own landscape. I'm trying to allow a place for 'Right View', a view that avoids the 'spooky stuff' of eternalism and the nihilism of scientific materialism based on structural empiricism. Attachment to either of these views is a significant obstacle.

    That last Batchelor quote (and Batchelor's argument in general) strikes me as avoiding eternalism but then runs smack-dab into nihilism. A materialist (although significantly less scientific) worldview was not foreign to the Buddha. Yet, according to the teachings we have, he and subsequent teachers rejected this materialism into which Batchelor runs headlong (IMHO, of course). Saying that the ground is contingent instead of constant does not resolve the problem as far as I can see. The problem cannot be solved merely by observing contingency and resigning oneself to it. Furthermore, addressing this contingency as merely material is also not seeing the entire show. The internal landscape is similarly transient, and not simply as a reflection of external contingency, but as a correlation of external transience. This is a long way of saying that material transience and mental transience are not caused by one another, but rather are an expression of the transience of all structures, internal and external. Resolving internal transience to external contingency ignores the significant problem that many of the things we attribute to the external are in fact functions of internal (i.e. 'mental' - not biophysical) processes of organization beyond which we cannot reach to find a 'pure referent'. Undoubtably there is a referent, but it must be inferred - it cannot be seen directly without the interference of so-called 'internal' processes. The problem with reductive scientific materialism based on structural empiricism is that it does not take into consideration the 'co-creation' of these mental processes in the formation of its own conclusions. It posits them as simply 'given' when they are anything but. The internal structures (skandas) cannot be resolved by relegating them to a by-product of external processes because there are no pure 'external' processes to which we have access without the co-creative processes of the mind. The self isn't 'unreal' because it's a projection of the brain, the self is unreal on its own terms internally.

    Gassho,

    Chet

  22. #72

    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    the reason they say that Buddhas are not reborn is because they have attained their true selves which is unchanging, without time and space. ... Check out the nirvana sutra which explains the diff between ego empty self and eternal true self.
    One may perhaps need to be a bit cautious here, for there is a tendency in Buddhism, and corners of Zen Buddhism, to get caught in something like "The Unborn", "The Unchanging". Most Zen teachers throughout history (at least, the good ones! 8) ) would caution against reifying Buddhist concepts of "buddha nature" "emptyness" "enlightenment" etc. ... even "Buddha" or "unborn" "unchanging" ... into a thing ... ("reification" meaning to turn something into a fixed, rigid, concrete idea, separate from other things ... a separate and half dead mental object). In so doing, you kill the subtly of what is there ...

    Better than "eternal self" ... I would advise to find that beyond and swallowing whole all human judgments and categories of "eternal" or "not eternal" ... "unchanging/changing" ... "without time and space vs. with time and space" etc. etc. Drop all need to call some something as "eternal, unchanging" or not.

    Let me give you an example ...

    I sometimes try to express this inexpressable "Emptiness" thingy as "a dance in which you and me are dancers" ... ever changing, yet going on and on. Yet, if we say that "the dance" is "timeless and eternal" ... we lose something vital. What is more ...if we say that the dance is "just change" ... we lose something. In fact, if we say that "the dance" is some thingy called "The Dance" ... we lose something. What to do?

    Get out there and just dance! Pouring one's little self into that dance (a dance that was "you" all along, me too) ... losing oneself in the dancing, thus to find one's self.

    Something like that.

    I am reading Batchelor's "Confession" today, and he has something nice to say about why not to "reify" ...

    To embrace the contingency of one's life is to embrace one's fate as an ephemeral but sentient being [but is not easy]. ... One needs to make a conscious shift from delight in a fixed place to awareness of a contingent ground. Places to which I am instinctively attracted are places where I imagine suffering to be absent. 'There,' I think, 'if only I could get there, there I would suffer no more." The groundless ground of contingency, however, holds out no such hope. For this is the ground where you are born and die, get sick and get old, are disappointed and frustrated.

    Sounds a bit bleak, perhaps, but is truly liberating if one dances this dance.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Thanks for the reminder, Jundo. I'd much rather dance than talk. There's a fine line between philosophy helping your dancing practice and completely separating you from your dancing. But I don't really know anything, I just get up every day and dance the best I can.

  23. #73
    disastermouse
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    I think that looking back at 2,500 years of Buddhism, reducing such philosophical discussions to the realm of the unnecessary is a bit misguided. As a fellow on this path recently reminded me, only 1/4 of the eightfold path is about meditation. If you sit earnestly but are attached to a structural empirical view, there will be no room for Right View. Certainly though, I don't wish to put forward another pretty philosophy to take its place, I simply want to address a certain sort of nihilism that comes from a western philosophy that western philosophy has itself moved beyond. Nonetheless, it forms the root of many misguided views that may hinder one's approach to Buddhism.

    There can also be a tendency by any human being to react to something he or she doesn't understand and instead of taking the time necessary to understand it, rejecting it as 'unimportant' or 'unnecessary' outright simply as a reaction. I myself have had and probably continue to have this problem, so I am intimately familiar with its dangers.

    Gassho,

    Chet

  24. #74
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Yep, rebirth again...

    I have nothing constructive to add to this conversation, but I couldn't resist throwing this in from the peanut gallery.


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