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Thread: Buddhist Ontology and Practice

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    Buddhism seems to value experience, but denies the experience of the "I", calling it a delusion, in favor of a doctrine that the "I" does not exist. It does look like the meditation techniques practiced by Buddhists are ways to convince the meditator that the I does not exist. That is the criteria I'll use to tell if a meditation technique is Buddhist or not.


    No, there are many types of meditations, and the way to tell if they are Buddhist is about the motivation.

    We have been discussing the existence of the I, but you wouldn't start with that meditation. You begin with what your basic delusions are - anger, jealousy, pride, lack of confidence, and work on them. Not only do you have to begin to follow the Noble 8 Fold Path, but this involves right effort and right concentration - meaning, you have to develop as a meditator. This takes time, ideally with a group or a teacher.

    It is impossible to rationalise or logically deduct the truth of whether the I exists or not in any significant way without a direct experience. To support what Nik says, you shouldn't either accept or reject the teachings, but try them, if you want to, with an open mind.

    Your ideas about near death experience are about your perspective and worldview. You can test these out, but don't accept or reject without a proper test of their validity.
    i like those who are trying to refine themselves by considering and thinking. Paul what are the 8 noble Fold Path, are they other then which u mentione as anger, jealousy, pride, lack of confidence, ?
    Rab e adkhilni Mudkhla Sidqnw wa akhrijni mukhraja sidkanw wja alni milla dunka Sultananasira!!

  2. #77
    quite like george NikolaiI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo View Post
    NikolaiI, why do you find an oscillating universe interesting? The reason I am asking in this thread is I wonder if Buddhism needs this in some way for its ontology to work correctly. People who want an oscillating universe usually want an eternal universe for some reason. The fact that our universe of matter and energy, space and time had a beginning does raise the problem of why or how it started in the first place. One now has to place whatever the eternal happens to be outside the physical universe.

    The WMAP data (which is still being analyzed) so far shows the universe to be "flat" which means it will not stop expanding from its beginning 13.73 billion years ago. http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/
    It sure isn't scientific to try to get an outcome you 'want,' and I don't have this bias in my thinking of how the universe functions. I grew up understanding the Big Bang theory was true; although understanding isn't perhaps the best word because it's rather hard to conceive, though it's something we like to do. But my tendency towards the oscillating universe isn't based on desire; I merely mention it that I've read that there are scientists who believe it is possible or plausible, and that there is perhaps increasing evidence for it. Again, I said this with a caveat, that I don't know 100% for sure; and also the fact that scientific opinion is very slow in changing, and it is never 100% unified. To give another example of someone's theory relating it, see Friedrich Nietzsche idea of Eternal Recurrence. William Sidis is also someone, if I understand correctly, who thought the universe continually came and went.

    Buddhist, and Hindu for that matter, cosmology does understand the universe to be 'oscillating."

    However, it's important to note that the Buddhist view is that this is not the important thing in life. Buddha specifically said about this topic, it's more distracting than beneficial, and he never encouraged us to focus on this topic, instead of focusing on understanding the causes of happiness and suffering.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo
    I agree with you about Todd Murphy. The fact that he even talked about cosmology on his site discredits the rest of what he said. I am mainly using the site to learn the terms he employs. Do you have any links about science done on the enlightenment experience and the brain that you find more scientific? At the moment I suspect Buddhist enlightenment is similar to a near-death experience. If that is the case, it could be studied by looking at NDEs. These are powerful spiritual experiences that can deeply change a person's life.
    Buddha's enlightenment, is nothing like an NDE... One apt analogy is to compare the difference between when you are dreaming and when you are awake. When you wake up from dreaming, you realize - first of all, that the dream was not real, and that nothing in the dream could harm you, because you weren't really in the dream, you were in bed sleeping; second, that you are someplace else than the dream, that is, you are in this world - reality; and third, being in this reality, you have many different levels of experience not existing in the dream. For example, you can move around, interact with space, you can see and hear things, everything is clear, and everything is simply more real.

    Enlightenment in one sense is exactly like awakening from a dream, except it is awakening from the dream of samsara.

    The second point of difference is that enlightenment is not brief or momentary, but it is an enduring state. We may have glimpses and then come back to our ordinary consciouness, but full enlightenment is characterized by never slipping back.

    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo
    My main motivation in asking these questions is trying to make sense out of the religions from India. I don't trust the Anatta doctrine of Buddhism, but other than that, I find it very attractive. If the Anatta doctrine is replaced with a more traditional Jainism doctrine, I would not have any problem with Buddhism, but then I say to myself: I don't really know what any of these religions are about.
    I can say more of this later but I think it's important to realize that Anatta is not a doctrine - it is a concept. It's not a conclusion, it's a tool. I believe it's important not to practice with any goal in mind - to say, "I will realize Emptiness," or anything like this. That's my personal preference, though.

    Buddha never said to believe what he said on his word, in fact he said the exact opposite.

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    I understand that Jainism has an eternal or perhaps oscillating universe. I don't know why or whether it matters for that religion. I don't want to pursue it if it is a side issue to this thread since I am more interested in Buddhist ontology here. I did look for some alternatives to the Big Bang which is considered the "standard model of cosmology". Here is a review of the "non-standard" models: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_cosmology

    I see what you are saying, NikolaiI, about the NDE and Enlightenment. The NDE ends, although the individual experiencing it may change, whereas Enlightenment does not end. What I am trying to find from Todd Murphy, and his mentor, Michael Persinger, is how the brain functions during these experiences and what the difference is at that level. I find it important that these experiences be mapped to physical aspects of our bodies. This means that these experiences are ways that our species behaves rather than something that we have culturally trained each other to experience.
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    It's speculaton, but I think the descriptions of the Bardo experience are closer to NDEs than Enlightenment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardo

    It's something to find out though.

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    I agree. The fifth Bardo, Chikkhai bardo, in the article sounds like an NDE. Perhaps what the Buddha experienced was different.

    I have been looking more closely at Todd Murphy's videos and I think I am finding them more interesting. He claims to be a Buddhist. He considers the self an hallucination of the one of the parts of the brain, but I don't remember which. His mentor, Michael Presinger, has done studies on consciousness that intrigue me relating psychic experiences with geomagnetism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by YesNo
    I see what you are saying, NikolaiI, about the NDE and Enlightenment. The NDE ends, although the individual experiencing it may change, whereas Enlightenment does not end.
    Yes, that is one, but there are many other differences as well. I think it is not particularly good to speculate too much on things like that. Again, the main emphasis is on living in the present, living well, understanding ourselves, and cultivating an environment which brings out the best in ourselves and others. But especially, living in the present, and cultivating those factors which help us to grow spiritually.
    Last edited by NikolaiI; 05-06-2012 at 04:58 AM.

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