Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:28 pm

LastLegend wrote:Right. Do microorganisms have a presence of mentality?

Some indications: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f477FnTe1M0

But if you believe mind and matter are utterly distinct, then there's no scientific way to tell. Even rocks, trees, winds and stars may be sentient for all we know.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:42 pm

devilyoudont wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Right. Do microorganisms have a presence of mentality?

Some indications: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f477FnTe1M0

But if you believe mind and matter are utterly distinct

Usually they rely on each other to function.

devilyoudont wrote:then there's no scientific way to tell.

So?


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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 04, 2011 8:53 pm

Virgo wrote:So?

So rocks and trees, winds and stars may be sentient for all we know.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:01 pm

devilyoudont wrote:
Virgo wrote:So?

So rocks and trees, winds and stars may be sentient for all we know.


You are correct.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:06 pm

LastLegend wrote:You are correct.

Indeed I am, thanks. Some people, such as Hartmut Neven, actually believe this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qAIPC7vG3Y (That might be the wrong one, actually. Since he's got so many insanely long videos at TechTalks, I can't be bothered to look through them all, so I posted the quantum rant that was the easiest for me to find. :tongue: )
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:18 pm

devilyoudont wrote:
Virgo wrote:So?

So rocks and trees, winds and stars may be sentient for all we know.

According to Buddhism, they are not.

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:19 pm

Virgo wrote:
devilyoudont wrote:
Virgo wrote:So?

So rocks and trees, winds and stars may be sentient for all we know.

According to Buddhism, they are not.

Kevin


Really?

Where does it say that they are not sentient?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:21 pm

LastLegend wrote:
Really?

Where does it say that they are not sentient?

In a text. I don't remember which one.

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:24 pm

Virgo wrote:According to Buddhism, they are not.

Zen does not rely on scriptures.

Virgo wrote:In a text. I don't remember which one.

What did it say about bacteria?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:26 pm

Virgo wrote:
LastLegend wrote:
Really?

Where does it say that they are not sentient?

In a text. I don't remember which one.

Kevin


ok

Bring the text here when you find it.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:27 pm

Do microorganisms have a presence of mentality?


Buddhists often say: "All beings want to be happy"

But "want" and 'happy" can refer to a lot of different levels of experience, and these levels do not require a human brain, or any process that we may be directly familiar with. So, you swat at a house fly and it quickly dodges to avoid being killed. A moth, on the other hand, is attracted by an open flame and may burn itself up. Both , in their own way "want" to be 'happy".

Insects have a type of brain too. And you can go further down, smaller and smaller. Even sperm swim eagerly to an egg. They may not possess anything that we would regard as "consciousness" and being only one cell, have no brain. But there is a level of "awareness" in small creatures which responds to the environment, which leads them to sources of warmth or food or proteins or whatever, and by "awareness" I don't mean they are contemplating their actions, but that they are responding, even automatically, to changing conditions, because doing so should produce a favorable result. This of course, is not always the case, either for moths or for humans. So, it may be stretching the definitions of "want" and 'happy" but it is a principle which is being applied.

I read something a while back that said that a large percentage of what we consider to be the composition of our bodies (by weight, for example) is actually a lot of non-human things such as bacteria and other living organisms. Since Humans are composed entirely of cells that reproduce on their own, doing all sorts of things such as fighting infectious intruders and whatever, is each of us actually a city on legs?

Evolution differs from "Creation" because it acknowledges the interconnectedness of species development. Yet, there is still the tendency to freeze any given species in time, saying "this is a frog" or "this is a Homo Sapien" as though it is a separately existing thing (the creationist view). I think Buddhist teachings go a little further: "Yeah, homo sapiens for now but wait 24 hours and you get homo sapiens version 2.0" because we regard everything as no "thing" but as continuous, interconnected transformation.

That changes any discussion of evolution a little bit.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:30 pm

LastLegend wrote:Bring the text here when you find it.

I think he's talking about the six realms.

PS. My question is, can empirical observation show us a distinction between "animals" and "germs"? Bacteria are "plants", okay, but is quinine murder?
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Astus » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:59 pm

Namdrol wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microorganism

Small animals, so called "micro-animals, are included within the category of microorganism.

N


I guess I should have listened better on biology classes...
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:55 am

devilyoudont wrote:
Virgo wrote:According to Buddhism, they are not.

Zen does not rely on scriptures.


And "Zen does not rely on scriptures" is itself scripture (to paraphrase the Sixth Patriarch himself). ;)

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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby xabir » Mon Sep 05, 2011 12:28 pm

LastLegend wrote:Where does it say that they are not sentient?
Shurangama Sutra:

(44) Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory that all the plants and trees in the ten directions are sentient, not different from human beings. He claims that plants and trees can become people, and that when people die they again become plants and trees in the ten directions. If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme, he will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. Vasishtha and Sainika, who maintained the idea of comprehensive awareness, will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

This is the fourth state, in which he creates an erroneous interpretation based on the idea that there is a universal awareness. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted view of awareness.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Kai » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:09 pm

Astus wrote:Sure, there are many realms and many "planets". Still, if we go with the sequence of lives there is still a problem. Also, many jatakas and stories about former buddhas are placed in India, including cities from the Buddha's time. We can put all this into the category of "myths", nevertheless, these are the traditional views. Just like anything, this can change too. But it's a good reminder how ANY teaching may be reviewed and changed or forgot for ever.


Buddhist Mythology are largely taken from the earlier Vedas ones, the parallels are striking. Mount sumera = Mount Meru and as anyone would have guessed, its within the Himalayas range. No doubt that ancient Buddhists must have viewed India as the legendary southern continent, Jambudvipa while China is the Eastern one and Persia/Arabs to the west so on. Of course, this is perfectly understandably as ancient Indians tend to view the human of other races as separate human species due to the ignorance of biological science and attachment to superficial difference like skin colours, etc. If we take the Buddhist mythology literally, it would have meant that only Indians, people of the southern continent, are able to attain Buddhahood which is a nonsensical conclusion.

Furthermore, Buddhist conception of world system (Since the ancient idea behind the four continents only include China, Middle East, India and probably Russia region) doesn't include modern continents like Americas, Africa or Europe in it, for that, it is greatly flawed. And if people try to treat the huge America continent as a separate world system, it will create another problem.......that two world systems sharing the same moon and sun.

For people who argued that the people of northern continent and so on, are found in another planet and not on Earth, then they will face the fact or problem that there are no life found in other planets of our solar system and if they are found in other solar systems, then they have a different sun and moon from the people of the Southern continent. Therefore Northern, Western and Eastern continents must be found on our planet Earth and the fact that great Chinese monk Xuanzang once stated in his record that China = Eastern Continent and so on, support this deduction.

Its about time that Buddhist recognized the fact that their cosmological model require some revising or fine tuning.

I will talk about Chakravartins idea another day....Its something that many Buddhists take for granted without knowing that its another idea taken from their Brahmanism ancestry......
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:33 pm

Well, for me at least the key question here is: if the cosmology is wrong, or borrowed, or otherwise open to question, is the truth value of Buddha's teachings thus undermined?

"Yes". The teachings assume the cosmology as a premise -- that is, they constitute advice to people based on the world being a certain way. So if the cosmology is mistaken, how can the advice be sound?

"No". The cosmology is simply the teachings by other means; i.e. an illustration of dharma practice via imaginative depiction of the multiverse. It is an example of what some have termed "the religious imagination".

Since the Buddha's teachings are described as going counter to the grain of the world, perhaps it is to be expected that the illustrative cosmology will also present a reverse picture...

This piece by Rupert Gethin is worth a read, IMO.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Kai » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:54 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Well, for me at least the key question here is: if the cosmology is wrong, or borrowed, or otherwise open to question, is the truth value of Buddha's teachings thus undermined?


Well, its the same question as (since its not a secret that Buddhism borrowed yoga and tantra practices from the Veda schools) does that make their meditation practices and Jhanas invalid?

I'm pretty sure that most Buddhists already have their answers on that. So by applying the same principle on the cosmology one, most people will be able to resolve their dilemma on this subject. The cosmology problem is only a setback for attracting new groups of modern tech savvy youth into the folds but hardly one that will make most Buddhists lose their sleeps.
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Astus » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:41 pm

I think revising Buddhist geographical understanding is one thing, while revising the order of the birth and destruction of the world is quite another. Even with the geographical modifications there can be some problems (see: Where are the Gods?), how much so with larger changes. Of course, I believe it is possible to turn the classical Buddhist cosmology into an updated sci-fi universe.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Evolution of humans and Mahayana Buddhism

Postby Kai » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:14 am

Astus wrote:I think revising Buddhist geographical understanding is one thing, while revising the order of the birth and destruction of the world is quite another. Even with the geographical modifications there can be some problems (see: Where are the Gods?), how much so with larger changes. Of course, I believe it is possible to turn the classical Buddhist cosmology into an updated sci-fi universe.


If you read what I posted, you will realize that updating the Buddhist cosmology into an sci fi universe will not aid the existing model at all as some parts of the models are simply plain wrong and Buddhists will just have to accept that. Destruction of the world system by fire at the end of the kalpa is less problematic since it could be done away by using the eventual destruction of our solar system by the supernova of our sun.

Since we are on the topic, I post more information on devas in another thread........stayed tuned........
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