Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow body[?]

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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Sherab » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:22 am

pensum wrote:
Sherab wrote: I have personally seen the heart, eye-ball and tongue that were left over after the cremation although logically, such organic stuff should have been consumed by the fire longer ago. I don't believe in miracles but I do believe that there can be unexplained phenomena.


This too is easily explained as any Western cremation technician or funeral director can tell you . A minimum temperature, which is quite high, must be maintained for a certain period of time to incinerate the majority of the body: bones, organs etc. (modern cremation chambers can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit or 1093 degrees Celsius). The variations in composition of the various matters, such as density, moisture content etc. mean that different elements have different temperatures and rates of combustion. The brain, tongue, heart and eyeballs all have very high moisture content which must be evaporated before they are dry enough to be incinerated to ash. Add to this the fact that the brain is contained within the skull, the heart in the centre of the body surrounded by other organs, so that they are protected until the rest of the corpse's matter has been consumed. Fueled by wood, temperatures are inconsistent in traditional Tibetan cremations, therefore it is not uncommon that the heart, brain, eyes and tongue remain.
If you are interested here is an explanation of the modern cremation process: http://science.howstuffworks.com/cremation2.htm

You may be right. Anyway, the cremation started in the late afternoon and the burning continued throughout the night. So there was at least 12 hours of burning.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:22 am

bravo, pensum.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:27 am

Sherab wrote:No they are not kidney stones. The ringsels can form any where, inside the bones and even on the cremation structure. I have personally seen ringsels that were formed on the ledge of the "windows" of the cremation structure.
In addition, there was nun who was a close student of the high lama. She was given a piece of the lama's bone. The bone subsequently broke by itself into three pieces, revealing images of deities within them.
Ringsels also continued to be produced from the relics collected.
My point to Guty is that just because a phenomena such as a rainbow body cannot be explained does not render it unbelievable.


All of the situations you mention, Sherab, are easily explained by simple, known biological or chemical reactions.
I am aware that in certain cases ringsel have been known to multiply, however in the cases that i have personally witnessed they were kept in a container with other materials, and they appeared to be somewhat similar to crystals in structure. Crystals, as anyone who has taken a basic high school chemistry class will know, can grow. So even in the case of ringsel multiplying there would appear to be a simple physical explanation.

That said, i respect the unexplained, as do all scientists, mystery and wonder are the very core that drives science to experiment and search for the mechanics of the miracle that we find ourselves immersed in.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:37 am

I would just like to add that i have never understood why people don't see how miraculous and filled with wonder the most mundane existence is: the dance of light on the water, the exquisite tones generated by refraction as the sun sets, the Northern lights, the unfolding of a blossom, the infinite variations of snowflakes, the formation, taste and texture of ice cream, the crisp cool air of winter, the warmth and glow of wood burning in the fireplace, the sound of footsteps,... it's exquisite... and infinite. And i can't help but feel that if one can't see, admire and be in awe of the incredible display in which we are all immersed at all times, then surely even any miraculous occurrence will be lost on one as well. Free of hope and fear this very world is a buddha field.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:41 am

Sherab wrote:
pensum wrote:
Sherab wrote:Guty, have you seen first hand those little pearl like things and coloured bead-like stuff leftover from the cremation of a person? If no, do you believe that they are real?


Of course, ringsel are real (i personally possess one). The issue is whether, beyond the faith of a believer, their generation is caused by anything unique or special; for they would seem to be nothing more than kidney stones, gall stones and the like. For comparative evidence see https://sites.google.com/site/philosophydude/sariras.html.


No they are not kidney stones. The ringsels can form any where, inside the bones and even on the cremation structure. I have personally seen ringsels that were formed on the ledge of the "windows" of the cremation structure.


- on the ledge of the windows - it is more accessible for the persons placing the sphere shaped objects in the vicinity of the cremated person.

In addition, there was nun who was a close student of the high lama. She was given a piece of the lama's bone. The bone subsequently broke by itself into three pieces, revealing images of deities within them.


- this I do not understand and I would rather not.

Ringsels also continued to be produced from the relics collected.

My point to Guty is that just because a phenomena such as a rainbow body cannot be explained does not render it unbelievable.


- well, according to dzogchen scriptures it happens under well substantiated circumstances and from that perspective I can have no objections, but as to observations and direct evidence, we have zilch, nada. I am not that sceptical about the mere possibility, but rather about whether it has ever been observed. I hope the diference is now clear.

There are stories that strained one's credulity such as stopping the sun etc. and I too would take them as such, i.e. stories. But I don't think the rainbow body phenomena belong to that category, and it is a mistake to lump them together. There are just too many reported cases of rainbow body and only one or two stories of someone stopping the sun.


- I don't either, physical body is a repository of karma, once karma has been exhausted, it makes sense that it evaporates as if it was an organic concept. No issue with this, rather, I love it and it was for a long time a good reason that I defended it against everything else. But stil, we have no documented case, no observation, no independent clinical testimony, all is smoke and mirrors, indirect witnesses, reliance upon other persons alleged observations. ringsel smells and looks fishier than anything else, but I'm not saying anything. you have one? have it tested for the chemical and organical composition, could help a lot to get somewhere at least.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Jikan » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:44 am

Hi everyone,

I removed a few posts and edited a few others in order to exclude discussion of another website's moderating practices and policies. We feel such discussions are appropriate to have... at the website in question but not here, particularly as they distract from the interesting discussion underway presently.

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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:47 am

Sherab wrote:You may be right. Anyway, the cremation started in the late afternoon and the burning continued throughout the night. So there was at least 12 hours of burning.


This is why a minimum temperature must be maintained over a certain period of time, otherwise dehydration may occur over time as the moisture evaporates, but if the temperature required to combust the solid matter is not reached and maintained then the organs mentioned will be desiccated but not turned to ash, and thus remain.
Last edited by pensum on Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:49 am

pensum wrote:Free of hope and fear this very world is a buddha field.
:bow:

"La esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia" - Hope is for the people who do not yet live in Grace.
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- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:54 am

Guty wrote:
pensum wrote:Free of hope and fear this very world is a buddha field.
:bow:

"La esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia" - Hope is for the people who do not yet live in Grace.


Such a beautiful saying, Guty, where is it from?
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:57 am

pensum wrote:
Guty wrote:
pensum wrote:Free of hope and fear this very world is a buddha field.
:bow:

"La esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia" - Hope is for the people who do not yet live in Grace.


Such a beautiful saying, Guty, where is it from?



a Prison Break TV show episode, but not sure exactly which one. I was really struck by it, cause it originates from christian context.
Oh, I got the context - it is where Sucre steals the old man's car to get to his love before she gets married to other guy. :)
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:03 am

dmr82 wrote:This is one of the reasons siddhis are displayed by realized beings.




Historically speaking, tales of siddhas really only arise in India when Buddhism was in the process of being destroyed.

We can understand this because such stories are conspicuously absent from Chinese accounts of Indian Buddhism.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Sherab » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:09 am

pensum wrote:
Sherab wrote:No they are not kidney stones. The ringsels can form any where, inside the bones and even on the cremation structure. I have personally seen ringsels that were formed on the ledge of the "windows" of the cremation structure.
In addition, there was nun who was a close student of the high lama. She was given a piece of the lama's bone. The bone subsequently broke by itself into three pieces, revealing images of deities within them.
Ringsels also continued to be produced from the relics collected.
My point to Guty is that just because a phenomena such as a rainbow body cannot be explained does not render it unbelievable.


All of the situations you mention, Sherab, are easily explained by simple, known biological or chemical reactions.
I am aware that in certain cases ringsel have been known to multiply, however in the cases that i have personally witnessed they were kept in a container with other materials, and they appeared to be somewhat similar to crystals in structure. Crystals, as anyone who has taken a basic high school chemistry class will know, can grow. So even in the case of ringsel multiplying there would appear to be a simple physical explanation.

That said, i respect the unexplained, as do all scientists, mystery and wonder are the very core that drives science to experiment and search for the mechanics of the miracle that we find ourselves immersed in.

Round ringsels forming on or outside the cremation structure is not so easily explained away as crystals formation. I'd rather keep an open mind about this rather than to reject it outright through some plausible science-based rationalization.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:10 am

Pero wrote:Malcolm, if it's not too much of a personal question to answer so publicly, how much do you believe? ?


I try to believe as little as possible. I don't find beliefs to be very useful.

However, just because I don't believe some thing does not make that it false.

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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby dmr82 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:10 am

Malcolm wrote:That's what the texts say. Sounds easy, but it is not so easy. Even ChNN does not claim any of these abilities for himself.


Actually revealing terma is a siddhi. And what he has accomplished with DC is a miracle in itself. Blessings and Long Life to the Precious Guru, his kindness and compassion is beyond our comprehension.

As for the discussion of relics if you have a chance to visit the Heart Shrine tour it could be very beneficial. The effect it had on me being in the presence of these miracles for even a couple hours was like doing a 3 month retreat in isolation.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:16 am

Malcolm wrote:
Pero wrote:Malcolm, if it's not too much of a personal question to answer so publicly, how much do you believe? ?


I try to believe as little as possible. I don't find beliefs to be very useful.

However, just because I don't believe some thing does not make that it false.

M


That is also my position.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby dmr82 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:17 am

Malcolm wrote:We can understand this because such stories are conspicuously absent from Chinese accounts of Indian Buddhism.


If you're interested in the Chinese versions of masters displaying such abilities you can find them in "Opening the Dragon Gate: The Making of a Modern Taoist Wizard" and "The Magus of Java". Both masters are still alive and can display everything Padmasambhava did. Over the years small groups from Europe have visited these masters in private and confirmed it's not mere fantasy or trickery but real abilities and manifestations of power.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:20 am

dmr82 wrote:
Actually revealing terma is a siddhi.


ChNN himself has said the klong gsal teachings are not, technically speaking "gter ma".

They are rmi chos, dream Dharmas, and as such, he has frequently admitted that he has a lot of capacity in this regard, which he has said manifested as a result of his contact with Rigzin Chanchub Dorje.

My other main Dzogchen master, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, revealed gter mas on my front porch (2005), teachings which I hold in the highest regard.

On the other hand, I have also found texts in famous terma cycles that are most definitely renovations of earlier texts (in one specific case I am thinking of, a text authored originally in the 12th century that also happens to be reported by Go Lotsawa by name] with "mis en scene" added for dramatic effect at the beginning. Robert Meyers and Cathy Cantwell's work on the treasures of Nyang ral Nyima Ozer are instructive in this regard as well.

In the case of the treasure tradition, perhaps it is wise to take Guru Chowang's dictum to heart, i.e., the entire universe is a gter ma. This perspective solves a lot of teleological problems.

M
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:27 am

dmr82 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:We can understand this because such stories are conspicuously absent from Chinese accounts of Indian Buddhism.


If you're interested in the Chinese versions of masters displaying such abilities you can find them in "Opening the Dragon Gate: The Making of a Modern Taoist Wizard" and "The Magus of Java". Both masters are still alive and can display everything Padmasambhava did. Over the years small groups from Europe have visited these masters in private and confirmed it's not mere fantasy or trickery but real abilities and manifestations of power.



I am not talking about tales of Taoist masters. Such stories, while interesting in their own right, are not relevant here.

I am talking about the reports of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims in India. They do not report the same kinds of tales that Tibetan pilgrims four centuries later report. In fact, Sino-Japanese Vajrayāna interestingly also lacks the emphasis on stories of siddhas, coming from an earlier epoch in the development of Vajrayāna. Of course there are the stock in trade mundane siddhis mention in early tantras like the Susiddhikara and so on that we find common to both Hindu and Buddhist sources, like the eye salve siddhi for finding buried treasures and so on, these things are mentioned in texts translated into Chinese, but there does not seem to be the same obsession with subduing Hindus we find, for example, in the life story of Virupa, or the treasure bios of Padmasamabhava, etc.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:37 am

Sherab wrote:Round ringsels forming on or outside the cremation structure is not so easily explained away as crystals formation. I'd rather keep an open mind about this rather than to reject it outright through some plausible science-based rationalization.


Actually, these are very easy to explain as cremation stupas are typically painted white using whitewash, which is made from calcium hydroxide, chalk etc. Note that gallstones are primarily composed of calcium salts such as calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. So the high sustained temperatures while the fire is burning likely catalyze a basic chemical reaction forming these "external" ringsel.
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Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby dmr82 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:39 am

Malcolm wrote:I am not talking about tales of Taoist masters. Such stories, while interesting in their own right, are not relevant here.


It depends on what you're really after. But two still living masters displaying siddhis like the 84 mahasiddhas seems pretty relevant if one looks for confirmation of these abilities.

Malcolm wrote:My other main Dzogchen master, Kunzang Dechen Lingpa, revealed gter mas on my front porch (2005), teachings which I hold in the highest regard.

On the other hand, I have also found texts in famous terma cycles that are most definitely renovations of earlier texts (in one specific case I am thinking of, a text authored originally in the 12th century that also happens to be reported by Go Lotsawa by name] with "mis en scene" added for dramatic effect at the beginning. Robert Meyers and Cathy Cantwell's work on the treasures of Nyang ral Nyima Ozer are instructive in this regard as well.


This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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