Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

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Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby beautiful breath » Mon Dec 05, 2011 1:43 pm

Hi all,

I am halfway through Stephen Batchelors book "Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist" - a good and honest read.

Something has jumped out at me and i would dearly like to hear others take on the matter. His contention is effectively this:

If the mind is a formless phenomena how then does it interact with the brain.

If the mind is merely an emergent property of the brain then there is nothing to be re-born nor is there anything to receive the (potentially negative) consequences of this life.

I have always struggled with the Mind/Body issue and have't visited it again up until reading this...

...as ever all responses welcome - if I don't reply straight away I will as soon as I can.

Cheers,

BB
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:19 pm

How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby beautiful breath » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:27 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:


Brilliant...more more...!!!
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:



It has form, called photons.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Mr. G » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:31 pm

beautiful breath wrote:I am halfway through Stephen Batchelors book "Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist" - a good and honest read.


I personally disagree:

Distorted Visions of Buddhism: Agnostic and Atheist
By B. Alan Wallace

As Buddhism has encountered modernity, it runs against widespread prejudices, both religious and anti-religious, and it is common for all those with such biases to misrepresent Buddhism, either intentionally or unintentionally. Reputable scholars of Buddhism, both traditional and modern, all agree that the historical Buddha taught a view of karma and rebirth that was quite different from the previous takes on these ideas. Moreover, his teachings on the nature and origins of suffering as well as liberation are couched entirely within the framework of rebirth. Liberation is precisely freedom from the round of birth and death that is samsara. But for many contemporary people drawn to Buddhism, the teachings on karma and rebirth don’t sit well, so they are faced with a dilemma. A legitimate option is simply is adopt those theories and practices from various Buddhist traditions that one finds compelling and beneficial and set the others aside. An illegitimate option is to reinvent the Buddha and his teachings based on one’s own prejudices. This, unfortunately, is the route followed by Stephen Batchelor and other like-minded people who are intent on reshaping the Buddha in their own images.

Read More Here...
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:39 pm

Namdrol wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:



It has form, called photons.
How can something that is massless be considered to have form?

PS If I take your statment as correct, then of which of the mahabhuta is light composed of?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:49 pm

If there is 'nothing' to be reborn then what is it that is 'born'?

The crreation of a new being requires a life force - how was that created? From nothing?

Since there is no evidence in terms of the mind of a precise moment of that existence being created or ending, I conclude that it is a continuum.

Hang on, I'll make it even easier - can SB please prove to me that 'mind' is dependent upon 'body' and that it is born without origin and ends without a future?

In the interests of fair play, please can we lock Dawkins and SD in a darkened room and let then thrash out the issues - I'll just quietly get on with my practice and await their 'extreme pundition'. ;)
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 2:59 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:


I agree with Namdrol. Light has form, and can be thought of as consisting of particles (photons).

Mind can interact with the brain because the brain is just an appearance of mind....as is all matter. It's wrong to think of the mind and the body as having incompatible natures, as ultimately they both have the same nature, and conventionally the brain is an appearance to the mind, created by karma, which is created by mind.

As Chandrakirti (and Buddha) said, all things are created by mind, including the brain and the rest of our physical form. Mind is primary, not matter.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Tsongkhapafan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:03 pm

In addition, Stephen Batchelor is a materialist, a modern day Charavaka.

He denies Buddha's teachings on rebirth and karma because of his materialist wrong views. He's not an authority and shouldn't be taken seriously.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Mr. G » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:06 pm

This following thread is related to this topic and may be of interest to everyone:

Reasons for Rebirth
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:11 pm

Tsongkhapafan wrote:In addition, Stephen Batchelor is a materialist, a modern day Charavaka.

He denies Buddha's teachings on rebirth and karma because of his materialist wrong views. He's not an authority and shouldn't be taken seriously.


Not to quibble, but Batchelor is more a nihilist than a materialist.

I agree with your position in the abstract except I think Batchelor should be taken seriously. In what way? We have nothing to lose by engaging with his position in good faith. If our position is stronger, then our arguments should be convincing, and consequently, we may be able to bring some light into the world or at least dispel some confusion.

It's too easy to paint all Buddhist approaches that sound "materialist" with the broad brush of rejection. Some have value. Peter Hershock's work on sangha is an example where such engagement makes a contribution in my view.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Jikan » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:18 pm

beautiful breath wrote:If the mind is a formless phenomena how then does it interact with the brain.


We know that changes in affect or perception coincide with changes in the matter of the nervous system. Do we know enough to know to explain this coincidence in terms of causation? Well, if I were to eat a big bowl of psilocybe mushrooms, then that change in the matter of my body would in fact induce changes in consciousness. What are the content of those changes--what would I experience? Those experiences would be overwhelmingly determined by my habits of mind, which are not material in the same way a hunk of grey matter is material. The dream state gives other examples: it is possible to have a sense-perception (a sound, a sight) without the engagement of the sense organs in the dream state...

My point is that it may be more sensible to consider an interaction, or reciprocation, or a dialectical relation between conditions and consciousness than to assume that consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the body as, say, Daniel Dennett does and Batchelor sometimes does.

Qualification: I bring all this up to introduce an element of doubt into the conversation around Batchelor's position, not necessarily to make a positive claim on cognitive science, in which I am not at all competent.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:30 pm

Still no answer to my questions!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:How does light (a formless phenomenon) interact with the eye?
:namaste:



It has form, called photons.
How can something that is massless be considered to have form?

PS If I take your statment as correct, then of which of the mahabhuta is light composed of?



Fire.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Paul » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:36 pm

beautiful breath wrote:Something has jumped out at me and i would dearly like to hear others take on the matter. His contention is effectively this:

If the mind is a formless phenomena how then does it interact with the brain.

If the mind is merely an emergent property of the brain then there is nothing to be re-born nor is there anything to receive the (potentially negative) consequences of this life.


The brain's an emergent property of mind. But people are so entranced by sense objects they get it the wrong way round...
Image

"Do not block your six senses; delight in them with joy and ease.
All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:43 pm

Fire is responsible for the heat of phenomena. In the kasina meditations of the Theravadra tradition there is a different meditation for light and a different one for fire. So... :shrug:
:namaste:
PS If light had form and was composed of particles (photons) how would they pass through matter? Plus we know that light can exist without heat (phosphoresence for example) and heat can exist without light (friction for example).
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby White Lotus » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:47 pm

what does ''render'' mean... semantically? i mean really mean. can we agree on this if i dont know? i guess we can if we both agree not to know. who knows? do you also ''dont know''?

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:56 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Fire is responsible for the heat of phenomena. In the kasina meditations of the Theravadra tradition there is a different meditation for light and a different one for fire. So... :shrug:
:namaste:
PS If light had form and was composed of particles (photons) how would they pass through matter? Plus we know that light can exist without heat (phosphoresence for example) and heat can exist without light (friction for example).



Light has a speed, right?
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby gad rgyangs » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:09 pm

i thought "matter" was a better translation of rupa anyway.
Thoroughly tame your own mind.
This is (possibly) the teaching of Buddha.
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Re: Does this render the Buddhism redundant?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:11 pm

gad rgyangs wrote:i thought "matter" was a better translation of rupa anyway.



Well it depends on whether it is rūpa skandha or rūpa-āyatana. The former is best translated as matter, and the latter, form.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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