gregkavarnos wrote: Malcolm wrote:
Buddha includes "grass and trees" among "birth" i.e. jati.
Know first the grass and trees:
Though they lack self-awareness,
Their birth is their distinctive mark;
For many are the kinds of birth.
-- Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, pg. 800
Here, Buddha clearly includes plants among the "born". He continues next with moths up to ants, and so on. But if you read this without bias, he says later, on pg. 806:
Who knows his manifold past lives,
And sees the heavens and states of woe,
Who has reached the destruction of birth,
He is the one I call a bhramin.
Since plants are included among birth here, I see no reason not to understand that they are possible rebirths though lacking self-knowing
(na cāpi paṭijānare), also so called formless realm beings lack self-knowing.
Isn't a lack of self awareness a description of non-sentience? Of course plants are "born" but, like I said before, let us not confound living with sentience.
Precisely. The Buddha always speaks in this way. He is conforming to common conception among the people of his time, as is the way of the Tathagata. Notwithstanding he still manages to harmonize with scientific understanding--this is not referring to "whatever 21st century scientists believe, but rather science as a perspective, in other words pure scientific thought. He describes that there are many kinds of birth, and that plants are distinguished by their own birth, and that they're very basic. And yet he designates them clearly as NOT
being self-aware. Right then and there, if a plant has no self-awareness, it matters not if they're sentient beings, because they have no awareness of being sentient and therefore can't experience anything. I mean, at some point you have to realize--wait, I'm trying really hard to prove my belief that plants are sentient beings... but why?
By your definition unconscious gods would then be non-sentient, as would people in comas.
People in comas do have self-awareness... Are you saying that when we enter a deep sleep and don't recall our dreaming, we are not self-aware? Wow.
Also,the unconscious brahmas:
Asannasatta Brahmas are those divine beings without any consciousness or mind. As human beings they discover the faults of citta (mind) and sañña (memory). They see that all forms of greed arises because of citta, they also see that life would be so peaceful had there been no citta. While concentrating on the fault of consciousness, "Citta is loathsome. Citta is loathsome", they develop a kammatthana called sannaviraga bhávaná - disgust for sañña.
When they die they are reborn as Brahmas, in the Asannasatta Brahma realms and live like golden statues, standing, sitting or reclining without consciousness. Their life span is 500 kappa’s long.
They are still subject to consciousness, they're just in a suspended state. That's like saying if a person is completely suspended by cryogenics they have no consciousness. They are unconscious but they still remain with awareness. This is not something you can just use for whatever reason you want, you need to use the experience of meditative insight, or at least refer to someone's experience. Asannasatta brahmas are not "plants," they also have bodies. If you were to reach this jhana and practice the halting of memory, you would see that it is like when one focuses strongly on thought, one stops recognizing what one's thinking about and it seems like you aren't thinking anymore. Anyone can do this. Breathe, look at something or at nothing, and simply focus on "thinking," focus on your ability to "think," and memory will start to skip, and it feels like observing the sense objects (noises, TV, people talking, a butterfly) without thinking about any of them at all. This is a sort of primitive experience of non-memory. To work, the "nama" part of existence needs all the dynamics of the interdependent aggregates united. Without sanna, recognition and marking of the object for recognizing it again, everything mental becomes subdued, halted, dispensed, null, and so forth. And again, if a plant is a sentient being who has this sort of existence, there's no way to influence them. What it boils down to is the question, what about a plant leads you to believe it's a sentient being without sanna...? What is your answer?
Seriously, what personal spiritual gain do you think is going to come out of this? Do you think you're going to help other people by convincing them of plant sentience? If not that, then if you're so confident in plant sentience, where does this self-knowledge come from? If you want others to understand this knowledge, point the way to this self-knowledge. Tell us all: where does one find the self-knowledge that plants are sentient beings...? With an open mind, many are listening. We are Buddhists, after all.