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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:21 am 
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Dexing wrote:
This doesn't answer my question, which is about what justification there is for the belief that this is true, given that there is no indication of consciousness absent a physical brain (at least not that any yogis are willing to demonstrate).

Here's some news to you: yogis have no obligation to indulge your curiosity.

There are indications in science that consciousness is not a mere byproduct of the brain, as was repeated many times already, with links to lectures and articles. Just not the kind of science you like. You seem to agree with the materialist stance of some scientists. Let me tell you that you're not agreeing with facts. You are agreeing with metaphysical speculation made by materialistically minded scientists, not scientific facts. Claims, claims made by materialistically minded scientists, claims whose problems have been shown in this thread, claims that you'll never be able to verify for yourself. At least through practice you get to verify Buddhist claims firsthand.

So, there you are again, making a point, in spite of all that's been said, not asking questions. Tell me why I shouldn't consider this trolling...


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 11:49 am 
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Dexing wrote:
By the way, I don't say one has blind faith if they don't agree with me. The Seeker said he believes in a continuing consciousness (what he believes) because child prodigies have incredible talents (why he believes it). I don't understand how you get from "people have amazing talents" to "past lives" or "disembodied consciousness". It's the same as "nature is amazing and beautiful" therefore "it has a supernatural creator".

When I asked how you get from one to the other, the response I was given is "you believe or don't" or "you choose what you'd like to believe". That is what I called blind faith, by the very definition, not simply being in disagreement with me.


Right here you've said I have blind faith.......

I guess you need to find the answer for a continuing consciousness on your own as anything I or others have said doesn't pass as acceptable to you.
I don't seek answers to how or why there can be a continuing consciousness, I have given more than one point that in my opinion are acceptable to me. You just refute what I have said because it could be explained in another (your) way. I'm really not sure if there is a way to physically prove it.
The thing I seek is a more peaceful and better life through the Dharma, which in the short time I've practiced it, has made a great difference in my life. All for the better.

This has been an interesting run in circles with no real point or outcome of positive effect.
As I said earlier, my you find the answers you're looking for and be at peace.

Kindest wishes, Dave

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One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:55 pm 
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Dexing wrote:
Acchantika wrote:

Gunkleman is just discussing a potential scientific model.


If you notice, I was asked to show that the "emergence theory of mind" is a product of neuroscientists (not neuroscience) and not philosophers. This video shows one example. I'm not aware of any philosopher who produced this theory not based on neuroscience.


Of course the truth is that you were asked to justify your claim that the emergent theory of mind is a scientifically verifiable hypothesis, not provide an example of a neuroscientist using the phrase "emergence".

Quote:
Again, my point with it is to present another perspective for contrast. "Here is a theory, and here are the indications that it is based on". Without positing anything in that as fact, I then ask for a similar breakdown of consciousness from a Buddhist perspective.

Only a slim few have attempted an answer, while mostly the first theory presented is attacked, which doesn't make the case for the Buddhist belief, and is really irrelevant because no one here is defending it as a claim.


The corrections directed at you were regarding your confusion about the state of the theory of emergence - i.e. the assumption, that begs the question, that: "all scientific indications point toward [consciousness] being an emergent property of a brain". It has nothing to do with you or what you personally believe.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 3:53 pm 
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It's actually interesting to me as this touches on a core part of both a big obstacle of my practice right now and the source of a panic attack level of fear.

I don't know how much this will help. More than anything it is a way for me to clarify my own thoughts on the matter.

On a side note, when I brought this up to my teacher, his response(in a nutshell) was, "This is natural, concentrating doing Dorje Sempa." He isn't what one would call verbose but he doesn't ask me to do anything "cult"-like so it is fine by me.

From what I've read on the matter I think there are a few problems with this type of subject.

First, like life after death, the historical Buddha didn't really have that that much to say about it(he was much more interested in the fact that we have a consciousness, suffering arises, so how do we make it where there is no suffering). The various definitions of consciousness(of which there are many) seemed to come in commentaries after the Buddha lived. Since there are so many of them and the Buddha historically didn't say a lot on the matter, that makes things challenging there.

Also of difficulty is that some of the concepts involved in the brain/consciousness debate are geared to speak to Abrahamic religions. One might say that this doesn't matter but it does. The people writing the papers and books are thinking about a solid soul(the kind where when you die the "you" that is your soul goes to heaven or hell). The problem is that most Buddhist schools of thought don't think that the soul exists in that way. Exactly how the soul exists seems to depend on which school of thought you are talking about but most schools seem to agree that it is very different from the traditional Jewish/Christian/Muslim understanding of a "soul".

So, with that said, I'd like to say what I think is being said thus far in this thread in English as plain as I can make it. If at all possible, please try to respond in plain English. If you use jargon, that's fine but keep in mind that I will respond back with what I think you mean in plain English and ask you to confirm. Yes it is tedious but it also is the only way for real communication to happen. Otherwise it is just spewing jargon and vitriol at each other which is far from productive.

The background: Over the past 50 years or so(give or take) scientists have done a lot of experiments with the brain. They have discovered that if you do certain things to the brain it will produce effects that we traditionally associate with consciousness. If you take pill X this makes you happy, if you poke at certain parts of the brain it induces panic, if you destroy part of the brain certain memories may go away, etc. Because they have no way to really measure consciousness they can't really say directly where it comes from(unlike, say, insulin which we can show comes from a particular gland under particular circumstances).

A few people, some scientists but mostly philosophers saw this research and decided this meant that consciousness was a side effect of things that happen in the brain like heat is the side effect of turning on a car engine. From there many things were stated about life after death, books were written, and many people because very agitated and unhappy.

The Actual Thread: The OP seems to want to take the idea of consciousness as a side effect of brain activity as a given, the same way most Buddhist scholars take as a given that Enlightenment exists and is a positive state. However, most people on this thread seem to be quite unwilling to take that idea as a given. This(plus the factors that I listed earlier) seems to make answering the question that the OP posed(which I think can be summed up as "Why do you believe this Buddhist stuff about consciousness when science shows you are wrong?") pretty much impossible.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 6:05 pm 
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Challenger 23 wrote:

"The OP seems to want to take the idea of consciousness as a side effect of brain activity as a given"

That's it in a nutshell. When I provided urls that suggest ways of scientifically testing veridical NDEs/OBEs, and that show that the "hard problem" remains hard, the OP simply ignored them. Apparently he is driven by his assumptions and pre-judgments.


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 9:24 am 
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I've repeatedly stated throughout this thread that I am presenting what science has been able to show thus far and another viewpoint of some that may go with it as an example of a model of consciousness that opposes Buddhism and a reason for those that lean that way for taking it as the most plausible explanation of consciousness.

Can anyone please tell me where I suggested that this is also my viewpoint or that my stance on the topic is one of materialism? I have repeated countless times now that this is not the case. So I'm uncertain why people are assuming so. The only thing I've agreed on with that side is that there has been no evidence of consciousness absent a brain, which should make "just believing" in a continuing consciousness unsatisfactory, requiring a reason. For the record, I do have my reason also which I was kind of expecting to find repeated here...

Which brings us to the point of the thread. I posed a question on this topic asking for Buddhists' reason for believing the particular model of consciousness that they accept, and to-date only two people have attempted an answer to it, The Seeker and Challenge23, and I thank them. Others have only been criticizing materialism and science, which neither makes a case in their favor nor is relevant to this topic because no one is defending materialism as their view here. Then there's the insecure Douche Norbu who comes on just to insult and flex threatening mod muscle at me for asking a question that challenges her faith, obviously only attempting to flood the thread with irrelevancies to drown it out rather than offer an answer herself.

If anyone is open to bringing the discussion back on topic of Dharma and what reasons there are for accepting a particular model of consciousness from whatever sect, that would be great. Challenge23, interested in continuing discussion and elaborating on yours?

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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 9:27 pm 
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Dexing wrote:
The only thing I've agreed on with that side is that there has been no evidence of consciousness absent a brain, which should make "just believing" in a continuing consciousness unsatisfactory, requiring a reason.

Well, a point that should be acknowledged is that believing in the philosophy of physicalism based on the current Western scientific knowledge of consciousness is equally unsatisfactory, if not moreso. John Searle, quoted in The Future of Consciousness Studies:

    At our present state of the investigation of consciousness, we don't know how it works and we need to try all kinds of different ideas.

Jerry A. Fodor, The Big Idea:

    Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious.

Alan Wallace, Hidden Dimensions:

    A true revolution in the mind sciences has been delayed by an enforced conformity to the unnatural ideological and methodological constraints imposed by the assumptions of scientific materialism, particularly neo-Darwinism. One such assumption is that mental phenomena are equivalent to neurophysiological processes in the brain, an empirically uncorroborated belief. If the first revolution in the mind sciences is to take place, such unsubstantiated ideas must be suspended and new methodologies must be employed that are uniquely suited to the scientific study of mental phenomena, including consciousness. In other words, science can either continue to let its study of the mind be dominated by the metaphysical assumptions of a well-established ideology or pursue the open-minded, empirical investigation of mental phenomena, even if it calls into question some of the most deeply held scientific beliefs based on classical physics and contemporary biology.

And just one area of investigation that isn't easily compatible with physicalism is the phenomenon of NDE experienced during cardiac arrest. Sam Parina, et al, A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of the Incidence, Features and Aetiology of Near Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest Survivors:

    The data suggests that in this cardiac arrest model, the NDE arises during unconsciousness. This is a surprising conclusion, because when the brain is so dysfunctional that the patient is deeply comatose, the cerebral structures which underpin subjective experience and memory must be severely impaired. Complex experiences such as are reported in the NDE should not arise or be retained in memory. Such patients would be expected to have no subjective experience ... or at best a confusional state if some brain function is retained. Even if the unconscious brain is flooded by neurotransmitters, this should not produce clear, lucid, remembered experiences, as those cerebral modules which generate conscious experience and underpin memory are impaired by cerebral anoxia. The fact that in a cardiac arrest loss of cortical function precedes the rapid loss of brainstem activity lends further support to this view.

    An alternative explanation would be that the observed experiences arise during the loss of, or on regaining, consciousness. However, it is unlikely that the NDE arises either when the cortical modules are failing, that is, during the process of becoming unconscious, or when the cortical modules are coming back on line, that is when consciousness is returning.


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Jnana wrote:
Dexing wrote:
The only thing I've agreed on with that side is that there has been no evidence of consciousness absent a brain, which should make "just believing" in a continuing consciousness unsatisfactory, requiring a reason.

Well, a point that should be acknowledged is that believing in the philosophy of physicalism based on the current Western scientific knowledge of consciousness is equally unsatisfactory, if not moreso.


I would agree, which is why I'm not sure of the reason this keeps getting argued, since no one here is claiming or defending such a position. Also, saying the basis for someone else's belief is equally as unsatisfactory, or more so than your own, doesn't strengthen your position or change its status of insufficiency.

My point in the quoted statement is to say that wherever there has been an indication of consciousness in any objectively verifiable way there has always been an associated physical brain present.

Quote:
And just one area of investigation that isn't easily compatible with physicalism is the phenomenon of NDE experienced during cardiac arrest. Sam Parina, et al, A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of the Incidence, Features and Aetiology of Near Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest Survivors:

    The data suggests that in this cardiac arrest model, the NDE arises during unconsciousness. This is a surprising conclusion, because when the brain is so dysfunctional that the patient is deeply comatose, the cerebral structures which underpin subjective experience and memory must be severely impaired. Complex experiences such as are reported in the NDE should not arise or be retained in memory. Such patients would be expected to have no subjective experience ... or at best a confusional state if some brain function is retained. Even if the unconscious brain is flooded by neurotransmitters, this should not produce clear, lucid, remembered experiences, as those cerebral modules which generate conscious experience and underpin memory are impaired by cerebral anoxia. The fact that in a cardiac arrest loss of cortical function precedes the rapid loss of brainstem activity lends further support to this view.

    An alternative explanation would be that the observed experiences arise during the loss of, or on regaining, consciousness. However, it is unlikely that the NDE arises either when the cortical modules are failing, that is, during the process of becoming unconscious, or when the cortical modules are coming back on line, that is when consciousness is returning.


I don't find NDEs to qualify as at all reliable evidence of anything the patients claim about consciousness' separation from the physical body. If it is to be accepted as evidence then their claims and interpretations of the afterlife, from their direct experience, also have to be taken for granted.

From the same article:

    It is not clear whether the experiences of patients,
    who report that they have ‘left their bodies’
    and viewed their own resuscitation procedures are
    veridical or are hallucinations.

    Some patients do appear to have obtained information which they
    could not have obtained during unconsciousness.
    If this is so, it would suggest that some
    element of human consciousness is capable of
    separating from the body and obtaining information at a distance.

    However, it is also possible that the information that they report may
    have been gained from ordinary sensory sources.

    In this study, no out of body experiences occurred.
    The authors know of no prospective studies which
    have helped clarify this point

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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Dexing wrote:
I would agree, which is why I'm not sure of the reason this keeps getting argued, since no one here is claiming or defending such a position.

Physicalism is currently a dominant worldview in academia, and also strongly defended by well organized groups of so-called "skeptics," who devote much time and energy to trying to "debunk" any research that doesn't easily fit with their physicalist thesis. These types of tactics attempt to drown out any alternative views. On a forum like DW it's quite relevant and IMO important to point out that the champions of physicalism haven't proven anything about consciousness to support their theories.

Dexing wrote:
Also, saying the basis for someone else's belief is equally as unsatisfactory, or more so than your own, doesn't strengthen your position or change its status of insufficiency.

I never suggested otherwise.

Dexing wrote:
My point in the quoted statement is to say that wherever there has been an indication of consciousness in any objectively verifiable way there has always been an associated physical brain present.

Consciousness is subjective. The objective domains include neural correlates, observable behaviors, etc. None of these objective criteria tell us much of anything about what consciousness is.

Dexing wrote:
I don't find NDEs to qualify as at all reliable evidence of anything the patients claim about consciousness' separation from the physical body.

That's fine. This is, in part, why this entire subject usually doesn't make for a very fruitful debate. The point of mentioning the NDE is to give one example of a fairly widespread phenomenon that isn't easily reduced to neurological brain activity. There are also other phenomena that don't fit easily with physicalist reductionism.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:27 am 
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Dexing wrote:

Can anyone please tell me where I suggested that this is also my viewpoint or that my stance on the topic is one of materialism? I have repeated countless times now that this is not the case. So I'm uncertain why people are assuming so. The only thing I've agreed on with that side is that there has been no evidence of consciousness absent a brain, which should make "just believing" in a continuing consciousness unsatisfactory, requiring a reason. For the record, I do have my reason also which I was kind of expecting to find repeated here...


Ok, I met your challenge below. Now, another question for you. What is your reason?


Dexing wrote:

If anyone is open to bringing the discussion back on topic of Dharma and what reasons there are for accepting a particular model of consciousness from whatever sect, that would be great. Challenge23, interested in continuing discussion and elaborating on yours?


Well, here's the problem as I see it. The idea of literal reincarnation not happening falls pretty clearly in the category of Buddhist nihilism(which is slightly different than philosophical nihilism) and, as the Buddha made pretty clear(if you are not willing to take that as a given I am more than happy to dig into a few sutras and give you some direct quotes though I'd rather not as it will be a lot of formatting), you can either have nihilism or Dharma. Not both.

So, that makes it where, if you want to continue to be Buddhist in any real sense of the word, you have to find a way to reconcile reincarnation and the current research. In order to do this I think we should first look at exactly what the research is saying. According to the research there is a link between performing actions on parts of the brain(physical structures, electrical, or chemical) and emotional or memory based responses. That's it.

Now, consider how emptiness is thought of in most Buddhist schools. In those schools it is pointed out that if someone forgets something, their personality changes, or if they can't feel a certain emotion you no longer say they aren't the same person. Therefore it isn't that much of a stretch that whatever it is that science might link to brain activity isn't really important to the definition of consciousness when it is thought of in light of emptiness.

Much like the old analogy describing emptiness to Alexander the Great. If you remove a wheel from a chariot it is still a chariot. The "chariot-ness" isn't somehow in the wheel. If you remove whatever it is that science links to the brain from a consciousness that doesn't somehow make it not exist. So from the point of view of emptiness, the actual results of the experiments are entirely irrelevant because things aren't defined that way. The original argument was meant for Judeo-Christian souls which aren't thought of in the same way that Buddhism thinks of consciousness.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:15 pm 
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There are very effective philosophical arguments against materialism. These include such things as 'the argument from reason'

C S Lewis wrote:
One absolutely central inconsistency ruins [materialist philosophy]. The whole picture professes to depend on inferences from observed facts. Unless inference is valid, the whole picture disappears... unless Reason is an absolute[,] all is in ruins. Yet those who ask me to believe this world picture also ask me to believe that Reason is simply the unforeseen and unintended by-product of mindless matter at one stage of its endless and aimless becoming. Here is flat contradiction. They ask me at the same moment to accept a conclusion and to discredit the only testimony on which that conclusion can be based."


(from Wikipedia).

Of course,complete elaboration of this requires a very lengthy argument. But it is also related to what I consider the killer argument: that number is not material. Number is only intelligible to creatures such as ourselves, who can count. The act of counting is a purely mental or intellectual act. We are able to make valid inferences on the basis of logical and mathematical reasoning, which reveals many things about the Universe which we would have no way of knowing by sensory perception alone. But the fact of number itself is not something which is materially existent in any way. There is no such 'thing' as a number, anywhere. It only exists for a perceiving intelligence. Yet it is not a matter of opinion, or the property of that intelligence, as it is the same for all who can count. I don't believe that either philosophical materialism or evolutionary naturalism has anything like an effective argument to account for the nature of number.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 2:27 pm 
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Dexing wrote:
Is there any justifiable reason to believe there can be consciousness absent a brain, while all scientific indications point toward it being an emergent property of a brain?

No, but it seems to be required in order to practice the Dharma, or so it would appear.

I have been following this thread with some interest, and would like to register my support Dexing's stance. To claim this to be trolling is to completely miss the meat in the sandwich. The issue that Dexing has raised, of faith in traditional buddhist beliefs being challenged by mounting scientific evidence (not belief), is a very important one for many buddhists, and therefore for buddhism in general.

Obviously to believe what we want to believe is a basic right. But is the practice of Dharma not about discovering the truth beyond the illusion of our beliefs?

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:02 pm 
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I've been thinking about this -- I think in sutric Buddhism, since "consciousness" itself as vijnana is ultimately empty and dependent on the the senses as interpreted by the brain, the six vijnanas would indeed end on brain death, that leaves the question as to what is transferred across different lives. In the Sutras Buddha Shakyamuni states clearly that no matter crosses into the next life, which leaves a bit of a paradox.

Quote:
The Questions of an Old Lady

“Sister, it is likewise when there are meritorious formative factors.7 That is to say, although meritorious bodies will result amongst gods and humans, in that case not even an atom is transferred from this world to the world beyond. However, due to the formative factors [F.312.b], there are various kinds of rebirths. They are understood to be physical bodies with bases for cognition.8

“It is likewise when there are demeritorious formative factors. That is to say, although bodies that are not meritorious result amongst hell beings, or in the animal state, or in the world of the Lord of Death, or among the demigods,9 not even an atom is transferred in such a case from this world to the world beyond. However, due to the formative factors there are various kinds of rebirths. They are understood to be physical forms with bases for cognition.

“Sister, it is as follows: for example, a vast gathering of clouds arises because of the nāga-power of the nāgas,10 and when those huge nets of clouds cover the earth, they let fall a heavy deluge of rain. After the heavy deluge of rain has fallen, the hills and the valleys are quenched. When the hills and valleys are quenched, the rain later subsides. But these things do not originate from the nāgas’ bodies or minds. The nāgas produce the vast gathering of clouds, rather, by virtue of the nāga-powers of nāgas alone.

“Sister, it is likewise when there are meritorious formative factors, that is to say, when meritorious bodies result amongst gods or humans. It is likewise, too, when there are demeritorious formative factors. That is to say, although bodies that are not meritorious result amongst hells beings or in the animal state or the world of the Lord of Death or among the demigods, in such cases the activity of the formative factor is empty, the agent of the formative factor is empty and the fruits of the formative factor are also empty. Sister, when there are formative factors for remaining static, consciousness will reincarnate amongst the beings of the formless realms. That on account of which the consciousness reincarnates amongst beings of the formless realms is empty, and the consciousness which reincarnates amongst the beings of the formless realms is empty too. Why is this so? Sister, it is because all phenomena are empty of essence. Even so phenomena are designated. The learned are not attached to them. As they have no attachment they do not dispute. Having no disputes is the supreme quality of the religious mendicant.”


The Yogacarins attempted to account for this by positing the 7th an 8th consciousnesses as carriers of karmic traces etc, but I don't think they describe the mechanism by which they cross lives. Dzogchen (and possibly tantric?) cosmology accounts for this by saying the vayus get transferred across lives, although it is unlikely that the vayus will ever be scientifically verified.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:03 pm 
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dharmagoat wrote:
Dexing wrote:
Is there any justifiable reason to believe there can be consciousness absent a brain, while all scientific indications point toward it being an emergent property of a brain?

No, but it seems to be required in order to practice the Dharma, or so it would appear.

I have been following this thread with some interest, and would like to register my support Dexing's stance. To claim this to be trolling is to completely miss the meat in the sandwich. The issue that Dexing has raised, of faith in traditional buddhist beliefs being challenged by mounting scientific evidence (not belief), is a very important one for many buddhists, and therefore for buddhism in general.

Obviously to believe what we want to believe is a basic right. But is the practice of Dharma not about discovering the truth beyond the illusion of our beliefs?
Another one who while questioning all forgets to question the fallacious claims of materialistically minded scientists... :roll:
You are believing in a different metaphysical system, that's all. There's nothing factual about it. Those materialist claims about the brain creating consciousness are nothing but fallacious metaphysical extrapolations. Question that also, for goodness sake, especially because they contradict your own experience! Don't swallow hook, line and sinker.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Dechen Norbu wrote:
[
You are believing in a different metaphysical system, that's all. There's nothing factual about it. Those materialist claims about the brain creating consciousness are nothing but fallacious metaphysical extrapolations. Question that also, for goodness sake, especially because they contradict your own experience! Don't swallow hook, line and sinker.


Consciousness is produced by the body, but it is not primarily located in the brain. It is located in the heart. Even during the process of the rebirth, there is a never a time a when there is a mind is separate from matter.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:08 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:
[
You are believing in a different metaphysical system, that's all. There's nothing factual about it. Those materialist claims about the brain creating consciousness are nothing but fallacious metaphysical extrapolations. Question that also, for goodness sake, especially because they contradict your own experience! Don't swallow hook, line and sinker.


Consciousness is produced by the body, but it is not primarily located in the brain. It is located in the heart. Even during the process of the rebirth, there is a never a time a when there is a mind is separate from matter.


So the vayus are technically "matter"?


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:10 pm 
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Dechen Norbu wrote:
Another one who while questioning all forgets to question the fallacious claims of materialistically minded scientists... :roll:
You are believing in a different metaphysical system, that's all. There's nothing factual about it. Those materialist claims about the brain creating consciousness are nothing but fallacious metaphysical extrapolations. Question that also, for goodness sake, especially because they contradict your own experience! Don't swallow hook, line and sinker.

The point I was making that you seem to have missed is that the problem is with belief itself.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Sherlock wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:
[
You are believing in a different metaphysical system, that's all. There's nothing factual about it. Those materialist claims about the brain creating consciousness are nothing but fallacious metaphysical extrapolations. Question that also, for goodness sake, especially because they contradict your own experience! Don't swallow hook, line and sinker.


Consciousness is produced by the body, but it is not primarily located in the brain. It is located in the heart. Even during the process of the rebirth, there is a never a time a when there is a mind is separate from matter.


So the vayus are technically "matter"?


Yes, they are composed of the element of air (vāyu).

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:14 pm 
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I'm using consciousness freely as opposing the idea of annihilation i.e., the body ceases to be and you cease to exist. In Dzogchen, if I'm not mistaken, your body ceases and a mental body is formed, thus keeping your consciousness going.
The primordial state is aware, but not ordinary consciousness.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Dexing wrote:
Is there any justifiable reason to believe there can be consciousness absent a brain, while all scientific indications point toward it being an emergent property of a brain?


Keep in mind the dominant voice in mainstream thought is materialism which has a vested interest in maintaining the now orthodox position that consciousness is produced by the brain. Other positions, such as panpsychism, are not likely to receive much attention. They can be equally scientific and just interpret the data in a different fashion.

Also, keep in mind that science like any human institution is fallible and the individuals who benefit from it (particularly when it comes to money, i.e., their paid positions as academics and/or writers) have a clear advantage in having their views held up as foremost and most accurate while denouncing anyone who would challenge them as being either "unscientific" or even "superstitious". This is why the research on past life memories among children by fellows like Stevenson and Tucker receive very little attention. They are not taken seriously because their data would indicate the prevailing theories are fatally flawed: that a human persona can transit from one body to another, thereby undermining their theories that consciousness and a human persona arises and ceases with the life of a material brain.

If in fact NDEs and past life memories were taken as the actual real phenomena that they are, then the orthodox position will be revealed as fallacious, thereby rendering many careers effectively ruined and so many individuals likely out of work.

It is not so much about "being scientific" as much as it is about maintaining one's economic-power base. If mainstream science were truly scientific it would generally have their theories in line with the evidence rather than quite often forming the evidence to match their theories. This is clearly not always the case, but I often suspect it is when a touchy existentialist subject like consciousness is being discussed.

It would also be unwise to believe that science is self-policing. There are a lot of falsified experiments and data sets because of vested interests, whether they be for money or career. The orthodoxy of the white robed intelligentsia is more about power than the "quest for knowledge" they like to frequently announce to justify government funding for their endeavours.



dharmagoat wrote:

Obviously to believe what we want to believe is a basic right. But is the practice of Dharma not about discovering the truth beyond the illusion of our beliefs?



There is belief and then there is testing theory against experience or reasoning.

It unwise simply to "believe in" things. It is best to form reasoned opinions and views based on the available data. One need not "believe in" rebirth, but use inference, valid testimonies and personal reflection to perhaps conclude, reasonably so, that post-mortem continuum of subjectivity is more likely than oblivion.

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