Plant Sentient

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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:22 pm

The Seeker wrote:These actions require an actual brain and nervous system to carry out these functions, primarily feeling.


Plants certainly exhibit the characteristic of feeling.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:01 pm

Hey Malcom, could you please explain this.
other than possibly predatory plants, Venus fly trap for example, I haven't observred anything I'd consider feeling.

Kindest Wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

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
~The Buddha~
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:05 pm

The Seeker wrote:Can it be said that any of the three, trees,plants and fungi, have consciousness, perception or thought?
Do they "know" they are alive? That would be consciousness.
These actions require an actual brain and nervous system to carry out these functions, primarily feeling. Unless we also say "feeling" as an emotion, then it would in no doubt require higher functions of a brain.
Insects, for example, when threatened attempt to escape (preserve their life) so they must have sense of being alive, they definitely perceive, they communicate, etc... but they do not have brains or even highly developed nervous systems.
: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: Plant Sentient

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:06 pm

The Seeker wrote:Hey Malcom, could you please explain this.
other than possibly predatory plants, Venus fly trap for example, I haven't observred anything I'd consider feeling.

Kindest Wishes, Dave



You need to work with plants more.
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: Plant Sentient

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:When Malcolm brought up the Dzogchen view which disregards dualistic notions of sentience and non-sentience he made a point to see that plants are not considered sentient. Now Malcolm you seem to be saying that plants are sentient? Well in the "Dzogchen" thread I asked a question that was not answered so I will ask it again. If we are to consider plants as sentient then where do they fit into the 6 realms schema? What is the mental "poison" that causes one to be born as a plant? Why did the Buddha not include plants in the schema of realms? Why is there no reference in the bardo teachings on the light, Buddha, wisdom and poison associated with the plant realm? Do you believe that the concept of "plants as sentients" can be introduced into the teachings? How would that benefit practice or help one achieve liberation?

Is that enough questions? :tongue:
:namaste:
PS It seems that the term inhabits (in reference to the Yakshas) is the key to understanding the statement. Like humans inhabit houses but this does not make houses sentient so Yakshas inhabit trees, rocks, and other natural physical phenomena but this does not make the phenomena sentient.



From the Surangama 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: Plant Sentient

Postby Josef » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:19 pm

Just like nearly every other topic, this one makes sense when we consider the five elements, lhundrub, and tsal.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:02 pm

Malcolm wrote:You need to work with plants more.


Now I remember why I don't ask questions here.

I grow many plants, year round in NE North America. Under lights and in hydroponic systems. Guess I should work with them more.................

Kindsst wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

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
~The Buddha~
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:06 pm

The Seeker wrote:
Malcolm wrote:You need to work with plants more.


Now I remember why I don't ask questions here.

I grow many plants, year round in NE North America. Under lights and in hydroponic systems. Guess I should work with them more.................

Kindsst wishes, Dave



Then I am suprised that you don't relate to plants in terms of their ability to sense their environment and respond to it -- that after all is all a feeling is. Things that are painful we avoid; things that are pleasurable we seek out. Plants behave in the same way.
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: Plant Sentient

Postby Lotus_Bitch » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:33 pm

The Seeker wrote:Hey Malcom, could you please explain this.
other than possibly predatory plants, Venus fly trap for example, I haven't observred anything I'd consider feeling.

Kindest Wishes, Dave

For the example of predatory plants: It has do with chemical processes, rather than a functioning nervous system. That doesn't mean they are 'sentient.' Though you could argue about beings who don't 'physically' exist on our plane of perception also. I take this whole 'sentience' thing (in Buddhism at least) to mean the processes of 'mind' and mental factors of that which is able to have cognizance. Plants and trees don't fall in this category.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:33 pm

By being immobile how can they "seek out something pleasurable" or "avoid pain"?

Their root systems grow towards nutrients and their leaves "follow" the light source.
Not really sure how that's feeling.


Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

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
~The Buddha~
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Dave The Seeker » Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:39 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Insects, for example, when threatened attempt to escape (preserve their life) so they must have sense of being alive, they definitely perceive, they communicate, etc... but they do not have brains or even highly developed nervous systems.
:namaste:


Thanks Greg, but I would consider that an instinct rather than higher reasoning.
I also think they must have some sort of brain to function. To operate their respiratory system, as well as motion.

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

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
~The Buddha~
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Son » Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:05 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
The Seeker wrote:Can it be said that any of the three, trees,plants and fungi, have consciousness, perception or thought?
Do they "know" they are alive? That would be consciousness.
These actions require an actual brain and nervous system to carry out these functions, primarily feeling. Unless we also say "feeling" as an emotion, then it would in no doubt require higher functions of a brain.
Insects, for example, when threatened attempt to escape (preserve their life) so they must have sense of being alive, they definitely perceive, they communicate, etc... but they do not have brains or even highly developed nervous systems.
:namaste:


"Feeling" or "sensation" is not emotion. Insects do have functioning nervous systems and are conscious. Plants don't have nervous systems of any kind. Insects are incredibly inferior in intelligence but they are conscious and do have nervous systems. Plants have no comparison to them, they grow and change in response to stimuli and only stimuli, according to the chemicals within them and nothing more. They have no karma, they have no intention, and their "mental" perspective doesn't get any more or less obscured. Plants are just a part of the world. They're closer to being Buddha than they are samsaric beings. In a manner of speaking, not literally. But I think you might not have meant that exactly...
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Bhusuku » Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:38 pm

The Seeker wrote:By being immobile how can they "seek out something pleasurable" or "avoid pain"?


http://youtu.be/BLTcVNyOhUc

;)
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Will » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:03 am

Bhikku Bodhi does not give a source, but his statement must have basis in the Dhamma:

A "sentient being" (pani, satta) is a living being endowed with mind or consciousness; for practical purposes, this means human beings, animals, and insects. Plants are not considered to be sentient beings; though they exhibit some degree of sensitivity, they lack full-fledged consciousness, the defining attribute of a sentient being.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Dave The Seeker » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:31 am

Bhusuku, thanks for the link, but out here in the sticks our service takes about 3hrs to load youtube.

Will. thanks, I agree strongly with that quote.

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

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
~The Buddha~
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Son » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:49 am

union of nama and rupa, generation of the five aggregates. That's sentience.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:26 am

Many arguements posed here recently against the idea of plant sentience, have already been addressed within the first three pages of this thread....

For example, that plants are the physical bodies of supra-physical Elemental beings; an idea from which we can deduce that the supra-physical Elemental Plant beings also experience what their physical plants experience.

Not only does Bonpo Shamanism (which is derived from Dzogchen, just as the Buddhadharma is derived from Dzogchen according to the Dzogchen Tantras) recognize Elemental Beings, but many other traditions do as well.

Also, no one seems to have acknowledged Gad rGyangs mentioning of Rudolf Steiner, or the research of Chandra Bose I mentioned earlier, both of whom's research could help to show that Elemental Plant beings can even act intelligently through their physical plants.


One possible way of looking at the Five Skandhas:


Rupa - Annamaya Kosha - Sthula Sarira - Physical - Prithvi - Earth

Vedana - Pranamaya Kosha - Linga Sarira - Etheric/Vital - Jal or Apas - Water

Samjna - Manomaya Kosha - Kama Rupa - Astral - Agni or Tejas - Fire

Samskara - Vijnanamaya Kosha - Manas - Mental - Vayu - Wind

Vijnana - Anandamaya Kosha - Karana Sharira - Causal - Akash or Akasha - Space



Who's to say that plants don't have five aggregates as well? :anjali:
Last edited by Lhug-Pa on Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby jeeprs » Mon Jun 04, 2012 1:45 am

This discussion might benefit from considering the ideas of Rupert Sheldrake. He is a British biologist, widely considered a maverick by the scientific mainstream, who believes that all living things are connected by phenomena he calls 'morphic fields' and 'morphic resonance'.

The idea behind this is that nature has memory. Once an organism (or even a crystal) has formed in a particular way, then it will be likely to form in similar ways, wherever else the formation occurs. "Sheldrake proposes that all natural systems, from crystals to human society, inherit a collective memory that influences their form and behavior. Rather than being ruled by fixed laws, nature is essentially habitual."

As said, he is generally dismissed or ignored by the mainstream, but he holds a PhD from Cambridge and has published plenty of papers in support of his views.

His better-known books on the subject include The Presence of the Past.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Son » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:04 am

Lhug-Pa wrote:Many arguements posed here recently against the idea of plant sentience, have already been addressed within the first three pages of this thread....

For example, that plants are the physical bodies of supra-physical Elemental beings; an idea from which we can deduce that the supra-physical Elemental Plant beings also experience what their physical plants experience.

Not only does Bonpo Shamanism (which is derived from Dzogchen, just as the Buddhadharma is derived from Dzogchen according to the Dzogchen Tantras) recognize Elemental Beings, but many other traditions do as well.

Also, no one seems to have acknowledged Gad rGyangs mentioning of Rudolf Steiner, or the research of Chandra Bose I mentioned earlier, both of whom's research could help to show that Elemental Plant beings can even act intelligently through their physical plants.


One possible way of looking at the Five Skandhas:


Rupa - Annamaya Kosha - Sthula Sarira - Physical - Prithvi

Vedana - Pranamaya Kosha - Linga Sarira - Etheric/Vital - Jal or Apas

Samjna - Manomaya Kosha - Kama Rupa - Astral - Agni

Samskara - Vijnanamaya Kosha - Manas - Mental - Vayu

Vijnana - Anandamaya Kosha - Karana Sharira - Causal - Akash or Akasha



Who's to say that plants don't have five aggregates as well? :anjali:


Of course many traditions recognize "elementals," but they aren't sentient beings and as Buddhists striving for "right understanding," we should consider that and those arguments that have been posed against the notion of plant sentience. You can't just say plants have karma and perception. Consciousness isn't disprovable, but without the other two it really doesn't matter at all. People who say "plants embody sentient beings" are using that to enforce delusions. They don't even have the experience to support that, let alone doctrinal or cosmological support. This is a delusion that the Buddha himself tried to put an end to. When someone is reborn as a deva, they do not become a plant with a mind. Animism is animism, and sentient beings are not spirits who live inside plants. Meditate and go see devas for yourself, and witness for yourself how they are not living inside plants, however connected they may be to them. The tree of a deva is often more like a shrine for their own use than a body. They have bodies of their own.
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Re: Plant Sentient

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:01 am

Son wrote: This is a delusion that the Buddha himself tried to put an end to.


The Buddha did not say anything about it at all. All arguments againt plant sentience are from later, extra canonical, scholastic sources. There is in fact good evidence to suppose that like other contemporary Indians, early Buddhists beleived in the sentience of plants. Certainly Jains did and continue to do so.
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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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