Do you believe in ghosts?

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:45 pm

I think you are generalising too widely. Many Theravadin scholars ( check it out ) take the view that to treat the Buddhas teachings as found in the canon as metaphor leads to a slippery slope.
They argue ( check it out ) that if they start to do that someone has then to decide where the line is drawn.
Many reputable Theravadins..( check it out ) have no time for "modernisers " like Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
All this might simple a clear and obvious matter in the rarefied atmosphere of a Mahayana forum.
Take the debate to a Theravada forum and a very different picture will emerge...and I am not referring to " random " posters.
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Postby Will » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:49 pm

There is no 'debate' Simon. It is just a matter of those who have some experience with these entities & realms and those who do not.
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Re:

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:52 pm

Will wrote:There is no 'debate' Simon. It is just a matter of those who have some experience with these entities & realms and those who do not.

Face it, Simon, you have been out-imagined.
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Re: Re:

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:57 pm

dharmagoat wrote:
Will wrote:There is no 'debate' Simon. It is just a matter of those who have some experience with these entities & realms and those who do not.

Face it, Simon, you have been out-imagined.

Happily conceded.

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:34 pm

Simon E. wrote:It much the same way that science has " tried to do away " with evil spirits as the cause of schizophrenia and hex's as the cause of cholera.


Nevertheless despite all the best efforts of medical science, people still suffer schizophrenia among other ailments. There are still people who claim to be possessed, and exhibit signs of possession regardless of what religious tradition you are going with. Tibetan Medicine has a system for diagnosing spirit provocations. The Catholic Church is also notable for exorcisms due to Hollywood.


The same science which has extended the life span of those parts if the world fortunate enough to benefit from it , and has slashed infant mortality.


Actually it wasn't really science that did all that, but exploitation of fossil fuels that has enabled modern healthcare and infrastructures which enable people to have full diets, emergency services (how many more people would die before 60 if ambulances were not available?) and ready access to life saving treatments. It really wasn't 'science" that produced modern healthcare, but massive amounts of surplus energy that could be diverted into profitable research and specialized professions. The demographic model was transformed so that instead of having 80~90% of your people as rural food producers, you could have a fraction of them on farms while the rest could run a system that allowed for full-time medical professionals.


The same wickedness that has freed women to choose whether to have children or a career.


No, again, it is having a high energy return on investment that enabled the system to function with such liberties. In the old days there simply wasn't enough energy to go around to let people, men or women, decide for themselves what to do in life. Division of labour based on gender made sense given the lack of surplus and the pressing necessity to feed yourself, because failure meant death.


And every discovery has pushed the gibbering projections of the psyche and the dusty superstitions of Asia and the forests of old Europe into the light of day.


Again, you're just rehashing the same old platitudes of modernity crushing the darkness of the past. You have a clear bias in favour of western psychology, which has plenty of superstitious ideas that while apparently sanitized of religion, still sound a lot like what you find in religious thought.

This is just the common narrative of modernity where modern thinkers and their institutions crushed backward ways to enlighten humanity in its destiny of progress.

However, it really will be just a temporary phase in history.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:05 am

Huseng wrote:It really wasn't 'science" that produced modern healthcare, but massive amounts of surplus energy that could be diverted into profitable research and specialized professions.

Sounds like science to me.

Huseng wrote:You have a clear bias in favour of western psychology, which has plenty of superstitious ideas that while apparently sanitized of religion, still sound a lot like what you find in religious thought.

I am genuinely interested as to what these superstitious ideas might be.

Huseng wrote:This is just the common narrative of modernity where modern thinkers and their institutions crushed backward ways to enlighten humanity in its destiny of progress.

Are you suggesting that buddhism is backward?

Huseng wrote:However, it really will be just a temporary phase in history.

Yes, the Dark Ages will always reawait us.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:13 am

dharmagoat wrote:Sounds like science to me.


Petroleum was initially sold as an alternative to whale oil for lighting lamps.

The industrial revolution was more the physical work of engineers than scientists.

Science in itself is a system of logic where you test theory against experience. In the 19th century much industrial development, which thereafter enabled vast amounts of scientific research to be carried out in the 20th century, was the work of engineers, not scientists.



I am genuinely interested as to what these superstitious ideas might be.


One example: ego and id.

Huseng wrote:This is just the common narrative of modernity where modern thinkers and their institutions crushed backward ways to enlighten humanity in its destiny of progress.


Are you suggesting that buddhism is backward?


Where did you get that idea?

Huseng wrote:However, it really will be just a temporary phase in history.

Yes, the Dark Ages will always reawait us.


That is not what I'm suggesting. I'm suggesting that modernity and industrial civilization will ultimately be temporary periods in human history.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby seeker242 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:28 am

Simon E. wrote:I think you are generalising too widely. Many Theravadin scholars ( check it out ) take the view that to treat the Buddhas teachings as found in the canon as metaphor leads to a slippery slope.
They argue ( check it out ) that if they start to do that someone has then to decide where the line is drawn.
Many reputable Theravadins..( check it out ) have no time for "modernisers " like Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
All this might simple a clear and obvious matter in the rarefied atmosphere of a Mahayana forum.
Take the debate to a Theravada forum and a very different picture will emerge...and I am not referring to " random " posters.


It's not interpreted as a metaphor. It's very plainly spelled out right in the actual scripture that "water element" does not equal only "H2O" and "fire element" does not equal "only fire"

"And further, monks, a monk reflects on this very body, however it be placed or disposed, by way of the material elements: "There are in this body the element of earth, the element of water, the element of fire, the element of wind."~MN 10

No person, Theravada or otherwise, would think there is actual fire inside your body...

The 4 physical elements (dhātu or Mahā-bhūta), popularly called earth, water, fire and wind, are to be understood as the primary qualities of matter. They are named in Pāḷi: paṭhavī-dhātu, āpo-dhātu, tejo-dhātu, and vāyo-dhātu. In Vis.M. XI, 2 the four elements are defined thus: "Whatever is characterized by hardness (thaddha-lakkkhaṇa) is the earth or solid-element; by cohesion (ābandhana ) or fluidity, the water-element; by heating (paripācana), the fire or heat-element; by strengthening or supporting (vitthambhana), the wind or motion-element. All four are present in every material object, though in varying degrees of strength.

Bhadantācariya Buddhaghoṣa, author of The Visuddhimagga could hardly be considerd a ""moderniser" as you call it. After all, it was written in the 5th century. The interpretations provided by Buddhaghosa have generally constituted the orthodox understanding of Theravada scriptures since at least the 12th century. Not that modern!
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:36 am

Huseng wrote:Science in itself is a system of logic where you test theory against experience. In the 19th century much industrial development, which thereafter enabled vast amounts of scientific research to be carried out in the 20th century, was the work of engineers, not scientists.

I take your point that science and industry are closely related. Hence the term "applied science" being used in reference to engineering. But there is a lot of science being done that has no connection with industry.

Huseng wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:I am genuinely interested as to what these superstitious ideas might be.

One example: ego and id.

It can be argued that psychology, especially in Freud's time, is not even a science. These days few psychologists pay much attention to Freud's ideas anyway.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:58 am

seeker242 wrote:No person, Theravada or otherwise, would think there is actual fire inside your body...

The fascinating thing here is that there actually is fire within our bodies. The way that our metabolism processes the products of our digestion is very similar to the way that fire burns combustible materials in the presence of oxygen to produce heat. It is easy to observe that 1) all food when dried is combustible, 2) both our bodies and fire require a supply of oxygen, 3) our body creates heat, especially when active.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:04 am

dharmagoat wrote:
Huseng wrote:Science in itself is a system of logic where you test theory against experience. In the 19th century much industrial development, which thereafter enabled vast amounts of scientific research to be carried out in the 20th century, was the work of engineers, not scientists.

I take your point that science and industry are closely related. Hence the term "applied science" being used in reference to engineering. But there is a lot of science being done that has no connection with industry.


The work of Einstein and Darwin did not bring about women's rights or modern first world healthcare.

Science as an institution stands on a very fragile foundation. It is now capital intensive (billion dollar particle accelerators) with diminishing returns (inconclusive results). Moreover, it depends on government and commercial funding, unlike religious institutions which generally survive regardless if the state is funding them or not.

As the capital becomes more and more unavailable, the influence science directly has on human culture will presumably diminish. In the 19th century a lot of natural sciences was in the realm of aristocrats and a small minority. In the 20th century governments realized they could weaponize a lot of scientific knowledge and the end results speak for themselves.

At the end of the day the whole pursuit of science has had mixed results.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby seeker242 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:09 am

dharmagoat wrote:
seeker242 wrote:No person, Theravada or otherwise, would think there is actual fire inside your body...

The fascinating thing here is that there actually is fire within our bodies. The way that our metabolism processes the products of our digestion is very similar to the way that fire burns combustible materials in the presence of oxygen to produce heat. It is easy to observe that 1) all food when dried is combustible, 2) both our bodies and fire require a supply of oxygen, 3) our body creates heat, especially when active.


Yes, I agree! And that is what the Buddha taught as "fire element". But I was referring to the literal interpretation of fire, as in the red flames that come up when you make a campfire when you go camping. Obviously, no one has an actual campfire inside their belly. :smile:
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:10 am

Huseng wrote:The work of Einstein and Darwin did not bring about women's rights or modern first world healthcare.

You seem to have forgotten about Louis Pasteur.

Huseng wrote:At the end of the day the whole pursuit of science has had mixed results.

Especially on the industrial side of things.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby dharmagoat » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:14 am

seeker242 wrote:Obviously, no one has an actual campfire inside their belly. :smile:

I am sure it would be possible to imagine one.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:35 am

Huseng wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:Sounds like science to me.


Petroleum was initially sold as an alternative to whale oil for lighting lamps.

The industrial revolution was more the physical work of engineers than scientists.

Science in itself is a system of logic where you test theory against experience. In the 19th century much industrial development, which thereafter enabled vast amounts of scientific research to be carried out in the 20th century, was the work of engineers, not scientists.



I am genuinely interested as to what these superstitious ideas might be.


One example: ego and id.

Huseng wrote:This is just the common narrative of modernity where modern thinkers and their institutions crushed backward ways to enlighten humanity in its destiny of progress.


Are you suggesting that buddhism is backward?


Where did you get that idea?

Huseng wrote:However, it really will be just a temporary phase in history.

Yes, the Dark Ages will always reawait us.


That is not what I'm suggesting. I'm suggesting that modernity and industrial civilization will ultimately be temporary periods in human history.

Your view of what constitutes science amounts to a personal secondary belief system which is probably impervious to the facts. And whose purpose is to enable the maintenance of a primary belief system of a religious nature which postulates a belief in things unseen and unperceived and not disprovable..
Therefore I will wish you well and engage with the world of of consensual reality as it is in our culture at this time in history.
I will just add that Dharmagoat is correct, no psychologist or psychiatrist has seen the theories of Freud or Jung or Adler ( who were NOT psychologists, they were psychoanalyists ) anything other than pioneering , but crude and outmoded, for at least 60 years.
I suggest that if you are going to dismiss the findings of psychology that you at least acquaint your self with current thinking and base your dismissal on an informed argument.
You will find that that acquaintanceship would take you deeply into the realm of current thinking about what constitutes consciousness itself. You will see the areas where Buddhist psychology is affirmed, which generally speaking are the areas where Buddhism is experiential and pragmatic. Equally you will see the areas that religious Buddhism holds to be axiomatic and which are clearly contrary to the facts.



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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:49 pm

Simon E. wrote:Equally you will see the areas that religious Buddhism holds to be axiomatic and which are clearly contrary to the facts.


"Unconscious mind", "defence mechanism", "repressed emotions", etc... are just theories on mental activity which can hardly be considered facts.

Western psychology receives state endorsement (and funding), so there is a kind of prestige to it, but it isn't a science.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:01 pm

Huseng wrote:"Unconscious mind", "defence mechanism", "repressed emotions", etc... are just theories on mental activity which can hardly be considered facts.

Western psychology receives state endorsement (and funding), so there is a kind of prestige to it, but it isn't a science.
Behaviouralism (Behavioural Science) utilises strict scientific criteria and is considered a branch of psychology.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:11 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Huseng wrote:"Unconscious mind", "defence mechanism", "repressed emotions", etc... are just theories on mental activity which can hardly be considered facts.

Western psychology receives state endorsement (and funding), so there is a kind of prestige to it, but it isn't a science.
Behaviouralism (Behavioural Science) utilises strict scientific criteria and is considered a branch of psychology.
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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:18 pm

Huseng wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Equally you will see the areas that religious Buddhism holds to be axiomatic and which are clearly contrary to the facts.


"Unconscious mind", "defence mechanism", "repressed emotions", etc... are just theories on mental activity which can hardly be considered facts.

Western psychology receives state endorsement (and funding), so there is a kind of prestige to it, but it isn't a science.

Most current psychology does not recognise " mind " in the sense of an indwelling entity or sub-entity at all. And completely rejects the idea of the " unconscious".
Once more you are tilting at windmills that were demolished half a century ago.
If I were you I would stop digging and do a little reading around the subject.
Just a suggestion.
The facts I was referring to are not antiquated psychoanalytic theories..
They are to do with what happens in perception and cognition...how these processes can be actually physically observed in repeatable experiments, involving identifying and tracking the agents of brain biochemistry, and through brain scanning.
This is hard science not theory. It in turn is leading to ways of modifying behaviour and affect by a process of learning and unlearning.
This owes nothing to theories of "mind".
You might want to begin by reading the work of Dr Susan Blackmore who is both a protege of Richard Dawkins and a Zazen practitioner, for a populist and accessible intro to some current thought in the general area of psychological theory..which owes nothing at all to the speculations of Freud and Jung et al.
http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/

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Re: Do you believe in ghosts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:30 pm

You couldn't have picked a worse example. Susan Blackmore? Really? Her knowledge about Buddhadharma is shallow at best and she was a well known professional "skeptic" (aka debunker). In terms of scientific credentials, she has little to show in her favor. Richard Dawkins is probably the most famous crusader against religion, in favor of a materialist worldview.
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