Does astrology matter to you?

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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Astus » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:55 pm

Huseng wrote:The Abhidharma-kośa-bhāsya states, "The collective force of the actions of beings produces the winds which create (nirmā) the moon, the sun and the stars in heaven."

The cosmos are a reflection of beings' actions in this sense rather than a causative force.


I'm OK with the principle that realms appear because of karma. On the other hand, the Kosha's cosmological view of the world is very much outdated, and I think even the Chinese knew that early on.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
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Does marvelous nature and spirit
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This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:54 pm

Astus wrote:
Huseng wrote:The Abhidharma-kośa-bhāsya states, "The collective force of the actions of beings produces the winds which create (nirmā) the moon, the sun and the stars in heaven."

The cosmos are a reflection of beings' actions in this sense rather than a causative force.


I'm OK with the principle that realms appear because of karma. On the other hand, the Kosha's cosmological view of the world is very much outdated, and I think even the Chinese knew that early on.


Even so, the idea is that you can look into the cosmos to see a reflection of present events and things to come. It isn't so much that the night sky acts as a causal mechanism.

I'm neither for nor against astrology for the record. I'm exploring how it worked in various Buddhist traditions. I can't deny, however, that many masters used and still use it.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Astus » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Huseng wrote:Even so, the idea is that you can look into the cosmos to see a reflection of present events and things to come. It isn't so much that the night sky acts as a causal mechanism.

I'm neither for nor against astrology for the record. I'm exploring how it worked in various Buddhist traditions. I can't deny, however, that many masters used and still use it.


And there are other popular methods too, like Yijing and Mo. I think that they are all very interesting as long as one doesn't try to explain how they can actually work because then it just falls apart.

Another way to rationalise divination techniques is to see them as tools to bring out one's intuition, something that they all heavily rely on. And if we can allow the mind to have a mystical insight into the fabric of the causal relations then on some level fortune telling might actually work, or perhaps they can be used to better understand ourselves similarly to dream interpretation.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:20 pm

Astus wrote:Another way to rationalise divination techniques is to see them as tools to bring out one's intuition, something that they all heavily rely on. And if we can allow the mind to have a mystical insight into the fabric of the causal relations then on some level fortune telling might actually work, or perhaps they can be used to better understand ourselves similarly to dream interpretation.


A lot of the Buddhist astrology texts are vague and perhaps intuitive.

In addition to that, though, the calendar is structured with auspicious and inauspicious times. Some ancient literature even speaks of a concern for devas (the thirty-three) descending on specified days of the month: 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th and 30th. On these days it is best to behave yourself and not offend them.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:48 pm

Astus wrote:if we can allow the mind to have a mystical insight into the fabric of the causal relations then on some level fortune telling might actually work, or perhaps they can be used to better understand ourselves similarly to dream interpretation.

I know a person who was able to, I'll say, "absorb information" from holding handwriting specimens and concentrating on them. No, I don't mean the obvious...reading what was written! Nor do I mean handwriting analysis. But, for example, from a phone number jotted down on a matchbook cover, to tell you very accurate things about the person who had written the number.

The problem that this person faced (and he has since stopped doing this ) was that while the "incoming signals" you might say, were accurate, interpreting them was not. For example, he was once given a folded letter and without reading it or even unfolding it, suggested that the person who wrote it was probably a world traveler, because a longing to go to various places and do different things was the writer's strongest desire. As it turned out, this was only partly true. The letter wasn't written by a world traveler, but by someone serving a life sentence in prison. So, no wonder this was their strongest desire!

Another time, this person was handed nothing else but a phone number. He said, "it's hard for me to focus on this, because for some reason I keep thinking about pitbulls (dogs)". As it turned out, the person who had written the phone number (not the one who supplied it for interpretation) owned pitbulls and raise them. What he thought was a distraction to his concentration was actually what he was 'picking up'.

So, even though a person may be able to access truthful information, being able to make sense of that information is a different thing. I think that we are all 'aware' of much more than we know we are aware of. I think, maybe this is an awareness of dhamakaya, the truth of everything. Those who are able to tune into that awareness sometimes have an advantage over, and may sometimes be able to help those who are not, depending on their ability to correctly interpret.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Astus » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:48 pm

"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Indrajala » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:06 pm

Astus wrote:Something I recommend for all: Derren Brown explains to Dawkins why psychic readers are fake.


That doesn't negate the evidence for psychic phenomena in respect to Sheldrake's research.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:46 pm

The problem with any sort of prophetic thing is not that it can't occur, but that it is all too easy to fake. It is very easy to come up with statements that people think are specifically about them, but which are actually either very vague, or reasonably guessed. Also, there is a trick of establishing both a rule and its exception, followed by a glorious explanation.
Example:
you are a fairly self confident person, but sometimes you have doubts.
This is your inner wisdom telling you to be cautious.


What a wonderfully accurate reading!
...all bases are covered (confident / doubtful)
...generalized perimeters are established ("fairly" , "sometimes" ) which the recipient shapes into something exact
...a prize is given (recognition of inner wisdom) which the recipient won't be entitled to if they don't accept the whole prophecy as true.
It's very manipulative business.

At the same time, as in art, although there are painting forgeries out there,
that doesn't mean that authentic masterpieces don't exist.
The fact that there are con artists doesn't preclude that what we call "psychic" has some validity to it.

Very little of this has anything to do with Tibetan/Indian astrology per se, so this might be slipping off topic.
But I think it is valid to discuss. There are people doing this stuff and calling it Buddhism.

If astrology matters to a person, then perhaps the real question is, "why?"
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:32 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Very little of this has anything to do with Tibetan/Indian astrology per se, so this might be slipping off topic.
But I think it is valid to discuss. There are people doing this stuff and calling it Buddhism.

If astrology matters to a person, then perhaps the real question is, "why?"


Because one can use it to understand current causes and conditions and respond intelligently to them with one's sadhana. Nothing more. Use what works.

At a certain point in one's practice, the planets in particular (or their harmonics within our psycho-physical constitution) are a strong felt presence. This has been experienced by countless people for thousands of years. It's not a matter of prognostication, but rather of meditation and post-meditation experience.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Jinzang » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:26 am

The problem with any sort of prophetic thing is not that it can't occur, but that it is all too easy to fake. It is very easy to come up with statements that people think are specifically about them, but which are actually either very vague, or reasonably guessed.


Traditional astrology is judicial astrology and is not interested in analyzing the character of the person having their horoscope cast. Rather, it is interested in predicting the outcome of future events, e.g. if you enter this business deal, it will go well. Of course, prophets and their predictions have been criticized for being vague even in classical times, but a number of striking successes are also memorialized.

My problem with skeptics is they most often have very little knowledge of the subject they are criticizing. If you want to criticize something at least do it the honor of learning something about it first.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:09 am

Jinzang wrote: My problem with skeptics is they most often have very little knowledge of the subject they are criticizing. If you want to criticize something at least do it the honor of learning something about it first.

I don't know if that is true for most skeptics.
However, it is true that skeptics frequently assume things about a topic that are not true.
However, one can be very knowledgeable about some aspects of a subject,
for example, simply knowing that a star in the sky is in fact not where it appears to be,
and from that deduce that therefore, any sort of 'interpretation' based on that star's location,
regardless of who is making that interpretation, and regardless of the system used
if based on what merely appears to the eye, is likely to be off by a few degrees.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Jinzang » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:49 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Jinzang wrote:for example, simply knowing that a star in the sky is in fact not where it appears to be,
and from that deduce that therefore, any sort of 'interpretation' based on that star's location,
regardless of who is making that interpretation, and regardless of the system used
if based on what merely appears to the eye, is likely to be off by a few degrees.


Are you talking about precession of the equinox or one or another type of stellar aberration? Well, yes and no. Generally speaking, the astrology of a country is current with the knowledge of astronomy in that country. Not surprising, since before modern times the astrologers were the astronomers. In the modern West astrologers are well acquainted with the ins and outs of planetary motion and ephemerides. In the East, especially Tibet, knowledge was poor by modern standards. The ephemerides and calendar are still somewhat accurate and good enough for most purposes, like predicting the phase of the moon. Ed Henning is the go to guy for information on this subject.

Most skeptics who criticize astrology on the basis of precession don't realize that the zodiac means entirely different things to astronomers and astrologers and that their criticism fails to hit the mark.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:28 am

Jinzang wrote:Ed Henning is the go to guy for information on this subject.


Agreed. His site is a valuable resource. See the following:

http://www.kalacakra.org/calendar/kc_model.htm

This is really key in respect to later Indian Buddhist astrology:

The short version of this paper would read: the Kālacakra system possesses a model of the world system, but it is qualitative, and not a mechanical model that could be used to derive calculations of solar, lunar and planetary positions. The Kālacakra system in fact lacks such a model, and the calculations used stem from older models that are not now preserved in the Kālacakra literature.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:45 pm

Jinzang wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
for example, simply knowing that a star in the sky is in fact not where it appears to be,
and from that deduce that therefore, any sort of 'interpretation' based on that star's location,
regardless of who is making that interpretation, and regardless of the system used
if based on what merely appears to the eye, is likely to be off by a few degrees.
Are you talking about precession of the equinox or one or another type of stellar aberration?

It doesn't matter.
As I said, it could be the location of stars and planets, or potatoes randomly scattered across the floor.
The point is, that for any means of determining, say, an auspicious day,
the method of reference (e.g., stars) has to be either the cause of auspiciousness,
or a coincidental indicator, meaning that some appearance
of planetary positioning happens at the same time as auspiciousness.
Either way, some thing defined as "auspiciousness" must thus be said to arise.

It must have a cause and defining characteristics that are not purely arbitrary,
and not purely subjective to the needs of the individual.

If the cause (of "auspiciousness") is external to the mind,
then what causes it? A god?
If it is produced by the mind,
then of what consequence are the positions of the stars and planets?

Until a standard for determining "auspiciousness" is established,
all claims at methods pointing to auspiciousness (or any similar consideration)
would be subjective to the point of being meaningless.
So, not only are the calculations likely to be off,
but what is being determined by them is indeterminable.

Seems to me, It's all just made up.
But, I am open to an explanation of the principle by which astrology is said to function.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Indrajala » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:38 pm

Shameless self-promotion, but I wrote a blog entry about this subject as a short research project for my own interest:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2013/02/ ... dhism.html
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby Jinzang » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:34 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:As I said, it could be the location of stars and planets, or potatoes randomly scattered across the floor.
The point is, that for any means of determining, say, an auspicious day,
the method of reference (e.g., stars) has to be either the cause of auspiciousness,
or a coincidental indicator, meaning that some appearance
of planetary positioning happens at the same time as auspiciousness.
Either way, some thing defined as "auspiciousness" must thus be said to arise.

It must have a cause and defining characteristics that are not purely arbitrary,
and not purely subjective to the needs of the individual.


Prediction and causation are two entirely different matters. The positions of the planets may predict an outcome even though they do not cause it. As an analogy, the length of a flagpole's shadow on the ground and the position of the sun predicts the height of the flagpole, but they do not cause it. As I understand it, the position of Buddhist astrology is that karma causes both the negative effect and the position of the planets, hence the position of the planets can be used to understand the effects of karma.
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:06 am

Jinzang wrote: As I understand it, the position of Buddhist astrology is that karma causes both the negative effect and the position of the planets, hence the position of the planets can be used to understand the effects of karma.

Very interesting.
Whose karma causes the position of the planets, yours, or mine?
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Re: Does astrology matter to you?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:49 am

Jinzang wrote: Prediction and causation are two entirely different matters. The positions of the planets may predict an outcome even though they do not cause it. As an analogy, the length of a flagpole's shadow on the ground and the position of the sun predicts the height of the flagpole, but they do not cause it.


Likewise, scattering potatoes or bulls horns on the floor, or the turning over of cards, or the spilling of tea leaves can also be said to be indicators, but until one establishes by what principle such methods can work, in other words, explain "why?" and then test out the results by at least some standard of objectivity, it's all just opinion.
The method of determining the height of a flagpole can be verified by going back and actually measuring the flagpole.

If somebody tells you that a certain day is auspicious for reciting Om Mani Pamde Hung, how can you verify that?

Of course, the positions of the planets and stars matter to some degree. When my side of the Earth is facing away from the Sun, I may avoid meeting with bad fortune if I drive with my headlights on. Likewise, Polaris (the North Star) is useful for finding one's direction.

But at some 300 to more than 400 light years from Earth (let's just say somewhere around 2,351,450,216,499,364 miles) any influence on puny earthlings would be...what? In fact, it could have burned out or ceased being there out 400 years ago, and we would still see it as being there, guiding ships, because it takes that long for its light to get here. And there are many stars farther than that, that we can see, and chart, that may have ceased to exist even centuries before Padmasambhava was in Tibet. If something doesn't exist, how can it influence, or indicate anything?
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