Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

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Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby vinodh » Wed May 08, 2013 12:23 am

Hi All,

I was recently reading about people preserving their body at cryogenic temperatures, in the hope that in the future that they can perhaps be re-animated :thinking:

Since, the person is already dead, he/she would have already had rebirth(s).

Assuming, that in the future that it is possible to re-animate the body - I was just wondering "who" the reanimated person will be :shrug:

Any thoughts !

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yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

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na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Wayfarer » Wed May 08, 2013 1:03 am

I once heard a rumour that Walt Disney did this. I thought it was very sad. It is such a sad misunderstanding of the nature of life and death, to try and cling to the body like that.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby plwk » Wed May 08, 2013 1:30 am

There is a beautiful account of the meeting between the Pure Land Patriarch T'an Luan and the famed translator/monk Bodhiruci. T'an Luan (488-554), seeking immortality, travelled about China obtaining teachings from various noted sages, including the Taoist master T'ao Hung-ching. Eventually (ca. 530) he met with the Indian Buddhist teacher Bodhiruci:

"T'an Luan opened the conversation by saying
'Is there anything in the Teaching of the Buddha which is superior to the methods for obtaining immortality found in this country's scriptures on the immortals?'

Bodhiruci spat on the ground and said, 'What are you saying? There is no comparison! Where on this earth can you find a method for immortality? Suppose that you can obtain youth in your old age, and never die: even having done that, you would still be rolling around in the Triple World!'

So he gave him the Meditation Sutra and said, 'These are the recipes of Amitabha Buddha: if you rely on his practices, you will be liberated from Samsara.'"

I can imagine Bodhiruci commenting...
'What are you saying? There is no comparison! Where on this earth can you find a method for immortality? Suppose that you can obtain youth by being a frozen popsicle, and never die: even having done that, you would still be rolling around in the Triple World!' :tongue:
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby shel » Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 am

If mind and matter were somehow separate the thought of cryogenic suspension wouldn't be to some... uncomfortable? On the other hand, who's to say that the mind wouldn't decide to wait for the thaw. :tongue:
Last edited by shel on Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby pueraeternus » Wed May 08, 2013 2:14 am

vinodh wrote:Hi All,

I was recently reading about people preserving their body at cryogenic temperatures, in the hope that in the future that they can perhaps be re-animated :thinking:

Since, the person is already dead, he/she would have already had rebirth(s).

Assuming, that in the future that it is possible to re-animate the body - I was just wondering "who" the reanimated person will be :shrug:

Any thoughts !

V


My thoughts are that for this to work, the person would have to be put into suspended animation before they actually died. But I think this is always done after the person is medically dead?
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 08, 2013 4:11 am

It comes down to the question of whether death can ever be reversed. If it turns out that it can, then the theory of rebirth will need some tweaking.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 08, 2013 4:47 am

dharmagoat wrote:It comes down to the question of whether death can ever be reversed. If it turns out that it can, then the theory of rebirth will need some tweaking.


If time travel becomes possible then we might have even greater existential problems to deal with.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Jesse » Wed May 08, 2013 7:09 am

dharmagoat wrote:It comes down to the question of whether death can ever be reversed. If it turns out that it can, then the theory of rebirth will need some tweaking.


How about if we could completely clone somebody, with memories and all. I think it just proves non-self even more. There's really not anyone to die, be reborn, or come back to life(lol). :shrug:

Indrajala wrote:If time travel becomes possible then we might have even greater existential problems to deal with.


Depends, I think there's quite a few different theories of time. If there are infinite time-lines for all possible outcomes, then I can't find any issues. :geek:
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 08, 2013 8:15 am

Jesse wrote:
dharmagoat wrote:It comes down to the question of whether death can ever be reversed. If it turns out that it can, then the theory of rebirth will need some tweaking.

How about if we could completely clone somebody, with memories and all. I think it just proves non-self even more. There's really not anyone to die, be reborn, or come back to life(lol). :shrug:

You said it. :namaste:
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Simon E. » Wed May 08, 2013 8:28 am

vinodh wrote:Hi All,

I was recently reading about people preserving their body at cryogenic temperatures, in the hope that in the future that they can perhaps be re-animated :thinking:

Since, the person is already dead, he/she would have already had rebirth(s).

Assuming, that in the future that it is possible to re-animate the body - I was just wondering "who" the reanimated person will be :shrug:

Any thoughts !

V

Buddhist rebirth is not Hindu reincarnation. The ' who ' would be a collection of changing skandhas/kandhas..just as it was before death. Not a soul.
It would simply be a new set of conditions causing the arising of skandhas/kandhas.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby dharmagoat » Wed May 08, 2013 9:12 am

Simon E. wrote:Buddhist rebirth is not Hindu reincarnation. The ' who ' would be a collection of changing skandhas/kandhas..just as it was before death. Not a soul.
It would simply be a new set of conditions causing the arising of skandhas/kandhas.

This explanation would allow for multiple 'rebirths' of a single individual, especially if that individual were to die multiple times.

An interesting thought.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Astus » Wed May 08, 2013 9:24 am

I'm no expert in medicine or biology, however, as I've heard, frozen dead bodies can never be reanimated because by freezing the cells they are practically destroyed (just as freezing water can break the bottle).
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby vinodh » Wed May 08, 2013 11:40 am

pueraeternus wrote:My thoughts are that for this to work, the person would have to be put into suspended animation before they actually died. But I think this is always done after the person is medically dead?


Well.. People say that the neural connections in the Brain remain intact, a few hours after the clinical death. Since, Neural connections allegedly preserve our identity (i.e Memories etc. ), the believe some how in the future there will be technology to either retrieve the identity from the intact brain to a machine or whatever (some Cryonic facilities store only the severed head ! ) or re-animate the "frozen" body itself.

astus wrote:I'm no expert in medicine or biology, however, as I've heard, frozen dead bodies can never be reanimated because by freezing the cells they are practically destroyed (just as freezing water can break the bottle).


They seem to inject the body with some chemical fluid into the body to avoid this.

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yo dharmaṁ paśyati, sa buddhaṁ paśyati

One who sees the Dharma, sees the Buddha
śālistamba sūtra

na pudgalo na ca skandhā buddho jñānamanāsravam
sadāśāntiṁ vibhāvitvā gacchāmi śaraṇaṁ hyaham

Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
saddharma-laṅkāvatāra-sūtra
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Indrajala » Wed May 08, 2013 1:17 pm

Well.. People say that the neural connections in the Brain remain intact, a few hours after the clinical death. Since, Neural connections allegedly preserve our identity (i.e Memories etc. ), the believe some how in the future there will be technology to either retrieve the identity from the intact brain to a machine or whatever (some Cryonic facilities store only the severed head ! ) or re-animate the "frozen" body itself.


Rupert Sheldrake has some innovative ideas backed up with his own experiments about memories being stored outside the brain, which likewise helps to explain the mechanism behind telepathy which statistically shouldn't happen as often as it does.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Sheldrake
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby shel » Wed May 08, 2013 11:39 pm

Simon E. wrote:
vinodh wrote:Hi All,

I was recently reading about people preserving their body at cryogenic temperatures, in the hope that in the future that they can perhaps be re-animated :thinking:

Since, the person is already dead, he/she would have already had rebirth(s).

Assuming, that in the future that it is possible to re-animate the body - I was just wondering "who" the reanimated person will be :shrug:

Any thoughts !

V

Buddhist rebirth is not Hindu reincarnation. The ' who ' would be a collection of changing skandhas/kandhas..just as it was before death. Not a soul.
It would simply be a new set of conditions causing the arising of skandhas/kandhas.


The interesting part is that the "set of conditions causing the arising of skandhas/kandhas" would be cryogenically suspended, with the body. What can be inferrrrrrrred from that?
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 09, 2013 1:17 am

But they wouldn't. How could you say they would? A causal factor in the chain of causation, might be an intention - in fact, often is. And an intention is not a physical thing, amy more than a thought. You cannot point to anything anywhere in the objective realm known to sciences and say 'there is an intention'. Intentions are only ever associated with subjects, and the subject is not this or that. Do you think if a body was in suspended animation, and came to again, the subject would be saying 'now, where was I...' :smile:
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby randomseb » Thu May 09, 2013 1:24 am

If the future and the past all exist as a result of the present, there's no reason why a cryopsycle would acquire a rebirth if it is going to be reanimated at some point, but if it would never get reanimated then it would perhaps acquire a rebirth, see?
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby Wayfarer » Thu May 09, 2013 1:26 am

It is never the body that is reborn in the first place. The cycle of birth and death is driven by avidya which is the first factor of the chain of origination.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby shel » Thu May 09, 2013 1:50 am

jeeprs wrote:Do you think if a body was in suspended animation, and came to again, the subject would be saying 'now, where was I...' :smile:


Depends on the process (could be instantaneous?), and I guess whether or not the subject knew that they were going to be put into suspended animation. Regarding causal factors, there would be no cause for the subject to be any different than they were before suspension. Their intents and purposes would be the same.
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Re: Cryonic Preservation and Rebirth

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu May 09, 2013 2:04 am

vinodh wrote:I was recently reading about people preserving their body at cryogenic temperatures, in the hope that in the future that they can perhaps be re-animated :thinking: Since, the person is already dead, he/she would have already had rebirth(s). Assuming, that in the future that it is possible to re-animate the body - I was just wondering "who" the reanimated person will be


It is a good topic, but there is a problem in the question, because it approaches the issue as though there is a self which lives, dies, is frozen, is thawed out, is reborn, and so on, rather than looking at the whole thing as a collection of concurrent conditions (what other responses have alluded to).

What we can ask, is if the body and physical brain dies, and is later thawed out and brought back to life, and some memory is retained, then what is the nature of that memory?

Actually, a not-so-drastic version of this question is brought up in the book,
On Buddha Essence
A Commentary on Rangjung Dorje's Treastise
by Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

only there, the question has to do with memeory returning after sleep, or after being in a coma.
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