Is Space Conscious?

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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby padma norbu » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:36 am

Right. I agree with you up to a point, but you haven't really addressed the molecular idea at all. You've merely restated what I already said and then forgotten all about it when discussing later the hungry ghosts and hell realms. If we are processing molecules as emotions, what evidence do we have to believe anything else does otherwise? We just have texts that say so, texts which many people interpret as metaphorical, actually. The idea of being reborn as a bug or a dog is nonsense because this is all we got right here. When these bodies die, so will we. I won't be reborn as anything because I am not really anything other than awareness within this particular set of circumstances. When those circumstances end, so will I.

There is the Ālayavijñāna, but that is different.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby takso » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:50 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
takso wrote: In other words, without consciousness, there can be no space and vice versa.


What about the space inside of an empty box, where there is no consciousness (whatever that means) inside the box?
If there is consciousness inside the box, it isn't empty.
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Well, I hope you do not confuse emptiness with nothingness. :thinking:
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:39 pm

padma norbu wrote: The idea of being reborn as a bug or a dog is nonsense because this is all we got right here. When these bodies die, so will we.


That is correct.
but the reason why you won't be reborn as a bug or a dog
isn't because the causes of rebirth as a bug or a dog are not there,
but because there is no you to begin with.
So, the causes are still there.
If you are greedy, you have set into motion the causes for the experience of deprivation.
The molecular structure of the human realm has nothing to do with this
except that it provides the environment by which human experience occurs.

If you take a stack of wooden boards and toss them into a river,
they will still be wooden boards, even though they scatter all over the place downstream.
but if you first assemble that stack of boards into a boat, and toss that into the river,
regardless of where it goes, it will remain as assembled boat.

The causes for rebirth are no different than the causes for the striking similarity between
who you are right now and who you were five minutes ago.
There is no self, but there are the continuing causes which
arise with awareness as the experience of a self.

There is absolutely no proof in our world that any other realms besides human and animal exist.
And, scientifically speaking, we are the same realm.
But what Buddhism is talking about is a state of mind.
Molecules do not produce thought.
they only contribute the physical conditions which are experienced as thought
when arising with awareness.

A cinderblock likewise is a molecular construct
but no awareness arises with it
so, it doesn't think "I am a cinderblock".

Since molecules do not produce thought,
how can awareness be dependent on them?
Consciousness, yes.
But awareness, which is what arises with phenomena,
perhaps not.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:09 pm

We can liken awareness to the force of Earth's gravity,
insomuch as it is a prerequisite condition.
What I am saying is that gravity is gravity
regardless of whether it is pulling on an elephant or a snowflake.
the experience of that pull will be different due to the object being pulled.
For example, if either of them fall on your head.

If you argue that gravity is dependent on the existence of the object being pulled
then, not only are you arguing for the intrinsic (rather than conditional) existence of that object,
an inherent self,
but that it is the object that produces the gravity.

Of course, outside of Earth's gravity, things may float about randomly
and from that analogy, one might argue that therefore awareness is not a prerequisite to rebirth in one realm or another
Just as gravity is not a prerequisite.

But the reply to this should be obvious and unfortunately i have to log off the computer right now.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Matt J » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:00 pm

HHDL was quite a rebel among neurologists for a while. Why? Because he advocated a changing brain, when science clearly established that the brain did not change. The physical process caused the mental states, but mental states could not impact the physical processes. Now the old model is being discarded in favor of a neuroplastic brain. That doesn't mean that physical processes don't ALSO affect the brain, but this was clearly an outmoded "scientific myth" that HHDL helped to correct. Thankfully, HHDL didn't say "Oh, thanks science," and forget about meditation.

The point is, science is full of myths and assumptions, just as anything else. The fact that there is a correlation between molecules and mental states doesn't mean the molecules CAUSE the mental states, or vice versa--- see Nagarjuna for more on this sticky wicket of causation. That was an assumption of modern science. Ancient India taught the opposite: the subtle gives rise to the gross, and the simple gives rise to the complex.


[1] This reminds me of something the Dalai Lama has said many times... if science shows what we believe to be wrong, then we have to adjust our beliefs accordingly. I'm not saying it's wrong, but seems weird that all these emotional states have physical molecular reasons behind them. Are the other worlds like the Hungry Ghost realm and the Hell Realms which we can't see made up of other molecules or the same molecules but we just can't see them? Seems a bit underdeveloped once you consider the fact that our emotions are chemical reactions in a physical brain and we can fix the "hungry ghost"-ness or "hell being"-ness of human existence with some pills that regulate brain chemistry[/quote]
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby undefineable » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:26 pm

padma norbu wrote:Too much seratonin interferes with your ability to fall in love and kills your sex drive.
Too much dopamine can interfere with your general happiness by producing a perpetual craving that is never satisfied. _ _ Different levels of oxytocin give you a different sense of right and wrong, trust and sharing.

How much of our experience that makes up our "consciousness" really has anything to do with us? Therefore, how responsible are we, really, for our actions?
padma norbu wrote:I'm not saying it's wrong, but seems weird that all these emotional states have physical molecular reasons behind them.
If there were no physical correlates of mental phenomena, then how would mind interact with or even have anything to do with the physical world? If the senses can draw mind's attention to different details of the physical world, experienced as details within the mental world, then why shouldn't neural structures and functions draw mind's attention to different places within the mental world, experienced as such?

You might see it the way in which we understand the weather - Mind falls into different patterns of experience that it grew to know and love (or have some reason to fall into at any rate) in this lifetime and in past ones, triggered of minute moment-to-moment fluctuations among local factors and variables. Often, one of those factors is intention, which in this context Buddhadharma merely serves to alter; however, this can only be a direct trigger, as other factors will of course determine what one intends. Returning to the physical correlates, neurotransmitters might be seen as directing and reinforcing as well as interpreting mind's habitual karma, their flow generated by its momentum. {Neural structure, on the other hand, might be seen as coding for the overall aspect mind has come to take on in relation to its environment.}
padma norbu wrote:Whatever our awareness might experience in the bardo, it's quite interesting to consider that there is no process of any of these molecules occurring. At least not in a physical brain.
padma norbu wrote:Are the other worlds like the Hungry Ghost realm and the Hell Realms which we can't see made up of other molecules or the same molecules but we just can't see them?
It would be interesting (and bang-on-topic) to hear from anyone with some understanding of how 'subtle body' has been understood in relation to this conumdrum, though -given the dearth of information- one gets the impression that much of this is second-hand speculation or even untested hypothesis (i.e. 'there must be a bridge between the mental and the physical') rather than a case of enlightened beings directly telling everyone what they witnessed. How misleading, for example, might it be to use the case of computer data being uploaded from a hard drive to a floppy disc (or even the internet) as an analogy, based on what's generally understood by the concepts surrounding bardo and the supposedly invisible and (even) non-physical/non-spatial realms of sentient beings?
padma norbu wrote:Similar to an equation, human consciousness is not anything but the processing of interdependent relationships of subject-object symbols.
Well I came to this exact conclusion meany years ago, but instead of 'human consciousness', I labeled it 'normality' or similar, since many human-'bodied' beings -not all of them autistics by any means- have limited-to-zero access to the most intuitive, intersubjective level. It might be more accurate to call this the epitome of the human mode of being - that which dominates the mind in the human realm and sets that realm apart from the other five. In fact, if you assume that a male-type mind/brain can be emerge in relation to a female-type body and vice-versa, why not also assume that a being belonging to one realm can be born into a body that matches a different one - the potential ripened consequences of the mismatch (direct and indirect) pregnant with cycles of negative karma _ _ :twisted: :namaste:
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby undefineable » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:00 am

padma norbu wrote:Seems a bit underdeveloped
If anything, Buddhist philosophy might be labeled over-developed, since supposed fundamentals of reality (generally-unexamined assumptions such as 'the physical') are constantly under scrutiny.
padma norbu wrote:once you consider the fact that our emotions are chemical reactions in a physical brain
Taken literally, this doesn't make sense according to the usual definition of the word 'emotion', or according to the logic that x cannot be made to equal x and y at the same time. Like chalk and cheese, an emotion and a chemical reaction are two different phenomena, however much emotion is always the other side of a chemical coin (just as vision is always the other side of a light-based coin :alien: ). You could, though, substitute 'are chemical reactions' for 'associated with chemical reactions'; even 'caused by chemical reactions' would not be an illogical conclusion if made in a vacuum. However, it will hard to convince many of those who once accepted the negativity raised by consciously choosing goals they now realise to be misguided (up to and maybe beyond the point of using the emotions as means of self-motivation) that human beings can have no responsibility for their actions. :broke:

The fact, though, that one is necessarily unaware of the misguided nature of a chosen goal proves that the choice was based on a selective reading of the situation.
padma norbu wrote:we can fix the "hungry ghost"-ness or "hell being"-ness of human existence with some pills that regulate brain chemistry
I'd like to see anyone ever try :rolling:
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:18 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Aemilius wrote:If you are aware of a tree in front of you, then your mind or your consciousness goes out to that tree. Similarly with all other objects of attention. This is how perception, and awareness of objects, is viewed normally in buddhist psychology. And there is a lot about this theme of mind and perception in buddhism.


Consciousness does not literally project from you, like a beam of light from a flashlight
illuminating one thing or another.
This is a means of understanding the nature of mind and of cognition
but otherwise, there is no basis for such an assertion.

When you think you see a tree,
you actually see light reflected off the tree.
In fact, "you" do not see it at all.
(if you did, that would assert the existence of a self).
the brain processes incoming light.
it is only in the mind, that this information becomes a tree.
The same mind might perceive that information as a tall person.
Or to use a famous Buddhist reference,
might perceive a rope to be a snake.

So, the term "a projection of your own mind" is used
but this doesn't mean that the mind is operating like a movie projector.
It means that when we see something
we are really only seeing our own mental interpretation of it.

But if you think otherwise,
I won't argue differently.
There would be no point in doing so.
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Just try to be very, very mindful in order to see what actually happens when you perceive an object!
At some point in my meditation practice I began to experience the mind's going out to the object. Which is why I believe it is the actual truth, but normally we are not conscious enough to be able to perceive it. It helps to study Pramana or anything in Abhidharma that describes the process of perception. It is a complicated process, to say the least. Alex Berzin has written and compiled a good article Basic Features of Gelug/Kagyu Cittamatra. It gives you important, basic knowledge about the buddhist view of perception. It is a good starting point. You really must read and study what the buddhist experience of perception says !!
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Sep 16, 2013 9:36 am

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Thoughts do not occupy space.
They only last for durations of time
and really, not even that.


That is one possible experience, I believe, of you own mind. Others may experience it differently.
When you are aware of your thoughts, what takes place? I mean, how do you see your thoughts?

If you are aware of a tree in front of you, then your mind or your consciousness goes out to that tree. Similarly with all other objects of attention. This is how perception, and awareness of objects, is viewed normally in buddhist psychology. And there is a lot about this theme of mind and perception in buddhism.
Or does the tree project out from your consciousness? According to your model there is an actual existing (of its own accord) tree out there. Is there?


I don't say that at all. The actual process is too complicated to be described in detail, but let's make a try: Before you perceive a tree, there is just "something". At the first moment the object hasn't as yet been recognized as a "tree". Your mind perceives "something" and compares it with the existing categories of obects in your mind/brain. Then it finds the category "tree", and it decides it is seeing a tree. At this point it is seeing an object that has been fished out form its storehouse of existing things/objects.
All of this happens so fast that you are not aware of it, normally. There is the buddhist description of this in Abhidharma, Cittamatra and elsewhere, which I have tried to tell, but in vain, it seems. Perception and the formation of objects has also been studied in the Gestalt Psychology, which in many ways comes close to the buddhist view.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Sep 16, 2013 1:32 pm

Aemilius wrote:Before you perceive a tree, there is just "something". At the first moment the object hasn't as yet been recognized as a "tree". Your mind perceives "something" and compares it with the existing categories of obects in your mind/brain. Then it finds the category "tree", and it decides it is seeing a tree. At this point it is seeing an object that has been fished out form its storehouse of existing things/objects.
All of this happens so fast that you are not aware of it, normally. There is the buddhist description of this in Abhidharma, Cittamatra and elsewhere, which I have tried to tell, but in vain, it seems. Perception and the formation of objects has also been studied in the Gestalt Psychology, which in many ways comes close to the buddhist view.


This reminds me of visual agnosia, a brain malfunction in which a person sees something, or someone, and objct that they see every day, and simply cannot identify it, or mistakes it for something else (look up The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat ). In severe cases, a person may, for example, not recognize his or her own house, but, on arriving home every day must rely on the address number (and basically 'trust' that in fact this is the right house).

I believe it is the book, The Dharma That Illuminates All Beings Impartially Like the Light of the Sun and the Moon by Kalu Rinpoche which contains in it a very detailed breakdown of the process of perception, perhaps from the Abhidharma, Cittamatra.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby padma norbu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:11 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
padma norbu wrote: The idea of being reborn as a bug or a dog is nonsense because this is all we got right here. When these bodies die, so will we.


That is correct.
but the reason why you won't be reborn as a bug or a dog
isn't because the causes of rebirth as a bug or a dog are not there,
but because there is no you to begin with.


Right. I never suggested otherwise. My full statement which you've truncated was: "The idea of being reborn as a bug or a dog is nonsense because this is all we got right here. When these bodies die, so will we. I won't be reborn as anything because I am not really anything other than awareness within this particular set of circumstances. When those circumstances end, so will I.

There is the Ālayavijñāna, but that is different."

PadmaVonSamba wrote:So, the causes are still there.
If you are greedy, you have set into motion the causes for the experience of deprivation.


But there is no "you," remember? So, what do causes and conditions really matter? Karmic seeds are stored where? Alaya storehouse. Karmic seeds are alaya seeds, not "me" or "you." When this collection of flesh and bones falls away, awareness will be liberated from this personality which is, as I said, the awareness within this particular set of circumstances.

PadmaVonSamba wrote:The molecular structure of the human realm has nothing to do with this
except that it provides the environment by which human experience occurs.

That's everything to do with it. It is part and parcel to the only state of emotions we can actually verify.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:00 pm

padma norbu wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:The molecular structure of the human realm has nothing to do with this
except that it provides the environment by which human experience occurs.

That's everything to do with it. It is part and parcel to the only state of emotions we can actually verify.


Yes, I see your point.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:49 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Aemilius wrote:Before you perceive a tree, there is just "something". At the first moment the object hasn't as yet been recognized as a "tree". Your mind perceives "something" and compares it with the existing categories of obects in your mind/brain. Then it finds the category "tree", and it decides it is seeing a tree. At this point it is seeing an object that has been fished out form its storehouse of existing things/objects.
All of this happens so fast that you are not aware of it, normally. There is the buddhist description of this in Abhidharma, Cittamatra and elsewhere, which I have tried to tell, but in vain, it seems. Perception and the formation of objects has also been studied in the Gestalt Psychology, which in many ways comes close to the buddhist view.


This reminds me of visual agnosia, a brain malfunction in which a person sees something, or someone, and objct that they see every day, and simply cannot identify it, or mistakes it for something else (look up The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat ). In severe cases, a person may, for example, not recognize his or her own house, but, on arriving home every day must rely on the address number (and basically 'trust' that in fact this is the right house).



It is true with healthy people too. The commonly used example from Vasubandhu is that there is "something", that humans perceive as water, devas perceive as nectar, pretas perceive as pus or blood, hell beings perceive as molten metal or as excrement, fishes and aquatic animals perceive as home and dwelling place. There is no "water", independent of the perceiver.
It is also like your dreams, they spring up form your mind and yet you see and experience them.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby undefineable » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:37 pm

padma norbu wrote:I won't be reborn as anything because I am not really anything other than awareness within this particular set of circumstances _ _ There is the Ālayavijñāna, but that is different.
There's also the possibility of delusive self-identification with some aspect of the Alayavijnana (sorry I dunno how to find special characters!), in which case awareness within any circumstances (if not exactly 'awareness within this particular set of circumstances') is seen as 'I' - Wouldn't identification with one's personality give way to identification with something more 'subtle' or 'profound' at times when Personality is less prominent (when one is very young, very old, or mentally disabled), or alternatively when one pursues a theistic spirituality like Advaita Vedanta?
padma norbu wrote:When those circumstances end, so will I.
So you still exist for now? :pig:
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:25 pm

padma norbu wrote:I won't be reborn as anything because I am not really anything other than awareness within this particular set of circumstances _ _ There is the Ālayavijñāna, but that is different.


This makes sense if you assert the existence of a self.
but Buddhist teaching does not.
it is precisely because there is no self that rebirth occurs,
ever second of your own life, in fact.
it's happening already.
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Re: Is Space Conscious?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:42 pm

The difference between rebirth, as it is understood in the Buddhist context, and the Vedic notion of reincarnation is that rebirth does not indicate the re-emergence of a particular self (atman). Rather, it is the setting into motion the conditions that will arise with awareness in the future (as dukkha or "suffering").

One can easily imagine creating conditions that will cause another being to suffer in the future, for example, planting a time bomb that would explode and injure or kill people. Of course, those people are not you, but it is still possible to cause that condition, and to create that suffering.

When the bomb explodes, if other beings are there, the effect will be suffering whether you are there or not. Of course, if nobody is there, then the conditions for suffering will not have arisen. But suppose you forgot, and you went back to the place where the bomb was set. Then you would also experience the suffering caused by the explosion.

Similarly, one's actions in this lifetime create conditions for the future.
Whether one regards the sentient being who is born in the future to be the "same" as one's present "self", or different, really does not matter. the suffering will be the same suffering.

So, you can say, "That person in the future isn't the same being as I am now, so how can he or she reap that karmic effect of my actions in this life time?" But again, who you think it is doesn't really matter any more than who you think you are now. it's a moot point.

The wish to not cause suffering to other beings and the wish to not cause your own suffering is essentially the same.
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