matter, dharmas, Buddhism

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matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:30 am

The A.I. thread got me thinking:

Can someone roughly explain how the modern concept of "matter" would be viewed from a Buddhist standpoint, I know it's a big question.

Would I get an answer by reading Abidharma texts?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby montana » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:25 am

Winds. Matter is made of winds. Atoms are made of winds.
At least that is the tantric point of view, other Buddhist may have other views.
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:51 am

montana wrote:Winds. Matter is made of winds. Atoms are made of winds.
At least that is the tantric point of view, other Buddhist may have other views.


Is winds another term for energy? At the most basic level of all matter is energy according to physics.
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby montana » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:16 am

I have an idea of what winds are, but I am not sure about the exact tantric definition. Maybe another person will answer.


I don't think physics is ready to say what the most finite component of matter is.
Personally I see a problem with saying the most finite part is energy because energy relies on other things in order to exist as a phenomenon. Also, for energy to be the most finite part, it must not be reliant on parts or conditions, but if it is not reliant on parts or conditions why are there differences in energy depending on place and time?
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby TheSpirit » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:23 am

montana wrote:I have an idea of what winds are, but I am not sure about the exact tantric definition. Maybe another person will answer.


I don't think physics is ready to say what the most finite component of matter is.
Personally I see a problem with saying the most finite part is energy because energy relies on other things in order to exist as a phenomenon. Also, for energy to be the most finite part, it must not be reliant on parts or conditions, but if it is not reliant on parts or conditions why are there differences in energy depending on place and time?


Well I am not as well versed on physics as I should be. I know in string theory, it seems like the most basic make up of matter they know of are are really strings of energy popping in and out of space. Though unless winds is a metaphor for something else.I probably rather go with energy.
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:26 am

That's a very interesting question.

There were materialists in the Buddha's day. They were referred to as Carvakas. Their doctrine was very similar to their materialist counterparts in Ancient Greece - that the only thing that was real were material atoms, which were formed by natural forces into people, objects, and everything else. When the body died, there was no rebirth or next life, the elements simply returned to their earlier forms. The Carvakas are generally only know by way of polemics written against them, although I recall that their main supporters were (interestingly) the emerging merchant classes. There is a legendary figure in the Pali suttas called Prince Payasi who is a determined materialistic sceptic.

There are some interesting discussions of the early debates about the existence of atoms in McEvilly's The Shape of Ancient Thought. They are very detailed arguments, but one of the Buddhist arguments against atoms was that, if they truly were indivisible points, then they would have no dimension, and there was no way anything could come into contact with them (because, i.e., they wouldn't have a side or any kind of surface).

I think the abhidhamma concept of dhammas is not of existing material entities, but of moments of experience. The abhidhamma methodology analyzes everything in terms of the skandhas, within which material entities are generally classified as in the realm of name and form (nama-rupa). Nevertheless, there were some early Buddhist forms of atomism. In fact when I did my one Goenka retreat, I was interested to notice that Goenka referred to kalapa as being the equivalent of atoms, except for apart from being minute in space, they are also momentary in time; they are not 'enduring substances' which would be impossible to accomodate in the Buddhist framework but arise and perish in very rapid succession. He said something along the lines that the Buddha was able to perceive these 'kalapas' and that their existence has subsequently been 'confirmed by science' (although I must admit I took the latter with the proverbial grain of salt).

If you google 'Buddhist Atomism' there is quite a good essay out there by Piya Tan.

As for a discussion of the modern, i.e. quantum physical, interpretation of matter, and Buddhism, have a look at The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan.
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby smcj » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:49 am

montana wrote:Personally I see a problem with saying the most finite part is energy because energy relies on other things in order to exist as a phenomenon. Also, for energy to be the most finite part, it must not be reliant on parts or conditions, but if it is not reliant on parts or conditions why are there differences in energy depending on place and time?

You've stumbled upon the ideas of both emptiness and interdependence on your own. Good for you!
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:51 am

energy relies on other things in order to exist as a phenomenon


For instance?
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby smcj » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:54 am

jeeprs wrote:
energy relies on other things in order to exist as a phenomenon


For instance?

I think that's the ''heat is how excited an atom vibrates" type idea.
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:40 am

The other day it occurred to me that Buddhism can't accept such a notion as the atom, for exactly the same reason, and on the same grounds, that it doesn't accept a self - namely that, if it existed, it would be indivisible and imperishable.

And - they're winning the argument! Have a look at Could the Higgs be the End of Particle Physics?
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby lobster » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:37 am

enjoyed Jeepers comments and links and in particular I agree that a new physics, where 'emptiness is form and form is emptiness' is going to be a fun arrival for the new mystic-physicists/alchemist2/Big TOE leg of dharma or whatever turns up . . . :shrug:

Personally I feel a system based on a modelling dependent on this dimension is not going to be effective or capable of understanding the next step. We need quantum AI and the right interface with our paltry brains, maybe with a touch of bio engineering . . . :namaste:
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:54 am

montana wrote:Winds. Matter is made of winds. Atoms are made of winds.
At least that is the tantric point of view, other Buddhist may have other views.


i believe wind is another word for prana...
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:57 am

"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: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:03 am

I rather like

Image
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Re: matter, dharmas, Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:40 am

:rolling:
"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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