Author Topic: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion  (Read 12888 times)

mik1e

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Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« on: January 03, 2010, 12:17:46 PM »
I start this thread in order to organize discussion of meditation practice (Shamatha-Vipassana in particular) between practitioners and professional scientists. Scientists who practice Shamatha-Vipassana are especially welcomed.

One can hardly expect this discussion to lead to breakthrough in understanding of physical, physiological, molecular and genetic mechanisms of the meditative state. But it will be very nice if this dialog would result in schemes of experiments and rigorously formulated questions, allowing experimental answers. I hope that practical answers to these questions finally will form the scientific background of consciousness development. Unfortunately, current western knowledge about mind-body relationships is of little use for those who seek enlightenment. Despite intensive researches all over the world, ancient, 3000 years-old knowledge and techniques appear to have much better predictive and explanation power than theories, proposed by modern scientists. Only scientists-practitioners can break this barrier. So, let’s do it!

Here I put some questions, which I feel to be relevant to this discussion.

What is meditation? What is enlightenment? How these states could be described in terms of physics, genetics and physiology?

What is the physical nature of subtle energies, subtle body, energy centers (chakras), energy channels (nadis)? How processes in subtle world are related to processes in physical world and in bodies of biological subjects?

Mechanisms of body-mind relationships (including memory and imprints of previous lives): from gene to subtle body.

What is known and what is unknown about subtle world; questions/ideas for experimental research.

Origin (nature) of the life – to the extent of current discussion.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 12:20:08 PM by mik1e »

Jhananda

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2010, 03:23:15 AM »
Hello mik1e, a discussion on research into meditation is a good topic, but, as a social scientist (anthropologist) who studies meditation, I will have to say there is no Scientific root for enlightenment, because western science is all about measuring, exploring, defining and predicting the physical universe; whereas enlightenment is of a spiritual dimension.  However, yes, the social sciences could engage in research and advance hypotheses on meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment, but few social scientists are interested in the subject; however, Starbuck and William James were early explorers in this subject.

Yes, it is true that medical doctors and neurologists have been engaged in the study of meditation; however, most of that research has been organized toward promoting a religion, teacher or method, so that research has been mostly self-serving and has contributed little to our understanding of the subject. If, for instance, a scientist were to focus his or her study on Shamatha-Vipassana only, then that research would be far too narrow a focus to result in much meaningful research.

Your first two questions “What is meditation? What is enlightenment?” are good ones.  So, let us address them first.

If we examine how meditation and enlightenment are expressed in the three vehicles of Buddhism we will find that the concept is so broadly defined that we scientists would have to conclude that Buddhists do not understand what meditation is.  However, if we examine the writing of Saint John of the Cross we will find in his “Dark Night of the Soul” an excellent understanding of meditation and what it leads to.  We can also find an excellent discourse on meditation and what it leads to in Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle,” the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Sutta pitaka of the Pali canon.  And, if we were to compare these four sources we would find a remarkably similar interpretation of meditation and what it leads to. 

Below are links to translations of the four Buddha suttas on the practice of meditation, which he called ‘sati,’ and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Perhaps after we have all read this material we can then discuss meditation and what it leads to with a common understanding.

Anapanasati Sutta (MN 118) “Mindfulness of the breath”
http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pali/Phala_Nikaya/anapanasatisutta.htm

Kayagata-sati Sutta (MN 119) “Mindfulness of the Body”
http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pali/Phala_Nikaya/kayagatasati.htm

Satipatthana Sutta (MN 10) “the Four Paths of Mindfulness”
http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pali/Phala_Nikaya/satipatthanasutta.htm

Maha-satipatthana Sutta (DN 22), “Larger Discourse on the Four Paths of Mindfulness” updated 10-27-04
http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/pali/Phala_Nikaya/mahasatipattha

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Translation by Jhananda
http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/vedic/jhananandaysutra.htm

Best regards, Jhananda

mik1e

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2010, 12:20:12 PM »
Jhananda,

Thank you for the references. They may be quite helpful for those who are not familiar with classic texts.

However, if we want to keep closer to Western science, it would be better to use not sutta texts, but Tantric ones, since one can expect to find there descriptions in terms of energy centers/bodies and energy transformation processes. Such kind of descriptions is much closer to modern scientific picture of world. Unfortunately, I know nothing about translations of such texts. I even don’t know if such texts exist or not. But I do know that Tibetan monks get Tantric instructions on Shamatha and Vipassana in purpose to boost their practice.

How I can describe the progress of meditation state in terms of subtle bodies?

The first thing you start with is relaxation of the whole body. This activates the ether body, which is the closest to physical one. Ether body mainly is responsible for the state of integrity; when this body is properly activated, you can react to any stimulus by the whole physical body.  This quality of ether body is widely used in martial arts. In meditation, it is used to create the background for activation of higher energy bodies. One of methods of activating the ether body is being aware of breathing through the whole body.

When the ether body is more or less activated, vital body begins to activate. Activity of this body is related to sensations of bliss and joy, perceived by physical body. When this body is saturated with energy, it calms down, and one can feel the activity of astral body much better.

Astral body is responsible for emotions; vital body perceives its energies as very subtle, blissful and joyful sensations, like beautiful fragrance of flowers. But when the astral body activates, all imprints (kleshas and samskaras), stored in it, become active, too, and this disturbs the mind and the astral body itself, and decreases the sensation of joy and bliss. When the meditator cleans his/her astral body from the sources of disturbances, (s)he achieves the state of tranquility and stability of mind. During the processes of cleaning the astral body, one also cleans grosser bodies, too, since they may contain sources of disturbances.

As far as I understand, in literature the state of enlightenment is associated with total cleaning of ether, vital, and astral bodies and “synchronizing” of their activity.

IMHO, this description can serve much better as the background for scientific analysis, than the descriptions in suttas. If we find the way to investigate objectively the processes in subtle bodies, we will get totally scientific background for the enlightenment.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2010, 12:23:18 PM by mik1e »

Matthew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2010, 08:02:19 PM »
Hello mik1e, a discussion on research into meditation is a good topic, but, as a social scientist (anthropologist) who studies meditation, I will have to say there is no Scientific root for enlightenment, because western science is all about measuring, exploring, defining and predicting the physical universe; whereas enlightenment is of a spiritual dimension.

There is also the problem that science does not really have a place for personal observation .. whilst the meditative path is centred around this.

Yes, it is true that medical doctors and neurologists have been engaged in the study of meditation; however, most of that research has been organized toward promoting a religion, teacher or method, so that research has been mostly self-serving and has contributed little to our understanding of the subject. If, for instance, a scientist were to focus his or her study on Shamatha-Vipassana only, then that research would be far too narrow a focus to result in much meaningful research.

Actually most of the scientists looking at meditation are using insight/Vipassana techniques only as a tool in psychology. They are missing out on Shamatha completely - as is a problem in the transition of Buddhism to the West generally (and from which they inherited this error).

Thus they have 50% recidivism rates with mindfulness based cognitive approaches due to a lack of stable mind to cope with the contents drawn into consciousness by insight techniques.

There are scientists studying the minds of meditators using fMRI (functional MRI scanning) which measures changes in brain activity but I haven't seen many concrete results other than ... "ooh their minds are calmer"!

Matthew
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mik1e

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2010, 12:12:27 PM »
There is also the problem that science does not really have a place for personal observation .. whilst the meditative path is centred around this.

"Personal observation" does not mean "non-scientific" or "non-objective". If several independent persons in different times describe the same phenomena in the same way, we can say that, possibly, there exists some objective reason which causes these descriptions. And if one can make predictions based on the subject observations, and these predictions systematically (say, in 60-70% of cases) become true, this definitely means that there exist objective laws of nature, underlying these predictions.

The main problem, from my point of view, is that consciousness and life are studied by medics and biologists, but not by physicists. Medics and biologists simply do not have necessary ideological (theoretical) background and equipment to work with the problem. And physicists are scared by huge amount of unstructured data and Latin terminology which they face with in biology and medicine.

On the other hand, if physicists are stuck to "pure materialism", they quickly find out that their theories and instruments inappropriate for the subtle world. E.g., in 80-s in Soviet Union an extensive research of psychics was done on the government level. High-class physicists studied the phenomena and discovered many interesting things. When the research was finished, they published many articles in which they claimed that psychic phenomena are just combination of well known fields and forces. But when I spoke with a member of the research team unofficially, he told me, that there is a classified report, in which the whole picture was described. When I asked him, what they saw, he refused, but said:"Science is helpless here. It is magic. We cannot explain what we saw."

Now secret services in different countries actively investigate psychic phenomena to prepare and use psychics for intelligence service and influencing necessary politics or businessmen. This is very pity, since similar (not necessary the same) methods can be used for quick achieving of the enlightenment and changing the world in which we live.


Matthew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2010, 08:31:29 PM »
Now secret services in different countries actively investigate psychic phenomena to prepare and use psychics for intelligence service and influencing necessary politics or businessmen. This is very pity, since similar (not necessary the same) methods can be used for quick achieving of the enlightenment and changing the world in which we live.

So we better get to work.

In the Dhamma,

Matthew
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TomThumb

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2010, 10:40:22 PM »
Hi mik1e,

As a Cogntive Scientist, with a foundation in Computer Science and Mathmatics, and having done my thesis on a Computational/Mathmatical model of Attention and Emotion, I was initially quite interested in participating in this thread, but did not due to an excessively high work load. University life is a lot tougher and more competitive than one might think.

However, since then, after having given the question some considerable thought I have decided that it is best if I do not, although I wish all the best to those who do so. I could have simply not bothered to reply or participate, but I thought that unfair, since I highly value this community and look forward to contributing to other debates herein. I guess my reasons are two fold:

1. I consider questions of brain, mind, attention, emotion etc. in a professional cognitive sense in my job (or at least I used to until recently, now I work more on accelerating learning), one to which I already give far too much of my time, and was attracted to this community precisely for its practical nature. There are lots of good online forums 'walking the walk' and 'talking the talk' on these questions, so there are lots of sources of information for those who are looking. For me, personally, what kept me coming back here, time and again, was its very non theoretical nature and the very supportive nature of its members. That is the part I wish to emphasise here, in my free time online; the very little I have.

2. I also wonder, in a general sense, of the role of science in these questions. This is not intended to seed a debate ;). If one is well advanced on the path and wants to spend some free time reading about and debating questions of science and its role in understanding mind etc., instead of watching the TV, or drinking beer, then I would argue that is fine. However, the danger is for people who are considering meditating of have just started and get too attracted to these questions. I agree with other posts elsewhere in this forum that the ego has a big role in "thinking about these things", and while initially scientific explanations are seductive and gives one a sense of control, it is essentially fleeting... As someone who has worked with philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, AI people, etc., I can say that understanding these things does nothing to reduce one's suffering. It would be better for newbies to just do it! as the TV commercial says, meditate I mean, as I myself am trying to do so, and leave the thinking until later.

Well, it is just my 2 cents. Look forward to contributing in other ways...

TT
Before you claim any absolute truth, remember you see only 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear 1% of the acoustic spectrum. 90% of the body’s cells carry their own DNA and are not you. Your body’s atoms are 99.9999999% empty space. Humans have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.

Masauwu

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 10:31:47 AM »
I`ve been wondering how this meditation practice actually works, why am i watching the breath and how does that lead to seemingly unrelated results like transforming how my mind works. I`ve just watched a short documentary called "Monks in the Laboratory - How it all started" about scientists doing brain research in colaboration with experienced meditation practitioners. Most of it presents the same procedures used in most studies - hooking meditators to different machines and watching their brain activity while they are asked to perform different tasks.

But at one point there was an input from a psychologist named Paul Ekman that i feel is important:
Quote
"Mindfulness meditation, in my view, forces you to learn to pay attention to automatic processes. Breathing is automatic - you don`t need to think to breathe. Walking is automatic once you`ve learned to do it, you don`t need to think about taking steps in order to walk. [...] But in these practices, by making you focus on it, you`re developing conciousness of automatic activity. In order to do that, you`re building new neural connections that aren`t there. My theory [...]* is that these new neural connections that you constructed from monitoring breathing, eating and walking, will allow you to monitor the arousal of emotional impulses, which is also automatic. If you made automatic functioning conscious, then you will be conscious of other automatic [things]."
(* presented in the book "Emotions Revealed")

For me this explanation shines new light on Anapanasati Sutta`s mindfulness of breathing. And it`s amazing to think that this man sitting under a tree 2500 years ago came up with this and more, things for which modern science is barely starting to scratch the surface; this man was made of pure awesomeness. Of course science is going about it the long way, looking out instead of looking in, but still billions of people missing such a huge thing... defies statistics.  :D


I will also mention here a lecture called by Todd Murphy which explores parallels between spiritual practice progress and brain wiring and functioning. Goes a bit beyond my level of neuroscience knowledge (which is zero). :)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 09:19:53 PM by Morning Dew »
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Andrew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 11:55:17 AM »
cool post mate. don't forget though that Buddha didn't claim to have invented it, rather rediscovered it. The Ancient Path he called it.
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lente

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2011, 10:13:53 PM »
Just a few thoughts.

1) There might not be a subtle world. I hear a lot of talk about the subtle world, however I have not seen, heard or experienced anything that leads me to believe that there is such a world. My current thinking upon the matter is that it is all in the brain. Whether consciousness itself is in the brain as well or not is yet the be solved by science, but it wouldn't really matter much, because it is likely that content is in the brain either way.

2) Science will have to do much more research on the topic of meditation and enlightenment. This will probably take some time, because of limited funds and the difficulty of finding qualified people who are willing to be researched.

3) The believe that something special is going on will probably stop people from cooperating with scientists. Scientists in their turn might be put off by the superstitious nature associated with these topics.

4) Research may simply pas this "station" (meditation research) altogether. With enough knowledge about the workings of the brain they would not necessarily have to study meditation to know it's effects on the brain. If their model of the working of the brain is sufficiently accurate they might simple be able to predict it.

5) I agree with the view that these questions/discussions are not that practical (for the practitioner) and serve only to entertain and perhaps promote academic understanding of meditation. For the practitioner actually meditating is what is important.

6) "Now secret services in different countries actively investigate psychic phenomena to prepare and use psychics for intelligence service and influencing necessary politics or businessmen." I don't believe any of this. Big claims need big evidence. What is the evidence for this?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2011, 10:16:47 PM by lente »

Andrew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2011, 05:35:22 AM »
Hi lente,

I'll play along for a little while, if only to get to know you a bit more!

Responses to your points.

1) There is a Subtle world; this one!

2) Science is based on the scientific method; for it to study consciousness (much less enlightenment) it has to be able to isolate it from all other influences. If someone manages to do that, then studying it will be the last thing on their mind, they will be enlightened.  ;)

3) We know something special is going on, and so do good scientist. Anyone who calls themselves a scientist without having their mind blown everyday by the wonder of this existence is just collecting titles and letters after their name. Even Louis Armstrong knew it was wonder-ful.  :)

4) Let me share something about brains I know for sure; they don't work without bodies. And bodies don't work without food, air, and water. And these three things need an environment to exist in. And that environment most definitely keeps on existing for as far as we can see, even when observed with the best instruments science has built. It really is a simple experiment, though I'm not volunteering; Take a brain out of a body, put it on the bench and see if it is still alive, let alone conscious. The results give you your answer; no it isn't all in the brain:-*

5) Spot on. But make peace with your questions as well, I assume that is why you are interested in all of this. Deep questions need real answers. That is of course you don't mind suffering while you wait for them.  :'(  Either way, be Mindful. Sit, stand, walk in this way and the questions already have their answer.  :angel:

6) I've read the books myself, and have no doubt that to sell a book it has to be dramatic. But I don't see them as big claims, rather mundane really compared with enlightenment. If we believe a  full awakening is possible, then we sit. If we don't, we don't sit. If the Russians know what colour jocks I'm wearing through psychic means while I sit, then so be it.  :D


May the truth find you mindful when you find it!

love

Andrew


 
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 05:44:46 AM by Andrew »
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Jeeprs

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2011, 07:29:18 AM »
Just a few thoughts.

1) There might not be a subtle world. I hear a lot of talk about the subtle world, however I have not seen, heard or experienced anything that leads me to believe that there is such a world.

Surely anything that could be seen, heard or experienced about such a world would be subtle, would it not?

Don't worry about scientists. They have plenty to do with stopping climate change and inventing useful devices. Meditation is a first-person science.

lente

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2011, 08:39:56 AM »
Quote
1) There is a Subtle world; this one!

Oh, well if it is this world why not just called it world or reality. Why name it subtle and give the impression that you are talking about something out of the ordinary.

Quote
2) Science is based on the scientific method; for it to study consciousness (much less enlightenment) it has to be able to isolate it from all other influences. If someone manages to do that, then studying it will be the last thing on their mind, they will be enlightened.  ;)

Perhaps. I know many believe that science is just a narrow discipline that can't answer the deeper questions in life. Questions of purpose, ethics and subjective experiences. I think it might be able to. Nothing is for sure, but let's give it some time. The question about consciousness might be answered and I personally don't think that the discovery will turn the scientist into an enlightened person. (whatever that may mean)

Also, science doesn't just work in isolation. Scientist may prefer to isolate all variables, but they get can still do science even if they don't manage that. Don't forget that science is also about observation.

Quote
3) We know something special is going on, and so do good scientist. Anyone who calls themselves a scientist without having their mind blown everyday by the wonder of this existence is just collecting titles and letters after their name. Even Louis Armstrong knew it was wonder-ful.  :)

If you put it that way I guess I can't disagree.

Quote
4) Let me share something about brains I know for sure; they don't work without bodies. And bodies don't work without food, air, and water. And these three things need an environment to exist in. And that environment most definitely keeps on existing for as far as we can see, even when observed with the best instruments science has built. It really is a simple experiment, though I'm not volunteering; Take a brain out of a body, put it on the bench and see if it is still alive, let alone conscious. The results give you your answer; no it isn't all in the brain:-*

I did not mean to suggest that the brain has independent existence, merely that it is the source of our subjective experience. Yes, you can say that because the brain has no independent existence it is not truly the source. This is an impractical way of talking about this. In the same way you could say that meditation is not a source of peace as it is not an independent entity.



lente

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2011, 08:51:11 AM »
Just a few thoughts.

1) There might not be a subtle world. I hear a lot of talk about the subtle world, however I have not seen, heard or experienced anything that leads me to believe that there is such a world.

Surely anything that could be seen, heard or experienced about such a world would be subtle, would it not?

Don't worry about scientists. They have plenty to do with stopping climate change and inventing useful devices. Meditation is a first-person science.

It worries me that a lot people who practice meditation and/or call themselves spiritual are so dismissive of science, but are very positive about things that very often have no credible evidence to support them.

Matthew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2011, 08:55:28 AM »
Just a few thoughts.
...
6) "Now secret services in different countries actively investigate psychic phenomena to prepare and use psychics for intelligence service and influencing necessary politics or businessmen." I don't believe any of this. Big claims need big evidence. What is the evidence for this?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats

Quote
.....

The book examines connections between paranormal military programs and psychological techniques being used for interrogation in the War on Terror. The book traces the evolution of these covert activities over the past three decades, and sees how they are alive today within U.S. Homeland Security and the Iraq War. It examines the use of the theme tune to Barney & Friends on Iraqi prisoners-of-war, the smuggling of a hundred de-bleated goats into the Special Forces command center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the connection between the U.S. military and the mass-suicide of members of the Heaven's Gate cult in San Diego.[2]
[edit]TV documentary

The book accompanies a three-part TV series broadcast on Channel 4 in Britain, Crazy Rulers of the World. The three parts were titled "The Men Who Stare at Goats", "Funny Torture" and "Psychic Footsoldiers" respectively. The idea of the project was to explore "the apparent madness at the heart of U.S. military intelligence." The series discusses and includes members of Psychological operations, First Earth Battalion, and also discusses Project MKULTRA and Frank Olson, including interviews with his son, Eric Olson. .....
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Matthew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2011, 09:04:26 AM »
....It worries me that a lot people who practice meditation and/or call themselves spiritual are so dismissive of science, but are very positive about things that very often have no credible evidence to support them.

The Buddha was more scientist than mystic.

I studied maths and physics at uni. I'm agnostic about anything I cannot personally verify and this was the stance Buddha recommended. He also avoided discussions regarding the supra-mundane.

Many folk out there end up on the path because they have psychological issues and mix and match a bit of this new age whacho theory with a bit of that one .....

I think what Jeeprs is pointing to is not unrealistic ... we have eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, taste-buds to taste and sense of touch to feel, as well as brain/mind to perceive and process these sensory inputs (and it's own machinations). We can't see some parts of the light spectrum other animals see because evolution did not make them useful to us. As you reprogram the brain through decluttering all the crap ... who knows what you might perceive?
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Andrew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2011, 09:13:56 AM »
 :)

1) Why indeed. Why not call it;  The Amazing Stuff That Just Keeps Happening All The Time Without Us Having Any Idea How. Probably a bit long, but quite more descriptive than "World". :)

 It is true that many people get lost in daydreaming about alternate realities and assert all types of things which are not otherwise a part of their direct experience. BUT, when something does become part of your direct experience, all bets are off on what it means. One person sees an angel, another a ufo, and another put's it all down to too much pizza. :-[

Other people have there minds boggled by big numbers and small things.  ???

2) Without a doubt the Bodymind will continue to be studied and probed for a long time to come. Still, enlightenment will never be available in a pill.
Have you ever read a text that goes into depth on neurotransmitters? I mean the real research papers, not the science magazine tripe? Even if they can get to the bottom of consciousness, we are talking about a report exponentially bigger than these 'small' things like enzymes, and peptides! Even in summarised form it will be all but useless to use anyway; words on a screen or piece of paper. Like Douglas Adams Deepthot computers answer of '42', perfectly understandable yet still meaningless.  :(

3)  :)

4) It may be impractical, but that is setting up a condition that reality may not be able to meet. It's like forgetting to carry the one, or only going to 5 decimal places, it must take into account everything that effects it or is a flawed conclusion.

 Here is a question for you; Electricity, does it come from a power point? we would agree that only small children would say so.  It is not independent of the electricity grid, the generators, the fuel for the generators, the conditions that created the fuel.

I hope you are having fun discussing this, I have no point to make apart from having a discussion with you.. :)

In the spirit of friendly debate

Andrew


 



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lente

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2011, 09:17:33 AM »
Quote
I think what Jeeprs is pointing to is not unrealistic ... we have eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, taste-buds to taste and sense of touch to feel, as well as brain/mind to perceive and process these sensory inputs (and it's own machinations). We can't see some parts of the light spectrum other animals see because evolution did not make them useful to us. As you reprogram the brain through decluttering all the crap ... who knows what you might perceive?

If you mean: A world created by the brain, like a dream or vision. Than I would agree.

Andrew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2011, 09:25:33 AM »
And if you mean a world created by the brain which was created by the world, then I agree too. :)

good afternoon friends, I must be off home.

Compassion to you,

A
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lente

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2011, 09:35:36 AM »
Quote
1) Why indeed. Why not call it;  The Amazing Stuff That Just Keeps Happening All The Time Without Us Having Any Idea How. Probably a bit long, but quite more descriptive than "World". :)

 It is true that many people get lost in daydreaming about alternate realities and assert all types of things which are not otherwise a part of their direct experience. BUT, when something does become part of your direct experience, all bets are off on what it means. One person sees an angel, another a ufo, and another put's it all down to too much pizza. :-[

Other people have there minds boggled by big numbers and small things.  ???

I wouldn't say all bets are off. Just because someone might say he/she has been visited by Jesus doesn't mean that he/she really has been. That person may have had a very direct and convincing experience. You see what I mean?

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2) Without a doubt the Bodymind will continue to be studied and probed for a long time to come. Still, enlightenment will never be available in a pill.
Have you ever read a text that goes into depth on neurotransmitters? I mean the real research papers, not the science magazine tripe? Even if they can get to the bottom of consciousness, we are talking about a report exponentially bigger than these 'small' things like enzymes, and peptides! Even in summarised form it will be all but useless to use anyway; words on a screen or piece of paper. Like Douglas Adams Deepthot computers answer of '42', perfectly understandable yet still meaningless.  :(

My prediction is: Enlightenment IS going to be available in a pill!

I think it is a bit early to say that there will never be a understandable scientific answer about consciousness.

We will just have to wait and see I guess.

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4) It may be impractical, but that is setting up a condition that reality may not be able to meet. It's like forgetting to carry the one, or only going to 5 decimal places, it must take into account everything that effects it or is a flawed conclusion.

Demanding perfection in that way makes no sense, it would make any conclusion including those formed from direct experience flawed.

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Here is a question for you; Electricity, does it come from a power point? we would agree that only small children would say so.  It is not independent of the electricity grid, the generators, the fuel for the generators, the conditions that created the fuel.

That really depends on the context doesn't it? If you talk about plugging in a electrical device, than for all practical intent and purposes electricity does come from the power point.


Masauwu

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2011, 10:24:10 AM »
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As you reprogram the brain through decluttering all the crap ... who knows what you might perceive?



I think meditation practice is a science; the true hands-on do it yourself investigation of reality practice, without any of the rituals and other traditions added by religion. It is an inner science, and you can`t describe its finds in equations or other classical scientific  methods of presentation. But i think that gap will be overcome in the not so far future.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 10:30:52 AM by Masauwu »
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goes through the water.

Matthew

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2011, 11:05:13 AM »
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I think what Jeeprs is pointing to is not unrealistic ... we have eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, taste-buds to taste and sense of touch to feel, as well as brain/mind to perceive and process these sensory inputs (and it's own machinations). We can't see some parts of the light spectrum other animals see because evolution did not make them useful to us. As you reprogram the brain through decluttering all the crap ... who knows what you might perceive?

If you mean: A world created by the brain, like a dream or vision. Than I would agree.

No I do not mean that. What I mean is that more of this reality we live in may become open to your perception as the mind is decluttered and the limits of the habitual perceptual filters removed.

When the Buddha discussed rebirth he discussed it in terms of directly perceived knowledge not guesswork. Right now I do not have personal evidence to support this but there is nothing to say that further down the line I might  not be able to personally verify the same knowledge. What I do know is that the conditioned mind perceives according to habit and the more habit is removed the more perception of reality is clear.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Stefan

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2011, 11:36:08 AM »

It worries me that a lot people who practice meditation and/or call themselves spiritual are so dismissive of science,

I'm more worried the other way round:  many scientists being so dismissive of meditation.  ;)
anicca

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2011, 11:52:45 AM »
We all are mostly dismissive of our own greedy selves. Why look further?

For the sake of instant coffee? Sorry ment to say instant enlightenment.

Golum-golum

Stefan

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Re: Scientific roots of the enlightenment: discussion
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2011, 12:03:40 PM »


For the sake of instant coffee?


That's a good idea. I think I'll help myself to another cup of instant coffee without caffeine right now ... yummy!
I enjoy drinking mine with milk and honey, my tongue loves that!
anicca