[FutureBuddha (Hunches I)] Hunches

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  • Jundo
    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
    • Apr 2006
    • 39446

    [FutureBuddha (Hunches I)] Hunches

    Jundo - I have moved this discussion to a new thread.

    In it, I present some personal 'hunches' on why the world works the ways it seems to. I would argue that, while these ideas are obviously most speculative (thus, I am very happy to call these suggestions as mere 'hunches,' based on my reading of modern scientific discoveries, traditional Buddhist perspectives and my own experiences in Zazen practice), my assertions are very much resonant of traditional Buddhist and Zen perspectives, although phrased in more modern terms.

    In fact, many traditional Buddhist and Zen beliefs are, if anything, even more fantastic and unbelievable, thus in dire need of update.



    ~~~~

    Originally posted by Spiritdove
    ... Consciousness is because we have brains that process information in brain cells. Nothing outside our brains do anything else. Once the brain is dead no more consciousness. You can show things like gravity by its effect on the surroundings. Just because you don't see it with the naked eye we do have microscopes and other techniques to show how it works. ...
    The "hard question" of the origin of consciousness remains unresolved. Were I to make a wager (on nothing more than a hunch) regarding what will ultimately prove to be, it will turn out that "consciousness" (although in a quite different form from our narrow, isolated experience of being personally conscious) will prove to be as natural and fundamental to the universe(s) as matter and energy (and, in fact, that the three turn out to be different aspects of the same, or of some even more basic state or states, much as we now know matter and energy to be but different aspects of each other.)

    In my hunch (that is all it is), the brain does not "create" consciousness, so much as it isolates the more fundamental basis of consciousness in a particular place and vantage point, rendering it self-reflective, much like a single broadcast wave can be broken into individual sounds heard by individual ears via our personal radios, a single satellite's GPS signal places our individual vehicles at unique points of location, a carnival 'fun house' of mirrors breaks our single image into infinite images, much as a single brain can be severed though physical injury or schizophrenia into identifiable separate personalities/selves all occupying a single skull simultaneously. Each is the same yet different, individual yet ultimately precisely the same.

    Much as the sea may be a single sea, but is also individual waves, drops of water flowing (the wholeness is just the movement and individual waves, while the individual and movements are the whole ... such that all is empty of separate self existence and even of wholeness, and really there is just flowing flowing flowing), you and I experience that we are separate individuals, and we experience that both of us are not each other nor the mountain or table or the cat. But really, in my hunch (and that is all it is, although many eastern philosophies, including many in Zen Buddhism have felt much the same, so it is not so original, and Zazen gives me some sense of this as the "little self" softens and falls away), I am actually you and the cat and the mountain and table looking out of my eyes, the cat is you and me and the mountain and table looking out of the cat's eyes, you are all of us looking out of your eyes, while the mountain and table are simply lacking in brain and eyes.

    It is much the same as if I were in a large house, looking out of one window seeing the world a certain way, then (with amnesia causing me to forget the first window) looking out a second window seeing the world a quite different way ... but this is happening simultaneously. In other words, we are all the very same consciousness looking out of different windows at once, but not aware of each other, thus feeling like individuals of separate experiences and views out our window eyes. I am "spiritdove" just Jundoing, Spiritdove is Jundo just "Spiritdoving" ... likewise for John, Doshin, mountain, cat and everything.

    In my hunch (that is all it is), such fact will prove to be a fine explanation for why we happen to find ourselves each alive as our personal "me" in a universe that seems so finely tuned with the physics, chemistry and other conditions necessary for life in general, sentient life in particular, as we reside on a "goldilocks" planet with the air, ground, light and all the other required features to let us be so, each of us the apparent current outcome of such an impossibly long chain of seemingly chance events that our being alive and intelligent enough to be here right now thinking about that fact seems such a long shot that ... well, it is frankly ridiculous except it happened. Here we are even though, over the course of 14 billion years, if one single needed a priori physical force, chemical reaction, meteor crash in planetary formation, evolutionary step, just one crawling ancestor's escaping death long enough to meet and mate ... if one single necessary right turn had instead hung a left ... we would not be here, yet we are.

    This leads me to suspect (that is all it is) that this vast universe swirls round and round, perhaps with some primal nature to grow life (not unlike how our planet, within that universe, somehow demonstrates its possessing some fundamental nature and tendency to host the chemical reactions and other conditions needed for life, then eventually, intelligent life). Probably, there are countless other like life hospitable planets out there in this expanse of universe, like a great farm field with seeds scattered here and there, springing to life, with lots of barren space between. What is happening, I suspect (that is all it is) is that the universe springs up "windows" here and there ... "windows" which we tend to call "brains" and "senses" ... and wherever a window pops up, then "I" (who is actually "Jundo/Spiritdove/John/Doshin/Table/Mountain/Cat/space creatures too" starts to feel like "me" although the "me" out of only my personal window. Sadly, my personal Jundo "brain/window" will only be around for maybe 70 or 80 years, whereupon my personal Jundo "brain/window" slams shut and the curtains are drawn. However, since "me" is also all the other windows everywhere too, I actually don't go anywhere (although, of course, I have no "Jundo" personal experience of those other windows). There are always countless windows open somewhere, and they are all ... in a sense ... our windows!

    Our Buddhist practice, like many eastern philosophies, is to help us experience our limited "small-self" window as being also our simultaneously true "Greater Boundless Windowness," which is all the other little time and space finite windows and the Whole No Sided Window which never closes (at least, not for a very very long time.) In the meantime, whenever a little window opens, whether on this planet or in Alpha Centauri, there is "me" (precisely me, who is you too) each feeling just subjectively like "me" (because it is me, and you too who is "me" just "youing") as amazed to be here as "me" as I am now ... except as the "me" that is Doshin or the cat or whatever other windows the universe cooks up. However, I need not become egotistical and solopsistical about this fact because, while "Doshin" and "the cat" (and whole universe in fact) are just precisely me ... I must also recognize that "me" (Jundo) is nothing more than precisely Doshin and the cat, not to mention every worm and rusty tin can and pile of dog poop. I (like you) just am fortunate enough to have a window, like a seat in a big stadium watching the Yankees play ... except all the other spectators in all the other seats are me too (you too), and each other, and I (you too) just them, and we are all the whole stadium right down to the hot dogs and catcher's gloves. After an inning or two, my seat vanishes (yours will too), but some other baseball fans will get a chance to watch the game ... and we are just them.

    The great "Windowless Window" or "Whole Stadium" is also (I suspect, that is all it is) very different from our little, narrow experiences of "window" consciousness so ... perhaps ... even the term "consciousness" is misleading to describe it. Better, we might say that it is this from which small consciousness comes but, quite literally, it is fruitless to get our little heads around it, any more than an ant might hope to get its relatively few neurons around what it is like to be human us.

    Also, recall that "mind" in Buddhism is already, traditionally, not ONLY what happens behind the eyes and within the skull. Your experience behind the eyes and within the skull is actually an entire "feedback loop" in which the green beautiful tree outside, the photons it seems to emit, the eye, the brain which recreates the image in the organ between your ears (you never actually experience the outside "tree," but only a recreation between your ears ... and, in fact, "green" is only your inner creation based on your interpretation of certain light wavelengths, and even "beautiful" and "tree" are your own subjective value judgements and linguistic categorizations also between your ears ... all appended by you to a mass of vibrating atoms of certain configuration which is likely ... we can never be totally sure even of this point ... 'out there' which are not truly "green" nor "beautiful" nor really "tree" without you to experience and call it so ... ) whereby your hand reaches out to this beautiful green tree to grab one of its apparently luscious apples which provides the nutrients to sustain the lump of flesh between the ears ... all of which nutrients and flesh are all dependent on elements of the periodic table which exploded out of collapsing stars far away and long ago ... all dependent on the basic physics of this universe ...

    ... ALL of which ... from collapsing stars to apparent apples to neurons ... is the feedback loop which we Buddhists call "Mind" ... not just the corner of mind stuffed in the stupid box between your ears.

    That is my hunch (although that is all it is). I also have a hunch that maybe ... just maybe ... there might be ways to test for aspects of that eventually, under scientifically controlled conditions and rigor. Maybe. Might we be able, for example, to test whether we can play with summoning or altering or simultaneously experiencing windows, or (as some quantum models suggest) our consciousness can impact matter/energy as much as matter/energy can impact consciousness? Frankly, some physicists propose that even "gravity" does not truly exist as we believe, and might be a state of mind ... so who knows?

    A string theorist is not tethered to the notion of gravity, saying the force is a consequence of thermodynamics.


    But that is just my hunch (that is all it is). In the meantime, please enjoy that apple! (Yes, the apple is "you" too ... )

    Gassho, J

    stlah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-22-2023, 06:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE
  • Ryumon
    Member
    • Apr 2007
    • 1706

    #2
    No wind, no flag, no mind.

    Gassho,
    Ryūmon (Kirk)
    Sat
    ---
    Ryūmon (Kirk)
    流文

    SAT/LAH

    I know nothing.

    Comment

    • Spiritdove

      #3
      "Consciousness"is the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.. Dictionary definition of it.

      I am rather stumped at what I am reading here in what I thought was a non theist zen Buddhist view. I seem to see the same concepts as when I was a christian coming from here. The argument is that, were it not for many aspects of our universe being “just right” for us to exist, then we wouldn’t be here, therefore [and that “therefore” is the big leap] the universe must have been fine-tuned to produce us. As far as we know, intelligent life occurs in only one million-billion-billion-billionth of the universe around us. It’s not the case that the universe is teeming with life, is it?
      I am doing my best to try to be open to what your saying and hope that I am understanding what is being brought out here.
      Individual forms such as a cat or me are not me and it as one body. It happens that the elements formed into that cat and the same elements became this form "me" . After the elements fall apart like when I am dead it just flows back to the ocean of all there is yes. But individuality is here as long as I am in this form. This sort of reminds me of a sci fi series where there are aliens that in there resting state become a sort of thick liquid and they all go together and make ocean of all the beings as one massive lake of these aliens. They can become individual forms to communicate with people like humans for a while but then have to go back to that liquid state again to rest. I see that in a way in our individual atoms and elements our bodies are made up of. I know I'm around 85 percent water then the elements but the majority of my body is empty space.Which is mostly between my ears. " last part is just a joke'
      But a mountain is not conscious it has no computer like brain cells to have self awareness. Nor is inanimate objects. Cats can yes. But self aware I am not sure on many animals but tests on some have shown a self awareness.

      I see no feedback loop of mind anyplace but inside a brain. That one will have to be proven to me beside. I believe it to be true because a book or person said it was. All these thoughts we are sharing are inside out brains inside a piece of meat called a brain. When that stops you stop and so does consciousness. Otherwise it has to be shown to go outside the brain and float around in space otherwise. I leave it to I don't believe it till I see it.

      "Universe seems so finely tuned with the physics.". I just happens to be that way saying tuned implies a tuner or something that does the tuning. Again same thing I have heard from god believers. It happens it is just this way so we are here. If it were not then we would not be. Plain and simple. No design no tuning. Gravity exists if not I would be floating out into space. I dropped my cup earlier. It went to the floor . proof of gravity is in its effect.

      I read slowly and did absorb all you said Jundo. I appreciate that you don't go all ballistic at me like I have had in past from other groups and do respect what you say totally. Perhaps someday I might change my mind. Lately I have been mentally doing better to retain and think more on things but health does affect me at times. If doctors do not give me wrong drugs or to much I do better.LOL

      Ok this time for sure I will just read posts for a while and sit on my hands. I think its better to read then question all the time. I will take notes for later and if I have questions post them there later.
      You all are a wonderful group of people. I feel almost "blessed" if an atheist can use that term to have found this community..

      *Bows"
      Marj "Spiritdove"
      Sat today
      Last edited by Guest; 01-26-2023, 11:06 PM.

      Comment

      • Ryumon
        Member
        • Apr 2007
        • 1706

        #4
        I think Jundo is espousing a pantheistic viewpoint, which has its supporters. Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness, by Philip Goff, is very interesting in this regard.

        Me, I don’t really care, because I don’t think we can know the answer to these questions, though I do read things about them out of curiosity, but I try to keep an open mind.

        Gassho,
        Ryūmon (Kirk)
        Sat
        ---
        Ryūmon (Kirk)
        流文

        SAT/LAH

        I know nothing.

        Comment

        • Spiritdove

          #5
          Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. Im downloading that now to read

          Marj "Spiritdove"
          Sat2day

          Comment

          • Jundo
            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
            • Apr 2006
            • 39446

            #6
            I am rather stumped at what I am reading here in what I thought was a non theist zen Buddhist view. I seem to see the same concepts as when I was a christian coming from here.
            I am not a theist. However, it would be wrong to say that, traditionally, Buddhism is either "theistic" or "atheistic." The Buddha, of course, never heard of the Judeo-Christian God and, in the old Suttas, might be seen rather to side-step the whole question of whether the Indian Brahma was or was not. In other cases, Brahma and the other Indian, Chinese and Japanese gods (small g) are seen to be incorporated into the Buddhist pantheon, including in Zen (see, for example, our Zazenkai tomorrow sitting with Vairochana, the Universal Buddha):

            January 27th-28th Treeleaf Weekly Zazenkai - Vairocana, the Universal Buddha

            Who is this, mentioned in our Soto Zen Meal Chants?

            Homage to the pure Dharmakaya Vairochana Buddha, boundless
            To the complete Sambhogakaya Lochana Buddha, symbol of perfection

            I would also argue that, while traditional Buddhism, including Zen, tended to see these cycles as timeless (better said, arising from a wonderful timeless something which somehow, through divided thinking and desire, split into our world of change and time), traditional Buddhist teachings are that there is something very mysterious and wonderful about our being born in human form, the product of our past Karma and not just random happenstance. What is more, our cosmically assigned task is to realize and somehow return (although "return" is not the right word, as we have never truly left) to that timeless wholeness which holds this all.

            Buddhism, including Zen, upholds the universe, and everything in it, as sacred, wondrous, mysterious, but based in some wonderfully mystical processes, cosmic harmonies and overall unity which make it more than a blind, simply material, aimless mechanism. Life and the universe do have direction and aims in traditional Buddhism and Zen, most especially Liberation and our living good, wise and compassionate lives while in human form.

            Finally, the "fine tuning" problem is not just a religious question, even though it has been kidnapped by the Creationists and such. Many modern scientists realize that there is something in need of explanation in our having found ourselves alive in a universe so (at least locally) nicely permitting of that fact when, it would seem, had the universe had but one necessary pebble out of place, or if a single amphibian grandparent had failed to mate, we should not be here thinking about such at all. Some say that it is just a "selection effect," others posit (without much evidence either) a "multi-verse," some say that there may be other reasons, or no issues at all ... all without pulling Jehovah into the debate.


            and
            For decades physicists have been perplexed about why our cosmos appears to have been precisely tuned to foster intelligent life. It is widely thought that if the values of certain physical parameters, such as the masses of elementary particles, were tweaked, even slightly, it would have prevented the formation of the components necessary for life in the universe—including planets, stars, and galaxies. But recent studies, detailed in a new report by the Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi, propose that intelligent life could have evolved under drastically different physical conditions. The claim undermines a major argument in support of the existence of a multiverse of parallel universes.


            But I tend to think that, but for any even one mistimed cosmic sneeze over 13.7 Billion years, you and I should not be here ... and the fact that we are here despite the seeming odds may (just may) suggest that the dice were somehow loaded. In fact, it suggests so very much.

            I would assert that, while my "hunches" above are phrased in modern terms, that there is really nothing in them foreign to traditional Buddhist and Zen beliefs. In fact, Dogen and the other old Zen masters were much more religious, mystical and magical, hidden forces and gods and spirits believers than old skeptical ("let's get the hocus-pocus hoo-hah out of Buddhism") Jundo.

            Gassho, J
            stlah
            Last edited by Jundo; 01-27-2023, 02:55 AM.
            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

            Comment

            • Spiritdove

              #7
              I would like to know what process you use to decide that something you do not agree with in the Dogen teachings aka traditions you toss out or is something you don't use or may not be true and the fundamental ones you do use. I mean how do you decide that all that mystical whooo whoo is not real for you to include ? How does one pick and choose in your tradition what to use and what to leave out? Im only wondering. Again the roll of the dice and the fine tuning still imposes a creator concept. There are over 20,000 versions or more of god/goddess concepts in the world I was not picking out the christian one alone which I do see also has pagan roots in it as well. You don't use hunches in science you use facts and data. I rather have more confidence in that than. Oh well I feel it in my bones this is true. I hate sometimes when i find evidence I don't like and things are not my way. But if its true I have to accept it. You either believe in a god "Theist" or you do not "Atheist" nothing in between. I am not saying being here on this planet is not amazing nor am I a nihilist. Life has no meaning which I like because I can make my own meaning. Also again on that term fine tuning. that presupposes a tuner or something doing that tuning. If it were fine tuned there would be no death no destruction and the universe expanding to end in 5 billion years. If its perfectly tuned it wouldn't have chaos "IMHO" . I need to stop on this subject. I think its going round and round. I am listening now to a download of what Ryumon spoke of called" Galileo's Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness" audiobook version. I like to hear other aspects just to at least understand where its coming from. I like to listen to podcasts during the day when I clean house. \\

              Marj "Spiritdove"
              Sat2day now away for a while. peace

              Comment

              • Jundo
                Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                • Apr 2006
                • 39446

                #8
                In for a penny, in for a pound.

                Now the following hunches are even more hunchy ... more speculative. I offer them for fun.

                Of course, whether these are the case or are not, let us just live our lives, chopping wood and fetching water, sitting Zazen and living gently. These ideas are no more necessary to our lives and practice than a sailor needs to know "where did the sea come from" in order to sail that sea, keeping his boat pointed in good directions. Thus, please excuse my amusing ruminations on "where did the sea come from."

                But, as a hunch (nothing more), I would suppose that there must be some fundamental, underlying state to reality which ... as both traditional Buddhists and many modern physicists like Stephen Hawking seem to posit (https://www.sciencealert.com/stephen...e-the-big-bang) ... is a third state which somehow leaps past our human experience of "time" and categories of "something vs. nothing." If Hamlet had been a Zen Buddhist, his "To be, or not to be" might have presented a third option.

                Why can't we easily imagine it? For the same reason that a fish which has spent its whole life in the ocean would struggle to know and visualize a world outside water, for the same reason that a life-long blind man would struggle to imagine light. You and I live in a world of apparently passing time, where things have causes that came before in long chains of causation, where things don't exist, then appear to exist for a time, then vanish. Knowing only the waves on the sea which appear to rise and fall, we struggle to know the underlying sea which remains timelessly underlying it all. A timeless (notice that I do not say "eternal," but rather some state free of questions of time) and somehow uncaused state, which is nonetheless capable of being the source of time and the appearance of changing phenomena (much as the abiding sea is the source of rising and falling waves) would seem the simplest solution to why the universe is not "turtles all the way down" in its chains of cause and effect. Somewhere, there is a non-turtle that is nonetheless the source of turtles. Is not modern physics pointing to something not dissimilar in models of matter which somehow "pop up" from the quantum foam? (https://www.livescience.com/60053-is...ntum-foam.html) "Something" does seem to come from "nothing" all the time, because our narrow minded categories of "either something or nothing," and even "thing" are not ultimately true. In Zazen, one sits dropping all ideas of "something or nothing," "time or no time," "thing or no thing" ... leaving, what then?

                In any case, traditional Buddhism and Zen are founded upon (pun intended) this notion of a transcendent foundation or state, be it called (Big "B") Buddha, Dharmakaya, Vairochana, Buddha Nature, One's True Face, Nirvana and such. Thus, my "hunch" is really nothing new from a traditional Buddhist perspective.

                Out of this "chaos" (used, not in a negative sense, but in the Greek meaning of kháos, the mythological state preceding the creation of the universe which is empty of separate phenomena), a world of time and division arose. This is where we currently find ourselves living. It is an often painful, dissatisfying place because of all the frictions and conflicts, birth and death, that time and division imply, so our Buddhist task (as in many eastern philosophies) is to realize again the state preceding time and division where, by nature, there can be no frictions and conflicts, death and such because no "two" to conflict, no "coming and going" so no death (really, no birth either.) The Zen fellow merely comes to realize that this world of conflicts, sickness, birth and death AND the flowing Wholeness empty of separate self existence are precisely each other in other guise, like two sides of a no sided coin. Thus, there is friction and death, yet not.

                In fact, we should be grateful for all that friction and death because, without it, this fertile world of life, change, happenings, evolution and endless variety might instead be a very barren, stagnant or frozen, gray and empty ("empty" in the ordinary meaning of "just nothing here") place.

                Buddhists traditionally posit that this Emptiness/kháos has turned into this world of division because the sentient mind began to see the world as divided, thus initiating an endless cycle of "birth and death and rebirth" (Samsara) until, perhaps, we can learn to re-encounter the realm beyond division, thus putting an end to our personal cycle of rebirth (or, perhaps, rather than "ending," realizing that it never really was so at all.)

                Still, that begs the question, perhaps, as to where Samsara came from, and the sentient beings who think our divided thoughts to create it.

                An interesting suggestion, put forward by some physicists, is the so-called "Boltzmann Brain" (https://bigthink.com/hard-science/bo...thing-is-real/). I will present here a vaguely similar "hunch" (and that is all it is) ... and yes, I am way off the farm perhaps (please humor old me) ... :

                In this third state kháos, with things popping up and vanishing again, something eventually popped up in the mess which stuck together, then stuck around long enough that it began to evolve. Imagine, for example, some soupy brew which began to boil and bubble, just enough that some very basic evolutionary process began. In fact, is that not very much what we see happened in our own universe, whereby the original bare, chaotic, soupy clouds which poured forth from the Big Bang, naked energy, matter and anti-matter, left behind just sufficient amounts of matter (via so called "symmetry breaking" in the process of cancellation of matter and anti-matter) to, for whatever reason, thereupon begin to bond and break-up and bond again enough to form stars, periodic tables, planets, and all of us? Is it not very much resembling the soup of amino acids and a bit of lightning and luck that brought about "life" in some ancient earth pond which, with a few million years, turned from proto-organic soup to Stanford scientists studying that soup?



                Perhaps a similar event happened even before the Big Bang, whereupon that simple insipient soup boiled away, evolving ("survival of the fittest" and simple Darwinian mechanisms would suffice to explain it), gaining complexity until it too ... just like us ... became conscious and aware in some way (perhaps in a way very different in experience from what we humans might term "consciousness," given the very different kind of state/substance/creature it may be, and very different environment in which it would find itself ... not unlike how an ant's experience of being conscious, if any, must be very different from the human experience of being humanly conscious.) It might not even be a state/substance/creature, or even a consciousness as we might think it, but more a process ... a basic natural "operating system" as such ... which began to complexify enough to keep on complexifying more, a process which evolved ever growing sub-sub-processes within sub-processes ... all to the point where we find ourselves today.

                Perhaps, this state/substance/creature/process/operating system evolved the power to manipulate matter and energy within or around itself, and to plan how it might desire to manipulate matter and energy, perhaps to create fertile realms where it might actually experience things ... emotions, life, smiles and tears and everything else ... or simply universes as petri dishes where it could just keep on complexifying and "trying stuff out" in that very same way nature just "tries stuff out" even within the biological realms of our planet's own seas, forests and jungles.

                It could be a blind process (like an unthinking system running), or it could be aware of what it is doing, and it even might not be unlike how some of that protoplasm on earth, rising up from single celled globs in ponds, eventually evolved to the life form we call "game designers" who, realizing that they have imaginations, an ability to manipulate electricity, silicon and other matter and energy, invented whole dream worlds to amuse themselves, to feel emotions and adventures, in "universes" we call X-Box and Nintendo. The natural operating system or "game designer" was able to set the parameters of the environment in its "game," what we call "the laws of physics," not unlike how Sony game designers set the parameters for Mario's world. To the ant, were it to consider our human powers, we must look like gods in our abilities to manipulate forces, matter and energy to our human will. Is it so hard to imagine a creature which, relative to our own ant-like abilities, could manipulate matter and energy enough to trigger whole universes?

                Yes, this "whatever" got bored, or wanted to create a virtual world (which we call our "real" world) to explore, or just because that original evolutionary process was compelled to keep on creating and evolving or ... who knows why. Maybe just to have some experiences, some adventures. It must be lonely to have nobody to play with. Maybe it is just a process that just does stuff for the hell of it, just to do it or see what happens. Maybe it just does it without knowing why and what it is doing (not unlike a river that flows because it flows, no particular intent behind it). In any case ...

                ... here we are.

                Sadly, this "whatever" cooked up a game or natural petri dish which (despite having certain limiting parameters, such as the laws of physics, chemistry and the rest) is otherwise so wild, fertile, free and creative that it includes, not only love and laughter and beautiful smiles, but cancer, child abuse, war and holocaust. It would be nice if those had been left out. In fact, maybe we characters in this cosmic game can figure out how to eliminate those parts from the program, those unwelcome growths in our petri dish. Maybe we can reprogram this place, keeping the roses, maybe even some thorns, but doing away with rabies, racism, warhead rockets and random violence.

                Is that not somewhat like our traditional Buddhist mission? Are we not finding ourselves in some amazing world of Karma, a kind of running program of causes and effects, within which we are assigned to purify away the badness which we can, leaving just the good? Even if we are not so "assigned" in some Karmic or Cosmic sense, let's rewrite this imperfect program anyway!

                From a traditional Buddhist and Zen perspective, what I describe is not so very "off the farm" at all.

                That's my hunch. Nothing more.

                Let us chop wood and carry water. No matter why we find ourselves in this "game" of a world ... let us play it well.

                Gassho, J

                stlah
                Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2023, 04:08 AM.
                ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                Comment

                • Jundo
                  Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                  • Apr 2006
                  • 39446

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Spiritdove
                  I would like to know what process you use to decide that something you do not agree with in the Dogen teachings aka traditions you toss out or is something you don't use or may not be true and the fundamental ones you do use. I mean how do you decide that all that mystical whooo whoo is not real for you to include ? How does one pick and choose in your tradition what to use and what to leave out? Im only wondering.
                  Hmmm, good question, Spiritdove. I would say this:

                  (1) I try not to reject anything totally, thus, by some possibility, there really is a "Loch Ness Monster," and perhaps the Apollo 11 moon landing really was faked. So I try never to say never.

                  (2) However, since there is much reliable evidence that there is no Loch Ness Monster, and that humans did land on the moon, and little if any reliable evidence that the opposites are true, I am skeptical to the point of disbelief in monsters and faked moon walks. In fact. to doubt that we walked on the moon is downright foolish, and the Lock Ness Monster is silly too.

                  (3) I believe that Buddhism contains many stories and beliefs that partake of fake lake monsters and moon landings, because of a lack of evidence in support, much evidence against. They also can be foolish and silly, although I never say never.

                  (4) On the other hand, some beliefs of Buddhism strike me as quite plausible and defensible, even in the face of current scientific discoveries. Examples are the tenet that every atom is to be cherished (a value judgement that science neither supports nor counters), might be said to contain the whole universe (a poetic vision, if not truly physical like a hologram), and that "mind" is not only between the ears, but the entirety of the physical processes and factors that created our ears and the meat between, the outside stimuli that stimulate our senses, the processing of that stimuli which occurs between the ears, and our outward reactions and movements into the environment based on those stimuli.

                  Also, ideas of a timeless aspect to reality, and feeling that there is something demanding of explanation in the apparent "fine tuning" of factors needed for our lives, well, seems a reasonable question to ask. "Fine tuning, by the way, does not mean that there is necessarily a "fine tuner" in a theistic sense, but merely notes that there are amazing physical and historical coincidences involved in our being alive in this universe (given all the apparent factors that such an outcome required, and seeming opportunities working against it), that something else other than chance might explain the seemingly ridiculously unlikely outcome, such as an as yet unknown natural process. If one walks into the "Universal Casino," and the cards keep playing out funny for 14 billion hands in a row (actually, hand upon hand in every millisecond for 14 billion years, each and all without a miss if just what you and I personally needed), one is right that it just could be an incredible run of good luck ... or the deck might be loaded. Either is a possible explanation, and "loaded deck" seems more plausible the longer the odd run of luck. Perhaps we might posit what that cheating mechanism is, and test for it (until we do, of course, it is just a hunch).

                  I would term myself theistically agnostic (but really, skeptical to the verge of atheism on any God resembling that bearded fella in the Good Book). But I do entertain the possibility of perfectly solid, natural explanations for possibly loaded dice.

                  Now, you mentioned all the empty space between the "hospitable to life" parts. Well, my farm field out back raises lovely carrots and potatoes. It is wondrous, the product of seeds which I plant (also a kind of dice loading, for the legumes don't just appear on their own). In between the veggies, there is much empty space. There is also life and death in that back field, worms and conflict and all the tussles of nature. Maybe space and the planets is something like that? Maybe not, or ... maybe.

                  We certainly appeared on this planet as strangely as those carrots in my back field, especially if one sprung out of the ground with my name written on it.

                  Gassho, J

                  stlah
                  Last edited by Jundo; 01-28-2023, 04:13 AM.
                  ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                  Comment

                  • Veronica
                    Member
                    • Nov 2022
                    • 124

                    #10
                    Interesting ideas. In terms of the brain being an independent generator of our mentality, there was a cool article by BBC recently about external brain influences. Cognitive scores, anxiety, depression have been shown to be affected by the particular levels of different microorganisms in our gut. We are more complex than we know, and science continues to find new stuff! Cheekily, perhaps this is just my microbes talking. [emoji4][emoji120]

                    One paragraph: "Indeed, research suggests our microbes may be communicating with our brains through numerous pathways, from immunity to biochemicals. Another candidate is the vagus nerve, which acts as the superfast "internet connection" between our brain and internal organs, including the gut. The bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB1, for example, appears to improve the mood of anxious and depressed mice. This beneficial effect is removed, however, when the signals travelling along the vagus nerve are blocked, suggesting it could be being used as a communication pathway by the bacteria."
                    Looking after the multitudes of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms living in our guts could help us think better and even offer new ways of treating mental health conditions.

                    Veronica
                    Stlah

                    Comment

                    • Spiritdove

                      #11
                      You really work these damaged brain cells for sure. Thanks for the reply. Just simple I use scientific method not faith would be an answer to me but It is good for me to work these brain cells I got left. I use to be agnostic then decided upon more research that I am fully atheist. I Don't belive in "any" Gods or Goddess' which have no evidence hence thats the title you use. Agnostic seems to say its about that we can't know there is no god. I think untill you prove one you can know it. But anyways. I see we do have a lot in common. I just don't think I can fit into formal religion at all. Maybe if I want to sit today I will if I don't I won't But I know I do it I am better for it. Well if any carrot had my name on it I would not say God did it for sure. Best go talk to my pranking neighbor instead . hehe

                      Marj "Spiritdove"

                      SatToday with two lovely folks via zoom Chanting and Zazen . ..Kumo and .Mokusho I think if I spelled it right I remember there smiles at least
                      Last edited by Guest; 01-28-2023, 06:41 PM.

                      Comment

                      • Seiko
                        Treeleaf Unsui
                        • Jul 2020
                        • 981

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Jundo

                        In it, I present some personal 'hunches' on why the world works the ways it seems to. I would argue that, while these ideas are obviously most speculative (thus, I am very happy to call these suggestions as mere 'hunches,' based on my reading of modern scientific discoveries, traditional Buddhist perspectives and my own experiences in Zazen practice), my assertions are very much resonant of traditional Buddhist and Zen perspectives, although phrased in more modern terms.

                        In fact, many traditional Buddhist and Zen beliefs are, if anything, even more fantastic and unbelievable, thus in dire need of update.
                        A long time ago I was taught that consciousness or life-force or both are something singular that we all have a share in, we borrow whilst living individuals (but not really individual).

                        This is one explanation. I prefer not to think of it as categorically correct.

                        Isn't what we do with life a more pressing question?

                        Gasshō
                        Seiko
                        stlah
                        Gandō Seiko
                        頑道清光
                        (Stubborn Way of Pure Light)

                        My street name is 'Al'.

                        Any words I write here are merely the thoughts of an apprentice priest, just my opinions, that's all.

                        Comment

                        • Tom M
                          Member
                          • Oct 2022
                          • 18

                          #13
                          Physicists, Consciousness, Idealism

                          Originally posted by Tokan
                          Hi all

                          I like Daiman's response to this. I never intuitively felt that the koan, as a 'test' was of much use to me. I always believed there was too much cultural knowledge tied up in many of them to make sense to an Englishman. Nonetheless, I do enjoy reading the koans with commentaries 'in plain english', rather than just more abstract 'jargon'. I never studied with a Rinzai group at any point, as I was looking broadly at what for of Buddhism made intuitive sense to me, and that spotlight quickly fell on Soto Zen, so here I am and will remain.

                          Gassho, Tokan

                          satlah
                          Traditional koans aside, the essential workings of a koan must arise again and again in many cultures. For example, I know of two scientists (Federico Faggin - quantum physicist and designer of the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, and Bernardo Kastrup, former CERN scientist, now idealist philosopher) who had awakenings after long struggles with the question "how can a machine be made conscious?". I also struggled with a similar question (how can a mechanistic universe host consciousness), and it ultimately led me here.

                          If anyone's curious, here's Faggin talking about his experiences:
                          Physicist Federico Faggin is none other than the inventor of both the microprocessor and silicon gate technology, which spawned the explosive progress in com...


                          Tom
                          Sat today

                          Comment

                          • Jundo
                            Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                            • Apr 2006
                            • 39446

                            #14
                            Originally posted by Tom M
                            Traditional koans aside, the essential workings of a koan must arise again and again in many cultures. For example, I know of two scientists (Federico Faggin - quantum physicist and designer of the first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, and Bernardo Kastrup, former CERN scientist, now idealist philosopher) who had awakenings after long struggles with the question "how can a machine be made conscious?". I also struggled with a similar question (how can a mechanistic universe host consciousness), and it ultimately led me here.

                            If anyone's curious, here's Faggin talking about his experiences:
                            Physicist Federico Faggin is none other than the inventor of both the microprocessor and silicon gate technology, which spawned the explosive progress in com...


                            Tom
                            Sat today
                            Thank you, Tom.

                            I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of moving your post here.

                            I have come to believe that there is something more to "consciousness" than what is happening between the ears, but I am cautious about some of what Dr. Faggin says. Of course, he is describing his subjective experience, so we cannot challenge that it happened as what he experienced. But when he says he saw a light that is "pure love" and "wants us to be happy," it might be the case, or it may just be his own subjective experience that happened between his ears.

                            Mystics have long claimed such experiences, but it also has an element of seeing something that the human heart desires to see. I wonder if "love" and "happiness" and even "consciousness" in human terms would even be something that makes sense on a cosmic scale? I imagine my cat, for example, having a "mystical experience" and finding that the universe is purring, feels like a warm blanket and smells like fish. That is what makes the cat happy, so she desperately wants to have a purring, warm, fishy mystical experience. If consciousness is what allows "love" in human terms, I fear that it is also what allows hate and cruelty too. I wish the good doctor had talked about that more.

                            Also, I wonder about his assertion that, even if were were to build non-biological entities with sufficient complexity and structures paralleling a brain, for example, they still could not be conscious and self-aware in ways not unlike we are because there is something unique about the biological cell. Perhaps I misunderstand him on this, but I do not see why it is only our particular physical structure that could manifest such properties.

                            Hmmm.

                            Gassho, J

                            stlah

                            PS - I am also doubtful of "out of body experiences" which have been rather well researched, never verified (e.g., someone sees actual scenery, a number, etc. that could only be viewed during such an experience), and has other good explanations for their happening (e.g., semi-dream states during physical trauma, such as due to oxygen deprivation). Dr. Faggin seems to put a bit too much stock in them. Neuro-scientist and Zen practitioner, Dr. Susan Blackmore, writes about such topics extensively, and offers a more balanced take:

                            Last edited by Jundo; 03-23-2023, 01:08 AM.
                            ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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                            • Tom M
                              Member
                              • Oct 2022
                              • 18

                              #15
                              Thanks Jundo, it does make more sense here.

                              I wrote a 5 or 6 paragraph reply, filled with philosophical passion and careful exposition, on my phone, hit send and it was eaten and lost by "you are not logged in". Haha, the tech is keeping me from straying into running long. I'll try again soon. It was just about ideas.

                              Tom
                              Sat today

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