Reincarnation

Originally posted by Canute
Medicine Woman

Not surprised you had trouble in Religion!

Did you mean to say that everything is one, or just the human race?

The Spirit is Energy. Everything has energy. I believe in the One Spirit of God (a pure force of positive energy--not an entity). We have separate, individual bodies (Earthsuits) while we're in human (physical) form. When we shed our Earthsuit, our spiritual energy which has always been part of the "whole" returns to the source. This is how I see God. While we're on Earth, we carry the spirit of "God." There is an interconnectedness of everything in creation. The human race can be thought of as "one body," but the mind, intelligence and the spirit do not cease to exist when the body is gone. I don't believe in individual souls for individual people like traditional reincarnation teaches, but I do believe in the One Spirit of "God" dwelling in all. Was I really that beligerant on the religion forum? I just couldn't make a dent in Christian beliefs, or I just didn't realize it. I feel defeated in a way. That's why I came over here. Maybe this forum will all free expression of thoughts and ideas without taking offense.
 
Originally posted by sir Mojo Loren
Quite the inverse actually. It is the failure to pin them down that causes miscommunication and all the gordian knots of epistemology.]
If you like, but I'm with Bertrand Russell on this one. There comes a time when it's necessary to say something rather than keep defining terms. All terms are undefined if you keep analysing them for long enough.

[It is a metaphysics among many other things.]
Oh well, yes. Call it whatever you want. But surely you know what I mean. It's not a hypothesis.

[Not "more" just differently, but the more ways you can understand it the better IMPO.]
It is considered an affirmation precisely because the only way to understand it is to experience it, and thus it is known rather than conjectured.

[Ooooh, I could say the same about you and Buddhism, but I know better.]
Say it, it would be true. Do you think Buddhists get their metaphysics out of a book?

[Logic is not owned by anyone and I practice no exclusivity as should be entirely obvious. I use knowledge from very many sources and form my own opinion just like many other people do.

I believe reincarnation is also a matter of arbitrary human distinctions. Yes some part of the self survives death to be reincarnated in another bieng or in bits and pieces in many other beings, but the same substance is in continual flux into and out of the being while it is living and it is this flux that enables the stability of the form to exist. Thus since there is no steady identifiable portion of substance that makes up any one being and since there is no distinction from one portion of substance in flux to another, then that which survives death also survives life and all its differentiations. Thus I believe in a simultaneous infinite incarnation of which we all partake as animate, differentiated beings. There is one being made of many beings whose "soul" is the infinite and continuous substance or consiousness.]
l'll take that as a no.

To me, the standard concept of reincarnation and karma is largely a moral tool similar to that of judeo-christian judgement only much closer to the truth. It still clings erroneously to the self which I think is ultimately a human fiction, but perhaps a necessary one even for the religious aspect of Buddhism. [/B]
Have you ever looked into Buddhism in any detail?
 
Originally posted by Canute
If you like, but I'm with Bertrand Russell on this one. There comes a time when it's necessary to say something rather than keep defining terms. All terms are undefined if you keep analysing them for long enough.


Of course, canute. The definitions serve a constructive function and if you continualy analyse them then they cannot serve their function. Since they are entirely arbitrary then yes they are ultimately non-existent and thus undefined.


Oh well, yes. Call it whatever you want. But surely you know what I mean. It's not a hypothesis.

Right, a hypothesis would be scientific.


It is considered an affirmation precisely because the only way to understand it is to experience it, and thus it is known rather than conjectured.

Yes, but there are as many ways to experience it as there are people to experience it. Though the details of this experience wil be different, the core is always the same. The more perspectives you can get of the core the better view you will get.


Say it, it would be true. Do you think Buddhists get their metaphysics out of a book?

A book serves the function of the transmission of knowledge. That is all. There is nothing wrong with books, per se, and any useful book gets its own knowledge from Nature herself. A book is just a transmission device and I see no value in being bibliophobic.


l'll take that as a no.

which should have been obvious already....

Have you ever looked into Buddhism in any detail?

Yes, but "in any detail" is relative, why do you ask?
 
Originally posted by sir Mojo Loren
Of course, canute. The definitions serve a constructive function and if you continualy analyse them then they cannot serve their function. Since they are entirely arbitrary then yes they are ultimately non-existent and thus undefined.
So why all the lengthy definitions of 'self' when there's no dispute here about what it means.

[Right, a hypothesis would be scientific.[/B]
Pardon? Since when do hypotheses have to be scientific?

[Yes, but there are as many ways to experience it as there are people to experience it. Though the details of this experience wil be different, the core is always the same. The more perspectives you can get of the core the better view you will get. [/B]
I think I'd rather trust someone who has actually experienced it, thank you.

[A book serves the function of the transmission of knowledge. That is all. There is nothing wrong with books, per se, and any useful book gets its own knowledge from Nature herself. A book is just a transmission device and I see no value in being bibliophobic.[/B]
Well, yes. Has this got something to do with my original question?

[which should have been obvious already....[/B]
It was a very complicated answer you gave, clearly not based on the experience you are explaining above.

[Yes, but "in any detail" is relative, why do you ask? [/B]
Because it seems impossible to persuade you to stop asserting incorrect things about it.
 
Originally posted by Canute
So why all the lengthy definitions of 'self' when there's no dispute here about what it means.


For the purpose of clarification, because you had misunderstood my point.

Pardon? Since when do hypotheses have to be scientific?

Science is all about hypotheses. Have you heard of the "scientific method"? An hypothesis does not have to be correct to be scientific, otherwise %99 of science would be unscientific.

I think I'd rather trust someone who has actually experienced it, thank you.

You don't have to trust me on anything. This is a discussion. I am presenting an alternate pov. Take it or leave it.

Well, yes. Has this got something to do with my original question?

Well, yes, but if you can't see it so be it.

It was a very complicated answer you gave, clearly not based on the experience you are explaining above.

What experience are you talking about? I have very different experience from you. That is the point of discussion. To exchange experience.

Because it seems impossible to persuade you to stop asserting incorrect things about it.

such as....
 
Originally posted by sir Mojo Loren
For the purpose of clarification, because you had misunderstood my point.
You hadn't made a point before you started lecturing me on defintions. That was you first post in response to mine. I still can't see the point of it, I didn't mention the self, you did.

[Science is all about hypotheses. Have you heard of the "scientific method"? An hypothesis does not have to be correct to be scientific, otherwise %99 of science would be unscientific.[/B]
Do you think I don't know that? Frankly there doesn't seem to be any correlation between my comments and your objections to them.

You had said - "Yes, but there are as many ways to experience it as there are people to experience it." I was suggesting that you have no right to make such a claim, and I will always prefer to listen to people who have such a right. It has nothing to do with povs.

[You don't have to trust me on anything. This is a discussion. I am presenting an alternate pov. Take it or leave it.[/B]
There isn't an alternative point of view. Either you have or you haven't had the experience you talk about, and a theory is not an alternative to an experience, however much you don't agree.

[Well, yes, but if you can't see it so be it.[/B]
I said that Buddhist metaphysics does not come out of a book, as you appear to think it does. You responded by discussing the nature of books. I'm afraid you'll have to explain the connection.


[What experience are you talking about? I have very different experience from you. That is the point of discussion. To exchange experience.[/B]
You cannot exchange experience. That is what I've been trying to say throughout our discussions. The idea is daft.

Buddhist metaphysics is based on experience. It cannot be exchanged with someone else, it cannot be read in a book, and it is not like anyone else's theory - because it is not a theory. This is the point that I cannot seem to get across. You cannot claim knowledge of it if for you it is just a theory. In Buddhism it is reality itself that is being known, not some academic explanation of it.

such as.... [/B]
Such as -

"To me, the standard concept of reincarnation and karma is largely a moral tool similar to that of judeo-christian judgement only much closer to the truth. It still clings erroneously to the self which I think is ultimately a human fiction, but perhaps a necessary one even for the religious aspect of Buddhism."

This is a grave misunderstanding based on the fact that you are convinced that Buddhism is a theory. I'd like to see you produce an example of a skilled Buddhist who clings erroneously to their sense of self for the sake of their religion. It's a ridiculous idea.

If Buddhism was a theory it would be taught as a theory.

Whether Buddhist metaphysics is true or false is a different matter, one you must decide for yourself. If you notice I have not been dogmatic about that, it would be pointless to do so.
 
Originally posted by Canute

You had said - "Yes, but there are as many ways to experience it as there are people to experience it." I was suggesting that you have no right to make such a claim, and I will always prefer to listen to people who have such a right. It has nothing to do with povs.

I have no right? What confers the right to experience truth? Subscription to a religion?

Who are you to make such an elitist claim to be some judge of who qualifies to experience truth? You don't know what I have experienced and how it compares to the Buddhist experience. You simply have a faith that Buddhism is some isolated truth absolutely incomparable to any other system.

There isn't an alternative point of view. Either you have or you haven't had the experience you talk about, and a theory is not an alternative to an experience, however much you don't agree.

What experience have I claimed to have had? I am not claiming any religious experience whatsoever.

I said that Buddhist metaphysics does not come out of a book, as you appear to think it does.

Metaphysics does not come out of a book. It goes into a book for transmission to other people. And of course that is not the only means of transmission, nor is a means of understanding truth as should go without saying.

You cannot exchange experience. That is what I've been trying to say throughout our discussions. The idea is daft.

The daft idea is yours not mine. Again you are looking for absolutes. I am not talking about the transmission of the totality of the experience but relative equivalent through the correlation of experiential analogy. That is what communication actually is.

Buddhist metaphysics is based on experience. It cannot be exchanged with someone else, it cannot be read in a book, and it is not like anyone else's theory - because it is not a theory.

Oh ok. Buddhism exists in a vacuum completely above and beyond ALL other metaphysical systems. It is the only true church and anyone who doesn't believe in it and actually experience TRUTH from within the Buddhist system is not truely experiencing TRUTH.

Is that better? TOTAL religious elitism, canute. That is not what Buddhism is supposed to be about. You should know better.

This is the point that I cannot seem to get across. You cannot claim knowledge of it if for you it is just a theory.

I am not claiming anything beyond what I am posting. I am simply discussing and exchanging ideas. I find it quite odd that it upsets your ego that I am pointing out similarities between your sacred idol "Buddhism" and other systems of thought. It just goes to show that you are practicing idolatrous religion whether you know it or not.

In Buddhism it is reality itself that is being known, not some academic explanation of it.

the same goes for all systems of thought that approach the truth. Whether academic or religious makes no difference to the truth expressed at the core of the system.

You simply have an aversion to academia, and it shows. Well I have an aversion to religious idolatry. No theory and no religion are absolutely the only true system...period.


"To me, the standard concept of reincarnation and karma is largely a moral tool similar to that of judeo-christian judgement only much closer to the truth. It still clings erroneously to the self which I think is ultimately a human fiction, but perhaps a necessary one even for the religious aspect of Buddhism."

This is a grave misunderstanding based on the fact that you are convinced that Buddhism is a theory.
That is not a critique of my simple opinion. It is merely a statement of your disagreement with it.

I am entitled to my own opinion after-all and I am not a believer in any religion even Buddhism.

I'd like to see you produce an example of a skilled Buddhist who clings erroneously to their sense of self for the sake of their religion. It's a ridiculous idea.

I wasn't suggesting that the skilled Buddhists do that. I was saying that reincarnation is part of the religious aspect of Buddhism for those who need to imagine the continuance of the self and some moral guidance and karmic incentives to act decent to one another.

That is my opinion.

If Buddhism was a theory it would be taught as a theory.

How many times do I have to tell you that I am not claiming that Buddhism is a theory?

Whether Buddhist metaphysics is true or false is a different matter, one you must decide for yourself. If you notice I have not been dogmatic about that, it would be pointless to do so.

I have noticed extreme dogmatism on your part, canute. You continually focus on religious elitism and claim that your Buddhism is unapproachable from any other direction and the absolute only way to reach the truth.
 
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Originally posted by sir Mojo Loren
I have no right? What confers the right to experience truth? Subscription to a religion?]
Oh dear. I wish you'd read what I write. Christians believe in Christ, this is a fact. You do not have to be a evangelical Christian to assert it.

I said that you have no right to talk about the experiences of others as if they were yours. Where did I suggest you didn't have right to have them for yourself?

[Who are you to make such an elitist claim to be some judge of who qualifies to experience truth? You don't know what I have experienced and how it compares to the Buddhist experience. You simply have a faith that Buddhism is some isolated truth absolutely incomparable to any other system.
Again, as simply as I can, Buddhist practice is about exploring oneself and ones states of consciousness, thus coming to an understand of reality. This is a fact, one which for some reason you will not accept. You don;t have to believe me, read a book or ask someone else. Also I have never asserted that one has to be a Buddhist to know the truth.

Of course whether Buddhists are right or wrong in their assertions is a quite seperate matter. I won't comment on that. It would be interesting to discuss it but we've never managed to get your basic misconceptions about what Buddhism is or what its practitioners assert.

You cannot talk about experiences without having them. This is not dogmatism or elitism, it is simply what is the case. In philosophy it is known as the 'incommensurability of experience'. if you stick to science and academic philosophy you'll be fine, but please stop making ill informed assertions about Buddhism and duality.

[What experience have I claimed to have had? I am not claiming any religious experience whatsoever. ]
I know. Worse still you haven't understood that Buddhist experience is not religious. This is why I wish you'd stop jumping to conclusions.

[Metaphysics does not come out of a book. It goes into a book for transmission to other people. And of course that is not the only means of transmission, nor is a means of understanding truth as should go without saying.]
That is incoherent. If metaphysics doesn't come out of a book then it cannot be transmitted to anyone else by putting it in one.

[The daft idea is yours not mine. Again you are looking for absolutes. I am not talking about the transmission of the totality of the experience but relative equivalent through the correlation of experiential analogy. That is what communication actually is.]
Experiences are incommensurable and untransmittable.

[Oh ok. Buddhism exists in a vacuum completely above and beyond ALL other metaphysical systems. It is the only true church and anyone who doesn't believe in it and actually experience TRUTH from within the Buddhist system is not truely experiencing TRUTH.

Is that better? TOTAL religious elitism, canute. That is not what Buddhism is supposed to be about. You should know better.]
Please read what I write before making such responses. I really don't know how it's possible for you to make up such extraordinary interpretations of my words. I also don't see why I should have to keep telling you this stuff. Read a book, there's quite a few good ones about.

[I am not claiming anything beyond what I am posting. I am simply discussing and exchanging ideas. I find it quite odd that it upsets your ego that I am pointing out similarities between your sacred idol "Buddhism" and other systems of thought. It just goes to show that you are practicing idolatrous religion whether you know it or not.]
I despair. I'm making such a simple point. Introspective practices based on apperception and direct knowledge are not the same as deductive disciplines based on axioms and proofs. I don't know why, when I say this, you think I'm some religious nut. I must presume the facts are inconvenient to your theories.

[ the same goes for all systems of thought that approach the truth. Whether academic or religious makes no difference to the truth expressed at the core of the system. ]
I'm not comparing academic approaches with religious ones. Please forget about religion, it is completely irrelevant. In Buddhism (rightly or wrongly, and for better or worse) Christianity and Physics are seen as sharing the same faulty epistemelogical structure.

[You simply have an aversion to academia, and it shows.]
I presume that you have some evidence for that assertion. I have no aversion to it at all, but as an approach to knowledge it has obvious and perfectly well known limits that have been well enumerated by numerous intelligent people, most of them academics. I happen to agree with them. I recommend reading Popper, Quine, Russell, Penrose, Plato, and all the many other academics who assert that academic approaches must fail to arrive at the truth.

[Well I have an aversion to religious idolatry.
So do I.

[No theory and no religion are absolutely the only true system...period.]
I agree completely. They cannot be.

I wasn't suggesting that the skilled Buddhists do that. I was saying that reincarnation is part of the religious aspect of Buddhism for those who need to imagine the continuance of the self and some moral guidance and karmic incentives to act decent to one another. That is my opinion.]
I know. Again you confidently assert what Buddhists believe with no understanding. It's just arrogant.

[How many times do I have to tell you that I am not claiming that Buddhism is a theory?]
Now follow through the logical consequences and implications of that fact.

[I have noticed extreme dogmatism on your part, canute. You continually focus on religious elitism and claim that your Buddhism is unapproachable from any other direction and the absolute only way to reach the truth. [/B]
I have never said ot suggested that in my whole life. You're just completely certain that it's what I'm saying, so you don't bother to read properly.
 
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I agree 100% with everything river-wind has said.
I also don't rule out the possibility that being "recycled" does "feel" like something and is in a sense an eternal afterlife.
I doubt it would be anything like any of the afterlifes people have imagined, but something more primal and subtle.
Kind of hard to explain to mere humans;)
 
Originally posted by Canute
I said that you have no right to talk about the experiences of others as if they were yours.

I am not talking about anyone elses experiences and never have.

Again, as simply as I can, Buddhist practice is about exploring oneself and ones states of consciousness, thus coming to an understand of reality. This is a fact, one which for some reason you will not accept.

I already knew that and accepted it, but buddhism is more than that.

Also I have never asserted that one has to be a Buddhist to know the truth.

But you are asserting that the truth cannot be known from any other perspective, such as through Spinozism.

You cannot talk about experiences without having them.

I am not talking about anyone elses experiences, canute.

I know. Worse still you haven't understood that Buddhist experience is not religious.

I didn't say that the experience was religious necessarily.

That is incoherent. If metaphysics doesn't come out of a book then it cannot be transmitted to anyone else by putting it in one.

Metaphysisc comes from the mind and through the hand it is entered into a book to be transmitted to others. Isn't that obvious?

Experiences are incommensurable and untransmittable.

The point is that we all have a ground of experience that is very similar because we all live in the same ultimate reality. We can use that common ground to elicit responses in other that are RELATIVELY similar to some other experience. I have never said that experience can be transmitted ABSOLUTELY, but to deny any transmission at all is ludicrous. There is a whole industry based on the transmission and dissemination of experience. It is called entertainment. Science is also based on this transmission and so are all forms of acedemia.

Knowledge spreads through the effective transmission of experience, whether it is experience from reality or secondhand experience transmitted through a book.

I despair. I'm making such a simple point. Introspective practices based on apperception and direct knowledge are not the same as deductive disciplines based on axioms and proofs.

I agree, but they can come to the same basic conclusions, nonetheless. And I am not talking about experience here, just logic. I am not saying that reading, pondering and finally understanding Spinoza is the equivalent absolute experience of achieving the same basic understanding through Buddhism. I am saying that they are compatible and that one can help with the understanding of the other.


I don't know why, when I say this, you think I'm some religious nut. I must presume the facts are inconvenient to your theories.

We simply are not communicating effectively. I am not really discussing any theories here. I am simply trying to communicate some harmonic resonance between Spinozism and Buddhism. This is not a theory, but an experience. When reading Buddhism it makes much sense through the lens of Spinoza. That is all. Spinoza, after-all, is considered an orientalist based on his method of reasoning and perhaps his conclusions.

Christianity and Physics are seen as sharing the same faulty epistemelogical structure.

I would agree from the surface but would love some more insight into this thought.
 
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river_wind,

I don't accept reincarnation in its generally defined terms for the same reasons that I reject Gods, Soul and life after death. I do accept your matter/energy recycle view but the practice of burial mitigates that function to a great degree.

It is interesting though in that my wife and I had a magic act (40+ years ago) and I did some hypnosis. Over the years I have done perhaps a hlf dozen "Age Regression" sessions and what I did find interesting is that without fail each case (totally seperated by years, location and social times) the participants go through an exact process of becoming younger in their memories and emerged into another prior life at the older age just before having died and will regress once again in that purported life.

Each also went through a period of complete blank. No visions, no surrounding enviornment before emerging in the prior life scenario.


Knowing to believe only half of
what you hear is a sign of
intelligence. Knowing which
half to believe will make you a
genius.
 
Originally posted by MacM

I don't accept reincarnation in its generally defined terms for the same reasons that I reject Gods, Soul and life after death. I do accept your matter/energy recycle view but the practice of burial mitigates that function to a great degree.

It is interesting though in that my wife and I had a magic act (40+ years ago) and I did some hypnosis. Over the years I have done perhaps a hlf dozen "Age Regression" sessions and what I did find interesting is that without fail each case (totally seperated by years, location and social times) the participants go through an exact process of becoming younger in their memories and emerged into another prior life at the older age just before having died and will regress once again in that purported life.

Each also went through a period of complete blank. No visions, no surrounding enviornment before emerging in the prior life scenario.
Hi Mac, here you are,

From what you find interesting from "Age Regression" hypnotic sessions, it is interesting to know that you don't believe in reincarnation.!

It would be very much appreciated if you clarify which one is true (i) your hypnotic findings OR (ii) your disbelief in reincarnations. Don't say both.:D
 
Originally posted by Dr Lou Natic
I agree 100% with everything river-wind has said.
I also don't rule out the possibility that being "recycled" does "feel" like something and is in a sense an eternal afterlife.
I doubt it would be anything like any of the afterlifes people have imagined, but something more primal and subtle.
Kind of hard to explain to mere humans;)

Dr. Lou, I replied to a post regarding obesity being unattractive, but I want to reply here about it as well. If you can believe in being "recycled," can you also admit that it is possible for the body to be "spiritually" obese? What I mean is, perhaps, an obese person may have died of starvation in a past life or something. That, in addition to our lifestyle, may account for obesity that is hard to get rid of. It may be "spiritually" impossible.
 
everneo,

Hi Mac, here you are,

From what you find interesting from "Age Regression" hypnotic sessions, it is interesting to know that you don't believe in reincarnation.!

It would be very much appreciated if you clarify which one is true (i) your hypnotic findings OR (ii) your disbelief in reincarnations. Don't say both.


(i) I found it interesting but not conclusive to sway my disbelief in reincarnation perse. As odd as a string of coincidence that it might be (6) events coinciding to me is not conclusive. The 7th or others after that could just as easily alter the trend.

(ii)I hold a rather firm disbelief in reincarnation pending some extreme new evidence to the contrary.


Knowing to believe only half of
what you hear is a sign of
intelligence. Knowing which
half to believe will make you a
genius.
 
Mojo

This is very long but I'll make it my last attempt at reaching an agreement. If you still think I'm a religious fanatic, elitist, dogmatic or just plain wrong I'll have to live with that. But this topic is too difficult to deal with by email.

Originally posted by sir Mojo Loren
Metaphysisc comes from the mind and through the hand it is entered into a book to be transmitted to others. Isn't that obvious? [/B]
Therefore it comes to others from a book. You can't have it both ways.

The point is that we all have a ground of experience that is very similar because we all live in the same ultimate reality. We can use that common ground to elicit responses in other that are RELATIVELY similar to some other experience. I have never said that experience can be transmitted ABSOLUTELY, but to deny any transmission at all is ludicrous. There is a whole industry based on the transmission and dissemination of experience. It is called entertainment. Science is also based on this transmission and so are all forms of acedemia.[/B]
In a sense yes. But you cannot explain colour to blind man, or even pain to your doctor. This is ok in daily life, our descriptions help us get by well enough. But if ones metaphysics is based on experience it is ultimately incommunicable. This is quite evident from the failure of all non-dual writers to explain it, and why so few of them bother.

It follows that those who derive their metaphysics from their personal experience will have only very limited success in writing down rational descriptions of it, and will always run the risk of their descriptions being taken as a substitute for the knowledge itself, of the medium being mistaken for the message. Imo that is what you are accidently doing. (But see below)

[Knowledge spreads through the effective transmission of experience, whether it is experience from reality or second hand experience transmitted through a book.[/B]
Yes. But this is not true for certain knowledge. This is why Russell argues that true knowledge is identical with the knower, a very non-dual thing to say, and logically provable.

[I agree, but they can come to the same basic conclusions, nonetheless. And I am not talking about experience here, just logic. I am not saying that reading, pondering and finally understanding Spinoza is the equivalent absolute experience of achieving the same basic understanding through Buddhism. I am saying that they are compatible and that one can help with the understanding of the other.[/B]
They are not quite compatible but I accept that they are close in many important respects. However Spinoza reasoned his case from logic and presented a hypothesis. No amount of studying Spinoza will, on its own, give one a direct understanding of the truth or otherwise of non-duality, or achieve the certainty of truth that comes with Russell's oneness of knowledge and knower. Because of this their conclusions cannot be compared properly, and ultimately Buddhists would disagree with Spinoza.

[We simply are not communicating effectively. I am not really discussing any theories here. I am simply trying to communicate some harmonic resonance between Spinozism and Buddhism. This is not a theory, but an experience. When reading Buddhism it makes much sense through the lens of Spinoza. That is all. Spinoza, after-all, is considered an orientalist based on his method of reasoning and perhaps his conclusions.[/B]
I wouldn't disagree with that, as long as the above mentioned proviso is accepted, which is a crucial and insurmountable difference between them.

[I would agree from the surface but would love some more insight into this thought. [/B]
I don't know about insight but I can explain better what I meant.

In Christianity God is external to oneself. (Actually this isn't necessarily true, Christianity comes in many forms. However most Christians in these happy clappy days seem to believe that God is external to themselves). Similarly physics asserts that the real world is external to ourselves, and is posited on the distinction between observer and observed.

Buddhists assert that these distinctions are illusory, and that it is possible to know this for oneself. The cosmos is one thing and we are rooted in that one thing. Therefore to understand it it is not enough to stand apart from it as an observer, one must become one with it and see it from the other perspective also, inside out if you like. Thus the practice of meditation rather than observational physics or the study of ancient dogmas, and all the talk of internal and external arrows of attention.

Because of this epistemelogical reliance on personal experience, on becoming one with what is known, no theoretically reasoned metaphysic is in the same category of knowledge as the non-dual one. That isn't to say that there aren't all sorts of equivalences of description between it and other theories like Spinoza's. But it is not possible to know that theories (e.g. Spinoza's) are right or wrong because of the well known limitations on 'knowing', on what we can know with completely certainty.

Certain knowledge must come from direct experience, and cannot be communicated to others except very badly and to little purpose.

Because of this Christianity, and all similar theistic/deistic religions, and physics, and all similar approaches to knowledge, are inadequate to knowing the truth. They are forced at the last hurdle to rest on an axiomatic assumption, belief or undecidable quetsion.

I don't know if that seems clear or plausible or not, probably not. Still, these are the reasons that it is not correct to consider an understanding of Buddhist writings to be a substitute for knowing what the writings are about, the states of consciousness that students must experience for themselves before they can understand those writings fully. Until then students are not entitled, and certainly not encouraged, to believe a single word of the writings.

To avoid further misunderstandings - I am not asserting that Buddhist metaphysics is true (although I happen to think it is), and I am not belittling science, religion, or any other form of pursuit of knowledge. I am simply saying that in principle it is not possible to understand non-dual ontology/epistemology in the absence of some degree of experience of a non-dual state of consciousness. This makes Buddhism (and all similar introspective researches) fundamentally unlike physics and Christianity as a route to knowledge. Of course this is not to deny to Christians and physicists the same ability to explore these states as anyone else. There's no entry qualification, it's just a question of deciding to do it.

It also does not mean that one cannot talk about Buddhism or non-dual thinking without having had such an experience. But it should not be done on the assumption that it is equivalent to any logically reasoned metaphysical theory, or any religious belief system.
 
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Originally posted by Canute
Therefore it comes to others from a book. You can't have it both ways.

I never said it can't be transmited through a book. The point I was trying to make in the first place is that metaphyics does not ORIGINATE from a book. Your absolutist reading forced the long process of finally coming to this simple reading.

You need to practive some flexibility in your reading. This means trying to see in what way to make sense of someone elses message. If through searching you still cannot make sense of it then question it. It seems that you just automatically arrive at the most incorrect reading possible in order to disagree. That is just my opinion.


In a sense yes. But you cannot explain colour to blind man, or even pain to your doctor.

Right, again I never said that the ABSOLUTE experience is transmitable. Another case of an absolutist reading of meaning that is not absolute.

In the world of modification and differentiation there is very little communication that can really benefit from an absolutist stance. This also should have been tought to you through Buddhism.

If you trust the transmitter of the message then you will seek ways in which to understand his message. If, however, you assume a priori that he is wrong then you will find the most incorrect reading possible and this you will consider a "flaw" in his argument rather than a flaw in your reading. The easiest way to find a flaw is to force an absolutist reading of a relativistic concept or message.

This is ok in daily life, our descriptions help us get by well enough. But if ones metaphysics is based on experience it is ultimately incommunicable.

Ultimately is ABSOLUTE. I am not talking absolutes, here, canute. When I talk about them you will know. Just assume from here on out that I am talking relativistically unless specified.

It follows that those who derive their metaphysics from their personal experience will have only very limited success in writing down rational descriptions of it, and will always run the risk of their descriptions being taken as a substitute for the knowledge itself, of the medium being mistaken for the message. Imo that is what you are accidently doing. (But see below)

You are mistaken, but thanks for the critique nonetheless.

Yes. But this is not true for certain knowledge. This is why Russell argues that true knowledge is identical with the knower, a very non-dual thing to say, and logically provable.

Ok, but I never said that ALL experience is transmittable. Another absolutist interpretive error.

They are not quite compatible but I accept that they are close in many important respects.

They are quite compatable. I have actually experienced this.

However Spinoza reasoned his case from logic and presented a hypothesis.

It is not a hypothesis, but a metaphysics. A hypothesis can be tested. Metaphysics is beyond the realm of the testable.

No amount of studying Spinoza will, on its own, give one a direct understanding of the truth or otherwise of non-duality, or achieve the certainty of truth that comes with Russell's oneness of knowledge and knower.

That is your opinion based on lack of personal experience studying Spinoza. I, however, have had the actual experience of studying, pondering extensively and finally understanding Spinoza. Since I can't transmit that kind of experience to someone who is inherently mistrusting then you can never know without experiencing it for yourself.

Again don't attempt an absolutist interpretation of the previous paragraph. I am not claiming that the understanding of Spinoza is the absolute equivalent of the experience of Buddhism, but that they have some commonality.

Because of this their conclusions cannot be compared properly, and ultimately Buddhists would disagree with Spinoza.

That is your opinion based in lack of experience with all buddhists. I guarantee that some Buddhists are more open-minded than that. I being one of them and the theosophists being another large group.

I wouldn't disagree with that, as long as the above mentioned proviso is accepted, which is a crucial and insurmountable difference between them.

Insurmountable only to you, canute, and your absolutist interpretation of differences.

I don't know about insight but I can explain better what I meant.

In Christianity God is external to oneself.

say no more!!! I know exactly what you mean with just this sentence. Science is objective.

;-)

Buddhists assert that these distinctions are illusory, and that it is possible to know this for oneself.

So does Spinoza...

The cosmos is one thing and we are rooted in that one thing.

as does Spinoza...

Therefore to understand it it is not enough to stand apart from it as an observer, one must become one with it and see it from the other perspective also, inside out if you like.

EXACTLY LIKE SPINOZA!!!

Thus the practice of meditation rather than observational physics or the study of ancient dogmas, and all the talk of internal and external arrows of attention.

Just like Spinoza except there are no rituals of meditation in recommended by Spinoza except to really take some time and ponder the words until you experience a proper understanding of their non-verbal meaning.

Because of this epistemelogical reliance on personal experience, on becoming one with what is known, no theoretically reasoned metaphysic is in the same category of knowledge as the non-dual one.

Of course, if your categories are absolute then every single system stands absolutely apart from all others and there is no common ground whatsoever.

It all depends on the absoluteness of your categories, canute. I would argue that Buddhism itself would suggest strongly that ALL categories are non-absolute and rooted in oneness. You have but to find the similarities.

That isn't to say that there aren't all sorts of equivalences of description between it and other theories like Spinoza's. But it is not possible to know that theories (e.g. Spinoza's) are right or wrong because of the well known limitations on 'knowing', on what we can know with completely certainty.

You are wrong about that canute. Buddhism is in the same epistemological category as Spinozism because both are metaphysics (i.e. beyond the realm of science).

All one would have to do is build a religion (in the best possible meaning of the term) of meditative practices around the teachings of Spinoza, and produce some derivatory works which mystified his core concepts and you would have yourself an equivalent to Buddhism in Spinozism.

WARNING: Do not attempt an absolutist reading of the previous paragraph. It may be hazardous to your understanding of the writers intent.

Certain knowledge must come from direct experience, and cannot be communicated to others except very badly and to little purpose.

Obviously....

Because of this Christianity, and all similar theistic/deistic religions, and physics, and all similar approaches to knowledge...

Which do not include the category of proper metaphysics...

are inadequate to knowing the truth. They are forced at the last hurdle to rest on an axiomatic assumption, belief or undecidable quetsion.

I don't quite agree here, canute. It is too absolutistic and it is based on ignorance of the potential for a science of the future to become based on metaphysics.

There is no system whatsoever that is absolutely provable by science. So Buddhism simply avoids this by being outside the realm of science. This does not mean that is proven to be true and is some better in this regard. It is just a different type of knowledge applicable to a different realm of experience.

I don't know if that seems clear or plausible or not, probably not. Still, these are the reasons that it is not correct to consider an understanding of Buddhist writings to be a substitute for knowing what the writings are about

To me, understanding something is equivalent to knowing what it is about. Both come from the inner experience of enlightenment.

This is a difference in definitions, canute, so don't attempt to understand it based on your definitions. That would obviously give you an incorrect interpretation.

...the states of consciousness that students must experience for themselves before they can understand those writings fully.

Have you ever tried to read Spinoza's "Ethics". You simply cannot read it and hope to truely understand it and most everyone who claims to understand it is wrong. Similar to Buddhism, there must be some serious contemplation in order to grasp the full significance and when you do, the truth is absolutely undeniable. Obviously I cannot transmit this experience to you except through analogy to what you have already experienced through Buddhism.

Until then students are not entitled, and certainly not encouraged, to believe a single word of the writings.

To me, belief does not enter into the picture. You simply feel the truth as it resonates so simply that it overpowers all other assertions of truth and all other truths become much more understandable through it.

To avoid further misunderstandings - I am not asserting that Buddhist metaphysics is true (although I happen to think it is), and I am not belittling science, religion, or any other form of pursuit of knowledge. I am simply saying that in principle it is not possible to understand non-dual ontology/epistemology in the absence of some degree of experience of a non-dual state of consciousness.

Consciousness is ultimately non-dual. We all experience that, but some of us do not realize it. Thus it can be experienced entirely outside of Buddhism and Buddhism is only one path to the realization of unity or non-duality.

This makes Buddhism (and all similar introspective researches)

such as Spinozism…

fundamentally unlike physics and Christianity as a route to knowledge. Of course this is not to deny to Christians and physicists the same ability to explore these states as anyone else. There's no entry qualification, it's just a question of deciding to do it.

Exactly, so you have no basis to assert that Spinoza is not also a viable route.

It also does not mean that one cannot talk about Buddhism or non-dual thinking without having had such an experience. But it should not be done on the assumption that it is equivalent to any logically reasoned metaphysical theory, or any religious belief system.

I have never said that the logic itself is equivalent to the experience of understanding the full implications that the logic can help one to achieve. That would obviously be absurd.
 
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"I have finished everything I wished to explain concerning the power of the mind over the emotions and concerning its freedom. From what has been said we see what is the strength of the wise man and how much he surpasses the ignorant who is driven forward by lust alone. For the ignorant man is not only agitated by external causes in many ways and never enjoys true peace of soul, but lives also ignorant, as it were, both of God and of things, and as soon as he ceases to suffer ceases also to be.

"On the other hand, the wise man in so far as he is considered as such, is scarcely ever moved in his mind, but, being conscious by a certain external necessity of himself, of God, and of things, never ceases to be and always enjoys true peace of soul. If the way which, as I have shown, leads hither seem very difficult, it can nevertheless be found. It must indeed be difficult, since it is so seldom discovered, for if salvation lay ready to hand and could be discovered without great labour, how could it be possible that it should be neglected almost by everybody ? But all noble things are as difficult as they are rare." (spinoza)


;)
 
The structure of substance, attribute, and mode is the foundation of Spinoza's metaphysics. But there is another distinction that cuts across this, the difference between natura naturans and natura naturata. Natura is simply the Latin word "nature," and what Spinoza has done is add participle endings to that noun. Naturans is thus "nature" plus the active participle ending, which is "-ing" in English; so "Natura Naturans" is "Nature Naturing." Naturata is "nature" plus the past passive participle ending, which is "-ed" in English; so "Natura Naturata" is "Nature Natured." This gives us a contrast between what is creating and what is created. What is creating is the eternal existance and nature of God. What is created are the modifications that we see around us as transient things. This distinction cuts across the nature of the attributes themselves, since there is an eternal and unchanging aspect to each, i.e. space itself or consciousness itself, and a transient and changing aspect, i.e material objects in space or specific thoughts in consciousness. At the same time, there is nothing changing about substance as such or unchanging about the modes as such.

While for Spinoza all is God and all is Nature, the active/passive dualism enables us to restore, if we wish, something more like the traditional terms. Natura Naturans is the most God-like side of God, eternal, unchanging, and invisible, while Natura Naturata is the most Nature-like side of God, transient, changing, and visible. When Buddhism says that there is no God, it means that there is no substantive, eternal, unchanging, invisible, and creative side to reality. One of Spinoza's principal metaphysical categories, substance, is explicitly rejected by Buddhism. This is revealing, since it shows us how much there is to Spinoza's metaphysics and Spinoza's conception of God that would not have to be accepted, whether we are comparing it with Buddhism or, more importantly, with a reductionistic scientism.

spinoza


??
 
Originally posted by spookz
When Buddhism says that there is no God, it means that there is no substantive, eternal, unchanging, invisible, and creative side to reality. One of Spinoza's principal metaphysical categories, substance, is explicitly rejected by Buddhism.

spinoza


??

The bolded portion is an example of a materialistic reading of Spinoza. "Substance" or "substantive" in this case, automatically conotes something unintended in Spinoza's actual definition of substance. Substance, as Spinoza intends it, is simply the essence of existence. It is ONE, yet it has no boundaries, thus it is not one in an ordinary sense. It is infinite and continuous. The essence of causation. It is also entirely intangible. Only modifications (in Buddhism they are called differentiations or conditioned being) are tangible or perceptible.

Also, I think that in Buddhism there is an eternal, unchanging, invisible, and "creative" aspect to reality if properly understood, though there is no split between creator and creation in either system.
 
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