Evidence for rebirth

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Evidence for rebirth

Postby JamesNewell » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:04 pm

In response to the request on the other thread, I will briefly summarize evidence for rebirth/reincarnation, though scientists don't seem to like it because they are afraid that it would strengthen religion.

In context, I don't think there is a fundamental mind-body dualism. What I think is that there is the same fundamental "energy", perhaps something deeper than the energy people usually talk about, and this "energy" forms itself into something rigid, the physical, and something more flowing, subjective mental experiences. This is something like water being able to be in a solid ice form, and also in a flowing vapor form. But that is just an analogy.

The evidence for rebirth starts with the observation that aware mind and the brain exchange information, but there is a translation of the information into a different form involved.

That is to say, the brain processes information in code involving patterns of moving nerve impulses on neurons. Like a computer, this can get a lot of information processed. However, the moving groups of nerve impulses are very different from what we subjectively perceive. All the individual nerve impulses are the same. They don't come in different colors, different sounds, etc. All those subjective qualities are present in patterns of nerve impulses as abstract code involving the relative positions of the nerve impulses.

So consciousness decodes the patterns of nerve impulses and creates images with colors and shapes, sounds with pitch and other qualities, odors like rose odor, etc. Subjective properties like color are not properties of a nerve impulse, but rather, are properties of perceptions in awareness, or in the unconscious.

The key point is the tremendous skill of consciousness in doing this. A landscape might be encoded in the relative positions of hundreds of thousands of nerve impulses, and in less than a second, consciousness decodes all that and creates a subjective image of the landscape. That means that the unconscious mind part of consciousness has skills equal to or better than our most powerful supercomputers.

That extremely high level of skill couldn't have been learned by a baby during a couple of months in the womb. So where did the skill come from?

It was either originally there long ago or has been slowly built up over many lifetimes. Either of those is evidence for rebirth/reincarnation, because the fact that we have those skills means that we existed before this current lifetime. What has happened as a natural process in the past can be expected to happen again.

I don't have this figured out in any detail, but probably our first mistakes took us to the immaterial meditation states in the Visuddhimagga, and then we developed a relationship with simple physical forms which were also somehow produced. Then, when the physical began to develop animals with simple brains, we learned how to decode those, and then continued to gain a skill to decode larger and larger brains.

To get out of that mess in Samsara, we don't have to go through all those several billion years (or more if some interplanetary rebirths were included) backwards, however.

Jim
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:29 pm

Hello all,

A much discussed work:

Scientific Proof of Reincarnation - Dr. Ian Stevenson' life work
http://reluctant-messenger.com/reincarnation-proof.htm

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:36 pm

I haven't read this book but you may find it of interest.

Rebirth as Doctrine and Experience
Essays and Case Studies


:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Aloka » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:50 am

I read this on the Secular Buddhist website a few minutes ago. Its from an essay called "A Secular Evaluation of Rebirth" by someone called Doug Smith

'
The Buddha claims in MN 39 that he retains memories of aeons of prior births. If we assume a life lasted on average twenty years, a hundred thousand births takes us to a time some two million years ago. Modern humans (homo sapiens) originated some ten thousand prior births ago, on this scale, so at that time the Buddha would have been remembering prehuman ancestors. That’s to say, over ten thousand births ago, the bodhisatta (as he would have been at the time) could not have been born into the human realm, since there were no humans. And although the origins of language are foggy, that is probably well before modern languages arose. Yet there is no mention in the suttas that his appearance, food, or clan lifestyle would have diverged radically from the settled towns of 5th c. BCE India.

If we take that time period back to the aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, the problems only ramify. Around 700,000 to a million lifetimes and we are into the pre-hominid.

At this point there is certainly no developed language, and the bodhisatta would have had no name. He could only have been one or another variety of animal, but even so, animals only go back about 600-700 million years.

Prior to that it’s not clear the bodhisatta could have been reborn on Earth, at least that would be the case if we assume that only animals have the consciousness available for kamma and rebirth.

Of course, the Buddha could have been reborn on other planes or planets, but once again there is no mention of vast divergences in body plan, language, culture, or surroundings that would indicate such a rebirth. Indeed, the evidence provided in MN 39 is consistent with a world in which humans always existed in a way much as in the Buddha’s own time. If this is evidence for rebirth, it is not very convincing. More convincing would have been some otherwise inexplicable stories about social, linguistic, and morphological change as the Buddha retreated into memories of the distant past.

Ian Stevenson’s work is similarly problematic, even on its own terms. Firstly, from within a traditional Buddhist context, the ability to see past lives is not something we should expect from young children. Instead, it’s supposed to be one of the three forms of “higher knowledge” available to a monk in advanced training. So why a traditional Buddhist should accept such stories at face value is something of a conundrum. There are also doctrinal problems surrounding whether rebirth is instantaneous or involves some extended time ‘between lives’. Stevenson’s stories support the latter conclusion, but as I understand it, some Buddhist schools reject that move.

As well, the most these stories could reasonably establish is that some people are reborn sometimes. Stevenson’s stories are not found everywhere; indeed, they are very unusual, and they do not establish more than a single rebirth for each life. Are we to assume that people who do not recall such stories are also reborn? Are we to assume that people who recall a single rebirth have been reborn countless times? If so, on what evidence?

http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/05/29/a-secular-evaluation-of-rebirth/



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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Kusala » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:38 am

The MOST AMAZING Reincarnation Story

Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby AJungianIdeal » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:57 am

Aloka wrote:I read this on the Secular Buddhist website a few minutes ago. Its from an essay called "A Secular Evaluation of Rebirth" by someone called Doug Smith

'
The Buddha claims in MN 39 that he retains memories of aeons of prior births. If we assume a life lasted on average twenty years, a hundred thousand births takes us to a time some two million years ago. Modern humans (homo sapiens) originated some ten thousand prior births ago, on this scale, so at that time the Buddha would have been remembering prehuman ancestors. That’s to say, over ten thousand births ago, the bodhisatta (as he would have been at the time) could not have been born into the human realm, since there were no humans. And although the origins of language are foggy, that is probably well before modern languages arose. Yet there is no mention in the suttas that his appearance, food, or clan lifestyle would have diverged radically from the settled towns of 5th c. BCE India.

If we take that time period back to the aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, the problems only ramify. Around 700,000 to a million lifetimes and we are into the pre-hominid.

At this point there is certainly no developed language, and the bodhisatta would have had no name. He could only have been one or another variety of animal, but even so, animals only go back about 600-700 million years.

Prior to that it’s not clear the bodhisatta could have been reborn on Earth, at least that would be the case if we assume that only animals have the consciousness available for kamma and rebirth.

Of course, the Buddha could have been reborn on other planes or planets, but once again there is no mention of vast divergences in body plan, language, culture, or surroundings that would indicate such a rebirth. Indeed, the evidence provided in MN 39 is consistent with a world in which humans always existed in a way much as in the Buddha’s own time. If this is evidence for rebirth, it is not very convincing. More convincing would have been some otherwise inexplicable stories about social, linguistic, and morphological change as the Buddha retreated into memories of the distant past.

Ian Stevenson’s work is similarly problematic, even on its own terms. Firstly, from within a traditional Buddhist context, the ability to see past lives is not something we should expect from young children. Instead, it’s supposed to be one of the three forms of “higher knowledge” available to a monk in advanced training. So why a traditional Buddhist should accept such stories at face value is something of a conundrum. There are also doctrinal problems surrounding whether rebirth is instantaneous or involves some extended time ‘between lives’. Stevenson’s stories support the latter conclusion, but as I understand it, some Buddhist schools reject that move.

As well, the most these stories could reasonably establish is that some people are reborn sometimes. Stevenson’s stories are not found everywhere; indeed, they are very unusual, and they do not establish more than a single rebirth for each life. Are we to assume that people who do not recall such stories are also reborn? Are we to assume that people who recall a single rebirth have been reborn countless times? If so, on what evidence?

http://secularbuddhism.org/2013/05/29/a-secular-evaluation-of-rebirth/



.


I sort of assume the aeons of past lives language is metaphoric, meant to convey a long time; It's a very odd thing to open an argument with. And recollecting very, very far would probably be very difficult. I assumed that, if the stories are correct and i am very skeptical that they are, memories that are transferred would be exceptionally potent or of high karmic content. I haven't read any of Stevenson or Tuckers work, though as I stated in the other linked thread, the empirical content of his work his flawless. It's all about 1) the conclusion being parsimonious or flawed, and 2) whether there is any potential for follow-up or further testing beyond the vast amount of story-gathering he and his successor are doing.
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby kitztack » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:01 pm

"If he wants, he recollects his manifold past lives,[3] i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he remembers his manifold past lives in their modes and details. He can witness this for himself whenever there is an opening.


AN 5.28
Samadhanga Sutta: The Factors of Concentration

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

discernment of past lives is practiced in some Theravada monastaries such as Pa-Auk Forest Monastery in Myanmar. it would be interesting if anyone had experience of this

WHAT A FEMALE YOGI DISCERNED
To make this clearer, let us give an example of what one yogi was able to discern. When she discerned
the mentality-materiality at the time near death, she saw the kamma of a woman offering
fruit to a Buddhist monk. Then, beginning with the four elements, she examined further the mentality-
materiality of that woman. She found that the woman was a very poor and uneducated villager,
who had reflected on her state of suffering, and had made an offering to the monk, with the wish
for life as an educated woman in a large town.
In this case,
1) deludedly to think that an educated woman in a large town truly exists is ignorance (avijja);
2) the desire and longing for life as an educated woman is craving (ta1ha);
3) the attachment to life as an educated woman is clinging (upadana);
4) the wholesome act of offering fruit to a Buddhist monk is volitional formations (sa0khara), and
5) the kamma is their kammic potency.
In this life the yogi is an educated woman in a large town in Myanmar. She was able (with Right
View) to discern directly how the kammic potency of offering fruit in her past life produced the
resultant five aggregates of this life. The ability to discern causes and effects in this way is called
the Cause-Apprehending Knowledge (Paccaya·Pariggaha·Ña1a).

Pa-Auk Sayadaw -Knowing and Seeing
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Aloka » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:04 pm

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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Aloka » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:07 pm

Kusala wrote:The MOST AMAZING Reincarnation Story



This tells a rather different story :



I’d like to suggest a slightly different version of this story that is entirely consistent with the facts, but doesn’t require us to believe the extraordinary claim of reincarnation.

It starts when this child’s parents take him to a WWII air museum. Now, the article says this was the “Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas”, but I presume it meant to say the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas. And at this place they have on display a WWII Corsair (the plane James will later say he flew). According to the museum’s Corsair web page:

The famous gull-wing design of the F4U Corsair makes the plane one of the most distinctive fighters of World War II



This young boy, not unusually, is excited by the planes, and remembers the name of the distinctive Corsair he saw with the unusual gull-wing, plus many other details, including things his mother didn’t remember, such as these drop fuel tanks that are also displayed at the museum.

Naturally, this small boy was fascinated by warplanes and he remembered obscure details about them that his mother didn’t. Of course, he enjoyed showing off this knowledge to her, later.

However, although he was excited by the planes, the images of WWII battles also frightened him, and they soon began to give him nightmares about being trapped in a plane on fire.

This is when the real problem starts. The child’s grandmother, for no obvious rational reason I can think of, suggests he is remembering a past life. She brings in Carol Bowman (an author of several books on reincarnation), to “affirm” James' nightmares. (Bowman is said to have been influenced by Ian Stevenson – another reincarnation proponent who is known to ask leading questions of young children.)

Bowman “encourages” James in his fantasies, also with leading questions. Unsurprisingly, the child cooperates in this fantasy building. After all, they’re telling him he was a real pilot.


more here:

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/reincarnation_a.html


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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby AJungianIdeal » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:40 pm

Aloka wrote:
Kusala wrote:The MOST AMAZING Reincarnation Story



This tells a rather different story :



I’d like to suggest a slightly different version of this story that is entirely consistent with the facts, but doesn’t require us to believe the extraordinary claim of reincarnation.

It starts when this child’s parents take him to a WWII air museum. Now, the article says this was the “Kavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas”, but I presume it meant to say the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Dallas. And at this place they have on display a WWII Corsair (the plane James will later say he flew). According to the museum’s Corsair web page:

The famous gull-wing design of the F4U Corsair makes the plane one of the most distinctive fighters of World War II



This young boy, not unusually, is excited by the planes, and remembers the name of the distinctive Corsair he saw with the unusual gull-wing, plus many other details, including things his mother didn’t remember, such as these drop fuel tanks that are also displayed at the museum.

Naturally, this small boy was fascinated by warplanes and he remembered obscure details about them that his mother didn’t. Of course, he enjoyed showing off this knowledge to her, later.

However, although he was excited by the planes, the images of WWII battles also frightened him, and they soon began to give him nightmares about being trapped in a plane on fire.

This is when the real problem starts. The child’s grandmother, for no obvious rational reason I can think of, suggests he is remembering a past life. She brings in Carol Bowman (an author of several books on reincarnation), to “affirm” James' nightmares. (Bowman is said to have been influenced by Ian Stevenson – another reincarnation proponent who is known to ask leading questions of young children.)

Bowman “encourages” James in his fantasies, also with leading questions. Unsurprisingly, the child cooperates in this fantasy building. After all, they’re telling him he was a real pilot.


more here:

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/reincarnation_a.html


.


Was Stevenson known for asking loaded questions? Like I said, his research methods were acknowledged (by Carl Sagan at least) to be good. Sure he can concoct a hypothetical story and apply it to the case but it's just a hypothetical story, just like claiming reincarnation would be a purely hypothetical conclusion.

The criticism I found on wikipedia links to the skeptics dictionairy which calls him a "naive dualist" which seems to indicate the author is a materialist and rather dedicated to his philosophy. It would be nice to have something more substantial for criticism than what's essentially a philosophers side project.

Edit: I should probably clarify that I don't really think that, under proper Buddhist rebirth, that children especially should be able to recollect past lives and I don't really know if I believe in rebirth. I just really, really don't like the way organized skeptics movements operate now; It's essentially another atheist-materialist club and since Martin Gardner died I don't think they would ever allow a theist or some other metaphysical "abnormality" in their little club. They should at least be a little more like Susan Blackmore and try out things first hand instead of their arm-chair skepticism.
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby JamesNewell » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:25 pm

In answer to the length of time argument, Buddhists have believed that there are a large number of other planets which have been inhabited by other intelligent beings. In that way, ancient Buddhists were much closer to modern thought than ancient Greeks and Romans. So that means that many of the past lives the Buddha remembered were on other planets.

The above isn't enough for a formal proof, but it is suggestive. There is also a small amount of evidence for interplanetary rebirth/reincarnation. There have been times when a researcher has come up with a theory that turned out to be true, which was a quite large leap ahead of past knowledge, and which wasn't arrived at in a step by step way. That implies that the scientific discovery may have been knowledge the scientist remembered from past lifetimes on another planet. People of course would prefer to think that they had made a discovery all by themselves, but there may sometimes be memory involved. Again, all that isn't enough for a formal proof that there is interplanetary reincarnation, but it is enough to hold the existence of interplanetary rebirth as a hypothesis with some support for it.

On another point which was raised, if consciousness has the same basic structure and functions throughout the universe, then any stories would certainly sound to humans reading or hearing them like stories about humans. People on other planets might not look like earth humans in many cases, but their thinking, emotions, etc. would be the same. At this time, I can't formally prove that the basic structures and processes of consciousness are the same everywhere in the universe, but I don't see how it could be otherwise. We do know that atoms, light, etc. are the same throughout the universe, and those are related to consciousness because brains exchange information with consciousness, exchange the energy underlying the information with consciousness. Thus, consciousness and matter have the same ground.

Note that the evidence for rebirth/reincarnation I presented does not depend on anything unusual, like people reporting that they remember a past lifetime. The reason is that I try to use common and objective data. So the evidence of reincarnation I gave depends on the objective complexity of information carried by nerve impulse patterns in the brain and what level of skill consciousness would have to have to be able to decode something that complex. Some people may well remember past lifetimes, but the data isn't as solid because they might not be honest in their reports, or might be deluded. They might be honest, etc. but that is difficult to determine. It is not difficult to determine that many nerve impulses in the brain are needed to process the information in an image, group of sounds, etc.

It is slightly similar to a school of mathematics in the Netherlands which only uses mathematical deduction, and doesn't use the mathematical induction that other schools of mathematics use. Those mathematicians are being very strict in their formal work to see what is possible if one is very strict. That doesn't mean that mathematics which uses induction is wrong in any way.

So I am being very strict with the data I am using, but that doesn't mean that other data I wouldn't use for a formal proof is wrong.

Jim
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Aloka » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:30 pm

AJungianIdeal wrote:I should probably clarify that I don't really think that, under proper Buddhist rebirth, that children especially should be able to recollect past lives and I don't really know if I believe in rebirth


I just don't know one way or another about rebirth because I have no personal recollections about it (even after many years of Tibetan Buddhist teachings and intensive practices, before changing to Theravada)

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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby kitztack » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:57 pm

"JamesNewell"
Note that the evidence for rebirth/reincarnation I presented does not depend on anything unusual, like people reporting that they remember a past lifetime. The reason is that I try to use common and objective data. So the evidence of reincarnation I gave depends on the objective complexity of information carried by nerve impulse patterns in the brain and what level of skill consciousness would have to have to be able to decode something that complex. Some people may well remember past lifetimes, but the data isn't as solid because they might not be honest in their reports, or might be deluded. They might be honest, etc. but that is difficult to determine. It is not difficult to determine that many nerve impulses in the brain are needed to process the information in an image, group of sounds, etc.


Jim



what about Genetic Memory being an alternative theory for traits arising in species

Neuroscientific research on mice suggests that some experiences can influence subsequent generations. In a study,[3][4] mice trained to fear a specific smell passed on their trained aversion to their descendants, which were then extremely sensitive and fearful of the same smell, even though they had never encountered it, nor been trained to fear it.
Changes in brain structure were also found. The researchers concluded that "The experiences of a parent, even before conceiving, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations."[5]
.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_memory_(psychology)#Genetic_memory_and_trauma.2C_phobias_and_neuropsychiatric_disorders
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Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby JamesNewell » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:44 am

For Aloka:

There are two memory systems. Brain memory is lost with death of the body. Consciousness memory is not. The existence of consciousness memory is shown by the ability to decode nerve impulse patterns, which requires memory spanning lifetimes. Without the brain memory, it would be harder to recall events in past lives, but things like habits and meanings would be easier to recall. There is a meditation in the Visuddhimagga for recalling past lifetimes, but it is very advanced and very difficult. A Tibetan teacher might be able to do that medication, but I would be surprised if a Tibetan Buddhist student could do it.

For Kitztack:

There are only about 25,000 genes. That is far below the number which would be needed, even with some simple combinations, for the data to be explained by Genetic Memory. The number of different images that people can experience is much larger than a trillion, and that few genes couldn't manage that many subjective perceptions in as clear and precise a way as we actually perceive them..

In addition, natural selection can only operate on a few variables at a time. For example, there is no way that being able to differentiate between a Rocky Mountain landscape and a Scottish mountain landscape could have been selected for over many generations of evolution. Or between a symphony by Brahms and a symphony by Mahler. There was no time in history when people who could perceive only one of the above died out, leaving the people who perceive both having all the subsequent offspring.

In terms of information processing, the human genome is highly inadequate.

Jim
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:47 pm

Aloka wrote:I read this on the Secular Buddhist website a few minutes ago. Its from an essay called "A Secular Evaluation of Rebirth" by someone called Doug Smith

'
The Buddha claims in MN 39 that he retains memories of aeons of prior births. If we assume a life lasted on average twenty years, a hundred thousand births takes us to a time some two million years ago. Modern humans (homo sapiens) originated some ten thousand prior births ago, on this scale, so at that time the Buddha would have been remembering prehuman ancestors.
.


So because the suttas gives an abridged account of the Buddha's past-life memories, these accounts must be made up? This seems like a very weak argument to me, even for a secularist.
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby purple planet » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:38 pm

I remember reading buddha past life stories where hes an animal so that might be a good explanation
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby chownah » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:58 pm

JamesNewell wrote:For Aloka:

There are two memory systems. Brain memory is lost with death of the body. Consciousness memory is not. The existence of consciousness memory is shown by the ability to decode nerve impulse patterns, which requires memory spanning lifetimes. Without the brain memory, it would be harder to recall events in past lives, but things like habits and meanings would be easier to recall. There is a meditation in the Visuddhimagga for recalling past lifetimes, but it is very advanced and very difficult. A Tibetan teacher might be able to do that medication, but I would be surprised if a Tibetan Buddhist student could do it.

JamesNewell,
This thread is called "evidence for rebirth". Here it seems that you are assuming rebirth as a means to justify your concept of consciousness memory.......you are assuming what you are trying to give evidence for. Without assuming multiple lifetimes can you give something to justify your concept of consciousness memory. Also, I would like to point out that generally the process of decoding does not require memory at all except perhaps for small amounts of buffer memory to hold the results of partial calculations for use later.
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby JamesNewell » Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:37 pm

chownah::: "This thread is called "evidence for rebirth". Here it seems that you are assuming rebirth as a means to justify your concept of consciousness memory.......you are assuming what you are trying to give evid'ence for."

Jim::: Sort of. I am mainly answering a further question from another member, involving why we usually don't remember past lifetimes. And note, the answer is no doubt only part of what is going on. There are likely to be other factors. Since I have already given evidence for reincarnation, I am of course assuming it. The reason is that the complexity of the information processing is too great to have been learned in a few months in the womb. Then, the memory function follows as a detail of the information processing. In a general sense, I would say that all knowledge is somewhat circular in some way. However, I don't think that means that no knowledge is possible. I follow Popper in thinking that any theory is an approximation to truth.

chownah::: "Without assuming multiple lifetimes can you give something to justify your concept of consciousness memory."

Jim: Not in what I've discovered so far. It is possible that one might say that a digital information system can't accurately work with qualitative subjective percepts, metaphors, etc. And therefore, if one remembers any of those within a lifetime, that means a memory in consciousness. However, there is the possibility that the brain activity could have repeated itself, and that is the way the repetition in consciousness occurred. So that approach wouldn't be solid without some other discoveries of some kind.

chownah::: "Also, I would like to point out that generally the process of decoding does not require memory at all except perhaps for small amounts of buffer memory to hold the results of partial calculations for use later."

Jim::: You didn't understand the kind of decoding involved. In our awareness, we are not decoding from a digital form to another digital form. We are decoding from digital processing to quality processing. We are decoding, for example, from a pattern of nerve impulses to a perception of redness, or blueness, or middle-C-ness, or rose-odorness, etc. We are not decoding to an arbitrary formula for the subjective properties, which wouldn't be accurate but would only be another code. We are rather decoding into the qualities themselves. The kind of information processing which uses qualities, which we have neither invented a mathematics nor a machine for, is much more difficult than digital information processing, and is different in kind from digital information processing.

There is a problem, by the way, that our search engines and most powerful computers don't work with meanings themselves very well. We have to search for key words, not for meanings. If a supercomputer is searching images for something like flowers, it comes up with some false positives and some false negatives that humans don't come up with.

Now consciousness is going to need more than a tiny buffer to decode something like hundreds of thousands of nerve impulses which code by location in a pattern for a complex landscape, or other complex percept.

Or again, for a metaphor. Any word can be turned into any of many thousands of metaphors or analogies, depending on meaning, both gross and subtle. So just being able to pick out the right metaphor or analogy out of a group of potential ones is going to require more memory than a simple buffer. And of course, something more than a digital memory.

Jim
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby Aloka » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:39 pm

Jim::: Sort of. I am mainly answering a further question from another member


Hi James,

I'm not sure if you are refering to me - but I wasn't asking you (or anyone else) a question in my last post. I was responding to something that was said by AJungianIdeal.

Kind regards,

Aloka
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Re: Evidence for rebirth

Postby clw_uk » Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:15 pm

I think it's better to look at how we approach and use the concept of rebirth, and less about trying to prove a doctrine to be "true".
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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