Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

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Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:53 am

I have just read a reply to another post I started that has got me thinking.....

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

Thoughts?

M...
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:56 am

Myotai wrote:I have just read a reply to another post I started that has got me thinking.....

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

Thoughts?

M...


Actually the same questions arise when we try to understand how the "me" of today arises in dependence on the "me" of yesterday.
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 1:45 pm

Myotai wrote:I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion

Legitimate according to whose standards?
And why should those standards be assumed to be authoritative?
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:03 pm

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...



I would disagree

Regardless of if there is a future life or not, Buddhism still stands true

Regardless all conditioned things rise and fall, and so change

Regardless of other lives, if you cling to that which changes then you set yourself up for pain


For example If I cling to my body and admire it, this will cause me pain as I age (not wanting to get old, losing hair, loss of looks etc)


So right there we have the four noble truths, regardless of rebirth, from a psychological stand point

Now you could argue that Buddhism is diminished if there is no rebirth post mortem, however that wouldn't mean its is completely redundant




Other "religions" (I don't count Buddhadhamma as a religion but thats my subjective interpretation) however need supernatural claims to be true, for example if the body of Jesus was found, or it was proved that there is no afterlife and materialism was true, then Christianity would be redundant, as the apparent "Saint" paul said:

"14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty."

1 Corinthians 15:14

(Actually one of the few decent things that he wrote by the way IMO)

This doesnt apply to what Buddha discovered and taught
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Babadhari » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:32 pm

Myotai wrote:I have just read a reply to another post I started that has got me thinking.....

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

Thoughts?

M...


hi myotai,
from how i understand it the mind (citta) isn't continuous from life to life. it is replaced by another citta each moment. if the citta does not remain the same in this life from moment to moment it wont continue to the next life.
rebirth is assured as long as new kammas are generated with each volitional action performed. i take this to be a central part of the Buddha's teaching, otherwise there would be a definite point of beginning and a definite end point from birth to death.
however Buddhism teaches me a lot to live in the present moment without thinking about past or present lives so i wont agree with you that is based exclusively on past or present lives .
as for consequences for actions performed in this life, i think the results of those can be experienced in this life too. :namaste:
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: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:38 pm

binocular wrote:
Myotai wrote:I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion

Legitimate according to whose standards?
And why should those standards be assumed to be authoritative?


Huh?

Errm ok, try this,

'Legitimate' by virtue of its claims to remove suffering and the cause of suffering. So my standards dictate that claims need to be viable.

Did I mention anything about anything being 'authoritative'?

...as you were!
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:46 pm

kitztack wrote:
Myotai wrote:I have just read a reply to another post I started that has got me thinking.....

I would say that the WHOLE of Buddhism as a viable and legitimate religion is based almost exclusively upon the existence of past and future lives. For this to work the mind has to be a separate entity to the brain. Because if the mind dies with the brain then there isn't anything (apart from constructed morals based upon an inconsequential fantasy) to stop us being utterly hedonistic....nothing to experience Kamma, nothing to accumulate etc...

Thoughts?

M...


hi myotai,
from how i understand it the mind (citta) isn't continuous from life to life. it is replaced by another citta each moment. if the citta does not remain the same in this life from moment to moment it wont continue to the next life.
rebirth is assured as long as new kammas are generated with each volitional action performed. i take this to be a central part of the Buddha's teaching, otherwise there would be a definite point of beginning and a definite end point from birth to death.
however Buddhism teaches me a lot to live in the present moment without thinking about past or present lives so i wont agree with you that is based exclusively on past or present lives .
as for consequences for actions performed in this life, i think the results of those can be experienced in this life too. :namaste:


Thanks,

I agree for the most part. I think the generic idea we have of mind is often a little like soul, ie and inherently existent 'thing' that somehow goes from life to life. Having said that, it still begs the question that if all mental phenomena can be reduced to brain (form) activity then would it not be imposible for one thought in one body to exist anywhere else other than in that brain...? How does it affect another physical manifestation? Where is the physical convergence between one thought and the next IF its all just synapses etc....?

I see two answers;

1) There is no relationship, causal or otherwise. Therefore by proxy there can be no mental connection between bodies; or,

2) Mental phenomena are in fact formless and do not rely upon the brain for their existence.

:guns:
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Feathers » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:50 pm

Echoing clw_uk, if practice results in less suffering now, it's already demonstrating some value to Buddhism. I'm very on-the-fence about the whole kamma and rebirth gig, but am finding a lot of value and truth in buddhism. :smile:
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:58 pm

Myotai wrote:Huh?

Errm ok, try this,

'Legitimate' by virtue of its claims to remove suffering and the cause of suffering. So my standards dictate that claims need to be viable.

Did I mention anything about anything being 'authoritative'?

...as you were!

You started off with the mind-body problem - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%E2%80%93body_problem
Which places the whole discussion into Western philosophy ...
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:09 pm

binocular wrote:
Myotai wrote:Huh?

Errm ok, try this,

'Legitimate' by virtue of its claims to remove suffering and the cause of suffering. So my standards dictate that claims need to be viable.

Did I mention anything about anything being 'authoritative'?

...as you were!

You started off with the mind-body problem - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%E2%80%93body_problem
Which places the whole discussion into Western philosophy ...


Sorry I must be having a stupid day - but whats your point?

The premise of my OP was that if the mind is merely an emergent property of the brain and by implication a physical phenomena then it ceases when the brain does. Ergo, no possibility of mind 'moving' from one existence to another post mortem.

.....and if thats the case there is little reason to practice anything that has past or future lives as a fulcrum of its philosophy.

M...
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:16 pm

The premise of my OP was that if the mind is merely an emergent property of the brain and by implication a physical phenomena then it ceases when the brain does. Ergo, no possibility of mind 'moving' from one existence to another post mortem.

.....and if thats the case there is little reason to practice anything that has past or future lives as a fulcrum of its philosophy.




If you paid £150,000 for a Lamborghini and then wrote it off just before your insurance started (and so wouldnt get the money back), would you feel dukkha/stress/pissed off?


If you say yes, then Buddhism is valid and offers a solution to not feeling the dukkha etc if that did happen, as well as not experiencing dukkha in many other situations as well


The Dhamma does not revolve around rebirth post mortem :smile:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:19 pm

Myotai wrote:Sorry I must be having a stupid day - but whats your point?

It appears that you've been trying to merge two very different systems - Western philosophy and Buddhism.
And it doesn't seem to be working out all that well ...
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:20 pm

Another example

If someone was POW during WW2 and was tortured by the Nazis, there are two outcomes

The guy could be a non-buddhist, and so he would experience to levels of suffering. One would be physical, the other would be psychological


Or the guy could be a Buddhist, lets even say he nibbana'd just before being tortured. Then he would experience a physical sensation, yet no psychological pain/dukkha etc


So you see, once again, Buddhism doesnt need rebirth to be true in order to be valid.


Buddhism doesnt rest upon supernatural claims, like Islam et al does :)
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:25 pm

Some useful background reading for this topic: The Hard Problem of Consciousness.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:30 pm

binocular wrote:
Myotai wrote:Sorry I must be having a stupid day - but whats your point?

It appears that you've been trying to merge two very different systems - Western philosophy and Buddhism.
And it doesn't seem to be working out all that well ...


It seems you're bent on telling me what I am asking and posting rather than offering an answer my friend. Nothing I have asked has any western flavour or Buddhist flavour. Either the mind, consciousness, thought are formless phenomena or not. Agreed?

If the mind is can be reduced to physical phenomena only, then this has an impact on the possibility that our current actions affect future existences. Agreed?

Therefore if our current actions only have an impact on our current (theoretically 'only') existence then this could surely have an impact on our motivation?

Thats all.....
Last edited by Myotai on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:31 pm


clw_uk Wrote:

If you paid £150,000 for a Lamborghini and then wrote it off just before your insurance started (and so wouldnt get the money back), would you feel dukkha/stress/pissed off?


If you say yes, then Buddhism is valid and offers a solution to not feeling the dukkha etc if that did happen, as well as not experiencing dukkha in many other situations as well


The Dhamma does not revolve around rebirth post mortem :smile:


See above!
Last edited by Myotai on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:32 pm

daverupa wrote:Some useful background reading for this topic: The Hard Problem of Consciousness.


Ha! Just been reading that, took me back to my Uni days..... :sage:
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby daverupa » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:44 pm

Myotai wrote:
daverupa wrote:Some useful background reading for this topic: The Hard Problem of Consciousness.


Ha! Just been reading that, took me back to my Uni days..... :sage:


Chalmers discusses the difference between the soft and hard problems as that between what consiousness does versus what consiousness is. I would actually argue that the hard problem of consciousness isn't important, that it moves away from practical phenomenology toward speculative metaphysics, ontologies, and all the rest of the flotsam mentioned in the Brahmajala Sutta.

Notice the place of consciousness in MN 148. The soft problem is getting addressed, not the hard problem. The latter is what the brahmins seem to have cared so much about...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby Myotai » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:13 pm

Do you think the fact that we often hear others speak of consciousness almost consistently as a singularity rather than a conglomeration adds to this problem? I suspect we pigeon hole consciousness in the same category as awareness without noticing.

I personally find materialistic and reductionist theories almost anachronistic now. I can sum up my stance by suggesting that the brain is an emergent property of the mind rather than the other way round!
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Re: Mind/Body problem and how it affects practice

Postby clw_uk » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:43 pm

Myotai wrote:Do you think the fact that we often hear others speak of consciousness almost consistently as a singularity rather than a conglomeration adds to this problem? I suspect we pigeon hole consciousness in the same category as awareness without noticing.

I personally find materialistic and reductionist theories almost anachronistic now. I can sum up my stance by suggesting that the brain is an emergent property of the mind rather than the other way round!




Maybe the question has no answer?


I find these kind of philosophical questions interesting, and they are good are helping to think clearly and rationally


However they rarely find an actual answer. I am yet to find a problem raised in philosophy that has actually been resolved. The only benefit it gave us was the discovery of the scientific method, as well as helping humans to develop critical thinking, logic, maths, ethics which helped us to think about what is the best way to order or complicated society, which helped develop politics etc.

However these were mostly a bi-product from the attempt to answer the original question. These new discoveries then branched off into the specific fields. However the original question asked (what is virtue, what is good, is something good because its good in of itself or because the gods say it is, is there free will, who am I etc etc) is never actually answered.

Philosophy is a thicket of views, that tempts you with knowledge but hardly ever gives it


Besides if you want to go down the philosophy root, pyrrhonism kinda undermines it all and makes the whole enterprise impossible with the problems it raises

If you havent done so already, look up the five modes of agrippa the sceptic
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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