Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?

What is the right meta-religious view

Poll runs till Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:30 pm

Perennialism/core pluralism
1
9%
Supremacist Inclusivism
7
64%
Partial Inclusivism
0
No votes
Exclusivism
0
No votes
Pluralism/relativism
0
No votes
Agnosticism
2
18%
Nihilism
1
9%
 
Total votes: 11

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Javi
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Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Javi » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:30 pm

I was wondering what you folks think the right meta-religious view is. By this I mean, what is the best way to look at the fact that there is a plurality of teachings who in many cases contradict each other. I have been scratching my head about this recently while reading about other religious traditions and I've developed a sort of taxonomy.

1: Perennialism - A very common view, held by transcendentalists, theosophists, neo-vedantins, and some modern Buddhists like Jack Kornfield. This also might have been the view of some Jains like Haribhadra (8th century) who wrote works on comparative spirituality. Basically this holds that even though all the different spiritual teachings seem different they all share one truth or common core hence also this is called "core pluralism", or that they are all different ways to the top of the mountain of enlightenment if you will - a commonly used metaphor.

2: Supremacist Inclusivism - Many religions hold this view, I will define it as the view that, while other religions or spiritual paths are valid and lead one up the mountain so to speak, one of them is superior than all the rest, and all the others are lacking some insight. Many Indian religions, I would place Buddhism here too, the Buddha in the nikayas for example saw the effectiveness of the practice of other teachers, but argued they were missing something.

3: Partial Inclusivism - which asserts that an unknown set of assertions are Absolutely True, that no human being currently living has yet ascertained Absolute Truth, but that all human beings have partially ascertained Absolute Truth. Basically, all religions have a part of the truth, no religion has the whole truth. This view might also lead to syncretism.

4: Exclusivism - Only one faith is right, all the others are being misled by a devil figure, ignorant or horribly confused. Monotheism tends towards this.

5: Pluralism: There are many mountains of spiritual development as there are religions. Jorge Ferrer has used the metaphor of an "ocean of emancipation". According to Ferrer "the ocean of emancipation has many shores". That is, different spiritual truths can be reached by arriving at different spiritual shores. This is basically a form of relativism - no spiritual truth is superior, just different. Also a form is pluralism is held by John Hick.

Anyways, go ahead and vote and tell me what you think is the right view and why.

Edit: As was pointed out, there is also another option: Agnosticism - the stance that there is no way to know which is true.

And now that I think about it, there is of course the option of 'nihilism' - no spiritual path is true/valid, they do nothing
Last edited by Javi on Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Buddha Vacana
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Buddha Vacana » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:46 pm

What about agnosticism?

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Twilight
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:08 am

Instead of religions you should have named the topic "views about the world". So we could include materialism or constructivism here.

There are just 2 options. Relativist or non-relativist. All views about the world claim to be "the right one". Even relativist claim that relativism is the right view. What one needs to do is use logic and reason and decide for himself what view is the correct one.

Some views, such as materialism, have been refuted by science and are therefore easy to discard. Other views, such as idealism, are impossible to refute because they are like "the theory of the turtle". There is no way to refute or confirm them using logic. The buddhist view is based on the doctrine of the 5 aggregates, a doctrine discovered through logical deduction. So the buddhist view can be accepted or refuted based on logic. So there should be no difficulty in deciding if we accept it or not. If we do not take logic as our guide, then what else can we take as our guide ?

As for what I voted - option 2
Last edited by Twilight on Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:13 am

such as materialism, have been refuted by science and are therefore easy to discard

Bud Buddha did not refute materialism.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:14 am

SarathW wrote:
such as materialism, have been refuted by science and are therefore easy to discard

Bud Buddha did not refute materialism.

Science has refuted materialism.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:17 am

SarathW wrote:
such as materialism, have been refuted by science and are therefore easy to discard

But Buddha did not refute materialism.


He didn't? Then where is kamma, where are devas and what is reborn?

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:21 am

option 2 wrote:Many religions hold this view, I will define it as the view that, while other religions or spiritual paths are valid and lead one up the mountain so to speak, one of them is superior than all the rest, and all the others are lacking some insight. Many Indian religions, I would place Buddhism here too, the Buddha in the nikayas for example saw the effectiveness of the practice of other teachers, but argued they were missing something.


I agree with this; especially the Dharma Paths, including Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc all take you to the base camp of the mountain. They point you in the right direction and you can make great progress, but to make it to the summit, you'll still need the Dhamma/Dharma of Theravada/Mahayana (in my opinion).

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:22 am

Didn't Buddha say Kama Sukaha also another kind of happiness?
==============



[The Blessed One said:] "Ananda, true was the exposition that Pañcakanga the carpenter would not accept from Ven. Udayin. And true was the exposition that Ven. Udayin would not accept from Pañcakanga the carpenter. There is the exposition by which I have spoken of two feelings, the exposition by which I have spoken of three feelings ... five feelings ... six feelings ... eighteen feelings ... 36 feelings ... 108 feelings.[1] Thus I have taught the Dhamma by means of exposition. When I have taught the Dhamma by means of exposition, it can be expected that when there are those who do not consent to, assent to, or accept what is well-said and well-stated by one another, there will be arguing, quarreling, & disputing, and they will dwell wounding one another with the sword of the tongue. Thus I have taught the Dhamma by means of exposition. When I have taught the Dhamma by means of exposition, it can be expected that when there are those who do consent to, assent to, & accept what is well-said and well-stated by one another, they will live in harmony, with courtesy, without quarreling, like milk mixed with water, regarding one another with friendly eyes.

"Ananda, there are these five strings of sensuality. Which five? Forms cognizable via the eye — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Sounds cognizable via the ear... Aromas cognizable via the nose... Flavors cognizable via the tongue... Tactile sensations cognizable via the body — agreeable, pleasing, charming, endearing, fostering desire, enticing. Now whatever pleasure or happiness arises in dependence on these five strands of sensuality, that is called sensual pleasure. Though some might say, 'That is the highest pleasure that beings experience,' I would not grant them that. Why is that? Because there is another pleasure, more extreme & refined than that.



http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Coëmgenu » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:23 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
option 2 wrote:Many religions hold this view, I will define it as the view that, while other religions or spiritual paths are valid and lead one up the mountain so to speak, one of them is superior than all the rest, and all the others are lacking some insight. Many Indian religions, I would place Buddhism here too, the Buddha in the nikayas for example saw the effectiveness of the practice of other teachers, but argued they were missing something.


I agree with this; especially the Dharma Paths, including Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, etc all take you to the base camp of the mountain. They point you in the right direction and you can make great progress, but to make it to the summit, you'll still need the Dhamma/Dharma of Theravada/Mahayana (in my opinion).
This is also the Catholic approach regarding religious diversity. I think most reasonable teachings frame themselves in such a way regarding other teachings.
Bhagavā arahaṃ sammasāmbuddho:
Svākkhāto yena bhagavatā dhammo / Supaṭipanno yassa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho
Tammayaṃ bhagavantaṃ sadhammaṃ sasaṅghaṃ / Imehi sakkārehi yathārahaṃ āropitehi abhipūjayāma.
(Dedication of Offerings)
此等諸法,法住、法空、法如、法爾,法不離如,法不異如,審諦真實、不顛倒。These many dharmāḥ, the residence of these dharmāḥ, the emptiness of these dharmāḥ, these dharmāḥ self-explain, these dharmāḥ are thus, these dharmāḥ do not depart from their self-explaining, these dharmāḥ are not different than their self-explaining, judged as truly real, not delusional. (SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶

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Kim OHara
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:34 am

If I had to choose one option, it would be 1 or 5, but 4 (Exclusivism) is the only one that I think is always unskillful.

2, Supremacist Inclusivism, is interesting in that it probably provides the practitioner with the best mix of faith/motivation and tolerance/openness.
3, Partial Inclusivism, might lead to syncretism as you say but I think it implies a kind of defeatism too - not so good.

:namaste:
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:01 am

My view, not the "right" one mind you, would be closest to what you call supremacist inclusivism. I wouldn't say all spiritual teachings lead up the mountain, but most do in at least some respects. IMO, the Buddhadhamma is superior to all the rest because it is the most comprehensive and has the highest goal as its aim. One only comes to realize it via following a Buddha's teachings or becoming a Buddha oneself.

My view also has an element of agnosticism in that I don't hold it as "this is true, everything else is wrong." I take the approach of the Canki Sutta (MN 95) which I think is one of the most important teachings on how to correctly view views.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:20 am

Twilight wrote:Science has refuted materialism.

Can you explain what you mean by this statement?

:anjali:
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:24 am

the Buddhadhamma is superior to all the rest because it is the most comprehensive and has the highest goal as its aim.

This is only the view shared by Buddhist. (or your personal opinion)
The same way others think they have the best.
Many of us do not know what Nibbana is as much as many Christians do not know what God means.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby SarathW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:30 am

Anyways, go ahead and vote and tell me what you think is the right view and why.

Could you update the taxonomy to reflect new items?
:thanks:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:43 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Twilight wrote:Science has refuted materialism.

Can you explain what you mean by this statement?

:anjali:
Mike

The idea that everything comes from matter has been refuted by numerous scientific discoveries such as the quantum physics, the placebo effect, neuroplasticity, the observer problem etc.

Besides been refuted, it is also an incomplete view. The official view of materialism is that it does not understand consciousness at all at the moment. Despite this been the official view, materialist draw a lot of conclusions about the world based on the assumption that consciousness comes because of the way matter is assembled. Not only were they unable to prove this to be so, but this have simply been contradicted by things as simple as the placebo effect. You can't just push everything that doesn't agree with your view down below the carpet and say "we will understand how this works out while still not contradicting our materialist views sometimes in the future".

Scientist are humans and are prone to dogmatism just like all humans. They can cling to political views, like any humans. They can cling to all kind of religious views if they are born in a non-western country where materialism is not the main view. In the same way they can cling to materialism despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are simply humans engaged in the study of form and laws regarding form. Yet their opinion on matters other than form, such as consciousness, is respected with religious devotion by many despite them officially claiming not to know how it works and even been contradicted by numerous discoveries.

Even if they would not have been contradicted, the fact that their view can not explain consciousness and it's relation to form means materialism is not a complete theory. It is a theory that does not offer answers to all questions one could have about the nature of this world. Therefore, been an incomplete theory, it should not make assumptions about for example what happens after death - a problem that requires understanding of consciousness.

As for Buddha, he claims to know it all. He claims to know how consciousness and all other aggregates function. And he also claims this can be seen through logical deduction by other persons just in the same way he has understood it. He claims his path does not require magic. So all one has to do is to check his argument and see if indeed it is correct and withstands the test of logic.
Last edited by Twilight on Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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Mkoll
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:46 am

SarathW wrote:
the Buddhadhamma is superior to all the rest because it is the most comprehensive and has the highest goal as its aim.

This is only the view shared by Buddhist. (or your personal opinion)
The same way others think they have the best.
Many of us do not know what Nibbana is as much as many Christians do not know what God means.

Please read the rest of my post. I made sure to make it clear that it was my view as well as providing a sutta that exemplifies my approach. I'll copy the relevant part here.

MN 95, Canki Sutta wrote:"It's not only out of conviction, Master Gotama, that the brahmans honor this. They also honor it as unbroken tradition."

"Bharadvaja, first you went by conviction. Now you speak of unbroken tradition. There are five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Which five? Conviction, liking, unbroken tradition, reasoning by analogy, & an agreement through pondering views. These are the five things that can turn out in two ways in the here-&-now. Now some things are firmly held in conviction and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not firmly held in conviction, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. Some things are well-liked... truly an unbroken tradition... well-reasoned... Some things are well-pondered and yet vain, empty, & false. Some things are not well-pondered, and yet they are genuine, factual, & unmistaken. In these cases it isn't proper for a knowledgeable person who safeguards the truth to come to a definite conclusion, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless."

"But to what extent, Master Gotama, is there the safeguarding of the truth? To what extent does one safeguard the truth? We ask Master Gotama about the safeguarding of the truth."

"If a person has conviction, his statement, 'This is my conviction,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.

"If a person likes something... holds an unbroken tradition... has something reasoned through analogy... has something he agrees to, having pondered views, his statement, 'This is what I agree to, having pondered views,' safeguards the truth. But he doesn't yet come to the definite conclusion that 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' To this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the safeguarding of the truth. To this extent one safeguards the truth. I describe this as the safeguarding of the truth. But it is not yet an awakening to the truth.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:03 am

Twilight wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
Twilight wrote:Science has refuted materialism.

Can you explain what you mean by this statement?

:anjali:
Mike

The idea that everything comes from matter has been refuted by numerous scientific discoveries such as the quantum physics, the placebo effect, neuroplasticity, the observer problem etc.

In terms of making predictions and engineering things, such as lasers, computer chips, and so on quantum physics seems to work fine by just working with matter (if by matter we also include photons, etc). The development of quantum information techniques (computation, encryption and teleportation) is driven by quantum theory, not in opposition to it.

Now, when it comes to trying to relate quantum effects to our normal understanding of how the world works, it seems kind of odd. Under certain circumstances we can't specify what state a system is in before measurement, for example, and the sort of result we get depends on the type of measurement.

Perhaps you're thinking of claims that quantum mechanics means that our minds affect the outcome of experiments? But the measurements we're taking about take place on nano-second timescales using high-tech lasers and detectors and the results are processed by computers while the physicists are drinking cups of coffee (that all-night stuff is tiring...). It's not reading the output off the computer screen that collapses the wavefunction - that happened long before.

Now, it is interesting to consider whether our minds could be important in some quantum process, but I'm not aware of any real (as opposed to thought) experiment that would come close to doing that.

Quantum experiments don't look like this:

Image
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/g ... ained.html

They look like this:

Image
http://hansonlab.tudelft.nl/teleportation/

:coffee:
Mike

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Twilight
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:11 am

The reason I mentioned quantum mechanics is because of it not been what materialist theory predicted it to be. Many implication of quantum mechanics don't line up at all with materialism and a "unified theory" has yet to be developed. For example the observer problem, even though it happens only under certain conditions - is simply not supposed to happen at all.

But that is not the main weakness of materialism. The way to destroy materialism is by mentioning the world "consciousness". Materialist officially claim they have not yet understood consciousness and it's relationship to the form aggregate. It is their claim, not mine. Since they have not understood consciousness, they are not in a position to draw conclusions about things that require understanding of consciousness - such as what happens to consciousness after death.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link

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mikenz66
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:23 am

Sorry, but as I have explained quantum mechanics just works with matter (and energy).

Speculations about possible implications of QM (by physicists and others) do mention consciousness, but I've not seen a realistic proposal of how to get consciousness anywhere near the "wavefunction collapse" which, as I said, is measured by tricky electronics while the conscious beings who assembled the experiemnt wonder whether they are going to get any sleep tonight...

Whether "consciousness" (which you'd have to define carefully) is something separate from matter-energy, or is simply an emergent phenomena that occurs in sufficiently complex systems is a really interesting question. Designing an experiment to tell the difference will not be trivial, and my impression is that no one is close to figuring out how to do that.

:anjali:
Mike

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Twilight
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Re: Poll: What is the right meta-religious view

Postby Twilight » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:30 am

mikenz66 wrote:Whether "consciousness" (which you'd have to define carefully)
Mike

I define it very simple. The consciousness I am speaking of is the thing that makes a difference between a living been and a car or a building.
is something separate from matter-energy

It is not something separate. Consciousness can not exist in a void, it can not exist without a form basis to sustain it. Consciousness is always conscious of something. By understanding the relationship between consciousness and form, one also understands why there is a being and a world external to the being. Why this division appears. To understand this, one needs to start by trying to imagine consciousness in a void, then how it is always consciousness of something and then continue going with the contemplation.
an emergent phenomena that occurs in sufficiently complex systems is a really interesting question

Yes, the materialist idea that consciousness comes because of the way matter is assembled. It has not been proven. We are waiting for it for centuries.

If this would be so, then we would assume a more complex system would develop consciousness, not a primitive one. Correct ? Then how comes a computer that can defeat the world champion at chess can not develop consciousness but a creature as primitive as an insect does have it ? How can a worm with 7 neurons have consciousness but this computer in front of me not ? (he can defeat me at chess titans too if I set it above level 5-6)
Last edited by Twilight on Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You'll have a better chance finding a moderate rebel in Ildib than finding a buddhist who ever changed his views. Views are there to be clung to. They are there to be defended with all one's might. Whatever clinging one will removed in regards to sense pleasures by practicing the path - that should be compensated with increased clinging to views. This is the fundamental balance of the noble 8thfold path. The yin and yang.
----------
Consciousness and no-self explained in drawings: link
How stream entry is achieved. Mahasi / Zen understanding vs Sutta understanding: link


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