Agganna Sutta

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:33 pm

son of dhamma wrote:I'm glad that you understand my acknowledgment. I am very discouraged by you attitude. On four of these characterized responses, you commented on my non-clarity or muddled speech. That's not necessary. I also answered that "I am a conservative disciple of the Buddhadhamma, and because I am in complete agreement with the Theravada I am thus a member of the tradition.
I don't have any value in this discussion.
I apologize if I haven't come across accordingly.
with metta
First of all this is a debate. No onre here is saying naughty things about your mother, so I would suggest that you not tie yourself up in knots over this, but that is your choice. There is always something to be learned from this sort of thing, and one of the things this sort of debate offers is a chance to learn how to express yourself with some degree of clarity. Also, there is always someoine who knows more than you do.

As for being a "conservative Theravadin," fine. There are a fair few here. What is interesting is that as one moves through the Dhamma over the years, whether you want to or not, you will redefine things for yourself, which is as it should be. Beliefs are tools and experiences can be illuminating, but we can also fool ourselves all to easily based upon our beliefs and our experiences. It is a balancing act that is well worth the effort. No need to apologize; just relax a little.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby son of dhamma » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:44 pm

I am relaxed. Thanks very much for explaining what it means to be a Buddhist to me. I'm not tying myself into knots, I simply have nothing to offer. I realize that I was not expressing my ideas clearly to you, but that does not mean I don't express ideas clearly. It was these ideas in this context that were not clear. I do have developed expressive skills, as I talk discursively with a wide variety of different-thinking people.
I said conservative disciple of the Buddhadhamma, and that I am a Theravada Buddhist. That is being clear, whereas you reworded me as to say "conservative Theravadin". Not good debate etiquette, Tilt. I am in a constant process of redefinition as I actually understand the nature of a mind in constant flux. Furthermore I hardly expressed any of my profound ideas here, as they were not appropriate, and such things I would not call "beliefs" under any circumstances. I've never liked believing. You don't have anything to assume that I fool myself with my beliefs and experiences.
I'm not sore or disliking of this discussion. I said clearly that I'm of no more use to it. Many other people aren't, also.
with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:46 pm

Interesting topic. I've been thinking about this recently as well. Here's part of something I wrote about a month ago:

    As for DN 27, the Buddha tells a story about the beginning of life on this world to two brahmins which, in the end, was used to illustrate how the way to liberation is beyond caste and lineage. So, in this regard, the Buddha does give what can be interpreted as a rough theory of evolution to the pair of brahmins in that the physical characteristics of the mythological beings in question change due to environmental changes and interactions, as well as a description the universe somewhat akin to the oscillating universe theory.

    I think that, when taken literally, the creation myth in DN 27 can be seen as an attempt to give a naturalistic explanation of the origins of life and the universe, and Darwin's fairly well-proven theory of evolution isn't inconsistent with Buddhism, which makes many new Buddhists breath a sigh of relief. That being said, I agree with Prof. Gombrich that, taking the context of DN 27 into account, this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development (How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings, pg. 81-82).

    Personally, I see Buddhism as dealing exclusively with mental stress and its cessation (i.e., psychology), not biology, or physics, etc. And while some people get excited when they discover that Buddhism contains teachings which seem to be in accord with modern science, I think they can often be misleading and shouldn't be taken too seriously, or at least, too literally. I think this is especially true of DN 27 considering that recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.' (Lawrence Krauss mentions this in his talk at the 2009 AAI Conference; although it should also be noted that Roger Penrose recently challenged the commonly-held 'inflationary theory' of cosmology with his suggestion that analysis of cosmic microwave background shows echoes of previous Big Bang-like events.)
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:50 pm

son of dhamma wrote:I am relaxed. Thanks very much for explaining what it means to be a Buddhist to me.
I am not explaining what it means to be a Buddhist to you or anyone else. That you will need to figure out for yourself with a good teacher.

I said conservative disciple of the Buddhadhamma, and that I am a Theravada Buddhist. That is being clear, whereas you reworded me as to say "conservative Theravadin". Not good debate etiquette, Tilt.
Okay, if you say so.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:52 pm

Jason wrote:Interesting topic. I've been thinking about this recently as well. Here's part of something I wrote about a month ago:

    As for DN 27, the Buddha tells a story about the beginning of life on this world to two brahmins which, in the end, was used to illustrate how the way to liberation is beyond caste and lineage. So, in this regard, the Buddha does give what can be interpreted as a rough theory of evolution to the pair of brahmins in that the physical characteristics of the mythological beings in question change due to environmental changes and interactions, as well as a description the universe somewhat akin to the oscillating universe theory.

    I think that, when taken literally, the creation myth in DN 27 can be seen as an attempt to give a naturalistic explanation of the origins of life and the universe, and Darwin's fairly well-proven theory of evolution isn't inconsistent with Buddhism, which makes many new Buddhists breath a sigh of relief. That being said, I agree with Prof. Gombrich that, taking the context of DN 27 into account, this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development (How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings, pg. 81-82).

    Personally, I see Buddhism as dealing exclusively with mental stress and its cessation (i.e., psychology), not biology, or physics, etc. And while some people get excited when they discover that Buddhism contains teachings which seem to be in accord with modern science, I think they can often be misleading and shouldn't be taken too seriously, or at least, too literally. I think this is especially true of DN 27 considering that recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.' (Lawrence Krauss mentions this in his talk at the 2009 AAI Conference; although it should also be noted that Roger Penrose recently challenged the commonly-held 'inflationary theory' of cosmology with his suggestion that analysis of cosmic microwave background shows echoes of previous Big Bang-like events.)
Excellent. Thank you.

Bears repeating:

this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:53 pm

Personally, I see Buddhism as dealing exclusively with mental stress and its cessation (i.e., psychology), not biology, or physics, etc.



And this is the crux of the matter


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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby son of dhamma » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:13 pm

I agree that it is the entire point. But then why did you ask for everyone else's interpretation of the sutta? Every time someone responded by saying that it WASN'T essential to the teachings of the Buddha, of awakening, you specifically applauded that statement. As did everyone else.
But the question was for interpretations of the sutta.
I am asking this for future discursive purposes as far as this forum is concerned. Why is this particular discussion, in the debate forum, set-up and carried out in this manner?
with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:14 pm

son of dhamma wrote:I agree that it is the entire point. But then why did you ask for everyone else's interpretation of the sutta? Every time someone responded by saying that it WASN'T essential to the teachings of the Buddha, of awakening, you specifically applauded that statement. As did everyone else.
But the question was for interpretations of the sutta.
I am asking this for future discursive purposes as far as this forum is concerned. Why is this particular discussion, in the debate forum, set-up and carried out in this manner?
with metta




Look at the date when I posted it


I have changed since then
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:15 pm

son of dhamma wrote:I agree that it is the entire point. But then why did you ask for everyone else's interpretation of the sutta? Every time someone responded by saying that it WASN'T essential to the teachings of the Buddha, of awakening, you specifically applauded that statement. As did everyone else.
But the question was for interpretations of the sutta.
I am asking this for future discursive purposes as far as this forum is concerned. Why is this particular discussion, in the debate forum, set-up and carried out in this manner?
with metta
Unclear as to whom you are addressing here.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby son of dhamma » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:19 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Look at the date when I posted it

I have changed since then


Ah, that is very helpful! Thanks very much clw_uk. In the future I will cross-check dates and respond accordingly to that awareness. Until a future time.
with metta
Sometimes no Buddhas arise in the world. Sometimes they do. When it happens, it is for the welfare and happiness of men, out of compassion for all creatures. For a long, long time he has been working to become a Buddha. He met other Buddhas along the way. And after his long striving he attains his final life, yet not without showing everyone else how to get there.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby nathan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:59 pm

Jason wrote: ...recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.'
I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time, therefore the universe is always expanding and always expanding at an accelerated rate. I don't really care if the universe is expanding or if it is slowly transforming from a zygote into a turtle, I'm just curious how it is that the shape of the thing over billions of years past and future is definitively derived from a relatively insignificant period of observation. Similarly, I don't see how indications of a period involving evolutionary processes implies nothing but continuous evolution and nothing of significance but evolutionary processes particularly when processes of devolution and other non-evolutionary processes appear to be as readily observable in real time as are processes of evolution. Thanks in advance.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:08 pm

I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time, therefore the universe is always expanding and always expanding at an accelerated rate.



At the moment the idea is that the force of expansion is greater than that of the attractive pull of gravity


Similarly, I don't see how indications of a period involving evolutionary processes implies nothing but continuous evolution and nothing of significance


Evolution is change in the characteristic of a species over time (until there is divergence into a new species)

but evolutionary processes particularly when processes of devolution


"devolution", what is that? In Biological terms?

and other non-evolutionary processes appear to be as readily observable in real time as are processes of evolution. Thanks in advance


Other processes?
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby nathan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:44 pm

clw_uk wrote:
I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time, therefore the universe is always expanding and always expanding at an accelerated rate.



At the moment the idea is that the force of expansion is greater than that of the attractive pull of gravity

I understood this, that this is the thinking of some scientists at the moment. How does this latest impression of the universe at the moment demonstrate that the universe has been this way since whenever and will continue to be this way indefinitely?

Similarly, I don't see how indications of a period involving evolutionary processes implies nothing but continuous evolution and nothing of significance


Evolution is change in the characteristic of a species over time (until there is divergence into a new species)

Yeah, I get that, I've read the textbook stuff. How does evolution explain the bizarre gaps and leaps such as the rapid appearances of many new and diverse species so quickly after massive extinction events or the sudden appearance of humans of one kind or another given that, for instance, the disappearance of the jaw musculature that covers the head of the great apes involves many complex and wide ranging dna alterations, could not have occurred as a simple mutation and, apart from the end result of increased cranial capacity, as a series of incremental changes conveys no evolutionary advantages to an ape but rather in real terms would represent a series of significant disadvantages?

but evolutionary processes particularly when processes of devolution


"devolution", what is that? In Biological terms?

eg. Washington, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush...

and other non-evolutionary processes appear to be as readily observable in real time as are processes of evolution. Thanks in advance


Other processes?


Are you suggesting that evolution is the only observable process in nature? That's a new one.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:52 pm

Nathan


I understood this, that this is the thinking of some scientists at the moment. How does this latest impression of the universe at the moment demonstrate that the universe has been this way since whenever and will continue to be this way indefinitely?


I dont think anyone has said it has, the main issue has actually been evolution


Yeah, I get that, I've read the textbook stuff. How does evolution explain the bizarre gaps and leaps such as the rapid appearances of many new and diverse species so quickly after massive extinction events or the sudden appearance of humans of one kind or another given that, for instance, the disappearance of the jaw musculature that covers the head of the great apes involves many complex and wide ranging dna alterations, could not have occurred as a simple mutation and apart from cranial capacity conveys no evolutionary advantage to an ape?



Well firstly only a small fraction of animals become fossilised. However within evolutionary biology there is the theory of punctuated equilibrium.

Sudden appearance of humans?


Why couldnt it be? It is also worth remembering that humans and the other great apes share a common ancestor and are not one straight line


Cranial capacity increase has many theories


eg. Washington, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Bush...



I repeat, what is devolution in BIOLOGICAL terms



Are you suggesting that evolution is the only observable process in nature? That's a new one.


No, its just your statement was so nebulous it was difficult seeing what your point was
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 7:56 pm

Hi Nathan,
nathan wrote:
Jason wrote: ...recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.'
I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time,....

The apparent accelerated expansion hinges more on observations of supernovas in distant galaxies. We can easily measure their speed relative to us (by the Doppler shift of the radiation). For certain supernovas there are good models on what their absolute brightness is (as a function of how fast the supernova decays). That allows us to estimate their distance, because we can measure their brightness and compare that with their absolute brightness. With their distance we know how old they are (because light takes billions of years to get here from there). This allows us to work how fast galaxies are receding at various distances, and therefore various times.

[You can perhaps think of it as seeing the flashes of the brake lights of cars driving away from you and estimating how far they are by the relative brightness of the lights. You know that all Toyotas have the same brake lights so you just use that data. ]

Now, the problem is that there are all kinds of uncertainties in these measurements, most obviously the amount of dust in the distant galaxies and the amount of dust between us an them (which would obviously mess up the distance estimate). [So, now we're on a foggy street trying to figure out the brightness of those lights...] The people working on this do all kinds of clever stuff to reduce the uncertainty, but the data is far from clear cut.

As for the Gurzadyan and Penrose paper, my impression is that not many take that seriously. It seems to rely on looking at a small bump in the cosmic microwave data and making a mountain out of it. http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 18#p102407

I'd like to emphasise that this is an active area of research, with new models and data coming and going. That's the nature of scientific research, it's all about figuring out new stuff. It would be boring if we knew all the answers!

:anjali:
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Viscid » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:24 pm

tiltbillings wrote:First of all this is a debate. No onre here is saying naughty things about your mother, so I would suggest that you not tie yourself up in knots over this, but that is your choice. There is always something to be learned from this sort of thing, and one of the things this sort of debate offers is a chance to learn how to express yourself with some degree of clarity. Also, there is always someoine who knows more than you do.

As for being a "conservative Theravadin," fine. There are a fair few here. What is interesting is that as one moves through the Dhamma over the years, whether you want to or not, you will redefine things for yourself, which is as it should be. Beliefs are tools and experiences can be illuminating, but we can also fool ourselves all to easily based upon our beliefs and our experiences. It is a balancing act that is well worth the effort. No need to apologize; just relax a little.

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby nathan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:25 pm

clw_uk wrote:
No, its just your statement was so nebulous it was difficult seeing what your point was


I don't have a point. Now I properly understand. You don't have a point either.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:26 pm

nathan wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
No, its just your statement was so nebulous it was difficult seeing what your point was


I don't have a point. Now I properly understand. You don't have a point either.



Such a pointless post, seriously what is the point in posting something that has no point and ineptly attacking my post with no basis to support yourself?
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby nathan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:29 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The apparent accelerated expansion hinges more on observations of supernovas in distant galaxies...
Mike
Thank you for the clarifications Mikenz66. That read like science as opposed to previous comments which read much more like scientism.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby nathan » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:31 pm

clw_uk wrote:
nathan wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
No, its just your statement was so nebulous it was difficult seeing what your point was


I don't have a point. Now I properly understand. You don't have a point either.



Such a pointless post, seriously what is the point in posting something that has no point and ineptly attacking my post with no basis to support yourself?
You tell me.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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