Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

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Alex123
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Alex123 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:26 pm

intex wrote: from within the first-person perspective I am unable to experience myself as an external object like a 'brain'.
You can't directly see your eyes either.
intex wrote: What I want to say is that the coupling of my first-person perspective and some external object, like a particular brain, is certainly a fact, but there is no material reason why a particular brain amongst billions of brains should be 'my brain'. All brains are made out of food, they are all the same element-wise and all share a similar structure, and yet there is only one 'I' and the rest are 'others',
According to some, different functioning of the brain is responsible for different states of consciousness. Appearance of lump of flesh called brain can be similar. It is function of neurons, etc, that matters, and part of the cause for consciousness can be nervous system as well.

Of course we may never know the truth with absolute certainty, but there are good reasons for the above.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by gavesako » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:20 pm

Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum

Could the brain be using electromagnetic fields to communicate between hemispheres — the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness?

http://integral-options.blogspot.com/20 ... brain.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

Access to Insight - Theravada texts
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
Dhammatalks.org - Sutta translations

danieLion
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by danieLion » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:42 pm

Alex123 wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote:And when the brain ceases.... All mental functioning does.
How do you know all mental functioning ceases when the brain ceases?
Kind regards,
Daniel, :stirthepot:
Partially it can be witnessed during life. If one drinks alcohol or takes drugs, mental functioning alters. If one slips, falls, and hits the head, one can pass out. Etc etc. Empirical things seem to point to such relationship.

A good example of which parts of brains do what, is at:
http://www.headinjury.com/brainmap.htm#map" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hi Alex123,
You can infer things about mind from the examples you cite, but no inference can support the claim that mental functions cease when brains die.

My question about which parts of the brain do what was a leading question meant to get to you to think beyond the assumptions of standard brain science and the neuron doctrine. I have extensive academic and personal experience with many aspects of brain science, especially head injury (my dad's a survivor of forty years).

I should've been more explicit. I apologize for doing a poor job at Devil's Advocate. My MAIN INTEREST with this and the Mind and Brain topic are the relationship between glia and the ayatana, and similar explorations.

Kind regards,
Daniel

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by danieLion » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:54 pm

gavesako wrote:Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum

Could the brain be using electromagnetic fields to communicate between hemispheres — the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness?

http://integral-options.blogspot.com/20 ... brain.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Greetings Bhante,

"Neurons communicate through synaptic connections in linear circuits like telephones, but astrocytes communicate by broadcasting signals widely like cell phones" (The Other Brain, p. 57, R. Douglas Fields).

Kind regards,
Daniel

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by danieLion » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:09 pm

Cittasanto wrote:...correct me if I am wrong, but the body does have a form of electrical current also, a being is not just matter.
Hi Cittasanto,
"Glia do not communicate with electrical impulses [they do it with calcium ions] (The Other Brain, p. 52)."

Kind regards,
Daniel

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Rui Sousa » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:18 am

I have not watched the video, but read through the thread.

As a former skeptical atheist, saddha was a difficult concept for me to understand. At first it disgusted me to think that in Buddhism I would find the same attitudes that made me feel so far away from other religions, I thought I could just ignore the thing and keep learning how to meditate and to explore my mind. And so I did. I thought "I don't need monks, I don't need faith, I don't need statues or any of that". As I deepened my interest in Meditation my ignorance and my stress were getting more and more visible, it was clear to me that more knowledge was needed. So I started reading more and more Suttas, and started to see the other aspects of the Buddhadhamma, like Sila. By keeping my precepts I could see many benefits in my live, this had nothing to do with meditation as I understood it. Latter on I realized the Buddha had given guidance on how to live daily life, advising Sigalovada to buy adorns to his wife. That was so practical and thoughtful!

I started to believe the Buddha's words out of confidence, because I was observing how good and wise his words were. I also developed a different view on monks vwhen I realized if it weren't for them keeping the Dhamma Wheel turning all these centuries, I would be lost in my suffering.Now I have no problem with Saddha. I understand how important the existence of the Buddha was for me, and how much I owe the Sangha. So I put my confidence in the Dhamma, I thrown away a lot of misconceptions I had and embraced this attitude of humble thankfulness and trust.

Based on my path, from skeptical atheist to practicing the six recollections, I think there are a lot of things to drop on the way. There is a deeply different attitude in skeptical atheism, that I think is a certain faith (pun intended) in reasoning and the abilities of the logical and rational brain, and in Buddhism, were there is confidence in the teachings of a teacher who has offered us a path for us to follow.
With Metta

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by manas » Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:28 am

Alex123 wrote:
danieLion wrote:
Alex123 wrote:And when the brain ceases.... All mental functioning does.
How do you know all mental functioning ceases when the brain ceases?
Kind regards,
Daniel, :stirthepot:
Partially it can be witnessed during life. If one drinks alcohol or takes drugs, mental functioning alters. If one slips, falls, and hits the head, one can pass out. Etc etc. Empirical things seem to point to such relationship.

A good example of which parts of brains do what, is at:
http://www.headinjury.com/brainmap.htm#map" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hi Alex, all,

there is a passage in the 'Samaññaphala Sutta: The Fruits of the Contemplative Life' that might be of relevance here:
"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He discerns: 'This body of mine is endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother and father, nourished with rice and porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion. And this consciousness of mine is supported here and bound up here.' [bolded section: "ayaṃ kho me kāyo rūpī cātummahābhūtiko mātāpettikasambhavo odanakummāsūpacayo aniccucchādanaparimaddanabhedaviddhaṃsanadhammo. Idaṃ ca pana me viññāṇaṃ ettha sitaṃ ettha paṭibaddha'nti."]
I looked up the key pali terms translated here (afaics) as 'supported' and as 'bound up':

Sita
Sita2 [pp. of sayati2] 1. (lit.) stuck in or to: hadaya˚ salla Sn 938; Nd1 412. -- 2. (fig.) reclining, resting, depending on, attached, clinging to D i.45, 76; ii.255; M i.364; Cp. 100; J v.453; Sn 229, 333, 791, 944, 1044. See also asita2.

Sita
Sita3 [pp. of sinoti] bound; sātu -- ˚ Dh 341 (bound to plea- sure); taṇhā -- ˚ Miln 248. Perhaps as sita2.

Paṭibaddha (adj.) [paṭi+baddha, pp. of bandh] bound to, in fetters or bonds, attracted to or by, dependent on D i.76; Vin iv.302 (kāya˚); A v.87 (para˚); Dh 284; Miln 102 (āvajjana˚); PvA 134 (˚jīvika dependent on him for a living).
I put this here for others to explain further, as my knowledge of pali is very limited, but I note that there is nothing in the definitions to suggest that consciousness is a product of the brain's activity, but only terms which validate the translation of 'supported here and bound up here'. Consciousness being 'bound up' with the body, however, could explain why the condition of the brain would influence consciousness. But the mechanistic view (now becoming oudated, actually) of matter somehow being able to produce consciousness, does not appear to be supported by the suttas.

with metta.
Seeking your own happiness,
you should pull out your own arrow:
your own lamentation, longing, & sorrow.

With arrow pulled out,
independent,
attaining peace of awareness,
all grief transcended,
griefless you are
unbound.


(excerpt, Sn 3:8)

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by danieLion » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:16 am

manas wrote:...But the mechanistic view (now becoming oudated, actually) of matter somehow being able to produce consciousness, does not appear to be supported by the suttas....
Greetings manas,

Indeed.
Thanissaro wrote: Thus the quality of the views on which one acts — i.e., the quality of the perception and attention informing the intention — is a major factor in shaping experience. This observation undercuts the radical distinction between mind and material reality that is taken for granted in our own culture and was also assumed by many of the Samana schools of the Buddha's time. From the Buddha's viewpoint, mental and physical phenomena are two sides of a single coin, with the mental side of prior importance....

To begin with this/that conditionality: This principle accounts not only for the complexity of the kammic process, but also for its being regular without at the same time being rigidly deterministic. The non-linearity of this/that conditionality also accounts for the fact that the process can be successfully dismantled by radical attention to the present moment.

Unlike the theory of linear causality — which led the Vedists and Jains to see the relationship between an act and its result as predictable and tit-for-tat — the principle of this/that conditionality makes that relationship inherently complex. The results of kamma experienced at any one point in time come not only from past kamma, but also from present kamma. This means that, although there are general patterns relating habitual acts to corresponding results [§9], there is no set one-for-one, tit-for-tat, relationship between a particular action and its results. Instead, the results are determined by the context of the act, both in terms of actions that preceded or followed it [§11] and in terms one's state of mind at the time of acting or experiencing the result [§13]. As we noted in the Introduction, the feedback loops inherent in this/that conditionality mean that the working out of any particular cause-effect relationship can be very complex indeed. This explains why the Buddha says in §12 that the results of kamma are imponderable. Only a person who has developed the mental range of a Buddha — another imponderable itself — would be able to trace the intricacies of the kammic network. The basic premise of kamma is simple — that skillful intentions lead to favorable results, and unskillful ones to unfavorable results — but the process by which those results work themselves out is so intricate that it cannot be fully mapped. We can compare this with the Mandelbrot set (see the cover of this book), a mathematical set generated by a simple equation, but whose graph is so complex that it will probably never be completely explored.

Although the precise working out of the kammic process is somewhat unpredictable, it is not chaotic. The relationship between kammic causes and their effects is entirely regular: when an action is of the sort that it will be felt in such and such a way, that is how its result will be experienced [§13]. Skillful intentions lead to favorable results, unskillful ones to unfavorable results. Thus, when one participates in the kammic process, one is at the mercy of a pattern that one's actions put into motion but that is not entirely under one's present control. Despite the power of the mind, one cannot reshape the basic laws of cosmic causality at whim. These laws include the physical laws, within which one's kamma must ripen and work itself out. This is the point of passage §14, in which the Buddha explains that present pain can be explained not only by past kamma but also by a host of other factors; the list of alternative factors he gives comes straight from the various causes for pain that were recognized in the medical treatises of his time. If we compare this list with his definition of old kamma in §15, we see that many if not all of the alternative causes are actually the result of past actions. The point here is that old kamma does not override other causal factors operating in the universe — such as those recognized by the physical sciences — but instead finds its expression within them.

However, the fact that the kammic process relies on input from the present moment means that it is not totally deterministic. Input from the past may place restrictions on what can be done and known in any particular moment, but the allowance for new input from the present provides some room for free will. This allowance also opens the possibility for escape from the cycle of kamma altogether by means of the fourth type of kamma: the development of heightened skillfulness through the pursuit of the seven factors for Awakening and the noble eightfold path — and, by extension, all of the Wings to Awakening [§§16-17].

The non-linearity of this/that conditionality explains why heightened skillfulness, when focused on the present moment, can succeed in leading to the end of the kamma that has formed the experience of the entire cosmos. All non-linear processes exhibit what is called scale invariance, which means that the behavior of the process on any one scale is similar to its behavior on smaller or larger scales. To understand, say, the large-scale pattern of a particular non-linear process, one need only focus on its behavior on a smaller scale that is easier to observe, and one will see the same pattern at work. In the case of kamma, one need only focus on the process of kamma in the immediate present, in the course of developing heightened skillfulness, and the large-scale issues over the expanses of space and time will become clear as one gains release from them.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#part1-b" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Kind regards,
Daniel

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by daverupa » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:56 am

manas wrote:Consciousness being 'bound up' with the body, however, could explain why the condition of the brain would influence consciousness. But the mechanistic view (now becoming oudated, actually) of matter somehow being able to produce consciousness, does not appear to be supported by the suttas.
It's a two-way street, isn't it? With vinnana as condition, namarupa. With namarupa as condition, vinnana.
  • "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: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:22 am

does saying the mind is separate from the body (brain), or saying it isn't, or saying it both is and isn't, or saying it neither is nor isn't lead to dispassion, not to passion, to being unfettered, not being fettered, to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': does it lead to release through non-clinging. If so, then one of these positions is held by the Buddha, but i'd think not because...


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then the wanderer Vacchagotta went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he asked the Blessed One: "How is it, Master Gotama, does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is not eternal: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is finite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The cosmos is infinite: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul & the body are the same: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'The soul is one thing and the body another: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata exists: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"Then does Master Gotama hold the view: 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless'?"

"...no..."

"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if he holds the view 'the cosmos is eternal...'... 'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist: only this is true, anything otherwise is worthless,' he says '...no...' in each case. Seeing what drawback, then, is Master Gotama thus entirely dissociated from each of these ten positions?"

"Vaccha, the position that 'the cosmos is eternal' is a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. It is accompanied by suffering, distress, despair, & fever, and it does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding.

"The position that 'the cosmos is not eternal'...

"...'the cosmos is finite'...

"...'the cosmos is infinite'...

"...'the soul & the body are the same'...

"...'the soul is one thing and the body another'...

"...'after death a Tathagata exists'...

"...'after death a Tathagata does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'... does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding."

"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origin, such its disappearance; such is perception... such are mental fabrications... such is consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading out, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsession with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."

"But, Master Gotama, the monk whose mind is thus released: Where does he reappear?"

"'Reappear,' Vaccha, doesn't apply."

"In that case, Master Gotama, he does not reappear."

"'Does not reappear,' Vaccha, doesn't apply."

"...both does & does not reappear."

"...doesn't apply."

"...neither does nor does not reappear."

"...doesn't apply."

"How is it, Master Gotama, when Master Gotama is asked if the monk reappears... does not reappear... both does & does not reappear... neither does nor does not reappear, he says, '...doesn't apply' in each case. At this point, Master Gotama, I am befuddled; at this point, confused. The modicum of clarity coming to me from your earlier conversation is now obscured."

"Of course you're befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you're confused. Deep, Vaccha, is this phenomenon, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. For those with other views, other practices, other satisfactions, other aims, other teachers, it is difficult to know. That being the case, I will now put some questions to you. Answer as you see fit. What do you think, Vaccha: If a fire were burning in front of you, would you know that, 'This fire is burning in front of me'?"

"...yes..."

"And suppose someone were to ask you, Vaccha, 'This fire burning in front of you, dependent on what is it burning?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"...I would reply, 'This fire burning in front of me is burning dependent on grass & timber as its sustenance.'"

"If the fire burning in front of you were to go out, would you know that, 'This fire burning in front of me has gone out'?"

"...yes..."

"And suppose someone were to ask you, 'This fire that has gone out in front of you, in which direction from here has it gone? East? West? North? Or south?' Thus asked, how would you reply?"

"That doesn't apply, Master Gotama. Any fire burning dependent on a sustenance of grass and timber, being unnourished — from having consumed that sustenance and not being offered any other — is classified simply as 'out' (unbound)."

"Even so, Vaccha, any physical form by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of form, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply.

"Any feeling... Any perception... Any mental fabrication...

"Any consciousness by which one describing the Tathagata would describe him: That the Tathagata has abandoned, its root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising. Freed from the classification of consciousness, Vaccha, the Tathagata is deep, boundless, hard to fathom, like the sea. 'Reappears' doesn't apply. 'Does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Both does & does not reappear' doesn't apply. 'Neither reappears nor does not reappear' doesn't apply."

When this was said, the wanderer Vacchagotta said to the Blessed One: "Master Gotama, it is as if there were a great sala tree not far from a village or town: From inconstancy, its branches and leaves would wear away, its bark would wear away, its sapwood would wear away, so that on a later occasion — divested of branches, leaves, bark, & sapwood — it would stand as pure heartwood. In the same way, Master Gotama's words are divested of branches, leaves, bark, & sapwood and stand as pure heartwood.

"Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or were to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."




I would liken mind/body dualism as simply a modern manifestation of soul/body dualism, abandon all views concerning it
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Viscid » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:26 am

gavesako wrote:Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum

Could the brain be using electromagnetic fields to communicate between hemispheres — the electromagnetic field theory of consciousness?

http://integral-options.blogspot.com/20 ... brain.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
First, the corpus callosum is not the only bridge between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. There is also the anterior commissure and the thalamus which could be used as an alternate pathway for communication.

Secondly, it should be somewhat expected that there would be 'synchrony' even if there was no direct connection between the left and right hemisphere. If both the left and right hemispheres are functionally similar, and are presented with the same stimulus (or lack thereof,) there would be little reason to see a major differences in their respective activity.

But I'm no neuroscientist, and neither are you. So, it's best not to jump the gun and use premature research to justify our own metaphysical beliefs.

I'm just :stirthepot: here though. I'd love there to be some weird quantum phenomena to explain consciousness-- but so far I have yet to see sufficient evidence (aside from the existence of my own subjective experience of reality) to demand such a thing to explain how a brain functions.

Edit: Also googled later and found that fMRI's temporal resolution is very poor, and it'd be quite impossible to see if there is any communication between the two hemispheres using that technology alone. fMRI's images are over a long period of time, like a time-lapse photograph, so you don't know what-fired-when, and thus one cannot see if one hemisphere's activity caused activity in the other hemisphere.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Cittasanto » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:30 am

danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:...correct me if I am wrong, but the body does have a form of electrical current also, a being is not just matter.
Hi Cittasanto,
"Glia do not communicate with electrical impulses [they do it with calcium ions] (The Other Brain, p. 52)."

Kind regards,
Daniel
did I say that? no.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Rui Sousa » Mon Jun 18, 2012 9:04 am

danieLion wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:...correct me if I am wrong, but the body does have a form of electrical current also, a being is not just matter.
Hi Cittasanto,
"Glia do not communicate with electrical impulses [they do it with calcium ions] (The Other Brain, p. 52)."

Kind regards,
Daniel
danieLion,

I believe Cittasanto was mentioning the neuronal electrical flow.
With Metta

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by intex » Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:40 am

Alex123 wrote:
intex wrote: from within the first-person perspective I am unable to experience myself as an external object like a 'brain'.
You can't directly see your eyes either.
In other words: No sense can appear to itself.
Alex123 wrote:
intex wrote:According to some, different functioning of the brain is responsible for different states of consciousness. Appearance of lump of flesh called brain can be similar. It is function of neurons, etc, that matters, and part of the cause for consciousness can be nervous system as well.

Of course we may never know the truth with absolute certainty, but there are good reasons for the above.
I agree. I think consciousness must depend on something which is 'beyond', otherwise it would not be anatta. If we regard consciousness as perspectivity, both ends of the perspective are matter: the internal end (eye, ear etc.) and the external end (forms, sounds etc.), so consciousness is 'stuck' between something which is beyond our control and therefore consciousness itself is beyond our control. That's how I see it at the moment.

Greetings

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Re: Uncertain Minds: How the West Misunderstands Buddhism

Post by Rui Sousa » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:04 am

manas wrote: I put this here for others to explain further, as my knowledge of pali is very limited, but I note that there is nothing in the definitions to suggest that consciousness is a product of the brain's activity, but only terms which validate the translation of 'supported here and bound up here'. Consciousness being 'bound up' with the body, however, could explain why the condition of the brain would influence consciousness. But the mechanistic view (now becoming oudated, actually) of matter somehow being able to produce consciousness, does not appear to be supported by the suttas.
Hi manas,

Picking up were you left it, we can look at other senses that are less polemic and obtain some information.

Sound waves induce movement in the internal ear components, each with its function and shape, and those movements generate electrical impulses in the nervous system that are propagated to the brain. All this happens on the rupa skhanda, for me. Any problem in the organ (ear) will affect the other skhandas, by altering the signal or by blocking the signal (deafness). So there will be no vedana originated from the earing rupa . Earing problems will also condition other skhanda, we migth ear "appealing" when the other person said "appaling" and this way we might feel something completely different.

I see the brain as the rupa that supports the sixth sense, in the same way the ear, with all its mechanics, supports earing. If I take substances that alter the chemicals of the brain thoughts will be altered, as signals from the other senses will aso be altered, and I will loose contact with reality. That is how I understood that I should stop drinking alchool. It would be like walking around with a piece of cloth in front of my eyes, changing everyhing I would see. A disease in any of the sense organs will condition my perception of the world, this includes brain tumors, strokes and chemicals problems in the brain.

The leap from rupa to nama is something I don't understand. How electrical signals in the brain condition vedana, sañña, sankhara and viññana is beyond my understanding. But I can easily understand and accept the nama-rupa bound and mutual support relationship.

Metta
With Metta

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