Plants ~ Borderline Beings?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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andre9999
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Re: Plant Life

Post by andre9999 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:41 am

Ron, this thread isn't making as much sense as you think it is.

If you can't get people to agree on what defines sentience, then there is no point in all the examples. Maybe start there. Is it feeling? Perceiving? Choice?

Individual
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Re: Plant Life

Post by Individual » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:21 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Individual wrote: You can choose to be nicer to plants or not; you could choose to starve yourself or not. This could be a neat motivation for scientific research, but it also could cause suffering and insanity. Hence pondering the specifics of kamma is an imponderable.
Yes. In the vegetarian vs. carnivore thread this dhamma comes to light. We have a choice to make. As our ignorance is lifted, we must then decide to act in light of our newly gained knowledge, otherwise, what would be the point of enlightenment.

My single point is that due to our ignorance in the past we made choices out of ignorance. Now we are somewhat less ignorant. Do we use the excuse that The Theravada suttas were written during a period of our ignorance and therefore we must ignore what we now have learned?

My response is no!
You may have a valid point, but I think there is a lot more to establish here before creating any new theories or ideas. For instance, if we can't establish a broadly accepted (and scientifically accepted!) notion of rebirth and devas, it doesn't seem all that important to focus on clarifying to people the sentience of plants.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:41 pm

andre9999 wrote:Ron, this thread isn't making as much sense as you think it is.

If you can't get people to agree on what defines sentience, then there is no point in all the examples. Maybe start there. Is it feeling? Perceiving? Choice?

Thanks for the suggestion andre. But sentience need not be the issue. We have already agreed that plants are alive, and the precepts respect all life. "Cause no harm to living beings."

Would anyone other than me and the two definitions already provided like to define sentience for us? :coffee:

When you who stand on "the other side" of this discussion decide, let me know and I will then chime in.

How's that?
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:51 pm

Individual wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:
Individual wrote: You can choose to be nicer to plants or not; you could choose to starve yourself or not. This could be a neat motivation for scientific research, but it also could cause suffering and insanity. Hence pondering the specifics of kamma is an imponderable.
Yes. In the vegetarian vs. carnivore thread this dhamma comes to light. We have a choice to make. As our ignorance is lifted, we must then decide to act in light of our newly gained knowledge, otherwise, what would be the point of enlightenment.

My single point is that due to our ignorance in the past we made choices out of ignorance. Now we are somewhat less ignorant. Do we use the excuse that The Theravada suttas were written during a period of our ignorance and therefore we must ignore what we now have learned?

My response is no!
You may have a valid point, but I think there is a lot more to establish here before creating any new theories or ideas. For instance, if we can't establish a broadly accepted (and scientifically accepted!) notion of rebirth and devas, it doesn't seem all that important to focus on clarifying to people the sentience of plants.
I don't think post-mortem rebirth, devas, gods or even Brahmas have anything to do with what Buddha taught. --- "Remember his analogy of the leafs he had in his hand versu the leaves in the forest as to what he taught." --- My guess is that story telling got mixed in with what Buddha himself taught over the centuries, much like in The Jataka Tales for Children.

I have had monks who divulged to me that they have even abandoned The Commentaries for the same reason. They stick purely to what Buddha taught and still we are stuck with iffy translations. For example one venerable said that instead of "Right View", etc......He instead uses the term "Harmonious View, etc." to describe The Noble Eight Fold Path. And his reason: It simply makes more sense and does less harm than identifying something as right, which leaves everything and everybody else to be wrong.

I like that term: "Harmonious!" So, with regard to Right Speech, it is better to speak and write only that which is harmonious, instead of that which is "right"....as in "I am right!" and therefore, you are wrong.

On that basis we probably should lock this thread at this point because it has identified so many attachments, which has made it anything, but harmonious.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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andre9999
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Re: Plant Life

Post by andre9999 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:54 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:Thanks for the suggestion andre. But sentience need not be the issue.
Nice try, but here's how you ended your first post in the thread.
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Therefore, I hereby submit my vote to allow plants to join the sentient community of life-forms on this planet.
The OP is about whether plants are in the rebirth cycle. The next post said they are not sentient. The third post, yours, says that they should be sentient.

So at this point, well... what is your point?

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Re: Plant Life

Post by Individual » Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:27 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote: I don't think post-mortem rebirth, devas, gods or even Brahmas have anything to do with what Buddha taught. --- "Remember his analogy of the leafs he had in his hand versu the leaves in the forest as to what he taught." --- My guess is that story telling got mixed in with what Buddha himself taught over the centuries, much like in The Jataka Tales for Children.

I have had monks who divulged to me that they have even abandoned The Commentaries for the same reason. They stick purely to what Buddha taught and still we are stuck with iffy translations. For example one venerable said that instead of "Right View", etc......He instead uses the term "Harmonious View, etc." to describe The Noble Eight Fold Path. And his reason: It simply makes more sense and does less harm than identifying something as right, which leaves everything and everybody else to be wrong.

I like that term: "Harmonious!" So, with regard to Right Speech, it is better to speak and write only that which is harmonious, instead of that which is "right"....as in "I am right!" and therefore, you are wrong.

On that basis we probably should lock this thread at this point because it has identified so many attachments, which has made it anything, but harmonious.
Is it truly harmonious if it results in discussions like this?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Plant Life

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:00 pm

Individual wrote: Is it truly harmonious if it results in discussions like this?
Right! It is not harmonious, because ignorance causes dukkha. Whenever there is ignorance, and where ever there is one who seeks to alleviate the ignorance of others, when they don't want to know about it, there is dukkha.

So, we now have a quandry: "Do we tell folks that they are on a planet shaped like a globe or not?" "Do we reveal to them that bacteria and not demons are the cause of many diseases?" "Do we reveal to folks that burning wood, coal, and oil leads to toxins in the air that cause cancer, melt glaciers, raise water levels around the planet, and cause shoreline communities to disappear beneath the ocean or not?" None of these appear in the suttas.

What does appear in the suttas repeatedly is: "Cause no harm to living beings."

What to do? :popcorn:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Plant Life

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:10 pm

andre9999 wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Thanks for the suggestion andre. But sentience need not be the issue.
Nice try, but here's how you ended your first post in the thread.
Ron-The-Elder wrote:Therefore, I hereby submit my vote to allow plants to join the sentient community of life-forms on this planet.
The OP is about whether plants are in the rebirth cycle. The next post said they are not sentient. The third post, yours, says that they should be sentient.

So at this point, well... what is your point?
My point is that without a definition that all others agree on, there is little point in going on. As far as I am concerned plants meet all the criteria of sentience as posted in previous threads. But, others do not agree. So now what? You tell me. All we are going to do is play ping pong with each other. I'm not up for that and therefore see no point in going forward. Folks are welcome to their opinions, regardless of whether or not they agree with reality.

We will just have to agree to disagree.

To correct you if I may, the real issue is that plants are not included in The 31 Planes of Existence, just as they were not included in the Abrahemic God's list of living creatures to be given berths on Noah's Arc. A very dubious choice in both cases given the fact that we know that plants are living creatures, and without any doubt on my part sentient by modern understanding of the word sentience given the definition in each dictionary in which I have looked it up.

But, we are now going in circles. As was stated previously this thread is not harmonious. So the only way to stop is to stop.

Let's pretend the Earth is flat and the moon is made of Swiss Cheese.

Suggest that the board monitor close and lock the thread.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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kirk5a
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Re: Plant Life

Post by kirk5a » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:18 pm

Ron-The-Elder wrote:
What does appear in the suttas repeatedly is: "Cause no harm to living beings."

What to do? :popcorn:
While non-harm is an important and noble aspiration, it's not possible to continue to live and follow that with absolute purity. We cause harm by accident, unknowingly, such a stepping on unseen bugs. And we have to at least eat plant matter to survive, which requires we kill them. I have no problem accepting the difference between a live plant and a dead plant. I can see live trees in my yard, and dead trees, and there is a difference. I don't need to go to "sentience" to see they are alive and their life shares much in common with the life that goes on in my own body. But how am I only going to eat only non-killed dead plants and never accidentally harm anything? Not possible.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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andre9999
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Re: Plant Life

Post by andre9999 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:19 pm

I thought we should all just try to agree on what constitutes sentience, but I guess that would be another thread anyway.

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bodom
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Re: Plant Life

Post by bodom » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:20 pm

*MODERATOR NOTE*

The thread has run its course and is going in circles. Time to shut it down.


:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Plants in Buddhism - Idea of B. Nature of Grasses an Trees

Post by hanzze_ » Sat May 26, 2012 2:58 am

I thought to make a topic where it is possible to quote and list sources in relation to plants found in ancient Texts and explainings. It's a thematic which has some absolutism or a kind of stepmotherly treatment (sometimes for the propose of worldly projects or commented in regard of worldly proposes) and I guess its very important to get much impression of the early teachings in this regard.

Plants in Early Buddhism the Far Eastern Idea of the Buddha Nature of Grasses and Trees as free online document and pdf download on www.scribd.com.


Image

Publications University Hamburg - Center for Buddhist Studies

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cooran
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Re: Plants in Buddhism - Idea of B. Nature of Grasses an Trees

Post by cooran » Sat May 26, 2012 4:23 am

Dear Hanzze,

There has already been a 5 page discussion (now locked) about this topic in the Open Dhamma forum – you were part of that discussion:

Plant Life
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6822" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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manas
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Re: Plants in Buddhism - Idea of B. Nature of Grasses an Trees

Post by manas » Sat May 26, 2012 5:12 am

cooran wrote:Dear Hanzze,

There has already been a 5 page discussion (now locked) about this topic in the Open Dhamma forum – you were part of that discussion:

Plant Life
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=6822" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
Hi Chris,

I think it's a fascinating topic, is there any reason why it was locked before? I understand it can become an endless debate, but we have other 'endless debates' here, that are allowed to continue, ad infinitum... :?:

_/I\_
Knowing this body is like a clay jar,
securing this mind like a fort,
attack Mara with the spear of discernment,
then guard what's won without settling there,
without laying claim.

- Dhp 40

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cooran
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Re: Plants in Buddhism - Idea of B. Nature of Grasses an Trees

Post by cooran » Sat May 26, 2012 5:23 am

Hello manas,

I suggest that you read the thread, there were some good posts initially and throughout, but, in the end, it started to go in circles.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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