polarbuddha101 wrote:My main point was simply that it is clear human beings cannot touch the sun and it seems highly highly highly improbable that the human mind is capable of bending the laws of physics like we're in the matrix. Furthermore, we can't be sure that the Buddha actually said people could do those things as opposed to them being added to entice those people who won't follow a teaching unless it proclaims supernormal powers have been developed by its adherents or that perhaps that verse was figurative
You are right. To speak bluntly, the Buddha left no books and no audio recordings. The suttas were compiled and edited by "500" Arhants after Buddha's death if we are to believe one recession of Vinaya. We have NO certain
proof that the historical Buddha has said anything that is in the Suttas. While I believe that they are close and at least are VERY wise, and I like many things in them - we can never be certain for sure that some things were not added for some reason, or some metaphors were taken too literally. Also perhaps some people paid too much attention to words, and not enough to the intention behind them. Anyhow, I believe that one should put whatever one can into practice.
There are suttas where sun is said to rotate around the Earth, fish the size of 500 yojanas (5,000km!!!)... There are suttas that talk about city that existed for 100,000s of years. If we study when previous Buddha's have lived in India, we would have to totally rewrite and throw out the theory of evolution. If I am correct, Buddha Kassapa lived more than 500 millions of years ago. Yeh, right... Also, there doesn't seem to be any reference to the importance of the brain for sense cognition. Sense cognition does NOT happen in the organs themselves, it happens in the brain. There is no such thing as "Eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness
", etc. There is seeing, hearing, etc, and it all is consciousness (as complex neural process
) that happens in the brain - not in the sense organs themselves.
As Ven. Paññobhāsa Bhikkhu has said:
a) It is readily apparent that the authors of Abhidhamma philosophy were completely ignorant of the function, even the existence, of the human nervous system. Sensory consciousness is claimed to occur in the sense organs themselves, not in the brain; for example, visual consciousness supposedly arises in seven layers of (elemental and ultimately real) visually sensitive matter located on the anterior surface of the eyeball. Rather than relying upon the presence of sensory nerve endings, the material basis of tactile sensation (also one of the 82 “ultimate realities”) is said to uniformly pervade the body like oil soaking a tuft of cotton wool, being everywhere except in hair, nails, and hard, dry skin. The Pali word “matthaluṅga,” i.e., “brain,” is conspicuously absent in the canonical Abhidhamma texts (while in the commentarial literature the brain is declared to be a large lump of inert bone marrow and the source of nasal mucus); according to the Abhidhamma scholars, thought arises not in the brain but in a small quantity of variously colored blood contained in a chamber of the heart. This belief is closely interrelated with the fundamental concept that all mentality is strictly linear, only one specific image at a time existing in the mind, arising and passing away spontaneously through the metaphysical power of kamma. The generally prevalent and empirically consistent concept of a complex, physical generator of feeling and thought is quite foreign to Abhidhamma, and modern attempts to reconcile the two result in what is essentially doublethink.
b) The classical abhidhammic theory of matter primarily deals with 28 supposed elemental qualities which are never found alone, but are always combined in or associated with quasi-atomic particles called “rūpakalāpas.” The naïve realism underlying this philosophy is manifest, and furthermore has been scientifically obsolete for centuries. As an example the four (“ultimately real”) secondary material qualities supposedly present in all rūpakalāpas—color, odor, flavor, and nutritional essence—will be very briefly considered. The formulators of the theory evidently did not perceive that color, as such, exists only in the mind and is merely a symbolic interpretation of a certain bandwidth of electromagnetic radiation; and that furthermore the hypothetical rūpakalāpa is much smaller than the smallest wavelength of visible light. An individual rūpakalāpa, unless, perhaps, it could somehow be identified with a photon, could be endowed with color only potentially and even then in a very abstract sense. The formulators also evidently did not perceive that odor and flavor exist only in the mind, and are the result of molecules and ions of certain configurations interacting with specific neurosensory receptor sites. And the formulators quite obviously did not perceive the vast complexity of human nutrition. A hydrogen atom, for example, if contained in a molecule of sucrose is endowed with a certain nutritional value; if in a molecule of ascorbic acid, another; if in a molecule of cholesterol, yet another; if in a molecule of cellulose, is non-nutritive; and if in a molecule of cyanide, is poisonous. In the case of nutrition, even more markedly than in the preceding cases, the configuration and interaction of complex groups of elementary particles is of primary importance in determining the attributes in question. Just as a single nail does not contain within it the absolute element of “houseness,” even so a single subnuclear quantum of matter does not contain within it odor, flavor, or nutritional value. And finally, although rūpakalāpas are declared by the authorities to be ubiquitous and of appreciable size by modern scientific standards (roughly the size of an electron according to one authority), no physicist or chemist in a normal, waking state of consciousness has ever experimentally isolated or otherwise verified the existence of one.