Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Mawkish1983
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:00 am

The neurosurgeon never mentioned rebirth.

whynotme
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:14 am

mikenz66 wrote:
whynotme wrote: ... do you think how many people understood what Einstein said when he said about specific relativity theory? Or how many people actually understand quantum physics?
Of course, it depends on what you mean by "understood". Hundreds of thousands of us understand those things well enough to be able to design lasers and semiconductor devices that work, and make the relativistic corrections (special and general) that make your GPS navigation system possible...

:anjali:
Mike
Of course, or should I fix it for you, hundreds of thousands of scientists and engineers understood the effect of the theory (not the theory itself) or understood the theory as a tool well enough to be able to design lasers and semiconductor devices that work.

It is quite different between understanding a theory and understanding how to apply that theory. And in fact, applied engineers who design laser or semiconductor device don't care much about what quantum theory's meaning is, only physicists care

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whynotme
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:18 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:Evidence should be objective.
That is a serious problem. Tell me, I am seeing the red color, is red color objective or subjective?

I see the red color, my brain has the state xyz, you see the red color, your brain has the state xyz, is that enough to say my red color is the same as your red color? What if in fact my red color is similar to your blue color?

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whynotme
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by whynotme » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:34 am

helparcfun wrote:
whynotme wrote: Also what evidence do you require to support rebirth?
Regards
Well, before we can even talk about evidence, we need to establish what "rebirth" involves. If you care to explain how rebirth is supposed to work maybe then we can talk about what evidence would be required. If you are saying that there is some kind of "soul" that transfers itself from a dead person to a person being born, then we need to know the location of this "soul" or whatever you want to call it so we can scientifically analyse how the soul gets from the dead person to the live person. If, however, you are saying that when someone is born they somehow inbibe a dead persons memories then we need to establish how these memories came to be put into the born persons mind. As far as I'm aware, at present there is no scientific method which could do any of this.

If you believe in rebirth, that's fine, you are of course free to believe what you want, but just like the belief in God, it should be simply a matter of "faith." As I've already said, religious people should not try to prove their beliefs by scientific methods - it'll never work.

History is rife with examples where science has proved religion wrong- it's a one way street. Nowhere that I'm aware of are there examples where religion has proved science wrong.

I am open to persuasion if anyone can show me examples where a religion has proved science wrong.
Well, of course that's right, except that you should understand the concept you are working with.

In science, sometimes they used thought experiment, should we use it here as you already mention the possibility of transmission of memory from a brain to another to explain the phenomenon? Here are some thought experiences to identify the soul:

Human, as assumed by science is a structure of material, then all of memory, emotion, personality, skills are all based on this structure, right? So if it is a structure, we copy the info of that structure then destroy it, i.e kill that person, burn his body into dust, none of his was left. Then based on the info of his body structure, assume that we have the technology to build a biology structure then duplicate his structure exactly. A new structure exists with the same memory, personality, emotion, skills as the person we destroyed. Do you consider he is the same person as the man we killed?

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Mawkish1983
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:07 am

whynotme wrote:
Mawkish1983 wrote:Evidence should be objective.
That is a serious problem. Tell me, I am seeing the red color, is red color objective or subjective?
Wavelengths can be objectively measured. The 'subjective experience' of colour, however, has nothing to do with physics. Maybe philosophy, not physics. Physics deals in what can be objectively measured, quantified and compared quantitatively so that predictions can be made.

I don't understand how subjective experience of colour has anything to do with the bold, and erroneous, claim the neurosurgeon made; that his memory of an experience constitutes evidence (he even says 'proof') of an objective realm beyond our typical living experience. THAT is the poppycock statement.

helparcfun
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by helparcfun » Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:14 pm

Rebirth is, to me, the most parsimonious, logical, and "safe" theory to adopt because it is the one that aligns best with the nature of the mind, which we can directly, scientifically see through meditation. Rebirth is the theory that we come to when we examine the mind with clear comprehension, make sense of the mechanisms at work, and then seek to find a consistent explanation for how those mechanisms function upon the breakup of the physical body.
Would you accept that this is rebirth to you because you are a practicing Buddhist? In other words, to a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Jain etc etc, who also have their own "versions" of rebirth, it would mean something a little different.

The point here is that different religions have vastly different views on many things and often contradict each other. The question is, they can't all be right, can they? How do you square that? One religion says this, another says, NO that's not right, this is true. This is the insurmountable problem I have with all religion so I choose no religion. But that's not to say I wouldn't meditate occasionally. I do it because I feel it's good for my mind to simply STOP for a while.

Now, I completely understand why some people may be drawn to a particular religion (although most are probably simply born into and indoctrinated by it). I was once attracted to Buddhism, but now I don't feel that I need to follow any particular religion. This is mainly because of my experiences and ironically also the fact that I am married to a Buddhist, but that's another story!

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Sun Oct 21, 2012 3:01 pm

helparcfun wrote:Would you accept that this is rebirth to you because you are a practicing Buddhist? In other words, to a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Jain etc etc, who also have their own "versions" of rebirth, it would mean something a little different.
But their versions are not logically consistent with the examination of the mind.
The point here is that different religions have vastly different views on many things and often contradict each other. The question is, they can't all be right, can they? How do you square that? One religion says this, another says, NO that's not right, this is true. This is the insurmountable problem I have with all religion so I choose no religion. But that's not to say I wouldn't meditate occasionally. I do it because I feel it's good for my mind to simply STOP for a while.
Well geez, scientists do the same. In 1860, some people were Darwinians, some were creationists, some were Lamarckans, etc. Not every one was right, but exploring with intellectual honesty and rigor revealed the correct answer, right?

Are you an anarchist just because there are a lot of types of government that contradict each other?
Now, I completely understand why some people may be drawn to a particular religion (although most are probably simply born into and indoctrinated by it). I was once attracted to Buddhism, but now I don't feel that I need to follow any particular religion. This is mainly because of my experiences and ironically also the fact that I am married to a Buddhist, but that's another story!
There's nothing wrong with that, and I hope your spiritual path is rewarding!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

helparcfun
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by helparcfun » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:19 pm

LonesomeYogurt ,
Oh dear, it appears you have either completely missed the point or chose to ignore it. It seems clear to me that you believe what you do because you are a Buddhist.

Who are you to say that "their versions are not logically consistent with the examination of the mind." That sounds pretty subjective to me. You ask a Hindu or a Jain and they may well disagree with you.

So before you were a Buddhist you "examined the mind" and came to the conclusion that Buddhism had all the right answers, right? Or could it have been that Buddhism attracted you for some reason and then you began to practice Buddhist ways and then, eureka! it all made sense! Sounds like circular reasoning to me.
Well geez, scientists do the same. In 1860, some people were Darwinians, some were creationists, some were Lamarckans, etc. Not every one was right, but exploring with intellectual honesty and rigor revealed the correct answer, right?
I cannot believe you are serious about this one! Science changes, religion generally doesn't - that was my point. To use the term "creationists" in the same sentence as "scientist" is really unforgivable! :shock: If we showed incontrovertible proof that the earth is 6 billion years old, many creationists would still believe what it tells them in the bible (only 6000 years old)! It apparently doesn't say specifically 6000 years in the bible but that's what many Christians adhere to.
Are you an anarchist just because there are a lot of types of government that contradict each other?
Err well, yes, an anarchist would not be a completely wrong description of me but lets not get into politics eh? Actually, as you may know, anarchism and Buddhism have a lot in common.

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LonesomeYogurt
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Sun Oct 21, 2012 4:56 pm

helparcfun wrote:LonesomeYogurt ,
Oh dear, it appears you have either completely missed the point or chose to ignore it. It seems clear to me that you believe what you do because you are a Buddhist.
I believe what I do because I am Buddhist in the same way that you, a materialist, believe what you do because you are an Aristotelian; I doubt you have a religious devotion to Aristotle, but you think that he was right on many fundamental points because they agree with your own investigation, and thus fashion your belief system upon them. I am the same way. I think the Buddha "got it right."
Who are you to say that "their versions are not logically consistent with the examination of the mind." That sounds pretty subjective to me. You ask a Hindu or a Jain and they may well disagree with you.
Yes, they might. So? It doesn't matter what they think, or what I think. What matters is what the evidence itself argues for, and I'm confident that objective, first-hand research into the functioning of the mind presents a preponderance of evidence for a base of experience separate from the physical functioning of the brain and in accordance with Buddhist theory. The Jain or Hindu approaches to reincarnation are not consistent with observable reality, and I would happily defend that position using empirical examinations of the observable world.

Let me state this another way: A persistent unsolved question in physics relates to how the universe is going to end. Common theories include a Big Freeze, a Big Rip, a Big Crunch, a Big Bounce, and an infinitely recurring cyclic model. Many people disagree on this issue. I believe that the evidence supports an infinitely recurring cyclic model, and thus I believe that a Big Rip, for example, is not logically consistent with objective examination of our physical universe. Now, if I asked someone who was a proponent of the Big Freeze model, they would disagree. Does that mean that both our ideas are wrong, or that it is impossible to know either? No, it means we go to the evidence and have an honest, frank discussion about where it leads. I'd be happy to do that with you, but I'm not interested in having such a discussion until you can admit that the Buddhist method of examining the mind through meditation is as valid a way of gathering evidence about the mechanisms that drive mental activity as any scientific method of doing the same.
So before you were a Buddhist you "examined the mind" and came to the conclusion that Buddhism had all the right answers, right? Or could it have been that Buddhism attracted you for some reason and then you began to practice Buddhist ways and then, eureka! it all made sense! Sounds like circular reasoning to me.
Buddhism attracted me because it offered a sound, reasonable explanation of the mechanisms at work in the mind - mechanisms which showed themselves to be directly verifiable.
I cannot believe you are serious about this one! Science changes, religion generally doesn't - that was my point. To use the term "creationists" in the same sentence as "scientist" is really unforgivable! :shock: If we showed incontrovertible proof that the earth is 6 billion years old, many creationists would still believe what it tells them in the bible (only 6000 years old)! It apparently doesn't say specifically 6000 years in the bible but that's what many Christians adhere to.
Buddhism does change and adapt as science advances - do you see many Buddhists arguing that Mount Meru really exists anymore?

My point, as I made above, was that many people hold many different views, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a right one out there. I believe that the "right one" is an experience-based model of consciousness that migrates as propelled by craving, and I believe it because of evidence gathered through methods and assumptions as philosophically and scientifically rigorous as any Western psychology.
Err well, yes, an anarchist would not be a completely wrong description of me but lets not get into politics eh? Actually, as you may know, anarchism and Buddhism have a lot in common.
I err on the anarchic side as well; my point, however, was that you seem content to throw out all non-physical explanations of consciousness simply because some are definitely not empirically sound, whereas you would never take such an approach when it comes to any other philosophical position.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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gavesako
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by gavesako » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:33 pm

Something on this topic:
Extended interview with Rupert Sheldrake, a Cambridge scientist, including new ideas about out-of-the-body experiences and other well-reasoned ideas. He talks about the limitations of current science which adopts the materialist dogma and limiting consciousness to the brain. There is no funding for so-called para-normal research because this is decided by small committees and reflecting their views. The evidence for psychic phenomena is systematically dismissed because it does not fit in. Science is far from 'objective' but influenced by people's prejudices. Materialist dogmas are a kind of superstition as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frJpThIims8" 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
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Mawkish1983
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:11 pm

gavesako wrote:There is no funding for so-called para-normal research because this is decided by small committees and reflecting their views. The evidence for psychic phenomena is systematically dismissed because it does not fit in. Science is far from 'objective' but influenced by people's prejudices. Materialist dogmas are a kind of superstition as well.
You are wrong.

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gavesako
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by gavesako » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:18 pm

This is a quote from Sheldrake in the interview. Very interesting talk about the limitations of the materialistic view of science which holds that consciousness is inside the brain. Instead, consciousness can be seen as field phenomena which stretch out beyond the brain. The dream body and being able to influence external reality in lucid dreams. Transfer of memories from past lives to another body might be due to morphic fields which shape our body after birth and might also explain birthmarks in some children.

'We know that our dreams are very influenced by our preoccupations, by our fears, our desires, we can have nightmares which are usually about being trapped or being chased by some destructive force like a monster. All these things may happen after we are dead, and it might be like being in a dream from which you cannot wake up. It is much better to start from our experience rather than from brain physiology when we are investigating the afterlife.'
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

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daverupa
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by daverupa » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:12 pm

gavesako wrote:It is much better to start from our experience rather than from brain physiology when we are investigating the afterlife.'
MN 2 wrote:"This is how he attends inappropriately: ...Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?'
It is better not to engage that particular inquiry in the first place, isn't it?

Inappropriate attention leads to wrong view...

(see also my signature; kammapatha includes right view, which is had by attending appropriately to the four truths and dukkha for the sake of the destruction of the asavas - not 'the afterlife')
  • "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]

whynotme
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by whynotme » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:33 am

Mawkish1983 wrote:
gavesako wrote:There is no funding for so-called para-normal research because this is decided by small committees and reflecting their views. The evidence for psychic phenomena is systematically dismissed because it does not fit in. Science is far from 'objective' but influenced by people's prejudices. Materialist dogmas are a kind of superstition as well.
You are wrong.
Yes, even intelligence agencies like CIA or KGB were interested in this so called para normal research. But as I see, the bridge between physical and metal worlds can't be well understood, i.e the hard problem of consciousness
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whynotme
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Re: Neurosurgeon's visit to heaven - proof of afterlife?

Post by whynotme » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:56 am

helparcfun wrote:
Rebirth is, to me, the most parsimonious, logical, and "safe" theory to adopt because it is the one that aligns best with the nature of the mind, which we can directly, scientifically see through meditation. Rebirth is the theory that we come to when we examine the mind with clear comprehension, make sense of the mechanisms at work, and then seek to find a consistent explanation for how those mechanisms function upon the breakup of the physical body.
Would you accept that this is rebirth to you because you are a practicing Buddhist? In other words, to a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Jain etc etc, who also have their own "versions" of rebirth, it would mean something a little different.

The point here is that different religions have vastly different views on many things and often contradict each other. The question is, they can't all be right, can they? How do you square that? One religion says this, another says, NO that's not right, this is true. This is the insurmountable problem I have with all religion so I choose no religion. But that's not to say I wouldn't meditate occasionally. I do it because I feel it's good for my mind to simply STOP for a while.

Now, I completely understand why some people may be drawn to a particular religion (although most are probably simply born into and indoctrinated by it). I was once attracted to Buddhism, but now I don't feel that I need to follow any particular religion. This is mainly because of my experiences and ironically also the fact that I am married to a Buddhist, but that's another story!
It is the problem of you, not the problem of religion

There are people tell the truth, and people tell the lie, then you hear both of them then you see they contradict each other and choose to not believe anyone, so that is the problem of you, not the problem of the truth.

The wise one will think, these people contradict each other, maybe all of them are lying, maybe some of them speak the truth. If one of them speak the truth and I reject them all, I will lose the benefit of the truth can bring to me. So he example each version and find if the truth is there.

I don't know what is your background, but in science, in fields relate to practice like biology, medicine or applied science, there is no black and white, true or false, but theories are based on possibility, approximation, even sometimes scientists use phenomena they don't understand well, e.g room temperature superconductor.. So true science spirit is very open, and it is quite normal to said there is evidence of rebirth like remember past life, it has possibility. Based on what you said and the way you see the world, I believe you have never worked deep on science, you just use science as a tool to reject everything you don't like. Feel free to do so.

I tell you this, maybe there are many people came to Buddhism as tradition, culture, or just they like it. But the core of Buddhism is for the elite, the wise, the Buddha said that, and it is normal for you that you don't understand the Buddhism spirit and see it as every other religion.

Regards
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