Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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mettafuture
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Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by mettafuture » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:33 pm

To reconcile some of the faith-based teachings, I've sought ways to link them with nature.

A couple examples:
  • Perhaps kamma and rebirth are linked to natural selection, and natural selection can also apply to behavior.
  • Perhaps there is a multiverse, and this multiverse encompasses the thirty-one planes of existence, and all combinations of life—including devas.
I can't comfortably accept something without grounding it in something tangible, and these interpretations have worked for me.

Have you attempted similar reconciliations?

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retrofuturist
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:35 am

Greetings mettafuture,
mettafuture wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:33 pm
Have you attempted similar reconciliations?
No, and I have often seen people misrepresent and misunderstand the teachings by making false comparisons to nature. For example, this is how "dependent origination" comes to be misunderstood in some quarters as an interconnection between all things, rather than a process by which individuals create sankhata-dhammas and generate dukkha.

Mind you, the Buddha himself did use analogies involving the natural world when explaining the Dhamma, so it's not that it's inherently wrong per se, it's just that if we try to do so ourselves, we risk ossifying our wrong conclusions and wrong views, out of a reverence for nature.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

SarathW
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:55 am

Yes I tried to do the same in my early learning.
But they all are just views.
We have to believe kamma, re-birth and Nibbana on faith unless we can experience them ourselves.
What is sure is what you experience in you mindfulness meditation.
The problem is we can't trust any of our six senses.


Being happy without a reason
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“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

chownah
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by chownah » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:07 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:55 am

We have to believe kamma, re-birth and Nibbana on faith unless we can experience them ourselves.
No we don't.
chownah

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:32 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:07 am
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:55 am

We have to believe kamma, re-birth and Nibbana on faith unless we can experience them ourselves.
No we don't.
chownah
Lord budda explains that the beings and the earth are a process of kamma , and expresses that
beings are processed by kamma
worlds are processed by kamma
kamma binds beings and earth as the hinge of a chariot wheel as ( kammana vattathi loko , kammana vattathi paja , ...............) in vasetta sutta.
I cannot remember the full pali verse , hope somebody will .
We can easily see the truth of this with the ill effects of ozone by CO in refregeration, effects of using chemicals for agriculture to gain profits, ill effects of commercial use of liquor, ill effects of using sex as a commercial venture , ill effects of mass killing of animals etc. against vegetable usage, to summarise , commercial ventures against five precepts.
The link between nature and kamma is not difficult hence to be experienced , if we open our eyes around us where we are living.

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mettafuture
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by mettafuture » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:35 am
I have often seen people misrepresent and misunderstand the teachings by making false comparisons to nature.
I don’t take these interpretations—or maybe they're better described as "analogies"—as definitive. They’re simply a soft ground to stand on, something to provide orientation. Otherwise, I'd have very little to place my faith on.
SarathW wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:55 am
We have to believe kamma, re-birth and Nibbana on faith unless we can experience them ourselves.
I generally agree. But, for me, belief alone didn't satisfy the "why", as in why should I believe in the unseen and unconfirmed. In my experience, finding links—even if a bit ambiguous—between the Dhamma and nature helped make sense of how processes like kamma and nibanna potentially operated.

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by rightviewftw » Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:04 am

mettafuture wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:33 pm
To reconcile some of the faith-based teachings, I've sought ways to link them with nature.

A couple examples:
  • Perhaps kamma and rebirth are linked to natural selection, and natural selection can also apply to behavior.
  • Perhaps there is a multiverse, and this multiverse encompasses the thirty-one planes of existence, and all combinations of life—including devas.
I can't comfortably accept something without grounding it in something tangible, and these interpretations have worked for me.

Have you attempted similar reconciliations?
I think one will probably end up very confused trying to reconcile kamma with natural selection because both concepts are not very well pinned down in general.

In regards to a multiverse, this is not reconcilable with the various planes of existence as i understand it.

As i think about it a different universe would per definition contain information unavailable for cognition from within of another universe. Thus being completely outside of conjecture it is basically an X of which zero information exists and which existence can not be derived from the information in this system if that makes sense. As i see it there could per definition be absolutely no evidence of that universe found in this universe because both are supposedly closed systems of information, i think that this reason alone makes the postulation of a different universe is unreasonable and confines it to the realm of fantasy.

I am of course operating with particular definitions of what is information, a universe and events such as big bang. The various definitions of popular science might allow for different theories due to not being as precise. In my opinion that is.

I think the Dhamma is well reconciled with experimental physics and behavioral biology, in particular the aspects pertaining to experimentation.
I think that Bhikkhu Samahita does a decent job of it here ie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Po56ZCEortU

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by Laurens » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:25 am

Rebirth and past kamma relate so little to day to day practise that you don't have to make analogies, and draw parallels in order to make yourself believe them. I think about the kamma, or intention of my actions in the present, but aside from that Buddhism works pretty well regardless of whether or not I lived a past life, or multiple past lives.

That is not to say you should go forth in your practise confidently thinking that the Buddha was wrong and you are right. That rebirth and kamma are nonsense and you'd have to be a fool to believe them. In my view denying things that you cannot currently know is just as bad as accepting them on blind faith. Its okay to put these things in the 'I don't know' box. Soon enough you will see that it doesn't matter that you don't know. When you read Buddhists talk about rebirth you can think 'maybe they are right, I'll try to live as though they are just in case'.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Bundokji
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by Bundokji » Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:39 am

Interpreting the world by using the teachings is something i personally do, and i think its a good practice.

Understanding the law of Kamma makes us more skillful in selecting our thoughts. We don't only select views because they are accurate, but we become more aware of how views have consequences especially to our behavior.

However, whatever glasses we use to view reality, it becomes a cause of suffering sooner or later. I guess those who understood the Buddha's teachings have relegated thoughts to its right place, it is no longer the center of their being.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

SarathW
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by SarathW » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:10 am

Its okay to put these things in the 'I don't know' box. Soon enough you will see that it doesn't matter that you don't know. When you read Buddhists talk about rebirth you can think 'maybe they are right, I'll try to live as though they are just in case'.
This is how I see things now.
What matters is to eliminate Dukkha right now for yourself and others.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by paul » Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:38 am

:goodpost:
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 5:39 am
Understanding the law of Kamma makes us more skillful in selecting our thoughts. We don't only select views because they are accurate, but we become more aware of how views have consequences especially to our behavior.
You can see the operation of kamma in this life, and it should become the very basis of practice, that is what mundane right view means. The key to seeing it is the understanding that fruition of kamma occurs when conditions are suitable, and the originating event and the subsequent fruition are linked. Having a working knowledge of kamma vipaka is pivotal in overcoming self as a motivator, that is actions become the practitioner's central reference, not passions.

The tree and its fruit is a metaphor for the action of kamma, but there is a division between conventional and ultimate reality.

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:21 am

mettafuture wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:33 pm
Have you attempted similar reconciliations?
The natural world is full of impermanence, full of conditionality, and there is both beauty and suffering. And I am part of that natural world.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

justindesilva
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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by justindesilva » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:18 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:21 am
mettafuture wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:33 pm
Have you attempted similar reconciliations?
The natural world is full of impermanence, full of conditionality, and there is both beauty and suffering. And I am part of that natural world.
In a world of impermanece suffering is an inevitable event. This is why we have to follow the noble eight fold path (arya ashtangika marga) , to minimise such suffering and to lead to nirvana , though it is not close at hand.

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by budo » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:27 am

In my opinion, grounding it in nature is not necessary if you just need one thing to negate it all.

For example:

It took us 100 years to go from zero computers to computers that are on the verge of simulating a reality that you couldn't differentiate from our own reality. Therefore what is "real" is simply what is consistent, not necessarily what is true. If a simulation is 100% consistent with your previous memories then you will not know you're in a simulation. This is why people aren't aware they're dreaming unless something triggers them to become lucid, that trigger is usually some form of inconsistency with their memories which leads to mindfulness. For example: seeing two moons -> consistency broken -> mindfulness (remembering + discerning) -> lucidity in the dream. If you lived on a planet with two moons this wouldn't trigger lucidity because the consistency stays the same and isn't broken.

So a multi-verse theory is irrelevant. You could be living in one of infinite simulations for all you know. You can't prove an objective reality, all you can prove is a consistent reality, which you believe is shared with other people.

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Re: Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

Post by befriend » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:54 am

😀nature is kamma beings inhabit the world created by their actions. That's why earth has good things and bad things, humans have good qualities like kindness, patience, but they also have hate and arrogance thats why earth is part pleasure part pain. Gods are reborn in a plane consistent with there past actions they followed the five precepts and were generous at the least so there worlds are more pleasant than earth. We can see the animal realm is from ignorance as animals generally don't have much time for meta awareness meaning they can't think about things like is the world round what is the meaning of life why am I a dog.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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