The Dhamma and Science

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Ceisiwr
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The Dhamma and Science

Post by Ceisiwr » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm

How do we approach Suttas which go against current scientific knowledge? For example, modern science tells us that a Big Crunch and a cyclic universe is impossible due to the increasing rate of expansion of the universe. The only two options are the Big Rip or the Big Freeze. This contradicts the sutta below. How should we approach and interpret said suttas? Should we dismiss suttas that contradict science, or should we believe the suttas despite the science? If we simply dismiss the science because of faith, how does that make us any better than Christians who dismiss evolution because of their faith in the Bible and creationism?

Thoughts?

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time, friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion.” (Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta)

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by cappuccino » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:32 pm

All except arahants are reborn in one or another of the thirty-one planes.
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by Virgo » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:45 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm
The only two options are the Big Rip or the Big Freeze.
Yes, that's right... at the present moment in time.

Those are just hypotheses, by the way. Neither qualify as hard science since they haven't been subjected to the scientific method, which they never will be.
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by DNS » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:52 pm

Virgo wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:45 pm
clw_uk wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm
The only two options are the Big Rip or the Big Freeze.
Yes, that's right... at the present moment in time.

Those are just hypotheses, by the way. Neither qualify as hard science since they haven't been subjected to the scientific method, which they never will be.
Virgo is correct. We don't know for sure that it is only Big Rip or Big Freeze. Science adjusts all the time, revises it theories all the time. Not too long ago the world was operating under Newtonian physics; now it's Einstein physics. I'm not a physicist, but I heard from someone who has a lot of natural science background that even some of Einstein's theories will probably be disproved or discredited in the near future.

I don't think the Suttas provide a picture-perfect view of astronomy, but considering they were developed around 2,500 years ago, I find them amazingly close. For example a re-evolving world system. This could be discussing the birth and death of solar systems, which we do know does happen.

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by 2600htz » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:01 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm
How do we approach Suttas which go against current scientific knowledge? For example, modern science tells us that a Big Crunch and a cyclic universe is impossible due to the increasing rate of expansion of the universe. The only two options are the Big Rip or the Big Freeze. This contradicts the sutta below. How should we approach and interpret said suttas? Should we dismiss suttas that contradict science, or should we believe the suttas despite the science? If we simply dismiss the science because of faith, how does that make us any better than Christians who dismiss evolution because of their faith in the Bible and creationism?

Thoughts?

"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time, friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion.” (Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta)
Hello:

I go by common sense, direct experience and intuition (i know...).

Im no scientist, so can´t give you some exposition about the scientific method, but the Big Rip and the Big Freeze are just theories, propositions.
If im having bad vision: i go to the doctor, get a prescription, im even going to get laser surgery. Not because is "science", but because its common sense, i know its probably going to work, iv seen other people doing it, etc.

But about big topics like the origin of the universe, the nature of consciousness, cognition, the results of action, etc. Its common sense that science doesn´t know much yet.

So..if i see a sutta stating: it is impossible to fix eye problems, i will not trust it, or i would think: that was true at that time, not now.
If i see suttas about the universe, i think: its amazing how close their words are with modern theories. Maybe its true.

Regards.

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by SarathW » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:09 am

Buddha's core teaching is about the Four Noble Truths.
Can the science prove that the Four Noble Truths are incorrect?
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:27 am

Don't take science as absolute truth. Take science as a good working theory.
Don't take Buddhism as absolute truth. Take Buddhism as a good working theory.

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Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:21 am

The difference is:


The higher one's understanding in Science,
The higher one's ability to appreciate its
incompleteness.


The higher one's understanding in Buddha's Dhamma,
The higher one's the ability to appreciate its
completeness.
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  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Ceisiwr
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by Ceisiwr » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:27 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:21 am
The difference is:


The higher one's understanding in Science,
The higher one's ability to appreciate its
incompleteness.


The higher one's understanding in Buddha's Dhamma,
The higher one's the ability to appreciate its
completeness.

Huh?

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by JamesTheGiant » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:53 am

clw_uk wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:27 am
Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:21 am
The difference is:


The higher one's understanding in Science,
The higher one's ability to appreciate its
incompleteness.


The higher one's understanding in Buddha's Dhamma,
The higher one's the ability to appreciate its
completeness.

Huh?
How crazy, that's crystal clear and resonant with me.
No offense meant, it's just interesting how people's minds are different and interesting and not the same as me.

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by DooDoot » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:05 am

clw_uk wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:13 pm
This contradicts the sutta below. How should we approach and interpret said suttas?
"He recalls to mind his various temporary states in days gone by – one birth, or two or three or four or five births, 10 or 20, 30 or 50, a 100 or a 1,000 or a 100,000 births, through many cycles of cosmic contraction and cosmic expansion . . . Now there comes a time, when sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period of contraction, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been re-born in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, dwelling in glory; and thus they remain for a long, long period of time. Now there comes also a time, friends, when sooner or later, this universe begins to re-evolve by expansion.” (Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta)
The above is an English translation. Probably first the translation should be verified as accurate or not. Also, it might be useful if you quoted a valid source rather than Wikipedia. The quote appears to be a mixture from DN 1 and DN 27.
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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by DNS » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:27 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:05 am
The above is an English translation. Probably first the translation should be verified as accurate or not. Also, it might be useful if you quoted a valid source rather than Wikipedia. The quote appears to be a mixture from DN 1 and DN 27.
I believe it was from either the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation or Maurice Walsh's translation (Wisdom Publications).

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by DooDoot » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:52 am

DNS wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:27 am
I believe it was from either the Bhikkhu Bodhi translation or Maurice Walsh's translation (Wisdom Publications).
OK. Thanks DNS. I couldn't find the verse but now I found it.
There are some ascetics and brahmins who are partial eternalists :) , who assert that the self and the cosmos are partially eternal and partially not eternal on four grounds.

Santi, bhikkhave, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā ekaccasassatikā ekaccaasassatikā ekaccaṃ sassataṃ ekaccaṃ asassataṃ attānañca lokañca paññapenti catūhi vatthūhi.

And what are the four grounds on which they rely?

Te ca bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā kimāgamma kimārabbha ekaccasassatikā ekaccaasassatikā ekaccaṃ sassataṃ ekaccaṃ asassataṃ attānañca lokañca paññapenti catūhi vatthūhi?

There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos contracts.

Hoti kho so, bhikkhave, samayo, yaṃ kadāci karahaci dīghassa addhuno accayena ayaṃ loko saṃvaṭṭati.

As the cosmos contracts, sentient beings are mostly headed for the realm of streaming radiance.

Saṃvaṭṭamāne loke yebhuyyena sattā ābhassarasaṃvattanikā honti.

There they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

Te tattha honti manomayā pītibhakkhā sayaṃpabhā antalikkhacarā subhaṭṭhāyino, ciraṃ dīghamaddhānaṃ tiṭṭhanti.

There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos expands.

Hoti kho so, bhikkhave, samayo, yaṃ kadāci karahaci dīghassa addhuno accayena ayaṃ loko vivaṭṭati.

As it expands an empty mansion of Brahmā appears.

Vivaṭṭamāne loke suññaṃ brahmavimānaṃ pātubhavati.

Then a certain sentient being—due to the running out of their life-span or merit—passes away from that host of radiant deities and is reborn in that empty mansion of Brahmā.

Atha kho aññataro satto āyukkhayā vā puññakkhayā vā ābhassarakāyā cavitvā suññaṃ brahmavimānaṃ upapajjati.

There they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

So tattha hoti manomayo pītibhakkho sayampabho antalikkhacaro subhaṭṭhāyī, ciraṃ dīghamaddhānaṃ tiṭṭhati.

But after staying there all alone for a long time, they become dissatisfied and anxious:

Tassa tattha ekakassa dīgharattaṃ nivusitattā anabhirati paritassanā uppajjati:

‘Oh, if only another being would come to this state of existence.’

‘aho vata aññepi sattā itthattaṃ āgaccheyyun’ti.

Then other sentient beings—due to the running out of their life-span or merit—pass away from that host of radiant deities and are reborn in that empty mansion of Brahmā in company with that being.

Atha aññepi sattā āyukkhayā vā puññakkhayā vā ābhassarakāyā cavitvā brahmavimānaṃ upapajjanti tassa sattassa sahabyataṃ.

There they too are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

Tepi tattha honti manomayā pītibhakkhā sayaṃpabhā antalikkhacarā subhaṭṭhāyino, ciraṃ dīghamaddhānaṃ tiṭṭhanti.

https://suttacentral.net/dn1/en/sujato
There are some ascetics and brahmins who are eternalists, who assert that the self and the cosmos are eternal on four grounds.

Santi, bhikkhave, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā sassatavādā, sassataṃ attānañca lokañca paññapenti catūhi vatthūhi.

And what are the four grounds on which they rely?

Te ca bhonto samaṇabrāhmaṇā kimāgamma kimārabbha sassatavādā sassataṃ attānañca lokañca paññapenti catūhi vatthūhi?

It’s when some ascetic or brahmin—by dint of keen, resolute, committed, and diligent effort, and right focus—experiences an immersion of the heart of such a kind that they recollect their many kinds of past lives.

Idha, bhikkhave, ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusati, yathāsamāhite citte anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati.

That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the cosmos contracting, many eons of the cosmos expanding, many eons of the cosmos contracting and expanding. They remember: ‘There, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn somewhere else. There, too, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn here.’ And so they recollect their many kinds of past lives, with features and details.

Seyyathidaṃ—ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo tissopi jātiyo catassopi jātiyo pañcapi jātiyo dasapi jātiyo vīsampi jātiyo tiṃsampi jātiyo cattālīsampi jātiyo paññāsampi jātiyo jātisatampi jātisahassampi jātisatasahassampi anekānipi jātisatāni anekānipi jātisahassāni anekānipi jātisatasahassāni: ‘amutrāsiṃ evaṃnāmo evaṃgotto evaṃvaṇṇo evamāhāro evaṃsukhadukkhappaṭisaṃvedī evamāyupariyanto, so tato cuto amutra udapādiṃ; tatrāpāsiṃ evaṃnāmo evaṃgotto evaṃvaṇṇo evamāhāro evaṃsukhadukkhappaṭisaṃvedī evamāyupariyanto, so tato cuto idhūpapanno’ti. Iti sākāraṃ sauddesaṃ anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarati.

They say:
So evamāha:

‘The self and the cosmos are eternal, barren, steady as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar.
‘sassato attā ca loko ca vañjho kūṭaṭṭho esikaṭṭhāyiṭṭhito;

They remain the same for all eternity, while these sentient beings wander and transmigrate and pass away and rearise.

te ca sattā sandhāvanti saṃsaranti cavanti upapajjanti, atthi tveva sassatisamaṃ.

Why is that?
Taṃ kissa hetu?

Because by dint of keen, resolute, committed, and diligent effort, and right focus I experience an immersion of the heart of such a kind that I recollect my many kinds of past lives,

Ahañhi ātappamanvāya padhānamanvāya anuyogamanvāya appamādamanvāya sammāmanasikāramanvāya tathārūpaṃ cetosamādhiṃ phusāmi, yathāsamāhite citte anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussarāmi.

with features and details.

Because of this I know:

Imināmahaṃ etaṃ jānāmi:

“The self and the cosmos are eternal, barren, steady as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar.

“yathā sassato attā ca loko ca vañjho kūṭaṭṭho esikaṭṭhāyiṭṭhito;

They remain the same for all eternity, while these sentient beings wander and transmigrate and pass away and rearise.’

te ca sattā sandhāvanti saṃsaranti cavanti upapajjanti, atthi tveva sassatisaman”’ti.

This is the first ground on which some ascetics and brahmins rely to assert that the self and the cosmos are eternal.

Idaṃ, bhikkhave, paṭhamaṃ ṭhānaṃ, yaṃ āgamma yaṃ ārabbha eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā sassatavādā sassataṃ attānañca lokañca paññapenti.

https://suttacentral.net/dn1/en/sujato
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by DooDoot » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:58 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:11 am
Along with advancement (thanks to working) in Dhamma,
less questions remain.🙏🏻🙏🏻
The unsubstantiated bravado. So many posts here where these Buddhists can't even answer questions about Buddhism. :roll:

:focus:
Last edited by DooDoot on Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:23 am, edited 6 times in total.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: The Dhamma and Science

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:06 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:21 am
The difference is:


The higher one's understanding in Science,
The higher one's ability to appreciate its
incompleteness.


The higher one's understanding in Buddha's Dhamma,
The higher one's the ability to appreciate its
completeness.
Well said!

Scientists are for me like those fishermen with throw nets. They catch only things within reach of the net. They are building bigger and bigger nets with finer and finer mesh. But I fancy the ocean is still much larger.

I remember watching a documentary illustrating the nature of the scientific endeavour. Mariners for centuries were reporting about impossibly high freak waves, but scientists rejected it. According to current mathematical models it was impossible. until that is, a wave measuring device in an oil rig recorded one. The scientists were obliged to change the models even borrowing equations from quantum theory. :clap:
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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