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FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
Now I stumbled across this book recently (and it's the 4th book I attempt to read within a decade for reasons explained later on) and it gives me rashes and mindspins, laughter and marvels - anything but tears, which is what I conceive a good book to be.

It's Bill Bryson - A Short History Of Nearly Everything, written in 2002/3.

I only share two passages with you (as I'm only at a fifth of it's entire volume) and encourage you to read it, if you have ever wondered what things are about (in science classes) and never found anyone explaining it to you in a way comprehensible. I also encourage you to read it, if you're suicidal, depressed or suffering from any other condition that makes you not appreciating life in general, or your life in special.

I will have more to say on the subject and reckon it's the stuff, wonderful discussions, debates and evenings of a wondrous outlook on existence are woven from.

Enjoy:

 Written by: Bill Bryson, A Short History Of Nearly Everything



Introduction

Welcome. And congratulations. I am delighted that you could make it. Getting here wasn't easy, I know. In fact, I suspect it was a little tougher than you realize.
To begin with, for you to be here now trillions of drifting atoms had somehow to assemble in an intricate and curiously obliging manner to create you. It's an arrangement so specialized and particular that it has never been tried before and will only exist this once. For the next many years (we hope) these tiny particles will uncomplainingly engage in all the billions of deft, co-operative efforts necessary to keep you intact and let you experience the supremely agreeable but generally under appreciated state known as existence.
Why atoms take this trouble is a bit of a puzzle. Being you is not a gratifying experience at the atomic level. For all their devoted attention, your atoms don't care about you - indeed, don't even know that you are there. They don't even know that they are there. They are mindless particles after all, and not even themselves alive. (It's a slightly arresting notion that if you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.) Yet somehow for the period of your existence they will answer to a single rigid impulse: to keep you you.



Now he goes on and gives the valued reader a brief overview about the size and dimension of the Universe and how science evolved, explaining and understanding the Universe in itself. The book has it lengthy moments, where he displays the struggle of scientists and their (sometimes rigid) personalities. But all in all he's able to give examples that make (me) understand scales and proportions.

example:

 Written by: Bill Bryson, A Short History Of Nearly Everything



Welcome To The Solar System

Our solar system might be the liveliest thing for trillions of miles, but all the visible stuff in it - the Sun, the planets and their moons, the billion or so tumbling rocks of the asteroid belt, the comets and other miscellaneous drifting detritus - fills less than a trillionth of the available space. You also quickly realize that none of the maps you have ever seen of the solar system was drawn remotely to scale. (...)
Such are the distances, in fact, that it isn't possible, in any practical terms, to draw the solar system to scale. Even if you added lots of fold out pages to your textbooks or used a really long sheet of poster paper, you wouldn't come close. (...)
Even if you shrank down everything so that Jupiter was as small as the full stop at the end of this sentence, and Pluto was no bigger than a molecule, Pluto would still be over 10 metres away. (...)
Now , the other thing you will notice as we speed past Pluto is that we are speeding past Pluto. If you check your intinerary, you will see that this is a trip to the edge of our solar system, and I'm afraid we're not there yet. (...)
We won't get to the solar system's edge until we have passed through the Oort cloud, a vast celestial realm of drifting comets, and we won't reach the Oort cloud for another - I'm so sorry about this - ten thousand years. Far from marking the outer edge of the solar system, as those schoolroom maps so cavalierly imply, Pluto is barely one-fifty-thousandth of the way.



This stuff being perfect for a cozy star gazing night, to sweetly get whispered into a desired girls ear (while all we (boys) want is to get into their pants) - unfortunately my memory is by far too weak to remember all this stuff exactly and it's not very romantic to just hand her the book instead. But (to me) it opens up a deeper understanding into the mysteries of existence, reconfirms a lot of stuff I believe to have figured out by myself (or vaguely remembering from back then in school) and explains why I saw what I saw back then when using illicit substances to expand and alter my consciousness:

 Written by: BB's SHONE



The Mighty Atom

At sea level, at a temperature of 0 degree Celsius, one cubic centimetre of air (that is, a space about the size of a sugar cube) will contain billion billion molecules. And they are in every single cubic centimetre you see around you. Think how many cubic centimetres there are in the world outside your window - how many sugar cubes it would take to fill that view. Then think how many it would take take to build a Universe. Atoms, in short, are very abundant.



In his book, Bill Bryson swiftly tackles the most fundamental scientific theories, from the Big Bang to the Relativity Theory to the evolution of man, he gives background information about the lives and personalities of scientists and explains scientific processes in a humorous, modestly easy-to-understand way.

Now there is something that repelled me from picking up the book, after having read its introduction: First I would never again be able to claim that I have gained these insights from within myself - pondering upon the Universe and it's structure whilst rudimentary scribbling a disfigured butterfly on a napkin for example. Second I would be absorbing blasphemous texts, for which I would have gotten burned just a few centuries ago, along with the author (what an honor) and third for not really knowing where to go after I have absorbed and maybe even understood the content of this book.

Now why is this a topic of "Social Discussion" you may ask? Well I gain a firm belief that, by understanding the Universe and it's laws, we (or better speaking "I") may gain (a better) understanding of mankind and myself.

As a matter of fact I believe that: "as in the smallest, in the greatest scale - as below, so beyond" = as equations always are reversible, it has to apply the other way round too.

Humans, after all, are like planets and some are like stars (= Suns) out there. Some even are "standard candles", by which we can measure the size (and vastness) of consciousness. Whilst most of us may never become stars (or even more), we can become planets and by that harbor life (which stars unfortunately cannot). Some of us remain moons and create currents (without which life would not get stirred up), become comets that fall from the skies and transport vital elements to distant planets or (fatally) eradicate entire species - making room for other steps of evolution (both meta- and physically). Until we surpassed our prime, have our atoms transformed (a billion of which once have been Shakespeare, Gengis Khan and (honorably) Buddha, traveled through space and time for times immemorial) and (maybe or not) re-in-carnate...

Will the understanding of the size, dimension and laws of the Universe help us to understand and grasp the value of (our very own) existence? An existence that is not coined by conditionings of "good and evil", "peace and war", "acceptance and rejection", etc. but one that overcomes all these dualities in definition and leads to a wholesome, content life?

Is our life and existence governed by chance or justice? (Which is the title of another small booklet about "the golden rule")

Thanks for having read (a part of this) rather looooong, but hopefully mildly entertaining post and thanks for attempting to share your thoughts. Certainly thanks to Bill Bryson and the copyright owners of the book, who hopefully don't sue me for reproducing parts of it here...

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


PhaiGOLD Member
member
113 posts
Location: Australia


Posted:
Hey FireTom, does he go into Instrumentalism anywhere in his book? Honest, in my mental state at the moment, I think the book would fly over my head, but I'll make a note to get onto it when I'm feeling more, uh, smarter. wink

PyrolificBRONZE Member
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
3,289 posts
Location: Adelaide, South Australia


Posted:
No the book is really easy to read - I recommend it to anyone who cares about our society cuz it sheds a lot of light on something we almost never hear about but is very important; Science History.

--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


BrennPLATINUM Member
Will carpal your tunnel in a minute.
3,286 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Still working through this book myself actually smile Great read!

ॐ

Owner of burningoftheclavey smile
Owned by Lost83spy


MikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,923 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA


Posted:
I just read an interesting short story by Alastair Reynolds called "Understanding Space and Time."

In it, Reynolds posits that any entity that is truly capable of understanding the ultimate truth of the universe will gain so much information density that the information itself will have sufficient mass to pull whatever computer is processing and storing the data within its own schwartzchild radius, and thus, collapse it to a black hole.

He further postulates that perhaps the formation of a black hole might actually spark the formation of a new universe that would bud off the old one. If information from the mind that formed this particular black hole were conserved and passed into the new universe, then perhaps the mind would become something like a...

Well, I won't finish the sentence. smile

-Mike

Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella



A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura


MojojoGOLD Member
wandering dingo
167 posts
Location: Aussie in London, Australia


Posted:
Are we meant to guess the rest of the line?

Go on, what is it?

Only three things are certain: Death, Taxes, and that England will not win back the Ashes in this lifetime.


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
ubblol well actually they might accidentally happen to create a black hole next year in Switzerland with this machine they built... what was it again about?

The book is an easy and amusing read really. It should be given to teenagers, who have trouble understanding science.

And the answer to the ultimate question is 42 - just in case you forgot wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


MikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,923 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA


Posted:
 Written by: Mojojo


Are we meant to guess the rest of the line?



No, you're supposed to read the story. smile It's in the compilation of short stories called Zima Blue by Alastair Reynolds!

-Mike

Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella



A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura


burningoftheclaveySILVER Member
lurking like a ninja with no camouflage..
926 posts
Location: over yonder, New Zealand


Posted:
bah meddling scientists with their meddling with things and stuff... explode an atom?!!eek "cant be certain that the world won't explode..."??!! eek eek

on spam robots - "Burn the robot! Melt him down, and then we can make lots and lots of money from his shiiiny juices!"

Owned by Brenn smile


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Hi Fire Tom wave



Thanks for starting, what could be an interesting discussion. Ill look out for the book.



As a standard candle, I dont think understanding the Universe and it's laws will lead to a better understanding of humankind. Actually, I think its a load of rubbish. A waste of time, a sidetrack that takes us away from understanding into the mysteries of existence, because the answer lies within.



You mentioned Buddha, and he discovered the path to Nirvana. That path has nothing to do with planets, planes, reincarnation or other ego induced lunacy.



Its very simple, if you want to understand the mysteries of existence, then check out the Dhamma. A good example can be found in Heart-wood from the Bo Tree by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.



As an example of our ephemeral existence, the planet formerly known as Pluto is now just just a number. The former planet has been dubbed asteroid number 134340 to reflect its new status as a "dwarf planet."



Cheers smile
EDITED_BY: Stone (1197692955)

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
 Written by: Stone


As a standard candle, I dont think understanding the Universe and it's laws will lead to a better understanding of humankind. Actually, I think its a load of rubbish. A waste of time, a sidetrack that takes us away from understanding into the mysteries of existence, because the answer lies within.

You mentioned Buddha, and he discovered the path to Nirvana. That path has nothing to do with planets, planes, reincarnation or other ego induced lunacy.

Its very simple, if you want to understand the mysteries of existence, then check out the Dhamma. A good example can be found in Heart-wood from the Bo Tree by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

As an example of our ephemeral existence, the planet formerly known as Pluto is now just just a number. The former planet has been dubbed asteroid number 134340 to reflect its new status as a "dwarf planet."

Cheers smile



Hmmm, that makes me ponder...

wave Hi Stone - nice to have you smile

Are you referring to yourself as a "standard candle"? That would - according my definition - mean that you are more than "just" a star, but a star that has a fixed location within the Universe and therefore one that we "need" (as in "refer") to measure the size of the Universe.

As I am regarding humans like Zoroaster, Aaron, Echnaton/ Mose, Jesus, Mohammed and (to refer to a more present figure) his holiness the Dalai Lama to be "standard candles" (and translate "the size of the Universe" with "the ultimate possibilities of human consciousness") that would be a strong call for you. I will be your humble student. umm wink

I dunno where Buddha actually went, or what path he discovered for himself, yet I do know one thing for my self: All I have is some "silver lining" on the end of my own horizon. I am making up stories for what undiscovered realm may lie beyond that, I like the idea that existence is *round* like a planet and not flat like a pancake (re-in-carnation). True, the only "measurement" I have lies within. And this "silver lining" I am referring to is my personal state of mind and heart. Which is in constant flux, yet I feel more and more comfortable with my self.

As to Pluto: may he be a dwarf star of not, be numbered like an inmate or called a name of a Disneydog: He was able to raise our awareness and understanding of this solar system and the Universe - however unfair science might treat him now: He will remain a planet in my heart wink Maybe science is just covering up their own previous mistakes?

But please explain, what you mean with "ego induced lunacy". Can't make appropriate sense of that phrase in this context.

Has not Buddha reached a late stage prior to his "enlightenment" when listening to this tune?:

"Fair goes the dancing when the Sitar is tuned,
Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high,
And we will dance away the hearts of men.
The string overstretched breaks, the music dies,
The string overslack is dumb and the music dies,
Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high."


I'm merely advocating to listen to the songs of the Universe - you think it's a dead end?

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Fire Tom, for the candle check my avatar ; lux power wink

Buddha discovered the path to enlightenment and stayed around to teach us all. As you say, all you are doing is making up stories about the Universe, which to me is a dead end. The choice is yours; you can seek enlightenment or you can spend your life trying to understand the Universe. Ego induced lunacy is just more stories, especially in regard to rebirth, heaven, supreme beings etc

Tune us the Sitar neither low nor high" could be a reference to the middle path.


I miss Pluto too hug

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
shrug Everyone as he pleases.

Neither I have met Buddha, nor any other "standard candle" in person. All I heard have been stories (that might have been made up by others however). Therefore I can't verify.

I oppose dogmatic teachings (so did Buddha) therefore I guess nobody is doing him (nor any other "standard candle") a great favour to (blindly) follow teachings that might not even be the original ones any more.

Everybody choose their path to their liking and perdesposition, judgement of others (who peacefully choose a different one) is inappropriate IMHO if they are talking about "peace" and "enlightenment" at the same time.

So Buddha was suffering from "ego induced lunacy" when talking about reincarnation?

I'm particularly wary of people who claim to have found the "universal truth" and force that onto others (actively or passively), judge their lifestyle and polish their ego by doing so.

It's tough not to, but desirable.

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Fire Tom, I thought you wanted to gain a better understanding of mankind and yourself. For that to occur you have to be open to suggestions. Its fine if you dont want to discuss this, Ill just finish up by answering your question.

So Buddha was suffering from "ego induced lunacy" when talking about reincarnation?

Buddhists dont believe in reincarnation. If you mean rebirth, then I suggest reading about it and ego in the Bo Tree book, link posted earlier.

I think your comment Everybody choose their path to their liking is very true, but very ego driven wink

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


StoutBRONZE Member
Pooh-Bah
1,872 posts
Location: Canada


Posted:
Tom..I don't think a book on general science and history is going to help you out very much in you quest to better understand the nature of mankind as science and spirituality don't mix very well.

You may, however, gain some insights from studying neurology and come to a greater understanding of just what was happening in your brain when you were exploring, or experimenting with mind altering substances.

Pluto?? It doesn't look like science was covering up for past mistakes, rather it's more of a case of science actually doing something for the first time. Too bad Pluto didn't make the team in 2006 however I don't suspect he's too fussed about it though.

Just where were you going with this atoms and reincarnation idea ?

Did the book touch on just how much of an atom is really empty space? If we want, we can translate that to mean YOU are mostly empty space..

FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
ubblol

@Doc: not fair to put out such a teaser and let us experience a "coitus interruptus" here - finish the sentence. Please. smile There might be an interesting aspect to this.

***
@Sone: first of all: please don't get me wrong. Any input highly appreciated. "Ego induced lunacy" has felt a bit offensive to me, thus my response.

Where do you specifically find the difference between "rebirth" and "reincarnation"? I perceive the two to be similar, if not the same. (if there is anything that can be called "I" in the first place... wink )

You point me at a link about Buddha's teachings and when I am reading, it comes across so dogmatic that it repulses me.

Hence let me extract one passage:

 Written by: Bhikku Buddhadasa

"While walking through the forest, the Buddha picked up a handful of fallen leaves and asked the monks who were present, which was the greater amount - the leaves in his hand or all the leaves in the forest. They all said that the leaves in the forest were much more, so much so that it was beyond comparison.

Even now, try to imagine the scene and see the truth of this, how much more they are.

The Buddha then said that, similarly, those things which he had realized and which he knew were great amount, equal to all the leaves in the forest - but that which was necessary to know, those things which should be taught and practiced, were equal to the number of leaves in his hand."



Certainly (to me) it is exactly that: you realize the Universe, but you don't need to teach the entire Universe. It's not necessary. (I'm swiftly passing on the notion that Buddha himself allegedly had claimed to have "reached enlightenment" and knowing so many things (as there are leaves in the forest)). "The wise man knows that he doesn't know anything", therefore I reject that Buddha meant that (implied). What Zoroaster, Mose, Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed really have said is a matter of believing or not. You haven't heard it, you only believe in what you're told (and what resonates in you). True?

 Written by: BB

"We must appreciate that this "single handful" is not a huge amount, it's not something beyond our capabilities to reach and understand."



In "my world" I don't put such limitations on all the people there are on this planet, but I appreciate this "single handful" and regard it to be a reflection of the Universe itself.

Why is it "ego driven" to respect that "every one is choosing their own path to their liking"? I regard it as completely opposite: altruistic (to provide this tolerance and accept the world (and mankind) as it is today).

At some point people like Socrates, Gallileo and Columbus had been labelled "loonatics"... shrug wink
***

@Stout: Science and spirituality IMHO mix extremely well. For aeons both are on the quest to deliver answers about the "why", "where from" and "what for"? One reason why Christianity (in the West) is declining, is that it's answers are insufficient.

Interestingly (or surprisingly) Bhuddism has not been able to get a "grip" on the country of it's origin, to succeed Hinduism in India. As a matter of fact there are more Buddhists living outside of India, than within... So how can Buddhism claim to hold "sufficient answers"? Why are so many Buddhist teachers going to the West and don't complete the work of the Buddha in the country of his origin? Why is the western mind (or many of them) so focussed on their neighbors lawn?

However, if one enters the realm of Quantumphysics and does NOT start to believe in some force beyond - lost case IMO wink

I do have a slight understanding of the mechanics of "mind altering substances" on the physical level: what I experienced is that these states of mind can be accessed without external supplements (which merely act like "switches"). Yet: when I'm looking into the face of a Hare Krishna worshipper whilst chanting or others, pinching their cheek with threeshots, tying a 30 pound stone to their genitals - I find "natural highs" and certain "states of minds", outside the supply of substances.

Look at athletes (marathon or cycling) or asketes for other examples...

As for the phenomenon of "withdrawal" and "after effects", spirituality leaves similar imprints on people, running after another shot, a higher dose. "Enlightenment junkies" - so to speak - who hang out at the Ashrams of India, chanting all day and practicing Yoga, striving for "enlightenment" (whatever it means to them)... When clearly the Buddha has said that "the desire for enlightenment has to be left behind in order to obtain it" (same as Jesus teachings "innocence of the child")

The book touches the vast, empty space that makes an atom (subsequently you and me), it also touches the extreme durability of atoms (10 high 47 something years - which is very old), futher that the atoms that make you and me have at some stage been passing through stars and galaxies and that about a billion of our atoms (yours and mine) at some stage had belonged to - Buddha, Gengis Khan, etc. *pick another historical figure of your (dis)liking*

Where am I going with "atoms and reincarnation"? See above. IMHO as on the atomic level, so on the level of consciousness. Electrons have a very "funny" behaviour... Picture two pool tables on the opposite side of the planet. Now break (hit the cueball)... the cueball on the opposite side of the planet will shoot of in the opposite direction. They are connected. So are we, errm our consciousness - maybe (yet) beyond measure and understanding, but eventually we experience it. I am connected to those who I am connected with. (Hundred monkey syndrom, Buddha field, etc.)
***

Thanks for participating and food for thoughts hug

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


MikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,923 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA


Posted:
 Written by: FireTom



@Doc: not fair to put out such a teaser and let us experience a "coitus interruptus" here - finish the sentence. Please. smile There might be an interesting aspect to this.







Fine, fine, fine. OK, so the aliens (the Kind) have taken the last human alive (thanks to a little accident with biological warfare) and have granted his wish to truly understand the universe and his place in it. At this point, our hero, John, has been made into a vast ring of hyperdense material with sluggish, but vast computational power. The Kind have warned him that if he continues to think, he risks gravitational collapse. He's discussing this with them.



The following is a heavily edited excerpt from the book to distill the essentials of the conversation down into something of a practical size of a message board.



 Written by: Alastair Reynolds in his short story "Understanding Space and Time"



"Do you think its a coincidence that I've reached this point in my quest at the same time that I'm teetering on the edge of collapsing into myself?"



"We confess we hadn't given the matter a great deal of thought, beyond the immediate practicalities."



"Well I have. And I've been thinking. Way back when, I read a theory about baby universes."



"Continue..." said the Kind warily.



"How they might be born inside black holes where the ordinary rules of space and time break down. The idea being that when the singularity inside a black hole forms, it actually buds off a whole new universe, with its own subtly altered laws of physics. That's where the information goes: down the pipe, into the baby universe....



"Perhaps it isn't coincidence. Perhaps this is just the way it has to be. You cannot attain ultimate wisdom about the universe without reaching this point of gravitational collapse. And at the moment you do attain final understanding -- when the last piece falls into place, when you finally glimpse that ultimate layer of reality -- you slip over the edge into irreversible collapse.



"I admit it's speculative. But there is something rather beautiful and symmetric about it, don't you think? In the universes where there is intelligent life, one or more sentient individuals will eventually ask the same questions I asked myself, and follow them through to this point of penultimate understanding. When they achieve enlightenment, they exceed the critical density and become baby universes in their own right. They become what they sought to understand."



"You have no proof of this."



"No, but I have one hell of a gut feeling. There is, of course, only one way to know this for sure. At the moment of understanding, I'll know whether this happens or not."



"And if it doesn't..."



"I'll still have achieved my goal. I'll know that, even as I'm crushed out of existence. If, on the other hand, it does happen...then I won't be crushed at all. My consciousness will continue, on the other side, embedded in the fabric of space and time itself." John paused, for something had occurred to him. "I'll have become something very close to..."



"Don't say it, please," the Kind interjected.







There you go...
EDITED_BY: Doc Lightning (1195849145)

-Mike

Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella



A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Fair enough Fire Tom, perhaps ego induced lunacy was a bit over the top. But how else do you explain all the wars, violence and terrorism in the world; today, yesterday, and most likely into the future as well?



Fire Tom you inquired about existence:



 Written by:

An existence that is not coined by conditionings of "good and evil", "peace and war", "acceptance and rejection", etc. but one that overcomes all these dualities in definition and leads to a wholesome, content life?





So naturally, I pointed you in the direction of Buddhas teaching. Sorry, you found them dogmatic. It made perfect sense to me, this bit especially:



 Written by:

The Buddha then said that, similarly, those things which he had realized and which he knew were great amount, equal to all the leaves in the forest - but that which was necessary to know, those things which should be taught and practiced, were equal to the number of leaves in his hand.





All it is, is a call back to the basics of meditation and the precepts. Remember that the book is about the heart of Buddhist teaching: To call something a foundation of the Buddhist Teachings is only correct if firstly, it is a principle which aims at the extinction of Dukkha and, secondly, it has a logic that one can see for oneself without having to believe others. These are the important constituents of a foundation. In regards to the foundations or the root principles of Dhamma, there aren't a great deal. The Buddha said that there was a single handful. So, I dont get how this limits you. What it does do is keep people on the path.





 Written by:

Why is it "ego driven" to respect that "every one is choosing their own path to their liking"? I regard it as completely opposite: altruistic (to provide this tolerance and accept the world (and mankind) as it is today).





Im not saying there is anything wrong with people choosing their own path. Im saying its ego driven because everyone has to have their own special path. Its a delusion that there is a self belonging to self. Feelings of we and ours, I and mine lead to selfishness, greed and hatred.



As you say The wise man knows that he doesn't know anything".



Oops, LATE EDIT, forgot this bit:



 Written by:

Where do you specifically find the difference between "rebirth" and "reincarnation"?





Reincarnation: a new incarnation or embodiment, as of a person.



Rebirth: a new or second birth: the rebirth of the soul.



Buddhist rebirth: a spiritual enlightenment causing a person to lead a new life.











Hope that makes sense smile
EDITED_BY: Stone (1195962219)

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
Stone: It makes perfect sense to me. smile

Maybe the Universe/ governing force/ god (...) is heck of a ruthless gardener, knowing that "they all come back anyway". If you try to rearrange your backyard or garden or whatever includes the removal of soil and vegetation, the insects and plants might come to the same conclusion about a "cruel and strafing god" when referring to the guy with the hacksaw... i.e. you. But it's pretty hard to watch out for roots and microscopic small plant - explain each and every one that it's all for "the greater good"...

I find it dogmatic if those following a certain philosophy claim it to be the only lead to ultimate truth and (gently) "demand" others to follow the same path - otherwise burning in hell (of reincarnation and suffering or even actively convertig them). It's like ppl looking at the horizon and claiming that it's the end of the world (a flat one) - they only persist 'cause nobody got a boat to get out there proove it (wrong).

"Keep people on (what path)"? You do not "know" whether the acclaimed teachings of the Buddha will lead to your enlightenment - you believe, hope and wish for it (with all my mental support).

I don't really know what Buddha was teaching, same applies to all the other "standard candles" (i.e. "prophets"). I'm expected to trust those who were in charge to write them down (same applies to science really) and feel how it resonates in me.

Look at Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam: all Buddhists - great deal of suffering and warfare.

So all I really know is that we should explore in all directions - and instead of wining about the world being a bad place - to celebrate every days existence and further "become the change we want to see in the world around us".

Meditation is a great tool. But for one it's better to do (walking) meditation and another should do (more) breath awareness - same applies to scripts and philosophies: We act like elements, attracting certain other elements and engaging with them in a particular way.

IMO fighting the ego/ eradicating (unwanted) thoughts is a lost case (and offtopic). What's wrong with us that we have so much trouble to accept our selves and each other? (btdt)

"Im saying its ego driven because everyone has to have their own special path. Its a delusion that there is a self belonging to self. Feelings of we and ours, I and mine lead to selfishness, greed and hatred." That's what you say - but you feel that there is something lacking. It's perfectly allright to descern between "yours and mine", don't you think? And not everybody "has" to have their own path - that would again be dogmatic, which I oppose.

"Re-in-carnate" means to be "again in flesh". The term itself does not distinguish whether it's a "self" or a "soul". Btw the non-existence of a "self" (atman) is a theory only.

Let me add:

Enlightenment - the spiritual rebirth of a person, leading him to enjoy (his) life (fully).

Many roads to get there.
***

Doc... thanks for adding the paragraph before the sentence... am I coming across too demanding, if I'd ask you to add what came after it? wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Hi Fire Tom, Im hearing you loud and clear. I know, its a problem I have preaching; you think you are helping. and all you do is come across as being dogmatic. Dont know about a hacksaw, Im thinking pruning chainsaw wink

I agree, be the change you want to see in the world.

As far as meditation goes, the mindfulness of breathing is just a great meditation. Being mindful of what you are doing, be it washing the dishes or leading a corporation, is an exercise that goes back to antiquity. I can give you some links if you like.

Taking the time to meditate, be it a walking meditation or a body scan is always a rewarding experience. Another meditation I do is the Metta Bhavana. Its about generating love and kindness, a thing that not many of us do enough.

Keep people on the path was in relation to Buddhists.

While there is much suffering in countries like Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I think there are differences. I felt a difference when I crossed from a Malaysia to Thailand. Though, dont get me wrong, the people of both countries are great.

I look forward to discussing the ins and outs of atman and anatman.

Love and Light

smile

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


MikeGinnyGOLD Member
HOP Mad Doctor
13,923 posts
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA


Posted:
 Written by: FireTom



Doc... thanks for adding the paragraph before the sentence... am I coming across too demanding, if I'd ask you to add what came after it? wink



Buy the book. Alastair Reynolds.

You might like his work. He writes awesome sci-fi.

-Mike

Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella



A buckuht n a hooze! -Valura


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
Oh thanks for that, Doc. Next bookstore with a "selection"... Mumbai. That is *ponders* at least 4 month from now... *waits for the next time till Doc really wants to know (about) something* rolleyes

Stone: I don't really care much more about what Buddhists think to know about life and the planet and ego and what-the-psycho-treadmill-so-ever. All "-isms" (to me) are institutionalized philosophies and hold no more or less proof about "the truth" than scientism...

It's all "A mountain of theories, based upon a molehill of knowledge".

There is a difference in (the) suffering (of Thai, Burmese...)??? And you felt a difference when crossing from (Muslim) Malaysia to (Buddhist) Thailand?

Personally I don't care what label the system carries that makes me suffer. "Religion is opium to the people." (Marx - not as in the ... brothers)

If Buddhism really renounces the idea of re-in-carnation of an individual self, why is there a cycle and why would one aim to escape it in the first place? (especially if there is no "one" in the first place)... All this is being off topic btw... "The self realized Buddha"... a contradiction?!?

Breathing, meditation etc. all valid concepts of "self-realization" and very nice that you discovered your personal roadmap to "enlightenment" - would you truly accept the idea that there are many roads leading to the same destination?

If you find a "dogma" in what I am saying, may you point at it specifically, please? I personally can't.

Fully accepting that many (if not most) can't relate to the idea that we hold everything necessary within and can reflect on anything around us to gain insights on just that.

Fully accepting that (at the same time) people need to renounce their own content and refer to "higher" idols and ideals (i.e. observe the outer world to learn about themselves and their own capabilities).

If you can't find the irony in all this, we simply may have to wait a little longer, till the ideas settle...

wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


onewheeldaveGOLD Member
Carpal \'Tunnel
3,252 posts
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom


Posted:
 Written by: FireTom



If you find a "dogma" in what I am saying, may you point at it specifically, please? I personally can't.





This could be seen as dogma-


 Written by: FireTom



All "-isms" (to me) are institutionalized philosophies and hold no more or less proof about "the truth" than scientism...

It's all "A mountain of theories, based upon a molehill of knowledge".





To condemn all 'isms', without having experienced them, or doing extensive research, on each and every one of them, could itself be seen as dogmatic.


you also seem to be grouping buddhism into the category of 'religions'- buddhism, understand properly, has little in common with religions and even less to do with dogma- from the very start, buddhism had built-in safeguards to guard against the ever-present danger of slipping into dogma.

Try not to confuse the state religion of Thailand with buddhism- the vast majority of what passes for buddhism in Thailand is buddhist only in name- a name wrongly applied to a system that has little to do with the central core principles of buddhism and which, often, go directly against them.

Thailand state buddhism is, in fact, a priesthood, an institution- very little in common with genuine buddhism.

True buddhism is basically the 'Four noble Truths' and a system based on understanding of your 'self'- a system which does not concern itself with condemning others. The Buddha specifically said that-

1. he (the buddha) was not a god (and that the existence or otherwise of any Gods was of no relevance to the buddhist path)

2. that no-one was to take his ideas as true, until they personally had tried them out and come to their own decision

"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Fire Tom, that was an apology (my last post) and the dogma was in relation to what I said previously.

You said you wanted to understanding mankind and yourself. Here is a clue, human beings are not planets. Buddhism is a philosophy, and a rupa is not an idol. You suffer because you remain glued to the cycle of birth and death. Im not going to attempt to explain that while you remain closed to new ideas. As far as paths go, the secret is to get off the path of irregular steps (mountain of theories) and on to the path of regular steps.


:chill:

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


AdeSILVER Member
Are we there yet?
1,897 posts
Location: australia


Posted:
 Written by: Stone


Here is a clue, human beings are not planets.



Hi Stone wave

I'd beg to differ and say that while we may not be planets right now, we may have once been, or may be in the future. We may not be a whole planet, but one atom that makes it up, or a whole tree that grows on the planet, or part of the atmosphere, or a river, or lake, or cloud...

I'm a person at the moment, but in my next life, I might be a stone, or a peice of chlorophyll, or a speck of dust that floats in the breeze...

oh - and Bill Brysons work is extremely accessible and the history book's a great and easy read...

smile

StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Ok, Ill read the book.

What next life?

Are dogs and cats reborn? Most people would say no. So, what drives us to believe that somehow we cannot die and will miraculously be reincarnated or reborn?

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
hug

Thanks Ade... that's exactly what the case is... for almost certainly a part of each and everyone of us at some stage has been or will be part of a planet or star. At least on the atomic level.

Even beyond that I like the analogy between ppl and planets/ stars, especially when looking into the "microsphere" within each and every human being: it's a jungle in there! A whole Universe in itself with myriads of actions, be it re- or inter-... cut a long story short: compared to an organism consisting of one or a few cells only, we indeed are planets... if not more...

 Written by: Stone


You suffer because you remain glued to the cycle of birth and death.



How so, if there is no "you" in the first place and that "we" are not "reincarnated"... umm Why do I feel this index finger poking my lower ribcage all of a sudden? wink

 Written by: Stone


Im not going to attempt to explain that while you remain closed to new ideas. As far as paths go, the secret is to get off the path of irregular steps (mountain of theories) and on to the path of regular steps.



... which would then be the "molehill of experience"? wink

Whilst Buddhism ain't "new" - I find myself whide open to it's ideals. Maybe not keen to run over the same old grounds (as "noble" as they may score) wink I wouldn't even go as far now as to say that these, "my" ideas are "new" and you (in reverse) are unwilling to open yourself up to them... tongue

I claim this "idea" to be as old as mankind, just in the meantime we're gathering all necessary bits and pieces together as to remember (and explain) it...

 Written by: OWD

To condemn all 'isms', without having experienced them, or doing extensive research, on each and every one of them, could itself be seen as dogmatic.



Guess my CIA file is not up-to-date, but it certainly could, if any condemnation would take in the first place wink No pun intended, Sir. Everyone may become or stay happy as they wish, as long as they don't clip my wings or until I gotta join the song.

"Re-ligare", to "tie back" is a reference to the path(s) "back (to god)" (which to me is the singularity) from which all originates. I don't put this in a more negative context than necessary, as long as the "ties" are no strings that make me a puppet.

IMHO the "genuine philosophy" is the one that places all kind amidst the Universe and helps them to realize themself as an "as much vital part of it as it is itself". Which you may claim for Buddhism now if you wish, again you may have to face the question why then Buddhism is so little successful (in numbers).

I can't see all this to contradict any established concepts, so please try not to drag this into confrontation.

I'm merely saying that by observing the nature of the Universe you get valuable clues back of mankind and subsequently yourself. Everything originates from the same source and therefore is interconnected. This is an essential part of "The Truth", which is...

rolleyes

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Yes, Fire Tom I think that many people really believe they are planets; superior to the rest of us. Perhaps thats one reason why there is so much conflict in the world wink



The you, in the first place, is created by reactions to your environment. Its only when you clear the slate, get back to nothing, that the real you can emerge ie. the non conditioned you wink



If, as you say, you are open to Buddhism then you wouldnt be trying to compete. And, how many people, in this world, do think are really happy?



 Written by:

IMHO the "genuine philosophy" is the one that places all kind amidst the Universe and helps them to realize themself as an "as much vital part of it as it is itself". Which you may claim for Buddhism now if you wish, again you may have to face the question why then Buddhism is so little successful (in numbers).





For the first part, try looking up the Metta Bhavana. For, the second, who says Buddhism is not successful? Most of the new age culture that swept the western world since the 1960s has a foundation in Buddhism. Better to ask why the three main stream religions are in constant conflict?



 Written by:

I'm merely saying that by observing the nature of the Universe you get valuable clues back of mankind and subsequently yourself. Everything originates from the same source and therefore is interconnected. This is an essential part of "The Truth", which is...





Not really, what insight have you got into the human condition by studying the Universes. The truth is not out there, its in our genetic make up and understanding the limitations of our cerebral cortex.





Must fly, Ive moved and I am using internet caf when I get a chance.





rolleyes

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
Stone, just a short one:



I'd say you have not really grasped what I am talking about. The Universe knows no "superiority", neither "competition". These are (old fashioned/ human) concepts, leading to suffering.



How many people who think in this world are really happy? I hope most of them, because (to me) thinking and being really happy is no contradiction.... wink



Even though I wasn't asking for the "genuine Buddhist philosophy" (but thanks for the info...) I'd say that Buddhism (as being one of the eldest greater philosophies) has not gotten very "successful" (compared to the others). Yet (to me) this doesn't diminish it's qualities because the Universe also doesn't care for the concept of "success".



BTW What is the third "mainstream religion"? (Christianity, Islam... Hinduism?) umm



I would say that certain behavior(istic laws) of humans equal those of the Universe, the way we are set up (physically/ psychologically) and the way we interact. We're a part of it, it certainly HAS to reflect within us...



"Clearing your slate" (as in "de-conditioning") is used by Scientologists and sometimes (from the 'outsiders') titled "brain washing". I guess it's not what you refer to... wink



IMHO by rejecting aspects, certain parts and patterns of your self, to judge them as "bad" and "disposable", logically you are getting into opposition to your self which leads to duality and by that again to a great deal of suffering... I got more on that but it will lengthen this post... Only that much: Looking at the Universe (and what we believe to know about it today) will ultimatively help you to overcome your duality and - by that - your suffering... mostly by gaining the awareness that suffering is a concept and self-chosen.



Hearing phrases like "Who is the one you call "I"?" over and over again, I wonder why so mAny Gurus (as in "teachers", who are able to send you on merry-go-rounds with questions like this, after which you spend the subsequent years in puzzled ponderment on "who is evaluating it in the first place?")... I wonder why they get so much recognition?



Is it that people are most interested in getting fooled rather than the truth? So far, all honest teachers taught me two things: "Appreciate your self", by that "enjoy life" and "There are many roads leading to the same destination"...



You reject *my* new "Universalism"? wink So it doesn't work for you at all or just not satisfactory - no worries, maybe Buddhism works better for *you* (whoever that might be).



And this is the wonderful aspect of life: you don't have to eat the entire bush, if you want the strawberries only and you don't have to eat strawberries at all if you like cranberries better. Same applies to the philosophies... choose what's yours, full exchange if you are not satisfied with the product, but please be aware of our strict "no refund"-policy shrug wink



PS: I am wondering how some Buddhists come to support the practice of "self-defence", if there is no "self" to defend in the first place... wink
EDITED_BY: FireTom (1197624840)

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


StoneGOLD Member
Stream Entrant
2,830 posts
Location: Melbourne, Australia


Posted:
Hi Fire Tom, Im back on line smile

True, Im not sure I understand your theory of the Universalism. What you seem to be saying now, especially in regard to dualism, seems to be more Buddhist concepts than anything else.

Hoping people are happy seems a long way from reality. I also hope everyone is happy too, but I dont think many people are truly happy or at peace with themselves.

I know you werent asking for Buddhist philosophy. I thought you might be interested, but when you werent, I started trying to extract myself from this thread. However, for some reason the discussion has kept going. Especially when you keep mentioning duality and suffering. Nondualism is an important part of the Buddhist philosophy.

The mainstream religions were the Abrahamic religions ie. the three prevalent monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Brainwashing is a harsh term wink I think of it as more like getting rid of baggage. And hey, we all have a bit of that. Anyhow, where do think L Ron Hubbard got his ideas from in the first place?

You are right there is no I, no self. I was just trying to explain something by taking the easy way. Self defense is a term you use, many see the martial arts as meditation.

Give me a bell when you are ready for strawberries.

ubbrollsmile

If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh


ACTSILVER Member
enthusiast
318 posts
Location: I am in a world you do not want to be, USA


Posted:
I find this thread fasinating but I am afraid I would not be able to keep up with the 2 of you so I am just going to write what I "Believe" about spirituality and Science.

Science- Explainations on how things work

Spirituality- Faith in something you want to believe

I dont believe for a second you can combine science with spirituality. Knowing how the universe works with atoms is awesome but spirituality is something you have to have faith in, that you want to believe in and that there is no real proof that its there.

Humanity twists religion for their own personal gains no matter what religion it is. Therefore all the teachings we see today may not be the original teaching we have to have faith that its true and thats where we have conflict. Many people do not want to believe that something happened and spend precious time debating about it.

I am not a bible thumper (sorry if that term offends anyone) but this is one fact I do know and like to use as an example. The bible writes about a great flood, science has proved that a flood did in fact happen at one time. Does that mean everyone should believe what is in the bible is truth? No. The bible contradicts itself too.

My views on religion and science have twisted over the years. I believe something is there and I do have buddist tendancies even though buddism is not a religion but I believe in evolution also. I believe in heaven and hell and that we can be reincarnated but only if we achieve the state of unconditional love we will be let into heaven. I believe the life we lead is hell, filled with our own trials and tribulations. For some it may be a better understanding of the universe for others it may be abuse but for everyone though lives may be similar its always their own hell they have to fight for. Your thoughts on whatever you believe or are going through is what makes you an individual.

When it comes to science we all have witnessed its truths. Evolution has happened right before our eyes. Finches in Madagascar have adapted in the last 20 years, we as a species have grown taller. Science has taught us that nothing remains the same and we are ALL in a constant change.

Now I do not believe in a second we can be stars or planets. I am open to the possibility that our atoms may have once been part of a larger universe. Its a nice thought to think my atoms may have been a star that burned out 20 million years ago but I found it unlikely since I am here on earth. I am more inclined to believe my atoms are made up of the things we have around us on our home planet. This is where you can twist faith and science together.

If someone has a strong connection to budda, isnt it possible that your atoms may actually have come from budda himself? The essence of budda could be compiled in yourself to guide you through your journey of life? But would you actually be able to say journey through life is guided this way without faith?

Well anyway, thats my twisted thoughts, I forgot where I was going with this since someone waived a shiney spoon in front of me. Feel free to break it apart and tell me I am insane wink ubbrollsmile

Also, thanks for debating nicely. Its nice to know people can put their views up and not kill each other smile

Don't hate me because I am different, hate me because I still think I am better then you!


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