April 29, 2019

Buddha introduced the superstition of Karma

Biologists like James Shapiro and Lynn Margulis for example bring a further dimension to light, namely, that biological processes inside the cell are far more complex than can be explained in terms of simple chemical or biochemical reactions. They find whole macro-molecular systems operating in very directed, non random, and goal oriented ways to accomplish the functioning and maintenance of the cell. Shapiro calls it natural genetic engineering (NGE) specifically to bring attention to the non-random, skillful nature of such engineering feats.

Whether these processes can be called evolutionary is open to question when we consider the deeper implications involved in such sentient cells. Shapiro has very nicely explained this in his own words, [...] I consider these statements to be thoroughly honest assessments of the current situation in our scientific knowledge of organic life. What we know from empirical observation is limited to what we can actually measure and see with our instruments, but there is a background life to all of that which such knowledge has not yet grasped. We may claim that life is simply the play of those processes, but the causes and purpose driven goals exhibited thereby are not explained by that simply identification. And most importantly, without understanding that background life or living milieu, we cannot simply say that life is capable of 'evolving'  or if there are other principles that are involved in making it whatever it is. It is at this point that the belief of the scientist or simple faith of the religious person comes in, as soon as one takes a stand without any further knowledge of that unknown domain.

From that perspective the creationist has as much right to claim scientific evidence as supporting her position as any evolutionist. In that case,  the only honest objective stance should be one in which both should be considered as equally inconclusive and open to further investigation and study as reason and evidence may lead us.

Your serious and respectful participation in this group is greatly appreciated.
Humble and sincere regards,
B Madhava Puri

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On Sun, Apr 28, 2019 at 9:53 AM 'Ram Lakhan Pandey Vimal' via Scientific Basis of Consciousness wrote:
Hi Alfredo, Chris, and all,

It seems that, in the past, all religious leaders faced the same problem related to God in reducing suffering as we are facing in our discussion. People go to religious places (temples, churches, etc) to pray by assuming God will take care of their problems. They might have confronted the difficulty as we are encountering in our discussion.

If we delete God (as science suggests) then who will take care of problems? If we consider God in us, then people will be confused because of 8 billion Gods. If we consider one single God, then also many problems arise because of science.

It seems true that if we assume God, and pray then we feel peace and our mindBrain system generate enough energy to take care of problems; there is help available from other people if we pray together because a feeling of friendship and cooperativity arise. This happens in a better way if we are superstitious or blind believers or somehow give logic to convince people-at-large that God really exists, who loves us and help us. This is how superstitions were created by leaders to organize and help society.

Evolution does not care what is correct or incorrect; it only needs if the hypothesis fits well (fittest survive). Religions fit best so it is not selected out; it is not only surviving, but it is also thriving, even if there is no God.

What should we do? Should we continue 'as it is' or try to find the solution of suffering to avoid superstitions?

Buddha tried his best to reducing superstition and suffering to some extent by proposing an atheist framework without soul, but he has to introduce another superstition of principle of Karmas across births, so he used rebirth theory even if it is incorrect; this reduces our mundane suffering to some extent thru his 8 Noble paths, but has superstition of rebirth. Mundane suffering is still present ‘as it is’.

The scientific fact seems that the principle of Karma is true for this life as there is no life-after-death. We need to discuss rigorously on how to reduce suffering in our mundane lives without any superstition that God, soul, and/or rebirths exist. This is a scientific challenge for all of us. So far, we agreed (at least three of us) that Monism is better than Dualism; for monism, consciousness was in potential form in the beginning; manifestation occurred later (presumably billions of years after Big Bang) in us in the monistic framework.

Kind regards,
Rām Lakhan Pāndey Vimal, Ph.D.
Amarāvati-Hīrāmaṇi Professor (Research)

There is only name and form
by Amod Lele

One can turn around the first sentence here: Buddhaghosa describes the elements not only by characteristic and manifestation, but also by function. (The term for function is rasa; Heim, in her excellent first book on Buddhaghosa, points out that Pali commentary uses this term in a sense very different from the more familiar Sanskrit aesthetic one, with Buddhaghosa defining it in terms of duty or function, kicca, or attainment, sampatti.) And when Buddhaghosa specifies the element's function, he specifies it in terms of what the element does in physical space – spreading, acting as a foundation – with no reference made to subjective feel. Unless we are seeking to superimpose our own purely phenomenological view onto the texts, I do not see any reason to view this function or attainment as something merely phenomenological – a way the element appears to function – and exclude ontology, the way the element actually does function. To do so seems to do exactly what Heim and Ram-Prasad have warned us against, and treat Buddhaghosa's descriptions as one side of a subjective-objective divide – in this case the subjective.

When Buddhaghosa illustrates the key term rūpa, he does so with an analogy that goes beyond subjective feel and even manifestation. He quotes a passage from the Majjhima Nikāya which says (in the Ñāṇamoli translation): “Just as when a space is enclosed with timber and creepers and grass and clay, there comes to be the term ‘house,’ so too, when a space is enclosed with bones and sinews and flesh and skin, there comes to be the term rūpa.” (Vism XVIII.26) Here he is saying that rupa includes those inner elements that we would not normally perceive or feel subjectively, the things that are typically invisible to us: the bones in the body, the timbers of a house.

This point brings us to nāmarūpa, that compound at the heart of their article's concernes. I agree with what I took to be their most basic point about nāmarūpa. That is: Nāmarūpa is most commonly translated, somewhat opaquely, as "name and form". Some translators have tried to render it in a more English idiom as "mind and matter" or "mentality and materiality". I think Heim and Ram-Prasad are quite right to resist that latter interpretation, pointing out that rūpa includes mental elements of subjective feel. I am in agreement with the "more careful scholars" they name, like Steven Collins and Sue Hamilton, who keep the "name and form" translation within "a metaphysical account of the human being where the disaggregative project of analyses for dismantling selfhood produces an account of smaller constituent parts, which are then affirmed as reals."


What are the implications of it? Does this mean that Leftism is dead? No, I don't think so. Leftism, as a concept, precedes Marxism by several centuries. But it is a good thing if the Marxism is finished because this Abrahamic concept had obtained a hold on the minds of Hindus.
But Leftism - as a concept - is not going to die because it is a reflection of several issues. What we need is a Dharmic Left - a Left that is rooted in Dharmic ethos, so that, if tomorrow BJP is voted out [no party can rule forever], the opposition will also be a Dharmic party.
No, it won't happen. The `elite Left' is already migrating to the BJP from the Congress [CPI and especially CPM were never the bastions of the elite Left, which didn't have the resources to indulge their expensive and degenerate tastes]. The elite Left which parasitically destroyed the Congress from within is going to start moving the BJP to its tastes. This is why you have so many `activists' moving to the BJP.

Savitri Era: Savitri Era Religion respects all faiths and traditions https://t.co/ryhTUCP26E @NathTusar #SriAurobindo
Nothing at present indicates that Savitri Era Party can be a success (it's already twelve years), but having seen some dramatic changes happening quite unexpectedly, I'm hopeful that such a change can come. Instead of a miracle, it should be perceived as logical outcome of events

A relevant thread to what we have been stressing on but without being soft on the other side of the political spectrum. Each ideology has contributed and served the Evolutionary purpose even like the evil in a story but the future belongs to Sri Aurobindo. https://t.co/QXVSWtHzYV

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