Some Thoughts on Buddhism

18 Jul

Tonight I attended a Buddhist meetup discussion on the concept of the mind, and how the mind is actually seperate from the brain. Here’s some thoughts I jotted down while I was there. Please add your comments.

Note: Meetup allows you to organize events based around a common interest. Anyone can start or attend a meetup. There’s topics for everything, everywhere. Check it out.

….

I was disheartened by the discussion on reincarnation when it was referred to as a bottleneck to get through to progress through Buddhist principles.

Despite what someone might think by visiting this blog and seeing the subjects I focus on, I am a hardcore skeptic and the concept of reincarnation is something I have a very hard time with.

It’s easy enough to accept what I what call “materialistic reincarnation.” All the atoms that make up my entire being were once part of stars a billions of years ago, and surely existed before that too. And all they will continue to exist beyond this body of mine. They will certainly become part of a larger whole that is alive, whether plant or animal, and that includes becoming part of other sentient beings.

But a continuance of consciousness? A transference of consciousness? That’s a brick-wall for me. I can’t find any good reason to believe in it – and that’s part of the struggle here. I don’t want to believe in something. I want it to stand up to reason.

Admittedly, I’ve only skimmed the scientific literature on reincarnation and people remembering past lives. It’s worth taking a look at whatever body of evidence currently exists.

As I’m just now skimming the surface with Buddhism, maybe what I’ll find is that I’m actually more interested in some sort of “Secular Meditation” combined with the Buddhist ideas and concepts that I can liberally apply to my life?

….

I think I am so attracted to entheogens like DMT because the experience potentially can provide proof –admittedly, subjective proof – of concepts and ideas that I otherwise struggle to grasp or find evidence for objectively. And the experience wouldn’t be a wishy washy faith-based type of exercise; it would hit me like a brick in the face.

And I guess that’s what I want – something tangible, real, applicable.

….

We did a 15 minute guided meditation at the meetup tonight.

I’ve still hardly meditated at all – I’m not even sure I know how, really.

But tonight we did a 15 minute meditation and the minutes just soared by! It felt more like 7 minutes.

Knowing I can actually sit still and meditate like this is really exciting! 🙂


3 Responses to “Some Thoughts on Buddhism”

  1. Jacob Haqq-Misra July 18, 2007 at 3:27 pm #

    Part of the problem I have with a non-materialistic view of reincarnation is that it assumes that animal life reincarnates into other animal life. A look at the RNA Tree of Life shows that animals, plants, and fungi are only a small component of life’s diversity on Earth. “Standard” reincarnation models say we could come back as a cow, but what about a tubeworm? Is a bacterial colony composed of a single reincarnated soul or many? Where is the line between life and non-life drawn? If there is life outside of Earth, is there a chance of reincarnating on another planet?

    That’s not to say there is nothing beyond the material. I personally find incredible spirituality in the community of life, but I also have a hard time with some of these reincarnation models.

  2. Ben July 24, 2007 at 7:28 pm #

    About reincarnating on another planet:
    Yes, from a Buddhist perspective, this is considered a possibility. I recently read a Q & A session transcribed from a live Buddhist discussion, and someone posed a question on reincarnation, and how can everyone that exists now be incarnations of previously existing life when the number of people on earth continually increases. (I suppose they were assuming humans always come back as humans?) The response included the possibility of being reincarnated into lifeforms on other planets in other parts of the universe.
    Honestly, I thought this was a WEAK response.
    As far as the rest of your question – I agree, I don’t get it either, and I’m not sure what the response would be from someone who really believes reincarnation is a fact of reality.
    Anyone?

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