rebirth and evolution

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

rebirth and evolution

Postby altar » Fri May 02, 2014 5:24 pm

I apologize if this is addressed somewhere else like the enormous rebirth debate.

Does survival of the fittest conflict with consciousness rebirth? Is survival of the fittest somehow more than a rational deduction?
Does consciousness come from the brain?
To me, this latter idea used to make sense, or at least i would consider it. But now, especially after having visited monks with super mental abilities or clear seeing, and me putting more weight on experience than on rational thinking, which I usually desist from now, i drift away from the whole idea of evolution from survival of the fittest. But then others mention it and it seems like i should consider it again.
Like I said I desist from rational thinking and think that this question is maybe one i should put aside until later in my life or let the answer come gradually, but i'm going to post this anyway :).
zack
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 02, 2014 6:04 pm

First of all, let us establish how you view, or consider re-birth.
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby daverupa » Fri May 02, 2014 6:05 pm

Apples and chestnuts.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Fri May 02, 2014 6:11 pm

(You spoil all our fun.... :cry: )

:D
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri May 02, 2014 7:11 pm

altar wrote:Does survival of the fittest conflict with consciousness rebirth? Is survival of the fittest somehow more than a rational deduction?


I don't see why there would be any conflict. Survival of the fittest is more than a rational deduction; it can be observed. Beings go through samsara out of craving and sometimes kill for resources, food, etc.; all compatible with evolution.

Darwin said that the fittest is not necessarily the one that is strongest, it could also be the one more intelligent or more willing to adapt.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri May 02, 2014 7:26 pm

altar wrote:I apologize if this is addressed somewhere else like the enormous rebirth debate.

Does survival of the fittest conflict with consciousness rebirth? Is survival of the fittest somehow more than a rational deduction?
Does consciousness come from the brain?
To me, this latter idea used to make sense, or at least i would consider it. But now, especially after having visited monks with super mental abilities or clear seeing, and me putting more weight on experience than on rational thinking, which I usually desist from now, i drift away from the whole idea of evolution from survival of the fittest. But then others mention it and it seems like i should consider it again.
Like I said I desist from rational thinking and think that this question is maybe one i should put aside until later in my life or let the answer come gradually, but i'm going to post this anyway :).
zack


Are we to assume 'consciousness rebirth' to be of the momentary variety arising with sensations? In that sense, where consciousness has its place is in the interaction of sensate processes.

With reference to an all-bets-are-off ‘survival of the fittest’, I think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs replaced that. Rational? ... as a theory goes, seems so. But I have to wonder that when the basic needs of a Dhamma practitioner are disrupted, do they go to the same self-serving defaults?
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby altar » Mon May 05, 2014 7:09 pm

I am watching this very good talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70tKopDm_c

and realized how to state my problem.

Is our intelligence caused by previous karma or the result of our brain?
Or am i missing the point...? By separating karma and the brain am i somehow creating two realities which aren't really separate?

By concsiousness rebirth i mean the birth of consciousness into a new body
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon May 05, 2014 7:55 pm

altar wrote:I am watching this very good talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70tKopDm_c

and realized how to state my problem.

Is our intelligence caused by previous karma or the result of our brain?
Or am i missing the point...? By separating karma and the brain am i somehow creating two realities which aren't really separate?

By concsiousness rebirth i mean the birth of consciousness into a new body


My understanding is that in the orthodox Buddhist view, consciousness does not originate from the brain; rather, the brain is a physical mechanism that allows consciousness to interact with the material world in certain ways. You could say that consciousness appropriates the brain. If you're lucky enough to be born into a human body, then you get all the capabilities that come with a human brain; in another life, you might not be so lucky and your consciousness only gets a dog brain or a rat brain.

In other words, traditional Buddhism does not have a materialist view of consciousness. It is more a dualist view, though not quite in the Cartesian sense.

Evolution and rebirth, in this view, are different paradigms. Evolution explains how physical species originate and develop; rebirth explains the transmigration of consciousness.

The paradox is that the evolution of humans depended a great deal on bad kamma; for instance, it is because we are cunning and voracious omnivores that our species developed the brain complexity required to contemplate philosophical/existential questions, seek transcendence of dukkha and so on. The image of the lotus flower is used in some Buddhist traditions to illustrate this kind of paradox: the impetus towards enlightenment only occurs amid the putridity of the swamp.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby daverupa » Mon May 05, 2014 8:27 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:rebirth explains the transmigration of consciousness.


Well, we'll want to be sure we don't make Sati's mistake here by thinking that consciousness is this thing that clings and moves on. We can't even say consciousness is the same across the eye and the nose, to say nothing of bodies.

Consciousness arises through conditions; I think it goes much too far to say that consciousness transmigrates due to conditions.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Mkoll » Mon May 05, 2014 8:48 pm

altar wrote:Is our intelligence caused by previous karma or the result of our brain?


Probably both.

Previous kamma is in play because we were born human and not animal, for example. Being born human is a result of wholesome past kamma.

Our brains are big and we're intelligent because of evolution, our complex social environment, our hunting skills, problem solving, etc.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Jetavan » Mon May 05, 2014 8:52 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:The paradox is that the evolution of humans depended a great deal on bad kamma
...and a great deal on skillful kamma. It's interesting that "mammals" are named after the bodily organ associated with maternal giving.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon May 05, 2014 9:15 pm

daverupa wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:rebirth explains the transmigration of consciousness.


Well, we'll want to be sure we don't make Sati's mistake here by thinking that consciousness is this thing that clings and moves on. We can't even say consciousness is the same across the eye and the nose, to say nothing of bodies.

Consciousness arises through conditions; I think it goes much too far to say that consciousness transmigrates due to conditions.


Yes, and this invites us to consider questions like "what is the nature of consciousness according to Buddha" and "what exactly is reborn/transmigrates"? As you know, there various answers have been put forward, including the Abhidhamma "mind-moments' scheme or the later Mahayana explanations.

It's a little off the topic, but I would be curious to know your answer: that is, if the Buddha taught rebirth, what do you see as being reborn?

I think that for the purposes of this particular thread, it is probably ok to speak of consciousness transmigrating, for the same reason that we don't qualify terms such as "you" or "I" every time we use them in a post, even though such terms suggest a self. Sati's mistake, as I understand it, was to insist that it is this same consciousness that is reborn (i.e. consciousness as a permanent essence).

But we're getting a little far afield. The gist of my post was simply to agree with you: evolution and rebirth are different paradigms, "apples and chestnuts" if you will.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Mkoll » Mon May 05, 2014 9:30 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:It's a little off the topic, but I would be curious to know your answer: that is, if the Buddha taught rebirth, what do you see as being reborn?

Ignorance and craving. Only slightly tongue-in-cheek. :tongue:
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon May 05, 2014 10:05 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:It's a little off the topic, but I would be curious to know your answer: that is, if the Buddha taught rebirth, what do you see as being reborn?

Ignorance and craving. Only slightly tongue-in-cheek. :tongue:


:smile:

But without consciousness, can there be ignorance and craving? Something has to crave and be ignorant, unless you see these attributes as embedded in the cosmos itself.
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby daverupa » Mon May 05, 2014 10:07 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:what do you see as being reborn?


I think this question is wrongly put. There isn't a thing getting reborn: there's the presence of conditions for the arising of consciousness here or there, or there isn't.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon May 05, 2014 10:39 pm

It may be wrongly put; nevertheless the Buddha himself has answered it in various suttas:

When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing... in accordance with their kamma...


And I think it is clear that the consciousness aggregate is the main actor in this process.

Biological reproduction is also a process of continuity-and-flux; beings arise and rerise, with the iterations connected by a physical link. But this is not Buddhist rebirth.

I agree, though, that "transmigration" is not the best term and I should not have used it; my intention was simply to indicate the difference between the two paradigms. Better, perhaps, to have said it like this:

Evolution explains how physical species originate and develop; rebirth refers to a non-lifespan-delineated process of dependent origination. (I owe that formulation to Retrofuturist).
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby david.sojourn » Tue May 06, 2014 5:56 pm

altar wrote:I apologize if this is addressed somewhere else like the enormous rebirth debate.

Does survival of the fittest conflict with consciousness rebirth? Is survival of the fittest somehow more than a rational deduction?
Does consciousness come from the brain?
To me, this latter idea used to make sense, or at least i would consider it. But now, especially after having visited monks with super mental abilities or clear seeing, and me putting more weight on experience than on rational thinking, which I usually desist from now, i drift away from the whole idea of evolution from survival of the fittest. But then others mention it and it seems like i should consider it again.
Like I said I desist from rational thinking and think that this question is maybe one i should put aside until later in my life or let the answer come gradually, but i'm going to post this anyway :).
zack


Evolution is on the Delusion side of things.

Rebirth is on the Illusion side of things.

When you put them together, you get a bunch of crazy infinities, infinitely being infinities. And a wicked Paradox too!

I tend to believe all that evolution and rebirth stuff. Except when I don't believe any of that evolution or rebirth stuff. Doesn't seem to make a difference.

My theory on the matter is: Smoke a joint and do something with the heart instead of the mind. There's no good answers up there anyway! 50% of the deception is true, and 50% of the truth is deception, but who will ever figure out which is which!

Ah ha! I bet I'm right!
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Mkoll » Tue May 06, 2014 7:55 pm

david.sojourn wrote:My theory on the matter is: Smoke a joint and do something with the heart instead of the mind.


Don't smoke, it's bad for your lungs. Don't do drugs, they're bad for your mind. Just some friendly advice.

:soap:
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby Kasina » Wed May 07, 2014 3:07 am

daverupa wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:what do you see as being reborn?


I think this question is wrongly put. There isn't a thing getting reborn: there's the presence of conditions for the arising of consciousness here or there, or there isn't.


:goodpost:
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go... This is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life..."

Wilbur Mercer in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
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Re: rebirth and evolution

Postby ihrjordan » Wed May 07, 2014 4:10 am

altar wrote:I am watching this very good talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f70tKopDm_c

and realized how to state my problem.

Is our intelligence caused by previous karma or the result of our brain?
Or am i missing the point...? By separating karma and the brain am i somehow creating two realities which aren't really separate?

By consciousness rebirth i mean the birth of consciousness into a new body

I believe this video should answer on of your questions quite nicely.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPGZSC8odIU .and as for the whole talk on if there is rebirth, how are there more people now then before..i believe it's fair to point out that there are 31 planes of existence http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html so maybe our kamma allowed to "move up" I guess.
"Ko imaṃ pathaviṃ vicessati, yamalokañca imaṃ sadevakaṃ.
ko dhammapadaṃ sudesitaṃ, kusalo pupphamiva pacessati"
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