Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

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Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby a_human_being » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:03 pm

What do you guys think about the idea of putting dhamma material in analog and/or digital media, put this in airtight, weatherproof, waterproof, maybe even fireproof, containers and hide these at various places (dig down deep in the earth, hide in caves etc) with the intention that maybe sometime in the future, when most dhamma might have been lost due to nuclear war or whatever, it could be found and benefit people?

This could be done at many different levels of effort and budgets. We wouldn't know which would "survive" anyway, and which would be able to be understood by any eventual finders in the future, be it due to language or the chosen medium. So, the more people just ...putting some dhamma on a cheap usb stick or printing a couple of pages on their printer with the basics of buddhism, putting it in some box and try to waterproof it and dig it down or something... the higher the chance of some of these "dhamma treasures" for the future surviving to maybe one day be found by someone who really needed to find it. That would be a happy thought. :namaste:

What would cost most would be the "time capsules" I guess. Beyond that, usb sticks are cheap for example. If digging down analogue media, for example books, one could take them apart and laminate every single page to further provide protection against time and the elements (well I hope that laminating paper really does provide better longtime protection and that the laminate itself will not speed up the decomposition of paper!).

Thoughts?
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby Ben » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:42 pm

Having been a custodian of a number of time capsules - you need to consider things like the longevity of paper, the redundancy of computer technology and the internal environmental conditions of the time capsule itself. Time capsules are often great ideas that are poorly executed.
If you are really serious about the idea, you should check out the underground facility the LDS Church have in Utah where they are storing the geneological records of humanity. Its impressive.
My own attitude as both an archivist and practitioner of the Dhamma is that the best thing you can do to assist in the propagation of the sasana is to live a life of Dhamma.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:40 am

Sounds like a great idea! We know that the Dhamma will eventually decline and die away and then in distant future time Metteyya will reinstate the Dhamma. It would be nice for those future generations to have some "archeological" evidence of the Dhamma era of Gotama-Buddha.

I saw a documentary (think it was Discover Channel) called "Life after People" and it was very interesting and a good display of anicca (impermanence). It showed using computer animation what would happen if humans disappeared from the planet for whatever reason(s). In just a few years or decades, weeds would over take many homes and structures, whole freeways would be crumbled or un-noticeable. After about a few hundred years, even large skyscrapers will come down from not being maintained and repaired. The internet is one of the first things that would be wiped out, unfortunately (or is it fortunately -- for some). This is because all data is kept on servers and require electricity, climate control, etc., all of which would be gone if there are no humans to maintain them. Books and papers would also disintegrate pretty fast, including some important documents in museums again because climate control / air conditioning would be gone.

The one thing that would remain for 100,000 years even perhaps a million years or more according to the documentary, are the sculptures and works of art that are carved in marble and granite, for example some Buddha statues, art work, Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota (carved in granite). Therefore, the Tipitaka at Kuthodaw Pagoda should survive. It is carved on 729 slabs of marble in Burma. Maybe it would be good to do more of that in additional languages and in different regions of the world.
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby James the Giant » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:07 am

a_human_being wrote:What do you guys think about the idea of putting dhamma material in analog and/or digital media, put this in airtight, weatherproof, waterproof, maybe even fireproof, containers and hide these at various places (dig down deep in the earth, hide in caves etc) with the intention that maybe sometime in the future, when most dhamma might have been lost due to nuclear war or whatever, it could be found and benefit people?

Vimutti Monastery in New Zealand just sealed up their reinforced concrete stupa, designed to last 1000 years. Inside are various Buddha-rupa, mementos, relics, and the tipitaka.
The Ajahn mentioned to me that the scriptures were in there on several USB sticks, sealed in polycarbonate boxes (PC is really long-lived) and he was quite proud of that. I groaned! and debated whether to tell him that they would be blank within 20 years due to the slow loss of charge.
I did tell him in the end, and he was a little startled and rueful.
Then,
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby a_human_being » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:30 am

James the Giant wrote:The Ajahn mentioned to me that the scriptures were in there on several USB sticks, sealed in polycarbonate boxes (PC is really long-lived) and he was quite proud of that. I groaned! and debated whether to tell him that they would be blank within 20 years due to the slow loss of charge.
I did tell him in the end, and he was a little startled and rueful.


Ouch :-( . USB sticks will really die after just 20 years? That's kind of useless indeed.

David N. Snyder wrote:Sounds like a great idea! We know that the Dhamma will eventually decline and die away and then in distant future time Metteyya will reinstate the Dhamma. It would be nice for those future generations to have some "archeological" evidence of the Dhamma era of Gotama-Buddha.

...

The one thing that would remain for 100,000 years even perhaps a million years or more according to the documentary, are the sculptures and works of art that are carved in marble and granite, for example some Buddha statues, art work, Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota (carved in granite). Therefore, the Tipitaka at Kuthodaw Pagoda should survive. It is carved on 729 slabs of marble in Burma. Maybe it would be good to do more of that in additional languages and in different regions of the world.


Glad to hear someone else thinks this is a good idea :-). Yes, engraving on stone or some other material that will not decompose fast seems like a good idea. It would be possible to set up a "stone engraving printer" also with something like a dremel, a stand for it, hooked up to a 3D printer like "matrix" to hold the dremel (and move the rotating drill XY and up and down), attached to a microcontroller (something like an arduino) - and automate the process. Either just enough so you need to change every "page" of stone or whatever, or with enough motivation and time, you could design something that would only have you to change a "magazine" of several "pages" of stone every now and then. Then one could "print" easily in several languages. If this design was to be created then it should be published as "open hardware"/"open source".
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby a_human_being » Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:39 am

Ben wrote:Having been a custodian of a number of time capsules - you need to consider things like the longevity of paper, the redundancy of computer technology and the internal environmental conditions of the time capsule itself. Time capsules are often great ideas that are poorly executed.
If you are really serious about the idea, you should check out the underground facility the LDS Church have in Utah where they are storing the geneological records of humanity. Its impressive.
My own attitude as both an archivist and practitioner of the Dhamma is that the best thing you can do to assist in the propagation of the sasana is to live a life of Dhamma.
kind regards,

Ben


Thanks for your reply Ben. Living a life of Dhamma does indeed seem to be the most important thing one can do, but I fail to understand how this could help in a possible future scenario where no people who live or even know about the Dhamma are around to inspire or inform others. In such a future scenario, where no people know the Dhamma and no written Dhamma has survived, people would probably benefit from finding hidden written records of Dhamma that they can learn from.
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:18 am

Hi a_human_being,

Regardless of our efforts to preserve the texts, the Dhamma will disappear at the end of the current sasana, in approximately 2,450 years. The best thing we can do for ourselves and to assist in the propagation of the Dhamma, is to live it. Its when the Dhamma is no longer a practiced, lived experience that it declines.
kind regards,

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby waimengwan » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:47 pm

I had a thought about that some time back yes we should preserve the teachings by supporting the monks, lineage holders and so forth and by practicing of course. The literature we should try to preserve to the best of our abilities, but there will come a time where even if the texts were available the people then will not be able to get to the heart of it and no one can explain by that time. Does anyone have any idea what is the time gap between the end of Shakyamuni's teachings and Maitreya coming to turn the wheel of dharma?
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby whynotme » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:14 am

waimengwan wrote:I had a thought about that some time back yes we should preserve the teachings by supporting the monks, lineage holders and so forth and by practicing of course. The literature we should try to preserve to the best of our abilities, but there will come a time where even if the texts were available the people then will not be able to get to the heart of it and no one can explain by that time. Does anyone have any idea what is the time gap between the end of Shakyamuni's teachings and Maitreya coming to turn the wheel of dharma?

Long long time
Human life decrease from 100 years to 10 years then increase to several ten-thousands years by generations. Millions years or greater compare to 2012 years of common era.
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Re: Hiding "Dhamma treasures" for future generations to find

Postby waimengwan » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:40 am

Long long time
Human life decrease from 100 years to 10 years then increase to several ten-thousands years by generations. Millions years or greater compare to 2012 years of common era.


Better get out that meditation mat and practice now! We might not get another human life next life if this life we do not get any irreversible results. That is if we fear the 3 lower realms. if we dont fear the 3 lower realms, then there is nothing fear and we carry on as we are.
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