western cynicism/eastern credulity.

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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:15 pm

Well said.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:45 pm

Hi
I was not talking of the suttas but of OBE. In OBE, you have astral bodies. And I was saying that anatta doesn't refute it the least. Why? Because no one said an astral body was either permanent, or blissful, or substantial, or simple, or autonomous. :coffee:

Now, although obviously the term "astral body" is not found in the suttas. And I would not affirm that the suttas speak of it, there are two things which make one think of it

1°) The iddhis
Kevatta (Kevaddha) Sutta: To Kevatta
"And what is the miracle of psychic power? There is the case where a monk wields manifold psychic powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He dives in and out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting cross-legged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches and strokes even the sun and moon, so mighty and powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds.
All this sounds very similar to the descriptions of OBE, though this is not explicitely one.

2°) The form realms
As for the devas of the form realms, I understand their bodies as being made of subtle matter, very akin to what a subtle (or astral) body is.

Now from the experience of some forest monks, they say (but I don't have the reference here), that they're (or some at least are) able to project their citta and wander with it through the forest while their body is motionless. You might say citta is not "astral body", but the principle of "going out of the body" is the same in both cases.

Finally the tradition recognizes that the body went to the devas with a subtle body to teach them the abhidhamma. This is not in the suttas of course, but this is a hint that the idea of an astral body is not contrary to the Theravada tradition. :toast:


:anjali:
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:47 pm

I meant the *buddha not the body of course
:hello:
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:53 pm

There is a logical fallacy there Sacha G. You are assuming that because the Suttas not mention the existence of any phenomenon called an Astral body that you can assume that the Sutta do not refute such a phenomenon.

It is the reverse. The Suttas do not refute the existence of any Astral Body because the Buddha did not teach such a thing.

If such an idea had any importance he would have.
We cant just add stuff to the Buddhas teaching on our own whim. We cant take ideas because they appeal to us and bolt them onto Buddha Dhamma.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 4:57 pm

Hi Peter
You are saying that the Buddha didn't teach the astral body so it doesn't exist.
Sorry but the Buddha didn't teach gravity, relativity, quantum physics, evolution.
You'd better say that might exist but the Buddha thought it was unnecessary for realisation. On this I would agree.
Anyway, the debate doesn't seem to lead to the reduction of craving, aversion and ignorance.
So I think we'd rather stop here, at least for the special subject of OBE's.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:31 pm

Sacha it might help you to make a brief study of logic.

What i said was if the"Astral Body " was important the Buddha would have taught it.
I neither know nor care if it exists, If it were necessary or expedient to Enlightenment we would know about it from the Canon.
The "special subject " was introduced for no reason that I can see...by you. I am happy to stop there on that subject. I would have been even happier had it not been dragged in.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:02 pm

Sacha it might help you to make a brief study of logic.

Thank you Peter. I thought I had, but thanks to you, now I know I was wrong.
Thank you for helping me progress.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby adeh » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:24 pm

The Mind-made Body

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body, endowed with form, made of the mind, complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties. Just as if a man were to draw a reed from its sheath. The thought would occur to him: 'This is the sheath, this is the reed. The sheath is one thing, the reed another, but the reed has been drawn out from the sheath.' Or as if a man were to draw a sword from its scabbard. The thought would occur to him: 'This is the sword, this is the scabbard. The sword is one thing, the scabbard another, but the sword has been drawn out from the scabbard.' Or as if a man were to pull a snake out from its slough. The thought would occur to him: 'This is the snake, this is the slough. The snake is one thing, the slough another, but the snake has been pulled out from the slough.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, the monk directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body, endowed with form, made of the mind, complete in all its parts, not inferior in its faculties.

"This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.'' Samaññaphala Sutta: Digha Nikaya 2.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:43 pm

That section of the Sammannaphala makes it clear that what is being discussed is a an Iddhi, and is the result of what we might term advanced practice. It differs considerably from the description in " mystical" literature of " the astral body" which appears to be a natural coventional extension of the phsyical body.

Neither is there any indication that what is decribed as Out Of The Body experiences. which whatever their nature, happen spontaneously, or as the result of trauma or drug induced states, bear any relation to the phenomenon described in the Sammannaphala Sutta which is the result of highly refined Jhana states.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby adeh » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:50 pm

It actually bears little difference to descriptions of the astral body in ''mystical'' literature....the only thing missing is the silver umbilical cord....
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:54 pm

No.
Its quite clear that the Sutta is referring to an entirely different order of phenomenon. One that is an attainment of an advanced nature, Not a natural phenomenon that can be experienced under anaesthetic or as a result of trauma.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby octathlon » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:29 pm

PeterB wrote:Nonsense.
Its quite clear that the Sutta is referring to an entirely different order of phenomenon. One that is an attainment of an advanced nature, Not a natural phenomenon that can be experienced under anaesthetic or as a result of trauma.


Natural, supernatural, whatever. Semantics. If it occurs, it's a natural phenomenon. And it does occur, as many can attest, although they are scoffed at by some. Not only Buddhist monks can do it, although IMO they are the ones more likely to have developed the wisdom and control to do it skillfully in the Buddhist sense of the word.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:50 am

There is a huge difference between phenomena that happen irrespective of the cultivation of Dhamma and those that are the result of such cultivation.
And experience of the "Astral body " are reported under anasaethesia, and under narcotic and alcoholic stupours,this clearly is of a different order to experiences that happen as a result of the Jhanas. Although they might have a superficial resemblence.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby octathlon » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:03 pm

PeterB wrote:There is a huge difference between phenomena that happen irrespective of the cultivation of Dhamma and those that are the result of such cultivation.
And experience of the "Astral body " are reported under anasaethesia, and under narcotic and alcoholic stupours,this clearly is of a different order to experiences that happen as a result of the Jhanas. Although they might have a superficial resemblence.

Clearly, yes. But you left out those experiences that occur neither as a result of Buddhist meditation nor drug-induced stupors. For example, those that occur as the result of non-Buddhist meditation or without deliberate intention, by those who have not learned about Buddha dhamma. The issue of whether the experience is evidence of an actual "astral body" or not is a side-issue and does not negate the fact of the experience itself.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:13 pm

Are you suggesting that the phenomena described in the Sammannaphala Suta along with the other indicators of Jhana can be accessed by non Buddhist meditation or without intention ?
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby octathlon » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:22 pm

PeterB wrote:Are you suggesting that the phenomena described in the Sammannaphala Suta along with the other indicators of Jhana can be accessed by non Buddhist meditation or without intention ?

I'm suggesting that you were only allowing for the two possibilities of drug-induced stupor or Jhana (based on the sutta quoted earlier) to account for the state of consciousness where one experiences the perception of leaving the physical body and traveling elsewhere. I'm suggesting that there are other ways of experiencing that state.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby PeterB » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:34 pm

Read again......I am saying that any experience which can be drug induced or is the result of trauma cannot possibly be the same as the experience described in the Suttas which are the fruit of Jnana.

There are two main strands here, and they are being conflated.

The first is the phenomenon known as the "astral body ".
The second is whether the astral body is the same as the phenomenon described in the Sutta.

As to the " astral body " I neither know nor care whether it exists. I tend to Susan Blackmore's view that it is neurological and psychological in origin.
But, and this is the important point...even if it could be shown to exist in a literal sense it would be irrelevant in terms of Dhamma.
And certainly is not the phenomenon described in the Sammannaphala Sutta which is exclusively accessed by Jhanic states...which are exclusively the result of advanced meditation practices.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby octathlon » Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:45 pm

I also don't care if an "astral body" objectively exists. My only purpose in posting was to clarify that it does happen that people experience that state without either drug-induced stupors or Jhana meditation.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:36 am

But, and this is the important point...even if it could be shown to exist in a literal sense it would be irrelevant in terms of Dhamma.


Perhaps of a wee bit of epistemological utility, if we decide that the stages of "proof" per MN 27 should include the iddhis as well? I wonder why the iddhis were omitted from MN 27, when they occupied a rather prominent nexus between Vipassana and the Tevijja in DN 2.
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Re: western cynicism/eastern credulity.

Postby Tree » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:03 am

I think Western cynicism is obvious to those of us who live in the culture.

I know in Australia, Religion is barely discussed, especially not in the media, beyond the standard cultural events around Christianity.

There is no depth or even philosophical examination of life.

The most important thing to the masses are Mortgage rates and taxes.

I guess we do live in a type of 'Matrix' world where most people are batteries for the economy and making wealth for the top of the social pyramid.

I think Asian countries, especially those SE Asian ones live closer to the reality the Buddha lived in. Poverty, hard work, heart ache. It makes people more philosophical and more spiritual.

Well maybe I'm just speaking of myself. Most people are extremely shallow in my life.
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