Science-Earthquake

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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby lojong1 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:07 am

Shonin wrote:Well it's a pretty safe bet that it isn't 'wind'

:clap: Right, it's more likely liquid, as Buddha said.
Equally safe bets:
Subterranean liquids do not create magnetic farmers' fields or blow bubbles around the planet to protect us from solar winds.
'Wind', as we generally use the term, is not Vāto ākāsaṭṭho--nor even Vāto as it is used in this sutta. Nevertheless, wind will suffice when teaching plebs things they don't need to know. 'Space wind' would be especially appropriate where there is no other word or phrase in any language on the planet at the time to describe what you are the first to know!
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby rahula80 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:17 am

Hi,

Shonin, wind as in movement, in the sense of ayurvedic theory of medicine?

Lojomg1, thanks a lot for digging up those scientific materials. I appreciated it.

Best wishes,
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:35 am

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:Well it's a pretty safe bet that it isn't 'wind'

:clap: Right, it's more likely liquid, as Buddha said.
Equally safe bets:
Subterranean liquids do not create magnetic farmers' fields or blow bubbles around the planet to protect us from solar winds.
'Wind', as we generally use the term, is not Vāto ākāsaṭṭho--nor even Vāto as it is used in this sutta. Nevertheless, wind will suffice when teaching plebs things they don't need to know. 'Space wind' would be especially appropriate where there is no other word or phrase in any language on the planet at the time to describe what you are the first to know!


You are having to work hard to bend the meaning of this text in order that it isn't contradicted by reality. What does that tell you?

"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

earth on
liquid on
atmosphere on
space

What the Buddha has described is completely consistent with the picture of the earth/solar system of the people of his time and place. That should tell you something. These people believed that the continents rested upon water on a flat, disc-shaped world.

In antiquity, a cosmological view prevailed in India that held the Earth is a disc that consists of four continents grouped around the central mountain Meru like the petals of a flower. An outer ocean surrounds these continents.[12] This view was elaborated in traditional Jain cosmology and Buddhist cosmology, which depicts the world (in this case solar system/universe and not Earth) as a vast, flat oceanic disk (of the magnitude of a small planetary system), bounded by mountains, in which the continents are set as small islands.[12] The belief in a disk remained the dominant one in Indian cosmology until the early centuries AD, such as in the Puranas:

    In the Puranas the Earth is a flat-bottomed, circular disk, in the center of which is a lofty mountain, Meru.[12]
source

According to Kalachakra the world system consists of Mt. Meru, sitting on top of four discs of elements, with the realms of all the Gods above. At the very bottom is the black disc of wind, 400,000 yojanas (1 yojana equal approximately 9 miles) in diameter; above it is the red disk of fire, 300,000 yojanas in diameter; next is the white disk of water, 200,000 yojanas in diameter; finally the yellow disk of earth, 100,000 yojanas across. Each of these is 50,000 yojanas in height, and so their total height is 200,000.

In the centre of the disk of earth sits Mt. Meru, 100,000 yojanas in height. Above this, stretching up a further 100,000 yojanas are the realms of the gods, widening to a diameter of 400,000 yojanas. An important feature in this structure is that the total height and the total width are both the same: 400,000 yojanas.
source
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby lojong1 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:39 pm

Shonin wrote:You are having to work hard to bend the meaning of this text in order that it isn't contradicted by reality.

Not at all, it fits easily for me so far. :clap: Truly, I don't even care if I'm coming across a bit desperate in this thread. The 45,000m long fish had my heart racing until I realized it was in the Asuran Ocean, and wasn't even a fish. It will all be verified scientifically in due time. :alien: Do you think I'm trying harder than y'all are to convince me this contradicts today's science?

Shonin wrote:What the Buddha has described is completely consistent with the picture of the earth/solar system of the people of his time and place. That should tell you something. These people believed that the continents rested upon water on a flat, disc-shaped world.
I bet some of them did.
Regarding all the other information about ancient world views in your post: did Buddha have anything to say about any of it?
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby rahula80 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:39 pm

Hi,

Well, the Flat Earth Society is well and alive.
http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/

Rahula
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby rahula80 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:41 pm

Asuran ocean? Can you tell me more about it?
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:51 pm

lojong1 wrote:Not at all, it fits easily for me so far. :clap: Truly, I don't even care if I'm coming across a bit desperate in this thread. The 45,000m long fish had my heart racing until I realized it was in the Asuran Ocean, and wasn't even a fish. It will all be verified scientifically in due time. :alien: Do you think I'm trying harder than y'all are to convince me this contradicts today's science?


:alien:

The Buddha's strange words about earth being upon water/liquid upon air are hard to understand in terms of our current knowledge of the world, that is why we are discussing it in the first place.

On the other hand they describe perfectly the view of the structure of the world of the people of that time.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:52 pm

Shonin wrote:You are having to work hard to bend the meaning of this text in order that it isn't contradicted by reality. What does that tell you?

"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

earth on
liquid on
atmosphere on
space

What the Buddha has described is completely consistent with the picture of the earth/solar system of the people of his time and place. That should tell you something. These people believed that the continents rested upon water on a flat, disc-shaped world.


Is that in Pāli? It seems like you want to keep it bent to these specific English words (that some random translator chose, no less), and not only that, to your own current understanding that obviously doesn't fit within the system that this passage was based on. A pot calling the kettle black.

In Dhamma (and other Indian systems, as Rahula pointed out), earth generally doesn't literally mean the dirt, water doesn't mean water, wind doesn't mean wind, and fire doesn't mean fire. All of those are generally, and have been consistently used in a metaphorical quality. The Greeks used the same system. Occult practitioners also. And the Chinese. (Though with Metal and Wood in place of a couple of these qualities). So... this is nothing unique.

On another note, I know several friends that were caught in the middle of Northridge Earthquake (a pretty big one, something like 7.0 on a Richter Scale). One claimed that he saw huge ripples in the ground. I don't know if he imagined it or not (it was pretty early in the morning, if I remember correctly). Most people associate that sort of behavior with a liquid. Of course, there are solids that can transmit waves like this... but that's still a liquid-like behavior. I'm not saying that Science is wrong... just that there are different ways of looking at things. (That should be obvious.)

Another one of my friends was asleep at the time. His bed started to jump up and down. He thought that someone was bouncing on his bed as a joke. He got mad, and then got out of the bed. A TV jumped right into his arms. A TV would not have been able to do that if there wasn't any up-and-down movement... which is what a ripple is.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:13 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Is that in Pāli? It seems like you want to keep it bent to these specific English words (that some random translator chose, no less), and not only that, to your own current understanding that obviously doesn't fit within the system that this passage was based on. A pot calling the kettle black.


I beg your pardon? I've posted references to the well-established fact that early Buddhist cosmology saw the earth as flat with earth on top of water. I don't know what other Pali sources reference this, however I know that the Pali name for Meru is 'Sineru'. I have not been selective about the translations I've picked. And the amount of reinterpretation work I need to do is zero. How about you?

It's very easy to find these references because this early Buddhist account of the shape of the universe is very well established and not at all a matter of me reinterpreting selective inaccurate translations as you suggest. I have found several online references to these legends.

Here is another:

Buddhist texts and teachers sometimes refer to Mount Meru, also called Sumeru (Sanskrit) or Sineru (Pali). Mount Meru is a sacred mountain in Buddhist, Hindu and Jain mythology. For a time, the existence (or not) of Meru was a heated controversy.

Ancient Buddhists thought Meru was the center of the universe. The Pali Canon records the historical Buddha speaking of it. In time, ideas about Mount Meru and the nature of the universe became more detailed. For example, a renowned Indian scholar named Vasubhandhu (ca. 4th or 5th century CE) provided an elaborate description of the Meru-centered cosmos in the Abhidharmakosa.
The Buddhist Universe

Ancient Buddhists imagined the universe as essentially flat, with Mount Meru at the center of all things. Surrounding this universe was a vast expanse of water, and surrounding the water was a vast expanse of wind.

This universe was made of thirty-one planes of existence, stacked in layers, and three realms, or dhatus. The three realms were Ārūpyadhātu, the formless realm; Rūpadhātu, the realm of form; and Kāmadhātu, the realm of desire. Each of these was further divided into multiple worlds that were the homes of many sorts of beings. This cosmos was thought to be one of a succession of universes coming into and going out of existence through infinite time.

Our world was thought to be a wedge-shaped island continent in a vast sea south of Mount Meru, called Jambudvipa, in the realm of Kāmadhātu. The earth, then, was thought to be flat and surrounded by ocean.
The World Becomes Round

As with the sacred writings of many religions, Buddhist cosmology can be interpreted as myth or allegory. But many generations of Buddhists understood the universe of Mount Meru to exist literally.

Then, in the 16th century, European explorers came to Asia claiming the earth was round and suspended in space. And a controversy was born.

Donald Lopez, a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies at the University of Michigan, provides an illuminating account of this culture clash in his book Buddhism and Science: A Guide for the Perplexed (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Conservative Buddhists rejected the round world theory. They believed the historical Buddha had perfect knowledge, and if the historical Buddha believed in the Mount Meru cosmos, then it must be true.

Some scholars, however, adapted what we might call a modernist interpretation of the universe of Mount Meru. Among the first of these was the Japanese scholar Tominaga Nakamoto (1715-1746). Tominaga argued that when the historical Buddha discussed Mount Meru, he was only drawing upon the understanding of the cosmos common to his time. The Buddha did not invent the Mount Meru cosmos, nor was belief in it integral to his teachings.
Stubborn Resistance

However, a great many Buddhist scholars stuck to the conservative view, that Mount Meru was "real." Christian missionaries tried to discredit Buddhism by arguing that if the Buddha was wrong about Mount Meru, his teachings couldn't be trusted. It should be noted that most of these same missionaries believed the sun revolved around the earth.

Faced with this foreign challenge, to some priests and teachers defending Mount Meru was tantamount to defending the Buddha himself. Elaborate models were constructed and calculations made to "prove" astronomical phenomena were better explained by Buddhist theories than by western science. And of course some fell back on the argument that Mount Meru existed, but only the enlightened could see it.

In most of Asia the Mount Meru controversy continued until late in the 19th century, when Asian astronomers came to see for themselves that the earth was round, and educated Asians accepted the scientific view.
The Last Holdout: Tibet

Professor Lopez writes that the Mount Meru controversy didn't reach isolated Tibet until the 20th century. A Tibetan scholar named Gendun Chopel spent the years 1936 to 1943 traveling in south Asia, soaking up the modern view of the cosmos that by then was accepted even in conservative monasteries. In 1938 Gendun Chopel sent an article to the Tibet Mirror informing his country persons that the world is round.

The current Dalai Lama, who has flown about the round world several times, seems to have put an end to flat earthism among Tibetans by saying the historical Buddha was wrong about the shape of the earth. However, "The purpose of the Buddha coming to this world was not to measure the circumference of the world and the distance between the earth and the moon, but rather to teach the Dharma, to liberate sentient beings, to relieve sentient beings of their sufferings."

Even so, Donald Lopez recalls meeting a lama in 1977 who still held onto a belief in Mount Meru.
Mount Meru in the West

In the West, in some Buddhist traditions, little is said these days about Mount Meru. It seems only to be a quaint bit of irrelevant trivial that pops up in sutras from time to time. Possibly some mistake the mythical Mount Meru for an African mountain of the same name. In other traditions, the old cosmology is still taught as a metaphysical model.

The historical Buddha taught us about the nature of suffering and the means to be liberated from it, not to teach us facts about the phenomenal universe. This might teach us to be cautious about linking Buddhism and science too tightly. There is no need for Buddhism and science to contradict each other, but they are not necessarily about the same things.
source
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:59 pm

Shonin wrote:I beg your pardon? I've posted references to the well-established fact that early Buddhist cosmology saw the earth as flat with earth on top of water. I don't know what other Pali sources reference this, however I know that the Pali name for Meru is 'Sineru'. I have not been selective about the translations I've picked. And the amount of reinterpretation work I need to do is zero. How about you?


I have not done much interpretation, either (if at all.) The only thing I've pointed out (so far, and including that posting about the future beings) was how some people in here seem to try bend this thing to their own incompatible views.

There is a reason why it's said that the first thing one should set up is the so-called Right View. This doesn't literally mean that you have a view that is absolutely right... only that you have an understanding that is in line with the system that is contained within the Dhamma. This is obviously necessary for one to benefit the most from it.

The same is true for science. If you don't have a correct view of what the science does... such as what its system is; what its limitations are; what it's best used for; and (this is very important) the way it describes things... such as, the word "wave" doesn't literally mean the ripples that an ocean makes, when it refers to things like gravity... if you don't have a correct view of these, then you really will not get far in science.

You've been trying to bend the Dhamma towards the science, and its terminology, to try show its error. You might deny this, but that is exactly what you've been doing in here. You're bending these words to your own understanding, based on science, the vocabulary that you're familiar with, (and whatever books you've been reading, apparently)... not Dhamma. That is why this thing seemed wrong to you.

I'm not saying that the Dhamma is the only thing that is worthy, or vice versa... or that you should do with one, instead of the other. The science is useful, of course. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional... but you really shouldn't try to map it onto the Dhamma, and expect anything out of it. (At least not without some serious modification of the languages used.)

(The topic of this thread is earthquake, not Mt. Meru, by the way.)
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:16 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
There is a reason why it's said that the first thing one should set up is the so-called Right View. This doesn't literally mean that you have a view that is absolutely right... only that you have an understanding that is in line with the system that is contained within the Dhamma. This is obviously necessary for one to benefit the most from it.


good post & point

:namaste:
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby lojong1 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:19 pm

Shonin wrote:describes perfectly the view of the structure of the world of the people of that time

No argument from me.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_cosmology -- "...Buddhist cosmology which is presented in commentaries and works of Abhidharma...cannot be made consistent with astronomical data that were already known in ancient India. However, it is not intended to be a description of how ordinary humans perceive their world; rather, it is the universe as seen through the divyacakṣus (Pāli: dibbacakkhu), the divine eye..."
Sorry, I don't know the value or source of this quote. Buddha's brief earth-water-wind-space descriptions fit more than one model, maybe just enough to be true in some sense and avoid censure from those who "knew better."
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Rahula. Specific to your thesis, I'd be very careful in trying to defend the Dhamma or the Buddha against scientific viewpoints. Frankly, I think fighting science with Dhamma-science misses the whole point of the Dhamma (i.e. liberation), and many attempts to defend the Dhamma against claims rooted in science often come across as very desperate, and do the Dhamma no favours.

Yes.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:32 pm

beeblebrox wrote:I have not done much interpretation, either (if at all.) The only thing I've pointed out (so far, and including that posting about the future beings) was how some people in here seem to try bend this thing to their own incompatible views.

There is a reason why it's said that the first thing one should set up is the so-called Right View. This doesn't literally mean that you have a view that is absolutely right... only that you have an understanding that is in line with the system that is contained within the Dhamma. This is obviously necessary for one to benefit the most from it.


1. I challenge you to find textual justification for your interpretation that Right View means taking descriptions of geophysics in the suttas on faith (even when they are contradicted by the evidence)
2. I'm a free-thinker. I don't take believe everything that the Suttas say without question.
3. Get used to it.

beeblebrox wrote:The same is true for science. If you don't have a correct view of what the science does... such as what its system is; what its limitations are; what it's best used for; and (this is very important) the way it describes things... such as, the word "wave" doesn't literally mean the ripples that an ocean makes, when it refers to things like gravity... if you don't have a correct view of these, then you really will not get far in science.

You've been trying to bend the Dhamma towards the science, and its terminology, to try show its error. You might deny this, but that is exactly what you've been doing in here. You're bending these words to your own understanding, based on science, the vocabulary that you're familiar with, (and whatever books you've been reading, apparently)... not Dhamma. That is why this thing seemed wrong to you.


Hardly. And for all your verbiage there is only one reality. Whether it is described in scientific or religious terms, either the earth is flat or it isn't. Here is the text in question again:

"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

The key facts stated by the Buddha here are as follows:
1. The earth is above liquid
2. The liquid is above atmosphere
3. The atmosphere is above space
4. Atmospheric disturbances cause the liquid to be agitated
5. Agitated liquid causes the earth to tremor which is the explanation of earthquakes

The most obvious thing to note is that we know that (whatever the liquid, atmosphere and space refer to) this is not how earthquakes are caused. Earthquakes are caused by the friction of when tectonic plates slip against one another.

An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves.
source

Even if we accepted that the liquid referred to magma, then why did the Buddha not mention the most important part of the explanation: tectonic plates?

In fact this interpretation requires a large number of assumptions:
1. That the Buddha somehow had supernatural knowledge of the structure of the earth
2. That the element of liquid referred to is magma
3. That the element of atmosphere that referred to is gravity or something similar (a huge stetch of interpretation there)
4. That the solid iron core of the earth is omitted from the account
5. The reference to space supporting the atmosphere seems to have no explanation unless it refers to the space on the opposite side of the planet (it is of course completely wrong to talk about magma resting on top of gravity on top of space on the other side of the planet. ) and for some reason the Buddha missed the solid core of the earth, the magma 'under' that, and the earth 'under' that, skipping to space
6. For some reason the Buddha missed the most important part of the explanation of earthquakes which is that it is due to tectonic plates slipping against (or over/under) one another or that our modern understanding is actually wrong (which means that the Buddha's description is not verified at all)

Alternatively we can note that his description is highly consistent with the layering of elements (earth on water on wind on space) believed to substantiate the flat disc of the earth in Indian thought at that time:

All of the structures of the earth, Sumeru and the rest, extend downward to a depth of 80,000 yojanas below sea level – the same as the height of Sumeru above sea level. Below this is a layer of "golden earth", a substance compact and firm enough to support the weight of Sumeru. It is 320,000 yojanas in depth and so extends to 400,000 yojanas below sea level. The layer of golden earth in turn rests upon a layer of water, which is 8,000,000 yojanas in depth, going down to 8,400,000 yojanas below sea level. Below the layer of water is a "circle of wind", which is 16,000,000 yojanas in depth and also much broader in extent, supporting 1,000 different worlds upon it.
source

Which interpretation begs the fewer number of questions? Which is a more plausible interpretation? The explanation of earthquakes given is in fact perfectly consistent with the worldview of that time (no 'bending' or reinterpretation with hindsight required), especially when we look at another translation, which makes this even clearer:

Ananda, there are eight causes of, or conditions leading to, great earthquakes. What are the eight (causes)?

Ananda, this great earth is supported by water, the water by air, the air by space. At times great winds blow strongly. When great winds blow strongly, the water is shaken. When the water is shaken, the earth is shaken. This is the first cause of, the first condition leading to, the occurrence of great earthquakes. (1)
Mahaparinibbana Sutta, BURMA PITAKA ASSOCIATION

Also:
The causes of earthquakes said to have been explained by the Buddha to Ananda are;
1. The great earth is established on water, the water on wind and wind rests upon space. As the mighty wind blows, the waters are shaken and by the moving waters, the earth shaken.
- A Historical Analysis of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta of the Digha Nikaya of the Pali Canon, Ven. Pategama Gnanarama Ph.D.

Case closed. And I am not the only person to find this inaccurate in the light of modern knowledge.

In the third chapter of the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta Buddha gives us a description of his visit to Vaisali. His explanation of the causes of earthquake is far from satisfactory and reveals his lack of scientific knowledge,
A STUDY OF THE DIGHA NIKAYA OF THE SUTTAPITAKA

beeblebrox wrote:I'm not saying that the Dhamma is the only thing that is worthy, or vice versa... or that you should do with one, instead of the other. The science is useful, of course. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional... but you really shouldn't try to map it onto the Dhamma, and expect anything out of it. (At least not without some serious modification of the languages used.)


Some of your rhetoric is remarkably close to that of Christians and Muslims I have spoken to who claimed special advanced scientific knowledge was revealed in their infallible religious texts. The OP is:

"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

How do you understand this passage in light of science?


I responded to that and to the following responses. I'm sorry if my responses are causing you to experience cognitive dissonance.

On the other hand, whether the Buddha actually said those words attributed to him in the sutta is not at all certain.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby beeblebrox » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:35 pm

Shonin wrote:1. I challenge you to find textual justification for your interpretation that Right View means taking descriptions of geophysics in the suttas on faith (even when they are contradicted by the evidence)


That is not what I meant by the Right View.

-and-

Some of your rhetoric is remarkably close to that of Christians and Muslims I have spoken to who claimed special advanced scientific knowledge was revealed in their infallible religious texts.


I do not take things on faith, by the way. (Before you say anything, this is not an implication by me that I know exactly what the Buddha meant.) I definitely do recognize (and understand) the discrepancies between the Dhamma and science... but that is something I leave unresolved.

I do accept any of the latest models of earthquakes that the modern science is capable of offering, based on their researches (of course)... but I do not try to make that say something about what the Buddha claimed. This, no matter how much you try to twist things around, will always be based on speculations... of what you think the Buddha actually meant; what his own intention was; what these Pāli words could've meant; whether the translation of them was accurate, etc. It's like what lojong said earlier on.

This has nothing to do with faith. What I actually think for myself is more like agnosticism.

2. I'm a free-thinker. I don't take believe everything that the Suttas say without question.


Me too. (And me neither.) I do not try to be tied to anything. This includes even the Dhamma. (Along with the science.) I benefit from both, for sure... but I do not make any attempt in tying myself to either. Why would I? They're rafts.

"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

How do you understand this passage in light of science?


I'm sorry you're still trapped with that. You're trying to view it in a way that was obviously mistaken to begin with. By this, I don't mean that the science itself is mistaken... just that this application of science to what the Buddha said apparently doesn't fit at all, whatever that reason might be.

I make no conclusion out of this. (You'll have seen that already if you didn't read my posts with what appears to be some kind of distortion, about my own supposed blind faith.) I only offered some possibilities.

It seems to me like you've been making a lot of assumptions in here. (About the accuracy of the translation, or its validity, which seems like you've actually already took on faith; what the Buddha meant by it; and also what my own supposed intentions could've been, with these posts.) Also, some of these assumptions, you seem to think are justified when they're couched behind the science. What do you have to say about that?
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby lojong1 » Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:24 am

Shonin wrote:the earth is flat or it isn't
or both.
Shonin wrote:The key facts stated by the Buddha here are as follows: 1. The earth is above liquid 2. ...above... 3. ...above...

You mention this elsewhere as a layering one atop another. Patitthita sutta: "Monks, when one quality is established in a monk, the five faculties are developed & developed well. Which one quality? Heedfulness."
Would you say that the monk literally stands above heedfulness? {Edit added after responses were given: Pali says "monk is established in [heedfulness]". Also on next page.]
Shonin wrote:Earthquakes are caused by the friction of when tectonic plates slip against one another.
I'd call that the earthquake itself, not the cause.
Shonin wrote:why did the Buddha not mention the most important part of the explanation: tectonic plates?
He did...mahapathavi.
Shonin wrote:In fact this interpretation requires a large number of assumptions: 1.That the Buddha somehow had supernatural knowledge of the structure of the earth

I am assuming he knew more about what he was talking about than I do.
Shonin wrote:2. That the element of liquid referred to is magma
Not a necessary assumption in my view.
Shonin wrote:3. That the element of atmosphere that referred to is gravity or something similar (a huge stretch of interpretation there)
Is it easier to believe such an intelligent guy would say that the same wind that rustles leaves in my yard could cause a 7.4?
Shonin wrote:4. That the solid iron core of the earth is omitted from the account
If it doesn't cause quakes, there's no reason to mention it. "Solid iron core" itself is an assumption; there's water in there you know, :tongue: and a teency-weency giant turtle balancing all of us on it's back. As I said, I'm not convinced this account contained any simple over/under or inside/outside layering relationships. Anyhow it was a quick one liner segue to more wholesome matters.
Shonin wrote:5. The reference to space supporting the atmosphere seems to have no explanation...

'Patitthita' is not mentioned between vāto and ākāsaṭṭho. ākāsaṭṭho in this case is a quality of vāto, not another element with a different spacial location, saying essentially that this 'wind' is too subtle for a puthujjana.
Shonin wrote:Alternatively we can note that his description is highly consistent with the layering of elements (earth on water on wind on space) believed to substantiate the flat disc of the earth in Indian thought at that time.
No need to view it as an alternative, you're totally correct.
Case open.

Maybe someone here can understand the following links. I can't.
Cosmology in flat space-time: "The most refined observations of the cosmic background radiation to date are interpreted to imply that space-time is indeed flat." http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0402/0402016.pdf
Matt McIrvin (Milne Cosmology): "To recap, this is a cosmological model that is either a finite bubble expanding from a point into an empty, flat, static universe, or an infinite, negatively curved, homogeneous expanding universe! The two descriptions sound completely different, yet all that separates them is a change of coordinates." http://world.std.com/~mmcirvin/milne.html
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:28 am

beeblebrox wrote:
"This great earth, Ananda, is established upon liquid, the liquid upon the atmosphere, and the atmosphere upon space. And when, Ananda, mighty atmospheric disturbances take place, the liquid is agitated. And with the agitation of the liquid, tremors of the earth arise. This is the first reason, the first cause for the arising of mighty earthquakes." (Digha Nikaya 16)

How do you understand this passage in light of science?


I'm sorry you're still trapped with that. You're trying to view it in a way that was obviously mistaken to begin with. By this, I don't mean that the science itself is mistaken... just that this application of science to what the Buddha said apparently doesn't fit at all, whatever that reason might be.


What on earth are you talking about? The application of science to that statement attributed to the Buddha, shows that the statement is based on an ancient worldview not the picture of the world revealed by modern science. It doesn't show that the application of science to the statement 'doesn't fit at all'. If you want to refuse to conclude that a passage that describes the flat model of the world as understood in ancient India is simply inaccurate in the light of what we now know about the earth, then I'm afraid you are deluding yourself.

beeblebrox wrote:It seems to me like you've been making a lot of assumptions in here. (About the accuracy of the translation, or its validity, which seems like you've actually already took on faith; what the Buddha meant by it; and also what my own supposed intentions could've been, with these posts.) Also, some of these assumptions, you seem to think are justified when they're couched behind the science. What do you have to say about that?


1. I was asked to comment on the passage quoted, and I did, just like everyone else.
2. I didn't assume it was accurate, which is why I posted the only other translation of the passage I could find online. That passage was even more explicit as a description of the ancient Indian worldview
3. I haven't assumed anything about what the Buddha meant by it, in fact I haven't even assumed that it originated with the Buddha at all ("whether the Buddha actually said those words attributed to him in the sutta is not at all certain."). I was responding to the statement in the light of science exactly as requested by the OP.
4. I don't really mind what your intentions are with these posts, I'm responding to what you actually say. It does appear that you are refusing to accept the obvious, which is that the passage is far better explained as an expressed of an ancient and out-dated model of the world. I do see your bogus post-modernist or 'non-overlapping-magisteria' logic as a refusal to accept the fact that the sutta contains a description of the earth which is far better explained as being simply based on an ancient, inaccurate worldview, than explained by a bizarre reinterpretation (conviently conforming to something like our present understanding) involving liquid/water being magma, wind/atmosphere being gravity and various other unwarranted assumptions as described in my previous post.
5. There is little real content: ie. valid arguments or evidence in your posts here, just empty verbiage and excuses. I won't be responding to any further comments from you. I have things to do.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:39 am

Shonin wrote:What on earth are you talking about? The application of science to that statement attributed to the Buddha, shows that the statement is based on an ancient worldview not the picture of the world revealed by modern science. It doesn't show that the application of science to the statement 'doesn't fit at all'. If you want to refuse to conclude that a passage that describes the flat model of the world as understood in ancient India is simply inaccurate in the light of what we now know about the earth, then I'm afraid you are deluding yourself.


This is hopeless. :tongue:
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:58 am

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:the earth is flat or it isn't
or both.


Both a flat disc and a sphere at the same time? Okaaaay...

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:The key facts stated by the Buddha here are as follows: 1. The earth is above liquid 2. ...above... 3. ...above...

You mention this elsewhere as a layering one atop another. Patitthita sutta: "Monks, when one quality is established in a monk, the five faculties are developed & developed well. Which one quality? Heedfulness."
Would you say that the monk literally stands above heedfulness?


No. 'Established in' means 'founded or standing within'. 'Established on' means 'founded or standing upon'. The key word describing their relative positions is not 'established' - it is the word 'on' (or in your example 'in'). I presume you know what 'on' means? In case there was somehow a doubt about what this means, the other translation I posted makes it doubly clear: "this great earth is supported by water, the water by air, the air by space"

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:Earthquakes are caused by the friction of when tectonic plates slip against one another.
I'd call that the earthquake itself, not the cause.

Earthquakes are not caused by moving magma. They are cause by the sudden release of tension between tectonic plates. Without the build up of that tension there would be no earthquakes. This is a fundamental fact for explaining earthquakes. For a very long time people experienced earthquakes without knowing anything about moving tectonic plates. If the movement of the plates and the earthquake experienced were one and the same, then knowing one would be knowing the other, which is not the case.

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:why did the Buddha not mention the most important part of the explanation: tectonic plates?
He did...mahapathavi.


If you want to reinterpret mahapathavi as meaning teactonic plates you'll have to provide evidence. Anyway tectonic plates are not mentioned in the explanation of earthquakes.

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:In fact this interpretation requires a large number of assumptions: 1.That the Buddha somehow had supernatural knowledge of the structure of the earth

I am assuming he knew more about what he was talking about than I do.
Shonin wrote:2. That the element of liquid referred to is magma
Not a necessary assumption in my view.


No substance to respond to here

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:3. That the element of atmosphere that referred to is gravity or something similar (a huge stretch of interpretation there)
Is it easier to believe such an intelligent guy would say that the same wind that rustles leaves in my yard could cause a 7.4?


As I understand it, the Great Winds referred to are vast, supporting a vast disc of earth and water corresponding to the solar system ("...a "circle of wind", which is 16,000,000 yojanas in depth and also much broader in extent, supporting 1,000 different worlds upon it."). This is no breeze in your yard.

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:4. That the solid iron core of the earth is omitted from the account
If it doesn't cause quakes, there's no reason to mention it. "Solid iron core" itself is an assumption; there's water in there you know, :tongue: and a teency-weency giant turtle balancing all of us on it's back. As I said, I'm not convinced this account contained any simple over/under or inside/outside layering relationships. Anyhow it was a quick one liner segue to more wholesome matters.

But he mentioned space on the other side of the world. That doesn't cause earthquakes in either his or our modern understanding.

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:5. The reference to space supporting the atmosphere seems to have no explanation...

'Patitthita' is not mentioned between vāto and ākāsaṭṭho. ākāsaṭṭho in this case is a quality of vāto, not another element with a different spacial location, saying essentially that this 'wind' is too subtle for a puthujjana.


When you post Pali terms please include an english translation. If you have the passage in Pali please post it.

lojong1 wrote:
Shonin wrote:Alternatively we can note that his description is highly consistent with the layering of elements (earth on water on wind on space) believed to substantiate the flat disc of the earth in Indian thought at that time.
No need to view it as an alternative, you're totally correct.
Case open.


What?

lojong1 wrote:Maybe someone here can understand the following links. I can't.
Cosmology in flat space-time: "The most refined observations of the cosmic background radiation to date are interpreted to imply that space-time is indeed flat." http://arxiv.org/ftp/gr-qc/papers/0402/0402016.pdf
Matt McIrvin (Milne Cosmology): "To recap, this is a cosmological model that is either a finite bubble expanding from a point into an empty, flat, static universe, or an infinite, negatively curved, homogeneous expanding universe! The two descriptions sound completely different, yet all that separates them is a change of coordinates." http://world.std.com/~mmcirvin/milne.html


I can see how motivated you are to believe that not only was the Buddha omniscient, but that the suttas are completely infallible. I doubt that any amount of evidence or reasoning would convince you otherwise. You would simply reinterpret the text and known reality until they met (sort of, if you half close your eyes) in the middle.

Some people, when shown a rock, would insist it was an asura.

Again I don't see much point in continuing a debate with such a person.
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Shonin » Sat Oct 02, 2010 8:00 am

beeblebrox wrote:This is hopeless. :tongue:


You can lead a horse to water... but you can't make him see what's there, right under his nose
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Re: Science-Earthquake

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Oct 02, 2010 9:53 am

Quite so Shonin.
Personally I find it both puzzling and sad that there are those who can only see the enormous riches contained in the Suttas if they take a literalist view of the metaphorical and mythological view of the world view of 2500 years ago which was the psycho social context of the Buddhas teaching and not only was not of the essence of those teachings but was in fact peripheral to them. What is true and timeless about the Suttas is the light they shed on Dukkha and the path to end it. Not magical stories of giant fish or cosmology long ago shown not to have correspondence with physical actuality.
That is to mistake a diamond of huge worth with the box it comes in.
The essence of The Buddhas teaching is in the 8fp , the three signs, D.O. not speculation concerning what amount to creation myths.
We have a lot to actualise with needing to engage in this kind of banter. We are here. Dukkha is real. There is a way out.
Giant fish and the supernatural origin of earthquakes are self indulgence.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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