Agganna Sutta

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:37 pm

nathan wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:The apparent accelerated expansion hinges more on observations of supernovas in distant galaxies...
Mike
Thank you for the clarifications Mikenz66. That read like science as opposed to previous comments which read much more like scientism.




I am not a professional in Biology I have only just started studying a degree in it, coupled with a personal hobby in studying it, so I may not have been able to answer you as fully as mike has done


Craig - Such a pointless post, seriously what is the point in posting something that has no point and ineptly attacking my post with no basis to support yourself?

Nathan - You tell me.


It was a question to you
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 8:43 pm

...or the sudden appearance of humans of one kind or another given that, for instance, the disappearance of the jaw musculature that covers the head of the great apes involves many complex and wide ranging dna alterations, could not have occurred as a simple mutation


"simple mutation" isnt all there is in Evolution

and, apart from the end result of increased cranial capacity, as a series of incremental changes conveys no evolutionary advantages to an ape but rather in real terms would represent a series of significant disadvantages


Why?
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:03 pm

nathan wrote:
Jason wrote: ...recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.'
I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time, therefore the universe is always expanding and always expanding at an accelerated rate.


For my part, I never said it's "unquestionably inferred" that the universe will always expand at an accelerated rate, only that there may not be any contraction because the universe's expansion appears to be accelerating. And if the current data about the size and shape of our universe is correct (which, of course, may not be the case), equations/models strongly suggest that universe will continue to expand indefinitely because the density of the universe is less than or equal to the critical density (i.e., the average density of matter in the universe above which the expansion of the universe will slow down and reverse). For more information, I suggest checking out this article on the expanding universe from the SSDS website and UCLA'a Frequently Asked Questions in Cosmology.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Nathan,
nathan wrote:
Jason wrote: ...recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.'
I noticed this point has been mentioned repeatedly. I would appreciate it if someone scientifical could explain how it is unquestionably inferred that, as the universe 'appears' to be expanding at an accelerated rate at this time,....

The apparent accelerated expansion hinges more on observations of supernovas in distant galaxies.


Actually, the observation of cosmic background radiation has presented a great deal of evidence of this as well. For example, from astroengine:

    A new cosmic map has been created by University of Hawaii astronomers showing the fingerprint of dark energy throughout the observable Universe. This is the first time such precise direct evidence of the mysterious force that is believed to be behind the continuing expansion of the Universe. By analysing microwave background radiation (the electromagnetic “echo” left over from the Big Bang), the Hawaii team have looked at the characteristics of the radiation as it passes through supervoids and superclusters. If the theory of dark energy is correct, this cosmic background radiation should cool when passing through superclusters and warm up when passing through supervoids. Analysing a huge amount of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the researchers have observed what the theory predicts and calculated that there is a 1 in 20,000 chance that their results are random. It therefore seems likely that the effect is caused by the presence of dark energy, giving us the best view yet of this strange energy that appears to permeate through the entire expanding Universe…
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:35 pm

Jason wrote:Actually, the observation of cosmic background radiation has presented a great deal of evidence of this as well. For example, from astroengine

Well, sure, there is all kinds of such modelling out there. The problem is that it is really, really, really difficult to do the calculations properly (solving Einstein's GR equations rather than making approximations) when you don't make the simplification that the universe is homogeneous and isotropic. Competing non-homogeneous models give different interpretations.

Future work will undoubtedly give more surprises. As Nathan implies, the scientific, as opposed to scientism, attitude is that all such theories are temporary and will be superseded...

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby clw_uk » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:39 pm

Future work will undoubtedly give more surprises. As Nathan implies, the scientific, as opposed to scientism, attitude is that all such theories are temporary and will be superseded...



Good job no one is putting forward "scientism"
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Thu Dec 23, 2010 9:49 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Future work will undoubtedly give more surprises. As Nathan implies, the scientific, as opposed to scientism, attitude is that all such theories are temporary and will be superseded...



Good job no one is putting forward "scientism"


Indeed.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby robertk » Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:56 am

This is an old post I wrote
Dear Dighanaka,
I reply to your post about why you think we should look to academics, rather than the Theravada tradition, to find the truth about aspects of what the Buddha taught.

Dighanaka QUOTE
I should prefer to limit it to modern academic scholars with expertise in some field relating to indology or Buddhist studies. I would also limit it to their peer-reviewed publications on subjects that lie within their field of expertise, ..... there are good reasons for preferring modern academic scholars to Indian Buddhist sectarian writers, *if* it is the truth that one wants. But if one is not at heart really interested in the truth, but only in finding faith-building material, then probably it would be best to avoid modern scholars like the plague.
==========

Your position is accepted in academic circles but it has its own problems. Consider your comments about the Aganna sutta:
QUOTE
Richard Gombrich has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that the Sutta is a lively and ingenious parody ,<snip> Buddhaghosa, unfortunately, saw neither the joke nor the allegory of the Aganna Sutta, took the whole thing literally, and left the Theravada tradition saddled with a creation story so laughable it makes the creationism of Christian fundamentalists seem like sound science.

Certainly an Oxford don like Richard Gombrich has impeccable academic credentials with numerous peer-reviewed publications in his field of pali studies. Nevertheless, there are other academics, well-versed in pali, and published in peer-reviewed journals who reach different conclusions from the esteemed professor.

Dr. Rupert Gethin wrote an article in the prestigious 'History of Religion' journal (Vol.36, No.3,1997),
http://www.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha190.htm
QUOTE

""According to Gombrich the first half of the discourse introduces the problem of the relative status of brahmanas and suddas; this question is then dealt with in a tongue-in-cheek satirical manner by the Aganna myth. Gombrich regards the overall form of the Agganna- sutta as we have it as attributable to the Buddha himself and thus original. But for Gombrich the text is "primarily satirical and parodistic in intent," although in time the jokes were lost on its readers and the myth came to be misunderstood by Buddhist tradition "as being a more or less straight-faced account of how the universe, and in particular society, originated."

...Gombrich's arguments for the essential unity of the Agganna text as we have it are extremely persuasive, yet I would DISAGREE with the implication that we should regard the mythic portions of the Agganna-sutta as solely satirical. It....seems to me UNLIKELY that, for the original compiler (s) of and listeners to the discourse, the mythic portion of the sutta could have been intended to be understood or actually understood in its entirety as a joke at the expense of the poor old brahanas. . The question I would therefore ask is, Do we have any particular historical reasons for supposing that it is unlikely that the Buddha should have recounted a more or less straight-faced cosmogonic myth?

My answer is that we do not. Indeed, I want to ARGUE THE OPPOSITE: what we can know of the cultural milieu in which the Buddha operated and in which the first Buddhist texts were composed suggests that someone such as the Buddha might very well have presented the kind of myth contained in the Agganna-sutta as something more than merely a piece of satire. Far from being out of key with what we can understand of early Buddhist thought from the rest of the Nikayas, the cosmogonic views offered by the Agganna-sutta in fact harmonize extremely well with it. I would go further and say that something along the lines of what is contained in the Agganna myth is actually REQUIRED by the logic of what is generally accepted as Nikaya Buddhism.


Note that Dr. Gethin is no strong believer in the sutta (in fact, he considers it a myth); he is not labouring under the weight of piety towards the Theravada like some members of Dsg. Yet, despite Gombrich showing 'beyond any reasonable doubt'(according to you) that the sutta is a parody Gethin reaches an opposite conclusion.

Who is right? Well, another leading academic, Steve Collins, has said he agrees with Gombrich, so I guess the 'Aganna sutta is a hilarious joke' theory is now winning the academic battle.. Then again there is the thesis put forward by Schneider and Meisig that the Aganna sutta had some input from the Buddha but that later monks added on the bulk of the cosmological pieces; so is that the actual truth? Or will another scholar weigh in and support Gethin, or will a completely different theory emerge oneday?
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 24, 2010 3:04 am

robertk wrote:Who is right? Well, another leading academic, Steve Collins, has said he agrees with Gombrich, so I guess the 'Aganna sutta is a hilarious joke' theory is now winning the academic battle.. Then again there is the thesis put forward by Schneider and Meisig that the Aganna sutta had some input from the Buddha but that later monks added on the bulk of the cosmological pieces; so is that the actual truth? Or will another scholar weigh in and support Gethin, or will a completely different theory emerge oneday?
Whatever the case, I would say that Jason's above analysis is clear and to the point.

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:23 am

tiltbillings wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:I don't see a time frame specified...
In that you are correct. It had been awhile since I read the text.

You are a gentleman.
As for the process of evolution, it's important to distinguish between the evolution of a single being and the evolution of a species. Science says species on Earth are evolving; this is in no way contradictory to the idea that individual beings have been devolving - in fact, it's pretty clear that it is the devolution of higher beings that is leading to the population increase on Earth (along, one might presume, with the evolution of hell beings).
Devolving. Well, yes, here you are talking not about science but a religious notion.

Can you explain the difference? My understanding is that this "notion" is backed by empirical evidence recounted by qualified scientists (i.e. the Buddha et al) and perfectly verifiable by anyone who takes the time and effort to repeat their experiments (i.e. attain cutupadanyana / dibbacakkhu)
What assumptions are behind the story and what things cannot be measured? Are you being vague on purpose?
You tell me what can be .... ah, wait. The Aggañña Sutta is a religious text within a particular context. Ignore the context, try to take it literally in a scientific context and what you have is a Buddhist version of Xtian fundamentalists/literalists creationists trying to make a religious text do scientific work, which none of the literalist here have shown it can do, which would mean giving a credible accounting of the scientific accounting of the formation of the earth and the rise of life, which clearly has not been done. What we have gotten here is an attempt at impugning science as a way of opening the door for this creation story, which is the sort of tactic Xtian creationists use in promoting their religious creation story. All this does is make the Dhamma look cheesy.

You haven't answered the question... I think this sort of answer is called "equivocating". I have never heard of anyone using the Agganna sutta to impugn science; certainly that was not my intention. The evolution in the Agganna sutta is based on the mind; material science deals with physical evolution of species. I don't see how taking the former literally conflicts with the latter, and you haven't helped change that opinion one bit. If your argument is that this sutta does not constitute a full and detailed account of how the world formed, I agree, but clearly the brief account given in the sutta accords more or less with the accepted scientific explanation. It is obviously not the intent of the sutta to provide a detailed account of evolution; but to say that taking the account given as literal fact flies in the face of science has not been proven, afaics.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:39 am

yuttadhammo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:I don't see a time frame specified...
In that you are correct. It had been awhile since I read the text.

You are a gentleman.
And good looking.
As for the process of evolution, it's important to distinguish between the evolution of a single being and the evolution of a species. Science says species on Earth are evolving; this is in no way contradictory to the idea that individual beings have been devolving - in fact, it's pretty clear that it is the devolution of higher beings that is leading to the population increase on Earth (along, one might presume, with the evolution of hell beings).
Devolving. Well, yes, here you are talking not about science but a religious notion.
Can you explain the difference? My understanding is that this "notion" is backed by empirical evidence recounted by qualified scientists (i.e. the Buddha et al) and perfectly verifiable by anyone who takes the time and effort to repeat their experiments (i.e. attain cutupadanyana / dibbacakkhu)
Outside of the Buddha, show me evidence of devolution. I know what evolution is, more or less, but damdifino what devolution is. How is it verified?
You haven't answered the question... I think this sort of answer is called "equivocating". I have never heard of anyone using the Agganna sutta to impugn science; certainly that was not my intention. The evolution in the Agganna sutta is based on the mind; material science deals with physical evolution of species. I don't see how taking the former literally conflicts with the latter, and you haven't helped change that opinion one bit. If your argument is that this sutta does not constitute a full and detailed account of how the world formed, I agree, but clearly the brief account given in the sutta accords more or less with the accepted scientific explanation. It is obviously not the intent of the sutta to provide a detailed account of evolution; but to say that taking the account given as literal fact flies in the face of science has not been proven, afaics.
I think in thread are examples of attempts use Buddhism to impugn science. Other than belief, what basis is there for holding the suttas being literally true. I think this msg is quite defensible.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:00 am

Lazy_eye wrote:But have we established that the Agganna sutta is about the devolution of individual beings, rather than that of a species?

The version I've read looks more like a tale about a species, though of course this may be a result of poor translation. One would have to understand the original Pali to be sure.

Given that it says that divine beings came to be born as humans, I would say it is not an account of the origin of species, but rather how individuals came to leave one and join another.
Still, the sutta says very clearly that there were towns and villages on earth prior to humans taking up the practice of sexual intercourse:

Those who saw them indulging threw dust, ashes, or cowdung at them, crying: "Die, you filthy beast! How can one being do such things to
another!" Just as today, in some districts, when a daughter-in-law is led out, some people throw dirt at her, some ashes, and some cow dung, without realizing that they are
repeating an ancient observance. What was considered bad form in those days is now considered good form. And those beings who in those days indulged in sex were not allowed into a village or town for one or two months.


Which means that apparently there was some sort of asexual proto-human species on earth which was advanced enough to possess language, ideas about "good form", and the ability to make regulations, and which lived in towns and villages.

But according to evolutionary theory none of that could be true. Sexuality is as old as the human species, and indeed a great deal of the behavior discussed in the sutta is common to primate species in general. Other apes even have caste systems, thus contradicting the sutta's suggestion that castes were invented by corrupted humans.

Ah, I'm sorry, this is another part of the sutta than specified in the OP. The details here prove difficult, indeed :) Personally, I think the cow dung as more problematic than the villages - ethereal beings as well have organized societies.

Still, if you take away the detail of throwing cow dung, ashes, dirt, there is nothing to say this is not referring to angelic beings - nowhere in the sutta is the word manussa (human) used to describe these beings. In fact, it is telling that when referring to later times, the Buddha uses the word "manussa" and in relating the past, he uses a different word, "satta" or "being". Maybe there were ethereal cows? :P

It's important to remember that extant scientific evidence for evolution necessarily details only the evolution of those beings for which there are remains left to be found. Given some rudimentary agreement that ethereal being such as angels and ghosts exist, I don't see the problem in accepting the possibility that these ethereal beings preceded life on earth and began to practice some form of sexual intercourse unnecessarily - the phrase methuna dhamma just means "bad thing"; they might have been sodomizing each other for all we know. That the more coarse of them might have been reborn as material beings and slowly advanced the human species on Earth out of more simple or base species seems not unreasonable.

I'm just conjecturing here, not trying to put forth a true scientific theory, just point out that it is rash to jump to the conclusion that the whoever created the Agganna Sutta was wrong or lying to prove a point (which, really, is what it means to call this satire).
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 10:47 am

tiltbillings wrote:
yuttadhammo wrote:You are a gentleman.
And good looking.

I take it back.
Outside of the Buddha, show me evidence of devolution. I know what evolution is, more or less, but damdifino what devolution is. How is it verified?

Honestly, I would equate the evolution of material science with the devolution described here and in the cakkavatisihanada sutta as well. Do you think it's defensible, from a Buddhist point of view, to say that the world is a better place to live now than 2500 years ago? How about 2500 years from now if we don't change the course of human "evolution"?
I think in thread are examples of attempts use Buddhism to impugn science. Other than belief, what basis is there for holding the suttas being literally true. I think [http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=550&start=140#p105513]this[/url] msg is quite defensible.

Alrighty then...
Jason wrote:I think that, when taken literally, the creation myth in DN 27 can be seen as an attempt to give a naturalistic explanation of the origins of life and the universe, and Darwin's fairly well-proven theory of evolution isn't inconsistent with Buddhism, which makes many new Buddhists breath a sigh of relief. That being said, I agree with Prof. Gombrich that, taking the context of DN 27 into account, this sutta is a lively and ingenious parody that was actually meant to make fun of the very need for a cosmology as a foundation for religious development (How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings, pg. 81-82).

I like this idea to a point - but you (and Gombrich, I assume) have taken a step I don't think necessary; just because the Buddha's explanation altered the accepted belief/understanding of the time, doesn't make it a lie (which is the meaning of calling it a parody). If the accepted belief/understanding of the brahmins before the Buddha was baseless, then so is the Buddha's belief/understanding (according to the Buddha in the Brahmajala Sutta, the former comes most often from actual remembrance of past lives by said brahmins), but that is not your argument. It could very well be that the Brahmins of the time had got their theories, as the Buddha said in the Brahmajala sutta, from limited investigation, and the Buddha was merely correcting the inaccuracies through his more advanced abilities in investigation. This seems most reasonable.
Personally, I see Buddhism as dealing exclusively with mental stress and its cessation (i.e., psychology), not biology, or physics, etc. And while some people get excited when they discover that Buddhism contains teachings which seem to be in accord with modern science, I think they can often be misleading and shouldn't be taken too seriously, or at least, too literally. I think this is especially true of DN 27 considering that recent observations of cosmic background radiation indicate the universe is actually expanding at an accelerated rate, hence there may not be any contraction or 'Big Crunch.' (Lawrence Krauss mentions this in his talk at the 2009 AAI Conference; although it should also be noted that Roger Penrose recently challenged the commonly-held 'inflationary theory' of cosmology with his suggestion that analysis of cosmic microwave background shows echoes of previous Big Bang-like events.)[/list]

Yes, getting excited about anything to do with modern science is indeed misleading :)

There may not be a big crunch. That would indeed contradict what the Buddha said here and in the Anguttara. Based on my understanding of the laws of cause and effect, karma, etc., I'm betting on the Buddha's explanation, but that's neither here nor there. Jason's post says nothing other than there are currently two theories - eternal expansion and reoccuring contraction. There are actually more, e.g. the multiverse theory. The point is that the Buddha's theory of contraction has not been proven to be false by material science; considering that "material" itself is subject to this universe's internal laws of physics that were created with the big bang, I don't see how it will ever do so, especially given the possibility of other universes, etc.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:00 am

yuttadhammo wrote:I take it back.
See how you are.
Outside of the Buddha, show me evidence of devolution. I know what evolution is, more or less, but damdifino what devolution is. How is it verified?

Honestly, I would equate the evolution of material science with the devolution described here and in the cakkavatisihanada sutta as well. Do you think it's defensible, from a Buddhist point of view, to say that the world is a better place to live now than 2500 years ago? How about 2500 years from now if we don't change the course of human "evolution"?
Fine, but you are not talking science. You are talking religion.

I like this idea to a point - but you (and Gombrich, I assume) have taken a step I don't think necessary; just because the Buddha's explanation altered the accepted belief/understanding of the time, doesn't make it a lie (which is the meaning of calling it a parody).
Lie is your term. A myth or something stated in mythic language need not be a lie, in as much as it illustrates a truth or expands an understanding. I see no reason for black and white language in these things.

Yes, getting excited about anything to do with modern science is indeed misleading
Yes, he said, impugning science based upon what?

There may not be a big crunch. That would indeed contradict what the Buddha said here and in the Anguttara. Based on my understanding of the laws of cause and effect, karma, etc., I'm betting on the Buddha's explanation, but that's neither here nor there.
That is assuming "world system" is a term for universe.

Jason's post says nothing other than there are currently two theories - eternal expansion and reoccuring contraction. There are actually more, e.g. the multiverse theory. The point is that the Buddha's theory of contraction has not been proven to be false by material science; considering that "material" itself is subject to this universe's internal laws of physics that were created with the big bang, I don't see how it will ever do so, especially given the possibility of other universes, etc.
It is like feeling needs to measure the Theravada up against the Mahayana notion of the bodhisattva that we see this need to measure Buddhism upon against science. It is not a wise thing to do.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:See how you are.

Nay, but I begin to see how you are...
tiltbillings wrote:Fine, but you are not talking science. You are talking religion.

Maybe we could talk about the destruction of the rainforests, the pollution of the oceans, the intensity of modern sensual gratification, etc.; would that be evidence enough for you?

tiltbillings wrote:Lie is your term. A myth or something stated in mythic language need not be a lie, in as much as it illustrates a truth or expands an understanding. I see no reason for black and white language in these things.

Yes, let's be fuzzy about it, then. The Buddha didn't tell a lie, he just said something that wasn't true.
Yes, getting excited about anything to do with modern science is indeed misleading
Yes, he said, impugning science based upon what?

A sense of humour... you might benefit from one, instead of removing smileys from my quotes and then ridiculing them.
That is assuming "world system" is a term for universe.

No, I don't think the assumption is so simple as that... I believe the orthodox theory is that the whole of the physical universe is burnt up until a certain deva loka. Can't remember which, off-hand. Actually, a much bolder assumption is Jason's (that I erroneously followed), that DN 27 should not be taken too seriously for the reason that material science says there may not be a big crunch. This argument assumes that the word "sa.mva.t.tati" in the Agganna Sutta means "contracts", which it doesn't. Actually, this is the word used at AN and Vism. as well. Where exactly in the tipitaka does it say that the world contracts?
tiltbillings wrote:It is like feeling needs to measure the Theravada up against the Mahayana notion of the bodhisattva that we see this need to measure Buddhism upon against science. It is not a wise thing to do.

Sayth the ultimate authority on wisdom (but not grammar).

:shrug:

Buddhism is science; I don't see your point. I wish you would add something to the discussion, rather than persist with these useless statements. This one sounds more like an insult than an argument. I have no need to compare Buddhism to material science, only a wish to guard against the dismissal of Buddhist texts out-of-hand with unwarranted labels like "satire", "parody", or "myth".
Last edited by yuttadhammo on Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby yuttadhammo » Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:47 pm

Interesting, and I'm sorry to go off topic, but perhaps this will help correct what has been a theme throughout this thread - the bit about the contraction that is supposedly mentioned in the Agganna Sutta. The Vism. says this about the time between the destruction of the universe by fire and the revolution:

sā yāva aṇumattampi saṅkhāragataṃ atthi, tāva na nibbāyati. sabbasaṅkhāraparikkhayā pana sappitelajhāpanaggisikhā viya chārikampi anavasesetvā nibbāyati. heṭṭhāākāsena saha upariākāso eko hoti mahandhakāro.

As long as there is a speck of formed matter, it (the fire) is not extinguished. But at the consumption of all formations, it is extinguished like the flame of ghee and oil, leaving no ash. The upper space is one with the lower space - a great darkness.

- Vism 13.3 (pubbenivāsānussatiñāṇakathā)


If it contracts, what is the great darkness?
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:43 pm

yuttadhammo wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:See how you are.

Nay, but I begin to see how you are...
Oops. Found out at last.
tiltbillings wrote:Fine, but you are not talking science. You are talking religion.

Maybe we could talk about the destruction of the rainforests, the pollution of the oceans, the intensity of modern sensual gratification, etc.; would that be evidence enough for you?
Evidence for devolution? Hardly. There is nothing new in any of that except the greater number of humans with better technology is having a greater impact. What do you mean by devolution?

tiltbillings wrote:Lie is your term. A myth or something stated in mythic language need not be a lie, in as much as it illustrates a truth or expands an understanding. I see no reason for black and white language in these things.

Yes, let's be fuzzy about it, then. The Buddha didn't tell a lie, he just said something that wasn't true.
For a literalist, it is black and white. It is the sort of thing you hear Xtian fundamentalists say about their Bible, but then we are the true religion and we have the truth, those Xtians (or Mahayanists, Muslims, or whomever) don't, so we can take our stuff as being literal, they cannot. Mythic language, parables, fables, and even parody does not have to be literally true to speak the truth. All you are offering here is the informal logical fallacy of special pleading.
Yes, getting excited about anything to do with modern science is indeed misleading
Yes, he said, impugning science based upon what?

A sense of humour... you might benefit from one, instead of removing smileys from my quotes and then ridiculing them.
My apologies, and also I am sorry I missed your funny.

tiltbillings wrote:It is like feeling needs to measure the Theravada up against the Mahayana notion of the bodhisattva that we see this need to measure Buddhism upon against science. It is not a wise thing to do.

Sayth the ultimate authority on wisdom (but not grammar).
Oh, burn, snap. ouch, gosh, cut to the quick by your butter-knife wit. Sure. It is a poorly written sentence. I have a very hard time proof-reading what I write, which is nothing new and that is a particularly bad one.

:shrug:


Buddhism is science; I don't see your point.
So, Buddhism is science, open to revision in light of new information, which explains why we have the Mahayana, superseding those early schools, which - like the flat-earth notions - still persist. Buddhism is falsifiable; on what basis, I am sure you will explain.

I wish you would add something to the discussion, rather than persist with these useless statements. This one sounds more like an insult than an argument. I have no need to compare Buddhism to material science, only a wish to guard against the dismissal of Buddhist texts out-of-hand with unwarranted labels like "satire", "parody", or "myth".
Snap, burn, ouch. I am not dismissing anything out of hand except the unfortunate attempt at dismissing science in favor of reading certain texts as being literal descriptions of the material world. I am not denying whatever truth that might be contained the text. A myth, parable, or fable does not have to be literally true to teach the truth.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:14 pm

yuttadhammo wrote:Actually, a much bolder assumption is Jason's (that I erroneously followed), that DN 27 should not be taken too seriously for the reason that material science says there may not be a big crunch. This argument assumes that the word "sa.mva.t.tati" in the Agganna Sutta means "contracts", which it doesn't. Actually, this is the word used at AN and Vism. as well. Where exactly in the tipitaka does it say that the world contracts?


Just for reference, I'm going by Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of DN 27, which has the following passage: "There comes a time, Vasettha, when , sooner or later after a long period, this world contracts. At the time of contraction, beings are mostly born in the Abhassara Brahma world" (409). Unfortunately, I don't have the time to look up the Pali for this part, so I'm unable to say what word he's translating as 'contraction' here and whether it's an appropriate translation.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:17 pm

yuttadhammo wrote:I have no need to compare Buddhism to material science, only a wish to guard against the dismissal of Buddhist texts out-of-hand with unwarranted labels like "satire", "parody", or "myth".


For my part, I'm not trying to dismiss any text out of hand, I'm simply sharing my thoughts about my understanding of this particular sutta and how I personally interpret its message/meaning.
Last edited by Jason on Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Agganna Sutta

Postby Jason » Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:28 pm

yuttadhammo wrote:Jason's post says nothing other than there are currently two theories - eternal expansion and reoccuring contraction. There are actually more, e.g. the multiverse theory. The point is that the Buddha's theory of contraction has not been proven to be false by material science; considering that "material" itself is subject to this universe's internal laws of physics that were created with the big bang, I don't see how it will ever do so, especially given the possibility of other universes, etc.


Just for clarification, I wasn't suggesting that there's only two competing theories, I just added the two that I thought were most relevant. The first was referenced because it's the more likely scenario, i.e., if the current data about the size and shape of our universe is correct, it's very likely that our universe will continue to expand indefinitely because the density of the universe is less than or equal to the critical density, hence no 'Big Crunch' or cosmic contraction. The second I offered as evidence in opposition in an attempt to be fair, evidence which may (if the data and observations check out) actually support a continually expanding and contracting model of the universe, which seems to be more in line with how Buddhist cosmology is often presented (i.e., expanding and contracting world-systems).
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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