Plant Life

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:13 pm

Hanzze wrote: "Although thanks to Ron the edler to point some things out in a much better and more useful way that I ever could"


No need to thank me, my friend. This is a very old topic argued since the time of Buddha and most likely will never be resolved. The key I think has already been given: "Intention".

If your intention is to cause harm, then your karmic consequences will reflect this intention. If you intention is to be of benefit, then your karmic consequence will be meritorious.

The most difficult issue to deal with, no doubt, as Buddhism moved across the world was overcoming cultural inertia. Buddha-dhamma won over many converts, but in each culture there were attachments. One of the biggest culturally derived attachments of which I have become aware is "food". For example, being half Italian/half German & Welsh I still eat meatballs when they are available, even though I know that some poor cow, and/or pig had to make a life ending donation as a result.

I therefore rationalize, "Life has to consume life in order to survive!"...to excuse my greedy , delusional self-serving actions.

Buddha understood this rationalization for certain, since he was a Tathagatta, Teacher of The Gods.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:28 pm

We can all blow smoke up each others Suttas for ever Hanzze. The facts about this and other issues were established in the Theravadin community centuries ago. We are all free to substitute our own papanca for the Teachings Of The Elders. But be in no doubt when that is what it is.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:39 pm

PeterB wrote:We can all blow smoke up each others Suttas for ever Hanzze. The facts about this and other issues were established in the Theravadin community centuries ago. We are all free to substitute our own papanca for the Teachings Of The Elders. But be in no doubt when that is what it is.


Hmmmm. Is somebody peeking? :rofl:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:44 pm

Stefan wrote:Plants are not sentient beings, because they do not have consciousness.

A "sentient being" (pani, satta) is a living being endowed with mind or consciousness; for practical purposes, this means human beings, animals, and insects. Plants are not considered to be sentient beings; though they exhibit some degree of sensitivity, they lack full-fledged consciousness, the defining attribute of a sentient being.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... toend.html

This post from Stefan. and.....
Last edited by PeterB on Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby PeterB » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:47 pm

cooran wrote:Hello parth,

The Abhidhamma explores this matter further. Read about Jivita-indriya (life faculty) here:
http://www.phathue.com/buddhism/dharma- ... ipa-day-5/

with metta
Chris

This post from Cooran...and the post I quoted from Retrofuturist point to the non papanca accepted view of the Theravada.

There is a old English saying Hanzze..." you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink." :smile:
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:50 pm

Dear Ron-The-Elder,

is it the intension to harm or at least the intension of wanting? I guess the "intension to harm" is just a first step in the practice in the Theravada way. To practice compassion/precepts.

To day it is not easy to see the harming in a nearly perfect network of hiding the effects to force the wanting. In ancient time it or here in Cambodia you see the tree falling when you think about toilet paper and you need to cut the meat out of the pig.
In this case it is more easy to keep just the intension of not harming as you easily can see the effects. To have no intension of harming is what a novice is usually taught, but from my opinion it does not fit to "modern" society, it is simply to far away and less are there who take the real save way of leaving the house.

On the other hand, knowledge is something that is easy available so one should understand that everything is taken by nature, had caused harming on the other side of the earth.

Or mother would still continue to given, even she is hurt and cries. As long as we do not have the possibility to give something back, we should reduce the hurt on her. Not wanting more as we need is a good start to honor our mother, the nature, the plant...
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:58 pm

Dear PeterB,

I respect the Abhidhamma, but isn't it only a tool to be able to explain things for people who still think it is more useful to ask as to look for your self? Dont be mad at me if I dont drink that water.

But there is also a english proverb that still infects the world: "It is better to teach a man how to fish, than to give him a fish." The problem is only, if you teach somebody without moral and ethic the rivers and seas will be empty in a short time.

Nothing more important than moral and ethic, before one can be taught.

Stay mindful, there is no battle to win than the own inside

That is heavy offtopic, sorry for the disturb
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:25 pm

Hanzze wrote:Dear Ron-The-Elder,

is it the intension to harm or at least the intension of wanting? I guess the "intension to harm" is just a first step in the practice in the Theravada way. To practice compassion/precepts.

To day it is not easy to see the harming in a nearly perfect network of hiding the effects to force the wanting. In ancient time it or here in Cambodia you see the tree falling when you think about toilet paper and you need to cut the meat out of the pig.
In this case it is more easy to keep just the intension of not harming as you easily can see the effects. To have no intension of harming is what a novice is usually taught, but from my opinion it does not fit to "modern" society, it is simply to far away and less are there who take the real save way of leaving the house.


Well, Hanzze, you will get no argument from me. Your understanding is sound. Once we become aware of the harm that is caused, we can no longer rationalize our actions. We take action knowing the harm, because we are doing so with full knowledge of the facts.

But, which facts do we choose when we are aware that as life we must eat life to live? What about the fact that plants are life too? So, we have to make choices, based upon our current understanding.

Another choice we then have to make is, "Do we choose our life over the life of another?" Our choice becomes, which life is more valuable?

According to a teaching story of Buddha when he was reborn as a hare, taken from The Jataka Tales, the bodhisatta offered up his own flesh for the benefit of those in need of food.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Jataka-S2

In another version shown below, the bodhisatta, then reborn as a prince, gave of his own blood to feed a tigress and her cubs:
Khenpo Karthar, in Dharma Paths (Snow Lion, 1992/2006):

It was not possible to hear the teaching of the Buddha without having a past karmic connection with him. Accordingly, when the Buddha gave the teaching on the four noble truths, in the assembly receiving the teachings were five human beings and 80,000 beings of the god realm. If we go back to the previous lives of the Buddha, we can explain the karmic connections these beings had with him. In one of his previous lives, the Buddha was born as the youngest of three princes. When he was only five years old, the three princes were in a forest playing together at hide-and-seek and other games. As they were walking in the forest, they came to a cave where they saw a wounded female tiger with five cubs. The mother tiger was very weak and was unable to provide food for the baby tigers. The Buddha's older brothers went to search for some food, and they asked the young prince to stay near the cave to take care of the mother tiger and the five cubs.

While the Buddha was taking care of the wounded tiger and her five cubs, he began to think that it was not proper to kill other beings and give their flesh to the tiger. He found some large thorns and pressed them into neck, and as the blood came out, he let the cubs and their mother suck the blood. In fact, he gave his whole body to the five cubs and their mother as an act of generosity. As he did this, the Buddha prayed, "Right now I am only able to give temporary help to these starving beings, just removing their hunger. May these tigers who are enjoying my flesh, blood, and bones be reborn to a higher realm, and may I be able to teach them and lead them out of cyclic existence."

As a result of this karmic connection, the five cubs were reborn in the human realm where they attended that first teaching of the Buddha in the form of his first and only human students. They attained the level of arhat. (The others were 80,000 inhabitants of the god realm and they became first-level bodhisattvas.)


There is still another version which you may read here:

http://www.ignca.nic.in/jatak025.htm


In Buddha's Simile of The Saw, we are advised never to take life, no matter if even our legs and arms are being sawed off, because it is better to endure such pain in this current samsaric realm than to have to endure even one moment in The Hell Realms.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

So, intention boils down to a choice. Many times these are choices we are hesitant to make. But, it is: " Your choice".

Hanzze wrote:On the other hand, knowledge is something that is easy available so one should understand that everything is taken by nature, had caused harming on the other side of the earth.

Or mother would still continue to given, even she is hurt and cries. As long as we do not have the possibility to give something back, we should reduce the hurt on her. Not wanting more as we need is a good start to honor our mother, the nature, the plant...


You have said it very well. Sounds like a good choice.

_/\_Ron
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:53 am

Dear Ron-The-Elder,
Dear Friends,

I think it is not a matter of more worth, but indeed, such thinking leads (if wisely) in right direction. Like it will never be a matter for the mother if the child is worth to suffer for it. Indeed, there is no suffering for the mother. She offers what she can, how much it may be.

If we start to realize our fist gods (so the parents are called in south east Asia) and honor what they do, how less or much it may be, than we are able to transform this state of mind also for our other mothers, the tree, the ant, the friends in here, the "enemies", the teacher, our nature, maybe the nature within our self.

It is a noble deed to honestly depend on others as it in fact always is. To see the compassion toward to us, to take gifts with to hands and request with the "right" shame if we are in a believed destitution. The "right" shame and an open eye for the world, how it works never stuck in a solution, an opinion or an aim, will give us the chance to convert "wrong" shame or "lies" into a way possible to walk on.

No need to cry for the mother, as she only wants you to be happy. There is only one gift, that could excel or really honor our parents: One day we can see the dhamma, the nature, the point where we ever have been. This peace is the only real gift.

Ever live, every being is worth to work on to be one time able to give back. We can carry each other, that could be also a first step to share.

May all beings how ever live may appear free of fear, anger and greed.
May all beings free from the delusion of future and past.
May all beings able to feel the joy of giving back.
May all beings trust there nature to walk on to the highest bliss, the cessation of suffering, here an now.

And many trees with a lot of fruits, nature made them so delicious that we can carry the seeds inside very very fare and share :-)

_/\_
with loving hopelessness *lol*
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Plant Life

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:22 pm

Sunflowers turn toward the sun by a photo-chemo-mechanical process.....if the sun strikes the plant a certain way then chemical changes automatically distort the tissues and the plant changes shape with the result being the flower is turned toward the sun.....this explanantion which is well understood by scientists does not include any conscioiusness which considers whether to turn or not to turn etc.......it is an automatic physical process and would occur whether there was any consciousness or not.....plants seem to be basically machines....

At least this is my undestanding...I have never studied this sort of thing myself.

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Re: Plant Life

Postby andre9999 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:34 pm

chownah wrote:Sunflowers turn toward the sun by a photo-chemo-mechanical process.....if the sun strikes the plant a certain way then chemical changes automatically distort the tissues and the plant changes shape with the result being the flower is turned toward the sun.....this explanantion which is well understood by scientists does not include any conscioiusness which considers whether to turn or not to turn etc.......it is an automatic physical process and would occur whether there was any consciousness or not.....plants seem to be basically machines....

At least this is my undestanding...I have never studied this sort of thing myself.

chownah


I don't know why I'm even throwing my hat in the ring here, but...

You could easily argue the same thing of a human. When you get down to the nuts and bolts, there tends to be a chemo-eletrical-mechanical process behind it all.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby PeterB » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:48 pm

If we pursue that argument to its logical conclusion Andrer9999 then we would do away with the distinction between sentient and insentient by declaring that sentient life does not exist.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby andre9999 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:20 pm

PeterB wrote:If we pursue that argument to its logical conclusion Andrer9999 then we would do away with the distinction between sentient and insentient by declaring that sentient life does not exist.


Oh, I meant more about the process behind things. Sentience still requires choice, and we have that over plants as far as I can tell.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:02 pm

chownah wrote:Sunflowers turn toward the sun by a photo-chemo-mechanical process.....if the sun strikes the plant a certain way then chemical changes automatically distort the tissues and the plant changes shape with the result being the flower is turned toward the sun.....this explanantion which is well understood by scientists does not include any conscioiusness which considers whether to turn or not to turn etc.......it is an automatic physical process and would occur whether there was any consciousness or not.....plants seem to be basically machines....

At least this is my undestanding...I have never studied this sort of thing myself.

chownah


Hi, Chownah.

Suggest you do some (serious) study before jumping to conclusions. Here are a few websites which might be of assistance.

Examples of some amazing living plants (not machines):

http://scienceray.com/biology/botany/14 ... teristics/

http://www.horizontalimage.com/2011/01/ ... ng-plants/

Plant vs. animal metabolism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metabolism

BIOLOGY OF PLANTS

Plants are alive, just like people and animals. How do we know this? Living things all do certain things:
They grow and die.
They need energy, nutrients, air, and water.
They produce young.
They are made up of cells.
They react to what's around them.



Biology of plants: http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/adapt.html

After reading/viewing all of the above you will have to agree that plants are not machines.

Plants are living creatures which produce their own energy from sunlight using living organelles called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts are the power plants of the vegetative community, which equivalent in animals is the mitochondria.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloroplast

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrion

Plants communicate with each other to warn of danger:

http://www.livescience.com/animals/0710 ... icate.html

Certain plants, fungi for example, act as the vascular systems of the forests:

http://rainforest-australia.com/fungi.htm

Plants participate in vast ecosystems, which some liken to animal and even human societies, but probably much more complex and obviously much less destructive than mankind.

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/deciduous_forest.htm

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/plants.htm
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Hanzze » Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:57 am

*smile* Thanks for sharing that Ron-The-Elder, my internet connection is to slow but there are real good films (high slow motion produced) with give good samples of reactions, socialicing birth, fight and death of green living beings.

I heavely recoment to look for your self on places where nature in it's untouched form still exists (even there are more less and less of those places). The last view forest here in Cambodia for example maintain species that the world do not know, maybe will never know as they are soon gone.

The only chance for them is that some pharmacist concerns may protect them for there benefit, I guess. As the use of the plants is now aday not more popular, as we can buy the medicine.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Plant Life

Postby chownah » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:00 pm

Ron-The-Elder,

Your last post makes alot of statements about plants being living things....I don't deny this....it is your stance that they are sentient that I disagree with.

My sunflower post took one of the items which you put forth as an arguement that plants are sentient and showed that actually it is not a good arguement in favor of sentience and is completely understood by photo-chemo-hydraulic-mechanical automation.....sentience does not need to be invoked for the explanation.

It seems to me that so far you have put forth many items which you think are arguements in support of the notion that plants are sentient but as far as I can tell none of them really have anything to do with sentience....they are, however, an interesting collection of the amazing abilities that plants have......but on the other hand they do not point to sentience in my opinion. If you disagree with me (which is likely) then please choose one item for discussion as I will not take the time to address all of the items you have raised. I have shown that one of your items does not necessarily point towards sentience and will gladly discuss another....if you choose one and indicate I will be glad to reply to it.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:39 pm

chownah wrote:Ron-The-Elder,

Your last post makes alot of statements about plants being living things....I don't deny this....it is your stance that they are sentient that I disagree with.

My sunflower post took one of the items which you put forth as an arguement that plants are sentient and showed that actually it is not a good arguement in favor of sentience and is completely understood by photo-chemo-hydraulic-mechanical automation.....sentience does not need to be invoked for the explanation.

It seems to me that so far you have put forth many items which you think are arguements in support of the notion that plants are sentient but as far as I can tell none of them really have anything to do with sentience....they are, however, an interesting collection of the amazing abilities that plants have......but on the other hand they do not point to sentience in my opinion. If you disagree with me (which is likely) then please choose one item for discussion as I will not take the time to address all of the items you have raised. I have shown that one of your items does not necessarily point towards sentience and will gladly discuss another....if you choose one and indicate I will be glad to reply to it.
chownah


Thank you, Chownah, for the opportunity to discuss this question further.

Let's begin with definitions:

Living: having life; being alive; not dead: living persons. from Dictionary.com

Alive: having life; living; existing; not dead or lifeless.

Facts:

Plants are alive, just like people and animals. How do we know this? Living things all do certain things:
They grow and die.
They need energy, nutrients, air, and water.
They produce young.
They are made up of cells.
They react to what's around them.

Here is my first question to you: Would you say that plants are both living and alive? (Please answer only yes or no.)
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Stephen K » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:49 pm

Dear Ron,

Can plants feel pain? Do they suffer?
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:53 pm

Chowna, et al.

My assumption is, that you already agreed that plants were alive in your first response that you will agree in the second response.

So, let's define "sentience":

sen·tience   
[sen-shuhns] Show IPA
–noun
sentient condition or character; capacity for sensation or feeling.
Also, sen·tien·cy.

Origin:
1830–40; senti(ent) + -ence


Plants can "feel" the presence of the sun. Therefore they have sight consciousness.
Some plants can "feel" the presence of pressure, and move their limbs out of the way to avoid damage to their limbs and leaves.
Many plants "feel" when their leaves are being eaten, and respond by producing poisonous toxins to kill the feeding herbovores.
Some plants "feel" the presence of insects and rodents and when detected move their appendages closed quickly to entrap these creatures, then dissolve and absorb their nutrients in order to live.
Some plants "feel" the pain and suffering of other plants and communicate with others of their same species in some cases other species of plants to warn of danger.
Plants smell and taste, and therefore possess these consciousnesses. They can sense hundreds of chemicals in the soil with their roots. They respond to the presence of insects by emitting sweet chemical odors, or a stench to attract them, and after insects have done their job, they can change their odor to repel the insects as does the tobacco plant with a well known chemical compound, nicotine.

In the previous article provided I supplied examples of each one of these.

Second question to you: Can plants feel? Can they sense and respond to danger by protecting themselves by moving out of the way, by secreting poisons to kill the animals eating them? Can plants sense (feel) the presence of living animals, trap, kill and eat them?

If you answer is yes, and it must be, because these are all facts, then you will agree that plants are alive and sentient as are animals.
Last edited by Ron-The-Elder on Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
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Re: Plant Life

Postby Nibbida » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:57 pm

An interesting talk, in this vein:

Stefano Mancuso: The roots of plant intelligence
Plants behave in some oddly intelligent ways: fighting predators, maximizing food opportunities ... But can we think of them as actually having a form of intelligence of their own? Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso presents intriguing evidence.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/stefano_mancuso_the_roots_of_plant_intelligence.html

I don't ascribe consciousness to plants, but he makes some interesting points.
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