Is brain hard wired?

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Is brain hard wired?

Postby SarathW » Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:56 am

For about four hundred years physiologist thought that the brain is hard wired and will not develop after teenage years. New research has found that the brain is elastic and makes new neuron connections with brain cells until the death of the person. They also found that brain is rewired according to the way we think.
This finding is not a new thing to Buddhist. But it is reassuring to us that the science is moving alongside the Buddha’s teaching. My personal opinion is that when a person clearly understands the teaching of Anatta, the brain will create new neuron connections. The new knowledge will be the reference point for the brain and it will replace the old personality belief.

It is not too distant future that brain scan will be able to tell you whether you have attained Sotapanna stage! :idea:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:13 am

Yeah it is amazing to think that an act of will can change physical reality.
Its also good to remember the Fourteen Unanswerable Questions in regards to the brain and the self.

EDIT: i have been up too long sorry about that :)
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:52 am

m0rl0ck wrote:Yeah it is amazing to think that an act of will can change physical reality.


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:24 am

SarathW wrote:For about four hundred years physiologist thought that the brain is hard wired and will not develop after teenage years. New research has found that the brain is elastic and makes new neuron connections with brain cells until the death of the person. They also found that brain is rewired according to the way we think.
This finding is not a new thing to Buddhist. But it is reassuring to us that the science is moving alongside the Buddha’s teaching. My personal opinion is that when a person clearly understands the teaching of Anatta, the brain will create new neuron connections. The new knowledge will be the reference point for the brain and it will replace the old personality belief.

It is not too distant future that brain scan will be able to tell you whether you have attained Sotapanna stage! :idea:


This comes from the people who imagine the human mind to be like super-computer and consciousness just the sum total of the information flow between neurons, hoping to create even better Artificial Intelligence in the future. However, many doubts have been raised by people who work in that field themselves recently:
I don’t think there is that magic ingredient, like we’re going to poke somewhere in the brain and find, “Yeah, here’s the consciousness cell, or here’s the thing that let’s us have experience and understand the world.” A lot of people thinking about AI are misled by looking for the seat of awareness and experience in some mechanism. And then they think they don’t know how to make AI, because they don’t know how to build that mysterious mechanism. And my view is more that that mysterious mechanism, wherever you look you aren’t going to find it there, it’s just kind of imminent in being.
http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2009/09/bg ... al-wisdom/


The Buddhist argument against materialism is to demonstrate that mind is an aspect of reality that is not reducible to material causes and structures. The bleak, deluded view of Materialist/Physicalist Reductionism is not only a major obstacle to the spiritual progress of those who (often reluctantly ) suffer from it, but it also generates fear, aggression and denial in those who oppose it but don't know how to argue against it.

http://seanrobsville.blogspot.co.uk/200 ... alism.html


Renowned Buddhist philosopher B. Alan Wallace reasserts the power of samatha and vipassana, traditional Buddhist meditations, to clarify the mind’s role in the natural world. Raising profound questions about human nature, free will, and experience versus dogma, Wallace challenges the claim that consciousness is nothing more than an emergent property of the brain with little relation to universal events. Rather, he maintains that the observer is essential to measuring quantum systems and that mental phenomena (however conceived) influence brain function and behavior.
Wallace embarks on a two-part mission: To restore human nature and to transcend it.
He begins by explaining the value of skepticism in Buddhism and science and the difficulty of merging their experiential methods of inquiry. Yet Wallace also proves that Buddhist views on human nature and the possibility of free will liberate us from the metaphysical constraints of scientific materialism. He then explores the radical empiricism inspired by William James and applies it to Indian Buddhist philosophy.
“The potential of the interface between Buddhism and science is that Buddhists may encourage scientists to question their materialistic assumptions and incorporate sophisticated systems of contemplative inquiry within the scientific community. This may give rise to the first true revolution in the mind sciences, which is bound to have profound repercussions for the rest of science and humanity at large. Likewise, scientists may encourage Buddhists to question their own assumptions, to revitalize their own traditions of contemplative inquiry, and to integrate them with the empirical methods of modern science. In short, Buddhists and scientists may help each other in overcoming their tendencies to dogmatism and replace this with a fresh and open-minded spirit of empiricism.”

http://www.alanwallace.org
http://www.sbinstitute.com


The dogma of scientific materialism has prevented us from using direct observation of mind states with trained attention in samadhi. Mental concentration (samadhi) is like an inner telescope, but we need to spend a lot of time training the mind through meditation, not just using amateurs to do this research in psychology labs. Meditation training does not require embracing any religious beliefs, but one should be open-minded and ready to examine one's own assumptions. (Alan Wallace)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1QRjkITRY4

Scientific materialism is the metaphysical assumption that consciousness is a property of brain function alone and that all experience can be quantified. It is unproven - no one has "seen" consciousness - but treated as fact by many scientists. Taken to its logical extreme, scientific materialism would even deny the existence of emotions because they cannot be directly measured, only their neurological correlates, which is not the same thing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF_8F-u5ARY
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby DAWN » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:25 am

SarathW wrote:For about four hundred years physiologist thought that the brain is hard wired and will not develop after teenage years. New research has found that the brain is elastic and makes new neuron connections with brain cells until the death of the person. They also found that brain is rewired according to the way we think.
This finding is not a new thing to Buddhist. But it is reassuring to us that the science is moving alongside the Buddha’s teaching. My personal opinion is that when a person clearly understands the teaching of Anatta, the brain will create new neuron connections. The new knowledge will be the reference point for the brain and it will replace the old personality belief.

It is not too distant future that brain scan will be able to tell you whether you have attained Sotapanna stage! :idea:


Yes, brain create new connection, and delete connection that he dont use.

On one scientific conferention about neurophysiology, that i assit, scientists give talk about activity of neurons, how and why they create connections etc. Quite interesting.
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:55 pm

See the latest issue of Tricycle:

http://www.tricycle.com/blog/gray-matte ... nd-science

If you haven’t heard that Buddhist mindfulness meditation can change your brain for the better, you haven’t opened a magazine or newspaper lately. On the other hand, if you haven’t heard that research supporting such a claim is at best inconclusive, you can’t be blamed—it’s not a view you’re likely to come across as readily.

The ongoing story of the convergence of Buddhist practice and science—lately and most notably, neuroscience—has garnered a lot of press, and the popular narrative has been overwhelmingly weighted in favor of those who argue that Buddhism’s rationalist bent makes it, of all religions, uniquely compatible with scientific truths. But as is evident in this issue of Tricycle, a strong counternarrative has begun to emerge. In “A Gray Matter,” Columbia professor of Japanese religion Bernard Faure writes that a “careful and critical reading of the literature on Buddhism and neuroscience will lead, I think, to a far more sober assessment of their convergence than one generally hears from its advocates.”

Aside from questioning the science itself, Faure challenges the highly selective reading of Buddhism upon which the supposed convergence is based: The convergence of Buddhism and science is, Faure argues, largely a consequence of modern Buddhists—in both Asia and the West—having radically redefined the tradition for that specific purpose.
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby Javi » Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:27 am

I think that this is definitely a historic moment, and I do not think that the dharma could be harmed by anything science could find digging in there, but in fact, it could lead to new tools and upayas for achieving liberation and a richer understanding of the path. Can you imagine if the Buddha had the printing press? the internet!? All in all, I'm glad to be living in such exciting times :woohoo:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby Doshin » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:45 am

Buckwheat wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Yeah it is amazing to think that an act of will can change physical reality.


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


The first chicken came with the first egg.
Knowing about dhamma, does not imply knowing dhamma
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby m0rl0ck » Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:13 pm

Buckwheat wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:Yeah it is amazing to think that an act of will can change physical reality.


Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


Ill take the middle way :)
They arose interdependently.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:21 pm

:soap:

Sharp words from disapproving science writers are but the tip of the hippocampus: today’s pop neuroscience, coarsened for mass audiences, is under a much larger attack.

Meet the “neuro doubters.” The neuro doubter may like neuroscience but does not like what he or she considers its bastardization by glib, sometimes ill-informed, popularizers.

A gaggle of energetic and amusing, mostly anonymous, neuroscience bloggers — including Neurocritic, Neuroskeptic, Neurobonkers and Mind Hacks — now regularly point out the lapses and folly contained in mainstream neuroscientific discourse.

As a journalist and cultural critic, I applaud the backlash against what is sometimes called brain porn, which raises important questions about this reductionist, sloppy thinking and our willingness to accept seemingly neuroscientific explanations for, well, nearly everything.

Voting Republican? Oh, that’s brain chemistry. Success on the job? Fortuitous neurochemistry! Neuroscience has joined company with other totalizing worldviews — Marxism, Freudianism, critical theory — that have been victim to overuse and misapplication.

A team of British scientists recently analyzed nearly 3,000 neuroscientific articles published in the British press between 2000 and 2010 and found that the media regularly distorts and embellishes the findings of scientific studies. Writing in the journal Neuron, the researchers concluded that “logically irrelevant neuroscience information imbues an argument with authoritative, scientific credibility.” Another way of saying this is that bogus science gives vague, undisciplined thinking the look of seriousness and truth.

The problem isn’t solely that self-appointed scientists often jump to faulty conclusions about neuroscience. It’s also that they are part of a larger cultural tendency, in which neuroscientific explanations eclipse historical, political, economic, literary and journalistic interpretations of experience. A number of the neuro doubters are also humanities scholars who question the way that neuroscience has seeped into their disciplines, creating phenomena like neuro law, which, in part, uses the evidence of damaged brains as the basis for legal defense of people accused of heinous crimes, or neuroaesthetics, a trendy blend of art history and neuroscience.

It’s not hard to understand why neuroscience is so appealing. We all seek shortcuts to enlightenment. It’s reassuring to believe that brain images and machine analysis will reveal the fundamental truth about our minds and their contents. But as the neuro doubters make plain, we may be asking too much of neuroscience, expecting that its explanations will be definitive. Yet it’s hard to imagine that any functional magnetic resonance imaging or chemical map will ever explain “The Golden Bowl” or heaven. Or that brain imaging, no matter how sophisticated and precise, will ever tell us what women really want.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/opini ... ttack.html
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:42 pm

Science postulates a materialist understanding of consciousness, but there are significant gaps in this understanding. The materialist view occasionally appears like that of the mythical tribesman who discovered a TV set. Although ignorant of the existence of radio waves, he is confident that he understands the origin of the voices and images in the TV. After he has carefully disassembled the TV, he is able to demonstrate that applying a voltage to certain points produces an audible noise in the speaker, or a dot of light on the screen. He has even worked out how the electron beam can be modulated to create a matrix of dots. On account of these discoveries, he triumphantly declares that the voices and pictures are produced inside the electronic circuits of the TV set and that the operating principle of the TV set can be explained without invoking “supernatural” radio waves. Yet, his fellow tribesmen are not quite satisfied with this explanation. It seems too mechanical to them and they keep wondering why the voices and images in the TV set appear so real. The tribal scientist justifies himself: “We have not worked out all the details yet, but we understand the principle.”

This situation is perhaps analogous to present day consciousness research. Mainstream scientists and philosophers believe that consciousness is based on and produced by the brain. This might be compared to the idea that TV images and sounds are produced inside the TV set. Obviously, in case of the TV set, it is only half the truth. The TV images and sounds are neither local to the TV set, nor do they have a life of their own. They are produced elsewhere and transmitted by radio waves. We all know that a TVs have an antenna and a receiver that pick up radio waves and translate them into voltages to generate images and sounds.

What if the brain and nervous system relate to consciousness like the TV set to radio signals? Let's call this the nonlocal model of consciousness. If we accept the nonlocal model of consciousness provisionally, we can compare TV reception to sense perception. We can compare qualia (conscious experience) to TV images and sounds; we can compare memories to the recording function, thoughts to the playback and edit functions, and mental chatter to audiovisual noise. Furthermore, if the nervous system/brain functions as receiver/modulator of consciousness rather than its producer, it follows that consciousness is not based on the brain, but that the brain is based on consciousness. There are a number of theoretical considerations and phenomena that point in this direction. These phenomena show the limits of the current mainstream (materialistic) understanding of consciousness and provide theoretical support for the nonlocal model of consciousness. In the remainder of this section, we will look at five such points: a) the epistemic gap in materialism, b) the absence of a neural correlate of consciousness, c) out-of-body experiences (OBEs), d) near-death experiences (NDEs), and e) the measurement problem in quantum physics.

http://www.thebigview.com/mind/nonlocal.html

:coffee:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:11 pm

Interesting to see such an article:

...Parts of the cerebral cortex cannot by themselves account for conscious recognition of oneself as a thinking being. Instead they propose that self-awareness is a far more diffuse cognitive process, relying on many parts of the brain, including regions not located in the cerebral cortex.
If some children with hydranencephaly are conscious, then the brain does not require an intact cerebral cortex to produce consciousness. Still, research on hydranencephaly and Roger's case study indicate that self-awareness—this ostensibly sophisticated and unique cognitive process layered on consciousness—might be more universal than we realized.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... mple-brain
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby DAWN » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:41 pm

Brain and jhana analyse.

Brainstem take a responsability on reflex, ot automatic mouvements such as : respiration, reaction of knee to any hit, reaction to eye on light. Knowing that, we can see that actualy jhana is a death process.
Why?
Because as Buddha say in forth jhana breathing and body disapear, it means that there is cessetion of brainstem activity. Some countryes consider the one as dead until there is cessetion of brainstem activity. One of these countryes - England.

So the one who practice jhana in england have to be awere, because until forth jhana he is concideret as deadman :strawman:

Also readind abowe, we can understand why it's important in practice of "diyng" to be moderated in eating and sleeping. :popcorn: :zzz:

Though small, this is an extremely important part of the brain as the nerve connections of the motor and sensory systems from the main part of the brain to the rest of the body pass through the brain stem. This includes the corticospinal tract (motor), the posterior column-medial lemniscus pathway (fine touch, vibration sensation and proprioception) and the spinothalamic tract (pain, temperature, itch and crude touch). The brain stem also plays an important role in the regulation of cardiac and respiratory function. It also regulates the central nervous system, and is pivotal in maintaining consciousness and regulating the sleep cycle. The brain stem has many basic functions including heart rate, breathing, sleeping and eating.

Image

I wish to everybody know the death until he is alive ! :anjali: :) :meditate: :strawman:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby gavesako » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:00 pm

Compare with this article on the jhanas and brain:

Neuroscience and Buddhist Meditation

...Prof. Gombrich then admits that what comes next might be a bit controversial. He suggests that the 3rd and 4th jhanas are quite unlike the 2nd. He suggests the thought experiment: would a meditator (in any of these states) notice a flashing light or loud noise in his/her vicinity. Gombrich thinks that in the 3rd/4th he would notice but in the 2nd he wouldn’t.
What comes next is a bit technical, but basically, the later tradition lumps these all in the service of ‘calming’ meditation, which is then opposed to the more advanced ‘insight’ meditation practice. What Prof Gombrich (I believe) is suggesting, is that in fact these 3rd and 4th jhanas are more akin to ‘insight’ practice then to ‘calming.’
He then discusses recent neurological findings regarding the activity of the left and right brain. The right side is our ‘awareness’ side, roughly speaking, while our left side is our linguistic and ‘analysis’ side. This is a simplification (there are whole books and plenty of journal articles to read to find out the ins and outs of left-right brain interaction), but Gombrich’s point is that the 2nd jhana develops the analytical side of the left brain to it’s peak, and then shifts to right-brain awareness in the 3rd/4th jhanas.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/americanbu ... ation.html

:shrug:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby marc108 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:16 am

Javi wrote: I do not think that the dharma could be harmed by anything science could find digging in there


this is the genius of the Buddhas teaching. :goodpost:
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby manas » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:49 am

DAWN wrote:...
Because as Buddha say in forth jhana breathing and body disapear, it means that there is cessetion of brainstem activity.
...


Hi Dawn,

I've read in sutta that in the fourth jhana, the body is completely permeated by a 'clear, bright awareness', but not that breathing and/or the body 'disappear'. Anyway we could discuss this elsewhere as it's not the current topic, but I think you might want to rephrase that, it could (unintentionally) lead to a misunderstanding in someone.

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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby DAWN » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:28 am

manas wrote:
DAWN wrote:...
Because as Buddha say in forth jhana breathing and body disapear, it means that there is cessetion of brainstem activity.
...


Hi Dawn,

I've read in sutta that in the fourth jhana, the body is completely permeated by a 'clear, bright awareness', but not that breathing and/or the body 'disappear'. Anyway we could discuss this elsewhere as it's not the current topic, but I think you might want to rephrase that, it could (unintentionally) lead to a misunderstanding in someone.

metta


Thanks you for this clairification :anjali:

Actualy i dont know realy if it's in 4 jhan or less or more that breath with body disapear, but there was a topic, if i remember "Breath in jhana", where there is some suttas wich say that there is cessetion of breathing in 4 jhana. So i said 4 jhana :spy: But it may be an another jhana, i dont know, IMO i think it's a subject to claining all these levels of jhana etc. :thinking:
So actualy i dont know. :?

PS : The 'clear, bright awareness' wich permeated whoole body is not avalable until 1 jhana? :thinking:
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby pegembara » Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:11 am

Didn't the Buddha declare that the world (brain, electrical activities included) are inside the mind? Without mind how else are we to know about the science of the brain?

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."

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


The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Sabba Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:24 am

If the brain's hard-wired then all I need to fix it when it breaks is a screw driver and some duct tape, right?
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Re: Is brain hard wired?

Postby vinodh » Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:48 pm

danieLion wrote:If the brain's hard-wired then all I need to fix it when it breaks is a screw driver and some duct tape, right?


How can you forgot Lobotomy which can re-wire and fix all our brains :thinking:

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Neither a person nor the aggregates, the Buddha, is knowledge free from [evil] outflows
Clearly perceiving [him] to be eternally serene, I go for refuge [in him]
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