Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby dspiewak » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:11 pm

According to my Dhamma teachers, a person can make tons of progress in the jhanas, and acquire some of the reported extraordinary abilities, without necessarily attaining as much in the way of wisdom or morals. I have been cautioned about this by my teachers on more than one occasion, and my understanding of it is that it has to do with mindfulness and responsibility.

Some years ago I had the great privilege of reading a really disturbing little novella called "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke. In the story, the world is suddenly visited by an alien race whose intelligence and strength far surpasses our own. They assume a benevolent (but secretive) control over the affairs of humanity, and each decree they issue produces peaceful and wise results. But one of their decrees is met with bewilderment, and that is that the space programs of all nations are to be immediately ended. The only explanation they give is this: "the stars are not for Man." It turns out that humanity, in its current state, would have done little except play out our defilements upon a galactic scale, and the results would have been catastrophic.

I think this is how I view these abilities. As in our current world, we have some truly amazing resources - the Internet, uranium enrichment, genetics, renewable energy - which are truly amazing in their potential, and yet can be cataclysmic in the hands of people (no matter how scholarly they may be) whose lives are controlled by lust, anger, and delusion.

So, now comes the question of whether or not I actually think such things are real or not. The truth is, I just don't know. I come from an empirical background too, so I admit I am biased against such claims. I have not yet seen anyone predict the future in some falsifiable way. I have never heard anyone even claim to speak with the departed dead, but I'm not sure that ability would be of much use anyway. I have, however, had people who were experienced meditators give me guidance that was so stunningly specific, so insightful, that I couldn't help but wonder if they had some special insight into my mind.

But I guess that's it, isn't it? Maybe these "gifts" are a lot less miraculous than we give them credit for, and really they amount to the subtle workings of a very calm and disciplined mind. Not so much "supernatural" but more "uncommon." I'm not even sure that "supernatural" is a meaningful word anyway.
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby seanpdx » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:51 pm

Annabel wrote:
seanpdx wrote:
Annabel wrote:While feeling the same way about it as you, the comparison isn't very lucky.

One dance with sister Heroine, -and you walk out addicted.

Not so with a divination.


Slightly off-topic, but big pet peeve. This is just ridiculously false. Opiate-naive individuals do not become addicted to heroin after a single administration. Just more quackery from people who don't know what they're talking about, and know nothing of how morphine works.


I knew somebody would find it necessary to point out that a single dose mustn't get you on the hook, but it's a bit tiring to always mention everything there is to know about it. .


Then don't mention it at all, since you made a false analogy.

Annabel wrote:
seanpdx wrote:Just more quackery from people who don't know what they're talking about, and know nothing of how morphine works.


The reason is it addictive (mentally and physically) is because your brain produces a chemical called dopamine. When you use heroin, after a short amount of time, your brain STOPS producing dopamine the way it should. The more heroin you take into your body, the less dopamine your brain makes. Because dopamine is an opioid, like heroin, your brain thinks, "Hey why do i need to make it? I'm getting it from another source", and it stops making it. WITHOUT THIS CHEMICAL, you CANNOT function. Look up the withdrawal symptoms! Runny nose, watery eyes, burning eyes, burning skin, severe vomiting, severe SEVERE insomnia, severe diarrhea, hot flashes, extreme sweating, chills, nausea, the list goes on and on but it'll stop. It's horrible, and the withdrawals go on for at least a week, at most 6 weeks usually, when you kick. Once you get your "next shot" or "next fix", they instantly go away and you are instantly well.


Wow. Ummm... wow. So much bad information here I don't even know where to begin.

1. The reason it is addictive is... complicated. It doesn't just have to do with dopamine. The "disease model" is horribly lacking, as Bruce Alexander tried to demonstrate, and as enhanced environment research has finally begun to demonstrate. If people would pay attention.
2. Dopamine is not an opiate. It does NOT bind to opiate receptors. Nobody who knows anything about neurochemistry would ever make this mistake. And the withdrawal dysphoria is due to DA receptor down-regulation.
3. The physical withdrawals are due to opiates binding to receptors found in the rest of the body, outside the brain. Hello? Tissue dependence? Down-regulation? It's not "horrible" physically. The horror is primarily psychological.

Annabel wrote:It is also mentally addictive because it produces euphoria. Yes, that is why they get addicted MENTALLY, first. But then when it gets you PHYSICALLY addicted (strung out), you don't get that feeling anymore, you just get well, instead of high. You get mentally addicted usually because the high is so intense and "good", but then once it gets you physically, you're screwed. Also, when you use for long periods of time (months), you shoot up so many times a day, you get very mentally addicted to tying off, finding a vein and shooting up.


See above re: the disease model. Dopaminergic activity via mu-opioid activation is not the sole player in opiate addiction.

Your understanding of addiction, and opiates, is rudimentary at best, when not outright incorrect. Come back when you can explain the difference between a mu-opioid receptor and a D2 receptor.

Like I said, more quackery from people who don't know how morphine works.
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Laurens » Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:56 pm

:focus:
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby 5heaps » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:07 pm

Laurens wrote:Divination is harmful because people actually believe it and might make dangerous desisions based upon the advice given. I don't need to say alot more about why that is dangerous.

The logic seems a little confused. Why are you calling deceptive methods (ie. tricks such as cold reading, etc) divination? They have nothing to do with buddhist divination (ie. power gained through jhana, etc).
A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:22 pm

dspiewak wrote:According to my Dhamma teachers, a person can make tons of progress in the jhanas, and acquire some of the reported extraordinary abilities, without necessarily attaining as much in the way of wisdom or morals. I have been cautioned about this by my teachers on more than one occasion, and my understanding of it is that it has to do with mindfulness and responsibility.


Hello dspiewak,

It is my understanding that the jhanas are very unlikely without the significant establishment of a highly moral life. Wisdom on the other hand is very helpful for the creation of jhana but its lack does not impede the development of it.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Annapurna » Mon Jan 04, 2010 8:39 pm

seanpdx wrote:This is just ridiculously false....

Just more quackery from people who don't know what they're talking about, and know nothing of how morphine works.

Then don't mention it at all, since you made a false analogy......

Wow. Ummm... wow. So much bad information here I don't even know where to begin.

Your understanding of addiction, and opiates, is rudimentary at best, when not outright incorrect. Come back when you can explain the difference between a mu-opioid receptor and a D2 receptor.


Please don't tell me what to do.

And I think this suttha would be of great benefit to you:

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

:focus:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:46 am

Going back to the op, I think that all such practises , whether or not they are genuine, and I remain unconvinced that they are genuine but that is not the main point, are simply reactions to fear and/or a need for certainty, and as such are adhammic. The Buddha warned against such practises, not to " frighten the children" but because he knew that in terms of an approach to Dhamma they are problematic. Goodness knows we have enough to do in this life if we want to follow the 8FP without dabbling in this stuff.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:58 pm

Sanghamitta, C.G Jung (Carl Jung) explored the I Ching and Tarot cards with scientific interest, and Isaac Newton explored astrology.

Ridiculed and mocked by his peers, he scolded them:

"I, Sirs, have studied the object, you haven't."

Very true. It illuminates how we can arrive at different judgements simply through being onlookers, or insiders.

Of course it would be foolish to try anything and study things which are obviously dangerous, such as sticking your head into a water with piranhas.

Wouldn't help much whatever conclusion you derive from that experience.

I feel divination doesn't fall into this very dangerous category, but into a potentially dangerous category.

I feel it should only be used by a very few masters on this issues, sort of like:

Not everybody can be the shaman, priest, or sage of the village.

Very few can fill those spots.

I think altogether there is a lot of fraud and quackery going on and laypeople have no means of distinction.

If told this and that will happen it could lead them into false hopes, confusion and fear.

But I also don't think this is what true divination is about.


Here is somebody I would try:

A Buddhist:

http://www.lamadawa.com/divination-form.html
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:57 pm

Annabel I dont see any reason at all to give credence to anything Jung thought about anything, still less to emulate him. Jung also thought that no westerners should attempt to be Buddhists. Nor quite honestly do I find anything attractive about the more folkloric elements of Tibetan Buddhism, nor as we are on the subject do I as a Theravadin Buddhist see the Dalai Lama as a a source of authority. What I do see as the authority on the subject is the Pali Canon, and The Buddha makes plain his view on the issue.

:anjali:
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:22 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Annabel I dont see any reason at all to give credence to anything Jung thought about anything, still less to emulate him. Jung also thought that no westerners should attempt to be Buddhists. Nor quite honestly do I find anything attractive about the more folkloric elements of Tibetan Buddhism, nor as we are on the subject do I as a Theravadin Buddhist see the Dalai Lama as a a source of authority. What I do see as the authority on the subject is the Pali Canon, and The Buddha makes plain his view on the issue.

:anjali:


It's not about credence or emulance at all...

I'm at a loss of words, actually, after your reply.

I think we also have an agreement here to avoid sect bashing, and your comments about the Dalai Lamas authority or not and elements in Tibetan Buddhism are borderline to me. It's still Buddhism, but you speak of Tibetan Buddhism as if it wasn't based on the Buddha, and I don't agree with that.
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Re: Psychic mediums, divination, telepathy etc

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:36 pm

Annabel if I accepted the authority of the Dalai Lama I would follow the Vajrayana, because by implication I would also accept that he is an emanation of Chenrezig etc etc.. thats not sect bashing, its just a simple acknowledgement that the Theravada and the Vajrayana have a different view of the Dalai Lama. And I specified the folkloric element of Tibetan Buddhism..which would include divination and the like. As a matter of fact many followers of the Vajrayana also see the folkloric element as problematic according to my husband who is a former Vajrayana practitioner.
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