If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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JamesTheGiant
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If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Recently I've been very interested in the Simulation Theory: The idea that all of reality could be an artificial simulation, such as a computer simulation.
If we accept we are simulated, or living in a simulation, how does that work with Buddhism?
I guess the simulation could be recycling and rebooting our minds, hence rebirth.
Do you have any thoughts on any aspect of simulation theory and Buddhism?

If you want to learn about simulation theory, here's the wiki https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simulation_hypothesis
(Please don't argue about if the simulation argument is correct. If you want to do that start a new topic. For this topic I'm interested in thinking about if Simulation Theory and Buddhism are both true.)
matrix-system-fail_2784216b.jpg
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

The Buddha and Buddhism shows the way out of this matrix or simulation.
"The middle way discovered by a Perfect One avoids both these extremes; it gives vision, it gives knowledge, and it leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana. And what is that middle way? It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the middle way discovered by a Perfect One, which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and which leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana.

"Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

"The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.

"Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.

"The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
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SarathW
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by SarathW »

Buddha never discusses how Samsara began.
However, if we are a robot recharging (craving) due to ignorance, then one day it will realise the suffering and stop rechaging. (ie end craving)
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
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Sam Vara
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by Sam Vara »

Depending on the nature of the simulation, quite a few things would be possible.

Rebirth could indeed be like rebooting the simulation. Or it could be that the simulation includes the mere idea of rebirth; but that no such event actually takes place. Likewise, there could be a form of liberation from the simulation which Buddhists call nibbāna; or there might just be the idea of nibbāna within the simulation in order to keep a few blokes sitting quietly with shaven heads, but that no state corresponding to the term actually exists or is possible.

Or it could be that the whole universe as we know it is the brainchild of a super-intelligent coder, and that Jehovah is going to kick his ass when he sees what he's done...
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by DNS »

It would mean anatta is 100% correct. :tongue:

There are some 'mind-only' schools of Buddhism which state nothing is real except the mind and the mind creates the world. This sounds somewhat similar to a simulated character in a game in a computer. I believe yogacara has some views like this.

In Theravada, the world is real, but there is anatta and it is the interplay of the perceived self, aggregates and the world that complete our existence as we know it. The mind only schools would be closer to the simulation theory, I think.
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mjaviem
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by mjaviem »

Yes. We are pretending to be a self and we give meaning to things so we're already living a simulation.
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by pegembara »

This is the simulation -
"Monks, before my Awakening, when I was just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the realization came to me: 'How this world has fallen on difficulty! It is born, it ages, it dies, it falls away & rearises, but it does not discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death. O when will it discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death?'
This is the escape from the simulation-
"Following it, I came to direct knowledge of fabrications, direct knowledge of the origination of fabrications, direct knowledge of the cessation of fabrications, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of fabrications. Knowing that directly, I have revealed it to monks, nuns, male lay followers & female lay followers, so that this holy life has become powerful, rich, detailed, well-populated, wide-spread, proclaimed among celestial & human beings."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Simulation and escape-
"Then, monks, being subject myself to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, Unbinding, I reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: Unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in me: 'Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.'
This monk is said to have blinded Mara. Trackless, he has destroyed Mara's vision and has become invisible to the Evil One. Having crossed over, he is unattached in the world. Carefree he walks, carefree he stands, carefree he sits, carefree he lies down. Why is that? Because he has gone beyond the Evil One's range."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
“There is, monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned. If, monks there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, you could not know an escape here from the born, become, made, and conditioned. But because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unconditioned, therefore you do know an escape from the born, become, made, and conditioned.”
Simulation -
Form is like a glob of foam;
feeling, a bubble;
perception, a mirage;
fabrications, a banana tree;
consciousness, a magic trick —
this has been taught
by the Kinsman of the Sun.
However you observe them,
appropriately examine them,
they're empty, void
to whoever sees them
appropriately.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by SteRo »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:12 pm If we accept we are simulated, or living in a simulation, how does that work with Buddhism?
It works perfect. Whether you call it "simulation" or "illusion" doesn't make a difference. It just means that what appears to be reality isn't reality. Knowing thus the aggregates are not longer grasped as 'I' or 'mine'. The aggregates simulate.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ . (This is the esoteric essence of the yoga of continuous flow which is no different from the universal flux of materiality. Therefore exoteric natural science provides vital guidelines.) अञ्जलि वागीश्वर
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Thankyou everyone who has replied. This gives me some interesting things to think about.
You're all wonderful ! :thanks:
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confusedlayman
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by confusedlayman »

mjaviem wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 1:46 am Yes. We are pretending to be a self and we give meaning to things so we're already living a simulation.
yes
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

Lucas Oliveira wrote: Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:21 pm The Buddha and Buddhism shows the way out of this matrix or simulation.
"The middle way discovered by a Perfect One avoids both these extremes; it gives vision, it gives knowledge, and it leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana. And what is that middle way? It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the middle way discovered by a Perfect One, which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and which leads to peace, to direct acquaintance, to discovery, to nibbana.

"Suffering, as a noble truth, is this: Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; association with the loathed is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering — in short, suffering is the five categories of clinging objects.

"The origin of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is the craving that produces renewal of being accompanied by enjoyment and lust, and enjoying this and that; in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being.

"Cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is remainderless fading and ceasing, giving up, relinquishing, letting go and rejecting, of that same craving.

"The way leading to cessation of suffering, as a noble truth, is this: It is simply the noble eightfold path, that is to say, right view, right intention; right speech, right action, right livelihood; right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
:anjali:
"As long as my knowing and seeing how things are, was not quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, I did not claim in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, with its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. But as soon as my knowing and seeing how things are, was quite purified in these twelve aspects, in these three phases of each of the four noble truths, then I claimed in the world with its gods, its Maras and high divinities, in this generation with its monks and brahmans, its princes and men to have discovered the full Awakening that is supreme. Knowing and seeing arose in me thus: 'My heart's deliverance is unassailable. This is the last birth. Now there is no renewal of being.'"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nymo.html
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:anjali:
Last edited by Lucas Oliveira on Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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sphairos
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by sphairos »

I don't think that if their hardware is powerful enough to simulate visible universe and countless consciousnesses, they need to reboot our consciousnesses at any time.

I.e., the rebirth is not a bug, but a feature. Which brings us to the question why they programmed rebirth into simulation in the first place. The obvious answer is that they are testing us: who can figure out the Saṃsāra and escape it, given infinite amount of "tries"...
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Sounds like conceptual proliferation.
Mendicants, a mendicant who has five things will soon penetrate the unshakable. What five? It’s when a mendicant has attained the analytical knowledge of meaning, the analytical knowledge of Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment and they review the extent of their mind’s freedom. A mendicant who has these five things will soon penetrate the unshakable.”

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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by cappuccino »

In the beginning of the film The Matrix (1999), the lead character Neo asks his visitors whether they had the feeling where they were not sure if they are awake or dreaming.

This is a reference to Zhuangzi's "Butterfly Dream": "Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."

From Wikipedia
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Re: If we live in a simulation, how does this work with Buddhism?

Post by Inedible »

They are releasing the fourth Matrix movie this year.

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt10838180/

A simulation is also a compounded thing with nutriments required for arising. It has causes to sustain it and it must eventually end. Sounds like Dhamma to me, although in practice Vipassana only has you working with what you directly perceive. The point of a simulation is that what you directly experience is controlled by the rules of the system.
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