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  • Originally posted by James Taeza View Post
    dear all,

    please accept my apologies in advance if i cause an offense for having to ask a question.

    from one simple and honest question, it has proliferated into something to be debated. 17 pages and going, but i only see back and forth of exchanges of ideas. this will never end. has anyone gotten closer to what they are searching for with regards to the practice? the vassa is almost over....

    again, i apologize if i cause an offense. having said that, i am ready for the hail of "stones" resulting from the kamma of asking the above

    sabbe satta sukhitatta.

    anjali ca metta.
    Russ,

    I've had some great insights about the subject as a result of this exchange. What we mustn't forget is that the Buddha himself was integral to his teachings being so easily/readily accepted. It wasn't only the profundity of his teachings but the very fact that one was witnessing a Buddha speak the teachings. When you have plain old followers and curious parties interacting, it's just not going to be the same and may take 17X17 pages. That's what we're here for, right? Be well.

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    • Originally posted by James Taeza View Post
      dear all,

      please accept my apologies in advance if i cause an offense for having to ask a question.

      from one simple and honest question, it has proliferated into something to be debated. 17 pages and going, but i only see back and forth of exchanges of ideas. this will never end. has anyone gotten closer to what they are searching for with regards to the practice? the vassa is almost over....

      again, i apologize if i cause an offense. having said that, i am ready for the hail of "stones" resulting from the kamma of asking the above

      sabbe satta sukhitatta.

      anjali ca metta.
      Hello all,

      Before I present what I have to say, I wish to file a disclaimer. Much of what I have said here requires a bit of common sense and assumptions to understand. For instance, when I talk about externally, I mean not within our bodies or minds. I do not want to get into a debate with labels as to what exists within us and without us, and exactly how it we perceive it. In short, do not nit pick. I am not posting to discuss that kind of philosophy as I personally find it very burdensome (and I am of the belief that through meditation you will understand these things anyway, this is after all a Buddhist forum). If something cannot be genuinely understood then I will try to explain it further. I have said things here as brief as possible in order to be understood generally, so it may not be precisely correct. Feel free to fill the gaps where I have skipped over or shortened something, especially where I have indicated uncertainty, noted by (?).

      (1) In order to understand the planes of existence with regard to our meditation practice:

      This was very wisely pointed out by Rudite first in post #135.

      It's my understanding that these 'planes of existence' (our state of mind) arise and cease within our minds all day every day, and by meditating we lengthen the aspects of what we would term the 'heavenly' realms (wisdom, compassion, loving-kindness, concentration etc), and reduce what we would call the 'hell' realms (ignorance, hatred, greed, etc). Once our mind is trained to look from the 'heavenly' realm, we are able to look back on our minds and study them. When we study them in the right way we reach enlightenment. Non-enlightened people experience more/less of certain 'realms' than others due to our actions (/intentions) and the actions (/intentions) of others on ourselves and this is what we call the differences in our 'personalities' (also, there are physical aspects of genetics, and thus chemical balance as well, which are part of our past life kamma). And when we talk about rebirth and the mind, we refer to these 'realms' being 'reborn' within our minds it means that one ceases and the next arises, then that ceases and the next arises and so on. When we use our insight to study impermanence, suffering and that everything is not-self it is these states of mind that we study. Once we peel away the layers of our existence and realise how it is, it is then we are enlightened.


      (2) With regards to viewing beings from other planes of existence externally (whether they be mind-projected, or existing physically in some way externally to us), the only ways to do it are:

      2.1) Become enlightened (scientifically speaking, to us this may or may not work as we are not enlightened yet, part of this requires belief in the teachings through desire to be enlightened and belief in the teachings through direct experience that comes with practice or external experience)

      Train your mind to be sensitive enough to the 'realms' within yourself. This, in theory, will translate to being sensitive and/or insightful enough (gaining the 'divine eye', as it's called) to view these beings. As with practically anything with Buddhist thought, one must train by studying our individual selves first and foremost. Whether these beings exist physically outside of ourselves, or whether they are actually projections of our mind, will be answered by this question. I can recall reading that being able to view beings from other realms (or having any other 'powers' associated with meditation) doesn't happen for everyone (?) and is unnecessary for enlightenment(?). The dangerous bi-product of attempting to become enlightened through meditation practice is that you will become happier.

      2.2) Invent machines capable of detection of these beings
      Safe to say, scientifically, we are incapable of this just yet. However anyone is welcome to try. Are we close? There are many interesting studies viewing the internal energy of people (body and brain) and with respect to the surrounding environment (electromagnetic fields of varying description). I confess I haven't read everything by everybody, and nor will I attempt to cite anything here as there is there is far too much literature to sift through. Safe to say though, no-one has said "I've found them!" yet.

      Side note to Ara et al. there are many interesting studies with respect to the brain and electromagnetism. For instance, magnetoception, which occurs from bacteria, to birds, to human beings themselves. Sorry if this has already been said but I confess reading 17 pages is a big task and I skim a lot. In short, it shows that our brains interact with the electromagnetic fields around us a lot more than was previously thought.

      2.3) Study those who are sensitive enough to see these beings externally (people who can see 'ghosts' etc)
      Along the lines of what Professor Ian Stevenson did with the theory of rebirth in regards to whether or not we have many lives (I imagine that as this and beings from other realms all flow into one as they are all to do with kamma(?)). Scientifically document to those who claim to see beings from other realms externally and cross reference this with real life events, if possible. I imagine this to be extremely difficult for reasons I'm sure are obvious, but I do not think it to be necessarily impossible.

      If there is a means by which we can study 2.3 quantitatively (invention of machines mentioned in 2.2) then this can be also applied.

      2.4) Possibility that external realms of existence/projection of external beings can be disproven. I personally doubt that believing that beings existing outside of our realm is necessary to begin meditation, as many people have wisely pointed out in this thread already. I think if they do exist, that it will come naturally as part of one's meditation practice, relating to (2.1). However I myself am not enlightened, as many of us aren't, and can't absolutely guarantee these beings to be true or false.

      Of course, I say none of this to be offensive. I just wanted to answer the question of 'how do the realms relate to meditation practice'. For the sake of understanding I found I also had to answer the question of 'how can we view beings from other realms' as well, to distinguish the two. I wanted to enter into the debate of rebirth with respect to past lives as well but I am afraid I don't know enough on the subject to do so.

      Scott

      PS Sorry for the big read
      Last edited by Scott Bazely; 8th-October-2013, 12:49 PM. Reason: an apology and a post reference

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      • Whether these beings exist physically outside of ourselves, or whether they are actually projections of our mind, will be answered by this question
        I meant to say study not question.

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        • Originally posted by Matthew Hebb View Post
          say for example could i be reborn on a distant inhabited planet
          I found an answer to this question, it is in this talk
          http://media.bswa.org/mp3/Brahmavamso_2004_05_14.mp3
          Its right at the end when he answers questions.
          Ajahn Brahm says yes
          Im happy that he gave this answer because to me it would seem weird if you couldn`t

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          • Thanks a lot, Matthew.

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            • for some reason I cant get the above link to work, is there any help for a computer illiterate

              http://media.bswa.org/mp3/Brahmavamso_2004_05_14.mp3

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              • Mark,

                The link is working both here and in Matthew's post on this computer I'm writing from currently. Unfortunately I'm at a loss for what might be the trouble on your end.

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                • My general impression of the discussion relating patterns of energy and neuroscience to the Buddhist concept of Rebirth is that it raises certain questions regarding the nature of consciousness, including whether energy is itself "conscious" in some extremely rudimentary way. I've no opinion on this and would require evidence to get one, but if it is, then it would argue in favor of a version of Rebirth in which ever-conscious energy simply takes on new forms, including complex ones for which natural selection might dictate the adaptability of an attachment to a delusion of selfhood.

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