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Buddhism Without Reincarnation/Rebirth - A Thought Experiment

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  • #46
    And why not?

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Kathleen Hull View Post
      Hi Kris,
      Sadhu or Saadhu? I wasn't sure, but on the Five Precepts online, it's spelt with two a's. I know this is a minor point, but which is it?
      With metta Kath
      dear Kathleen,

      I think it's written with one "a" ... As I am not a Sadhu at all, I could be mistaken ...

      Kind regards

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      • #48
        Hi Kathleen,

        I'll give your question a go, although it's not my speciality.

        It's technically an 'ā' (note the bar across the top), which is a long 'a', which sounds more like 'ar' but on an English keyboard we can write it as 'aa'. I usually don't bother and write it as 'a', as I'm English and a science student and hence ignorant of how these things actually work.

        As I understand it, Pāli was never a written language (for the first half century the scriptures were not written down, but held as an oral tradition), so these are Romanised spellings of the spoken words in Pāli. If you go to Sri Lanka, they use Sinhalese script instead, and I guess in Thailand they use the Thai script.

        To me it's a bit like the difference between the pronunciation in the North and South of England. In the North (or Midlands where I come from) we might say "I'm going to sweep the path", in the South we might say "I'm going to sweep the paath".

        Stuart
        xxx

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        • #49
          Sorry in advance Alex/all, I just can't help myself ...

          Originally posted by Alex Rogolsky View Post
          And what is Pi but a description of a relationship between linear and curved forms?
          Well Pi is a number of things, but this is not a universal description of pi, as this definition only works in Euclidean geometry. So if I were to draw a circle on a say a sphere or a bicycle saddle then this description of pi would not be valid.

          Originally posted by Alex Rogolsky View Post
          My cousin, a physicist and mathematician, once told me that because Pi goes on forever and has no pattern, it contains all patterns; in other words, if one were to take Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and transcribe it into numbers, it would be contained in Pi, as would "Macbeth" with one letter wrong, every other work of literature and genetic code, etc..
          Pi is a number in and of itself - it doesn't go on forever - it is just Pi. The decimal expansion of Pi, goes on forever and has no pattern - I don't know what happens if you use other bases for the calculations - it's not really my discipline. Also all decimal expansions of pi are approximations only.

          Sorry for that, I realise that it's so far off-topic, that it isn't even vaguely related to Buddhism, but ...

          I'll go now.

          Stuart
          xxx

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          • #50
            Speaking of off topic;

            I noticed that the volume of pi consumed is directly proportionate to the circumference of the waste line. Oh wait...that's pie, with an e.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by Alex Rogolsky View Post
              the possibility that Oblivion might turn out to be the only true and final relief, after which I don't exist to experience any more of it, seems an overly facile disposition of this mystery.
              The conditioned as well as the unconditioned are both non-self in Buddhism. So there is no change in the status of 'I' when a being is enlightened apart from the loss of delusion.

              Stuart
              xxx

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              • #52
                Yes Jerrod .... mmm ... pie ...

                SM114~Pie-Posters.jpg

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by Alex Rogolsky View Post
                  My cousin, a physicist and mathematician, once told me that because Pi goes on forever and has no pattern, it contains all patterns; in other words, if one were to take Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and transcribe it into numbers, it would be contained in Pi, as would "Macbeth" with one letter wrong, every other work of literature and genetic code, etc..
                  Strictly speaking, this statement is not accurate. We don't know whether it is true or not, and I mean this in precise mathematical terms.

                  There is a famous infinite monkeys theorem that states that "a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare".

                  "Almost surely" has a precise mathematical definition that can be found here.

                  This theorem has little practical relevance. If one wants to find the works of Shakespeare in the text typed by the monkey, and starts observing the typed text from now until, say the end of the year, the theorem states that the observer may or may not find the text. If we extend the deadline until 10 years later, or 1000 years later, or the end of the Earth, or the end of the Universe, or to any number of eons, the theorem states that the observer may or may not find the text in the work of the monkey.

                  In order to state that Pi exhibits the same characteristics as the random text typed by the monkey, it is necessary to prove that the Pi is a normal number (for the definition of the normal number please see here). No one, however, was able to prove that Pi is a normal number, and therefore the statement of the infinite monkey theorem is not applicable to Pi.

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                  • #54
                    I don't think Buddhism has ever made my head hurt before.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Jerrod Lopes View Post
                      I don't think Buddhism has ever made my head hurt before.
                      You've obviously never entered a speed-bowing competition before, then.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Jerrod Lopes View Post
                        I don't think Buddhism has ever made my head hurt before.
                        It's probably not the Buddhism, it's the math that gives you a headache. There are many examples when math (or science) made people sick, even drove many to insanity. Knowledge without wisdom can be a dangerous thing.

                        On the other hand, I recently observed Ajahn Brahm having a lecture at the University of Toronto. I was amazed by the depth of his scientific knowledge in physics and psychology, easily answering difficult questions and arguing (better wording would be "presenting convincing arguments") with scientists in the auditorium. And all through the process he looked very happy, friendly, and, as always, funny. He was doing this just after completing a transatlantic flight from Australia, with no visible traces of a jet lag or tiredness.

                        It was very impressive to see the combination of deep wisdom and knowledge in one human being, and people definitely felt that they are witnessing something special.

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                        • #57
                          Hi Ara,

                          I don't suppose anyone put a tape-recorder in front of him did they? I would love to hear that Q&A.

                          Stuart
                          xxx

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                          • #58
                            Hi Stuart,

                            We recorded the whole trip of Ajahn Brahm, to Toronto, both video and audio.

                            The video for the last 15 min of his talk at UFT didn't get recorded, as the camcorder run out of memory, but the audio should be captured, as it was recorded separately. We are processing the material, and will be posting it on the web in the coming weeks. I'll let you know when it is uploaded.

                            with metta,
                            Ara

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                            • #59
                              Fantastic, thank-you Ara.

                              Stuart
                              xxx

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                              • #60
                                Would it not be in the nature of an infinite "patternless-ness" that it would seem inevitable that it contain all finite patterns yet finitely unprovable that it does so? It reminds me of a saying that I once read, possibly from the Sophists, that the truth is nothing more than an eternally convincing lie. To me, the practical relevance of the idea is that it inspires the speculation that all patterns, including speculative systems such as religions and philosophies, may all just be part of a general, eternal patterless-ness.

                                Stuart - you're right that I probably shouldn't have dragged in the whole death as extinction question when considering whether happiness is only relief from suffering or whether it is beyond it. Clarifying whether "positive" Happiness exists, and what it might mean, was the intent.

                                Best,
                                Alex

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