Tag Archives | Buddhism

Science and Spirituality: The Teachings of U.G.Krishnamurti

Are there any points of contact between science and spirituality?

via Well World-Dual-final

[Paper presented by Dr. J.S.R.L.Narayana Moorty at the Krishnamurti Centennial Conference held at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, U.S.A., May 18-21, 1995]

The following paper discusses some issues commonly raised in regard to the relationship between science and spirituality. In particular, I wish to examine the issue of the apparent similarities (or symmetry) between statements made by scientists and those made by mystics concerning the unity of existence (or of the universe). I shall argue that the positions of the scientists and those of the mystics are not comparable, and I wish to propose that the very premise that the mystic or the scientist has any sort of experience or knowledge of a state of unity, especially when seen in the light of the teachings of U.G. Krishnamurti, a contemporary teacher, is questionable.

I shall include in my discussion references to a few well-known contemporary scientists, e.g., David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and Stephen Hawking.

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Ken Wilber: Death, Rebirth and Meditation

Grey-Dying500A classic Ken Wilber essay, covering what the great traditions have said about the process of death and reincarnation.

This information page gives an overview of Kenneth Smith, links to many resources, and posts scans of his classic run of TCJ columns. The scans contain his most essential writing, but there is a Tumblr blog and a Gaim library that provide quotes from longer pieces. Here are some choice fragments.

via Integral Life:

Some type of reincarnation doctrine is found in virtually every mystical religious tradition the world over. Even Christianity accepted it until around the fourth century CE, when, for largely political reasons, it was made anathema. Many Christian mystics today now accept the idea. As the Christian theologian John Hick pointed out in his important work Death and Eternal Life, the consensus of the world religions, including Christianity, is that some sort of reincarnation occurs.

Of course, the fact that many people believe something does not rank it true.

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The Enlightenment of Charles Manson

I was listening  to the clip Matt Staggs posted on here the other day of Alan Watts expounding on the Buddhist concept of “No Self” so I clicked on it in YouTube to see what else came up, and there I found this little clip of Charles Manson answering the question of “Who are you?”

After listening to Watts, Manson’s answer struck me as profound. “I am nobody”, was his answer, basically. It struck me that Manson is a Zen Master.

I had seen other Manson interviews. He completely dominates all his interviewers, running circles around them. Interviewers always come at Manson in a hostile way, seeking to pass judgement and not listen at all. Manson takes these as an opportunity for dharmic battle, and he destroys. He is a master. It seemed to me that Manson was answering all of the questions in little Koans, dropping gems of wisdom completely missed by his interviewer.… Read the rest

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The Way of the Bodhisattva: Living in the World

MathuraMaitreyaThe Lazy Yogi writes at Reality Sandwich:

If we desire enlightenment only for ourselves, then living in society will seem like a hindrance. Everything will appear as an obstacle keeping you from your spiritual lifestyle and practices. You will feel a drive to escape, perhaps to nature or to an ashram. But wherever you go, your mind comes with you.

A key component is Motivation. If you seek peace and enlightenment only for yourself, then the world will continually get in the way. However, the Tibetan Buddhists have a different thought in mind. They aspire to enlightenment for the benefit of all Beings.

If we want to live in a beautiful and awakened world of majesty and harmony, then all change must start with ourselves. But we cannot wait until we are perfect before extending compassion to the world. Therefore even as we walk the path, we must also create the space to allow others to do so as well.

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Wang Zi Won’s Mechanical Buddhas

South Korean artist Wang Zi Won creates enlightened robots, including the Buddha and an idealized mechanical doll based upon himself, as a guidepost for a future in which technology lead to self-actualization:
Humans will evolve and adapt themselves to enhanced science and technology just as men and animals in the past evolved to adapt themselves to their natural circumstances. The artist sees this as our destiny, not as a negative, gloomy dystopia. The artist considers it important to escape from human bondage in order to achieve harmony between men and machines. He thinks this harmony can be achieved through the process of religious practices and spiritual enlightenment. The machine man was based on the artist, but this "I" is not a past "I" any more. His own existence vanishes, and a new being-as-machine man emerges. Z is thus a process of becoming the perfect "I".
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Is LSD A Gateway Drug To Buddhism?

Dr. Rick Strassman, a psychiatric researcher with a specialization in psychotropic drugs, on the "enlightenment experience" and hallucinogens as a pathway for Westerners into Buddhism and Hinduism:
I went to a Zen temple in my early 20s, and, ever the scientist, every chance I got to speak to a monk one on one, I asked every one of them if they had tripped on psychedelics and how important their trips were in their decision to become a monk. And I'd say 99% of these junior monks in their 20s all got their start on LSD.
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Spiritual Bypassing: Using Spirituality To Avoid Pain

Author and psychotherapist Robert Augustus Masters outlines a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary New Age spirituality, spiritual bypassing:

Via Reality Sandwich:

Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think and, in fact, is so pervasive as to go largely unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes.

Part of the reason for this is that we tend not to have very much tolerance, either personally or collectively, for facing, entering, and working through our pain, strongly preferring pain-numbing “solutions,” regardless of how much suffering such “remedies” may catalyze. Because this preference has so deeply and thoroughly infiltrated our culture that it has become all but normalized, spiritual bypassing fits almost seamlessly into our collective habit of turning away from what is painful, as a kind of higher analgesic with seemingly minimal side effects.

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Using Technology To Reach Buddhist Enlightenment

Via the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, J. Hughes on the use of new technologies in genetics and neurology to suppress vice and accelerate spiritual progress:

The Buddhist tradition recognizes that we are not all born with equal propensities to wisdom or moral behavior, and that Enlightenment is only possible for the very few [...] A fully virtuous life is biologically impossible for most people. But, given the rapid advance of neurotechnologies, “if these cognitive shortcomings could be compensated for, or balanced, through the use of safe and voluntary enhancement techniques, then it would be morally desirable to do so.” If specific, consistent moral behavioral orientations – truthfulness, compassion and so on – can be identified, and our likelihood of manifesting them is strongly influenced by inherited genetic predispositions or persistent neurochemistry, then it might be possible to use future neurotechnologies to systematically make ourselves more truthful or compassionate.

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Scientists Declare Buddhist Monk The World’s Happiest Person

Happiness is a gamma wave. Via Oddity Central:

Matthieu Ricard was declared the happiest man on Earth by a group of scientists after it was discovered his brain produces a level of gamma waves never before reported in the field of neuroscience.

A former molecular geneticist who left his life and career behind to discover the secrets of Buddhism, Ricard is now one of the most celebrated monks in the Himalayas and a trusted advisor of the Dalai Lama. In 2009, neuroscientist Richard Davidson wired up the French monk’s head with 256 sensors as part of a research project on hundreds of advanced practitioners of meditation.

The scans showed something remarkable: when meditating on compassion, Ricard’s brain produced a level of gamma waves linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory that were never even reported before in neuroscience literature. Furthermore, the scans scans also showed excessive activity in his brain’s left prefrontal cortex, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity.

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1,000 Year Old Stolen Buddha Statue is from Outerspace

Picture: E. Weiß: "Bilderatlas der Sternenwelt"

Via Rawstory

A thousand-year-old Buddhist statue taken from Tibet in 1938 by an SS team seeking the roots of Hitler’s Aryan doctrine was carved from a meteorite, scientists reported on Wednesday.

In a paper published in an academic journal, German and Austrian researchers recount an extraordinary tale where archaeology, the Third Reich and cosmic treasure are intertwined like an Indiana Jones movie.

Called the “Iron Man” because of the high content of iron in its rock, the 24-centimetre (10-inch) -high statue was brought to Germany by an expedition led by Ernst Schaefer, a zoologist and ethnologist.

Backed by SS chief Heinrich Himmler and heading a team whose members are all believed to have been SS, Schaefer roamed Tibet in 1938-9 to search for the origins of Aryanism, the notion of racial superiority that underpinned Nazism.

Weighing 10.6 kilos (23.3 pounds), the statue features the Buddhist god Vaisravana seated, with the palm of his right hand outstretched and pointing downwards.

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