Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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SonamGyatso
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Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:12 pm

And for that matter, scientific understanding of the universe seems to get along with Buddhism as long as you don't subscribe to popular atheistic notions of nihilism.

I used to be Catholic, and spend my time trying to reconcile scientific understanding with Christianity (much to my despair), but I don't seem to have that problem exactly with Buddhism. I hope I haven't missed anything in my investigation, but mostly, Buddhism seems to be concerned about practice and fruition of the practice. The "world systems"/Karma/Rebirth ontology that Buddhism imparts is probably taken on faith, but I guess isn't literally any other view? Even to nihilists they must take faith in their observations and make assumptions about our nature, which is not understood in an objective way.

The way I understand, our human investigation over the centuries has built up a wealth of material knowledge and formation, but that's as far as it seems to get. When we reach the limits of the physical realm, there are problems which we encounter that seem to be unsolvable with our current systems of measurement. With Buddhism, we are introduced to many other realms and world systems which probably have their own limits.

I get pretty agitating trying to engage Tantric practice when I keep wanting to resist blind faith. I know the truth of the Dharma and the Sutras as expounded by those I have heard. I suppose it is the Tantric method itself that I have to find a place for resting myself without concern for validation.

I would like to leave that for any discussion

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Supramundane
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by Supramundane » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:52 am

Welcome to the Sangha, SG

i hope you find the answers you are seeking

If i can help you in any way let me know


as far as my shallow understanding goes, there is no ontology in Buddhism.

i'm not sure what tantric understanding you seek

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Wayfarer
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:03 am

I too have been very interested in these questions for a long time. Actually I discovered Buddhism because of my interest in popular Eastern books and teachers when I was much younger, and the Buddhist ones seemed to be the best of them. So I embarked on studying comparative religion and philosophy and eventually an MA in Buddhist Studies. But also I have been discussing these ideas on this and other forums for the last decade or so.

In the course my studies, I have re-discovered many aspects of the Western intellectual tradition which I think have been forgotten. I think some of the Greek-Christian philosophies are really quite profound in their own way. Accordingly there's some Catholic philosophers that I admire, and am trying to better understand Plato and Aristotle. (Although that said, I don't feel any attraction to the religious side of Catholicism. )

As regards science and Buddhism, some of the better books I have read on it are Universe in a Single Atom by H H The Dalai Lama; also Quantum and the Lotus, by Matthieu Ricard (and another author whose name I can never remember.) And there's an organisation called Mind and Life, of which HH is Patron, which was started off by Francisco Varela, who was quite influential in bio-semiotics and systems science. The whole purpose of that organisation is to facilitate dialogue between science and Buddhism. You might find some of the books on their site relevant (here).

As for the religious aspects of Buddhist cosmology - the attitude I have is that because modern science is chiefly concerned only with the objective knowledge of matter-energy, it's scope is naturally limited. If Buddhists are correct in saying that matter has no intrinsic reality - which is one interpretation of Śūnyatā - then the scope of the Universe is not limited to what can be known in physicalist terms. Mind you, that doesn't necessarily mean going to the opposite extreme of believing anything - I think the attitude of scientific scepticism is important, but that it has to be open to the mystery of existence. And actually what drives a lot of so-called scientific scepticism is really a kind of fear of the unknown, I think, combined, in the West, with a fear of religion. The fault line is the question of re-birth which is why the naturalist and secularist interpreters of Buddhism tend to deprecate that, as their world-view really can't accommodate it.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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SonamGyatso
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:03 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:03 am


As for the religious aspects of Buddhist cosmology - the attitude I have is that because modern science is chiefly concerned only with the objective knowledge of matter-energy, it's scope is naturally limited. If Buddhists are correct in saying that matter has no intrinsic reality - which is one interpretation of Śūnyatā - then the scope of the Universe is not limited to what can be known in physicalist terms.
I think that this is true on a quantum level. If i'm getting my understanding correct, matter doesn't actually manifest until something interferes with the space it occupies.

see here: https://www.sciencealert.com/reality-do ... t-confirms

and here: https://www.nature.com/articles/nphys3343

The latter is more academic and the former is based on the latter.

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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by muni » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:20 am

Hi dear,

I am not so learned but there is an 'opening' somehow by your post. It is obviously indeed so that the meaning of the Buddha is not in investigation of objective science or obtained knowledge to find. Even Buddhism recommends also investigation but not to keep investigating, rather to come to an impossibility to further investigate by practice. ( ) Since then there is no further clinging to so perceived objects and so no further investigation.

Some expressions which I could read here and there, are really like talking what is going beyond investigation but of course it is very difficult "to see" that I guess, perhaps because we look in the words.
I get Einstein here on my screen;

"As a human being, one has been endowed with just enough intelligence to be able to see clearly how utterly inadequate that intelligence is when confronted with what 'exists'." Beyond conceptual limitations.

"Once we accept our limits we are going beyond them." Ah. Lets' go!

"I speak to everyone in the same way, whether it is the garbage man or the president of the university." This as well for H H, for me it is the right way to stop clinging to worldly, there is no rang in natural goodness.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."...................
Last edited by muni on Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:22 am

Supramundane wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:52 am
Welcome to the Sangha, SG

i hope you find the answers you are seeking

If i can help you in any way let me know


as far as my shallow understanding goes, there is no ontology in Buddhism.

i'm not sure what tantric understanding you seek
I keep wanting to resist an aspect of faith, which is similar to that which I held when I had my heart broken as a Catholic. I had to abandon Christianity because of what they believed about the coming-about of the universe, and also what they believed about society. Buddhism is so much more relaxed on all fronts. Pretty much whatever is fine because the scope of possible existence seems to be infinite.

I am confidently committed to the path for this life. I think the Vajrayana requires great faith. I know i could muster it, but maybe I am afraid?

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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:40 am

SonamGyatso wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:03 am
I think that this is true on a quantum level.
I read Tao of Physics in the 1970's. I recommend it.
SonamGyatso wrote: I had to abandon Christianity because of what they believed about the coming-about of the universe,
And what was that?
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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SonamGyatso
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:55 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:40 am
SonamGyatso wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:03 am
I think that this is true on a quantum level.
I read Tao of Physics in the 1970's. I recommend it.
SonamGyatso wrote: I had to abandon Christianity because of what they believed about the coming-about of the universe,
And what was that?
God created the universe deliberately for man in 4004 b.c.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am

Is that Catholic doctrine? Bishop Ussher, who devised that time line, is an exemplar of 'young-earth creationism'. I had the idea that the Catholics had long since abandoned that notion.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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SonamGyatso
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:27 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:11 am
Is that Catholic doctrine? Bishop Ussher, who devised that time line, is an exemplar of 'young-earth creationism'. I had the idea that the Catholics had long since abandoned that notion.
i'm quite pleased to know you seem to know more about the Catholics than I do :)

The truth of the matter is that while I was raised Catholic, I was only ever seriously a self-proclaimed "Christian" who held on to his heritage-notion of God.

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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by muni » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:37 am

I am confidently committed to the path for this life. I think the Vajrayana requires great faith. I know i could muster it, but maybe I am afraid?
Faith in the guidance seems to be crucial if we want to get out of our comfortable safe self cocoon. And guidance can be pleasurable and painful as well. For the last there can be experience of harm within the cocoon. Speaking for myself, since I lost faith, but realize then this is idea of self its' protest. This is not so easy to accept since I had always that example from H H Dalai Lama amazing goodness. Then when faith is lost, is because through painful experienced guidance, that same amazing goodness for liberation is at that moment not recognized.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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SonamGyatso
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by SonamGyatso » Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:11 pm

muni wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:37 am
I am confidently committed to the path for this life. I think the Vajrayana requires great faith. I know i could muster it, but maybe I am afraid?
Faith in the guidance seems to be crucial if we want to get out of our comfortable safe self cocoon. And guidance can be pleasurable and painful as well. For the last there can be experience of harm within the cocoon. Speaking for myself, since I lost faith, but realize then this is idea of self its' protest. This is not so easy to accept since I had always that example from H H Dalai Lama amazing goodness. Then when faith is lost, is because through painful experienced guidance, that same amazing goodness for liberation is at that moment not recognized.
how does losing faith and liberation occur this way simultaneously?

muni
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Re: Buddhist philosophy and ontology seems to be beyond scientific work, right?

Post by muni » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:04 pm

how does losing faith and liberation occur this way simultaneously?
Apologize since I try to understand the question.
Losing faith is by doubt-confusion, aware of this confusion, it is recognized for what it is and is not longer there.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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