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Thread: Is It Better to Have Never Been Born?

  1. #1

    Is It Better to Have Never Been Born?

    An article by Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner:

    http://hardcorezen.info/is-it-better...been-born/5654


    Any thoughts ?



  2. #2
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    I have more empathy with the view of David Benatar than that of Brad Warner, who appears enamored & beguiled by consciousness.

    My feeling, based in a large part on things I’ve encountered through intensive Buddhist practice, is that what we call “consciousness” is a fundamental force within the universe. Consciousness — which, I think, is kind of a rotten word for it, but we’re stuck with the word — is as fundamental as gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak forces of nuclear attraction. Consciousness is not something we generate in our brains, but a fundamental natural force that we experience through our brains as well as through our other senses, much the same as we experience gravity and all the rest.... The fact that I exist as a sentient being indicates to me that this underlying something desires to know itself through the existence of sentient beings. To me, human life, therefore, is cosmically meaningful. The universe is not indifferent. Natural forces are neither blind nor purposeless. And human consciousness is not a mistake.

    Brad Warner
    Suppose, bhikkhus, that a magician or a magician’s apprentice would display a magical illusion at a crossroads. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a magical illusion? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be worthless, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in consciousness?

    Buddha
    Any desire, passion, delight or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being (satta).'

    Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.

    You should smash, scatter, & demolish consciousness and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for consciousness — for the ending of craving, Radha, is Nibbana.

    Buddha
    Bound round with delusion, the world
    only appears to be competent.
    Bound with acquisitions, foolish,
    surrounded by darkness,
    it seems eternal,
    but for one who sees,
    there is nothing.

    Buddha

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Element

    ...Brad Warner, who appears enamored & beguiled by consciousness.

    I came across this article by Piya Tan of the Dharmafarer website:



    Consciousness is everywhere



    New theories in neuroscience suggest that consciousness is an intrinsic property of everything, just like gravity. This development opens a world of opportunity for collaboration between Buddhism and neuroscience. “The heart of consciousness,” says neuroscientist Christof Koch, “is that it feels like something. How is it that a piece of matter, like my brain, can feel anything?”

    Some ancient ideas like panpsychism, the idea of universal consciousness, common to ancient Greek philosophy and paganism, was in the past largely dismissed by science. But recently – with some help from Buddhists, panpsychism is once again being examined and applied for a better understanding of the nature of consciousness, especially as taught by the Buddha.

    According to panpsychism, consciousness is everywhere, that is, it is not limited merely to humans. If this is the case, then, we must understand that all beings with consciousness experience pain and pleasure – perhaps not exactly in the same way as we do – but certainly suffer in some significant way. In that case, we need to work to reduce the suffering of all conscious beings. In fact, this is what the historical Buddha teaches us by way of the very first precept – that of not killing, based on the respect for life.

    Research scientists like Giulio Tononi – who is said to be the father of the most popular modern theory of consciousness – introduced the Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which Koch once called “the only really promising fundamental theory of consciousness.”

    Continues at the link:http://dharmafarer.org/wordpress/wp-...here-RB167.pdf


  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    I came across this article by Piya Tan of the Dharmafarer website..
    Another article with a view different to that of the Buddha.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    Another article with a view different to that of the Buddha.
    ...and more from the Lion's Roar website:

    "Leading neuroscientists and Buddhists agree: "Consciousness is everywhere”"

    https://www.lionsroar.com/christof-k...l-nature-mind/

  6. #6
    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    meaningless word salad

  7. #7
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what the Yogacharans would have made of it.

    In the first article the subject feels that his personal suffering is so bad, he'd rather have never been born. The writer, on the other hand accentuates the positive and, like element pointed out, is happy to be an existing sentient being. These are quite normal views, nothing unusual.
    Last edited by srivijaya; 03 Dec 17 at 08:31.

  8. #8
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    Does consciousness appear within the brain, or does the brain appear within consciousness?

    Certainly the traditional view is that it's the former which is true, but discoveries in cutting edge science are beginning to challenge that view, and really the Buddha always taught the latter, which we can see by vinnana being placed prior to namarupa in the twelve nidanas.

    Is the pure undifferentiated awareness 'behind your eyes' really any different now than when you were six years old. Is the awareness behind a babies eyes, or an animals eyes, really any different to the awareness behind your eyes. Is that aware-space really gone in deep sleep, or when you're under general anesthetic, or is it merely the process of perception that is absent. Could it have even been present before you were born, and will be after you're gone.

  9. #9
    Forums Member daverupa's Avatar
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    Warner:

    My feeling, based in a large part on things I’ve encountered through intensive Buddhist practice, is that what we call “consciousness” is a fundamental force within the universe.

    ...I know this is a difficult position to defend. I know that it’s easy to appear to demonstrate that what I’m saying is wrong. Yet I know it isn’t.
    Fascinating, when people eschew critical thought for the sake of "I like the feels"; DN 1 has a good line to sum this up:

    ...that is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.
    Have a look:

    http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/

    Surprise someone with one or another piece of generated New Age tripe, without giving the source, and see if they think it's super groovy.

  10. #10
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Eons from now, we starseeds will heal like never before as we are guided by the totality. The fount of learning is now happening worldwide. This circuit never ends.
    If Buddha had only had this in the day.

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