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04 May 2010 @ 02:03 pm
More philosphising about reincarntion  
So I've continued to think on this, research it more. The arguments in documents seem to be not starting from the basic axioms somehow, so I continue to be confused. It's like they believe they know what consciousness is made of, kind of the same way most of use believe that matter is made of subatomic particles, even though most of us haven't ever done experiments to prove those particles exist. So I can kind of see an argument for consciousness being neither created nor destroyed in the same way when objects are created and destroyed, their subatomic particles are basically the same. But that doesn't explain why there can be one mind stream that is connected to this body that was always this mind stream and no one else's. I guess in my realm of understanding anything that has enough complexity to have memory, even if it's just cuts in a rock, also has enough complexity to not be made up of fundamental building blocks. Unless karma is more like the amplitude and frequency of light, where the information isn't transmitted as an alteration of the particle but as state and momentum of that particle. That actually starts to make a little more sense to me. Let's say that consciousness is just a spark, a life energy, then that energy, when it leaves the body upon death could be like a photon leaving an excited atom.

I feel like I understand photons just as poorly as I do consciousness.

This is not an answer, just more questions.

Reincarnation cannot be disproven either, however. This is what makes this tricky. They claim that one does not need faith for Buddhism, but I think we need faith for even science, because we cannot personally prove all the claims around us.

I'm still very confused and a bit frustrated this is preventing me from enjoying the happiness that I usually get from my Monday class. Many of the books I've read have stated it's much more important to want to cultivate compassion for all beings than in believing in reincarnation, so I should likely focus on that instead. Not believing is a non-virtue, but then so is killing anything, even insects, and I don't see myself stopping eating meat, not swatting mosquitos or not putting out ant-traps in my home any time soon.

EDIT: if we continue the light analogy, then at death the consciousness is spit out, say as x-rays, based on the conditions of that past light. If we then assume that a human life can't absorb the x-ray, then it will pass through the human life until it finds something made of "lead" which might be the animal of a body and is absorbed. This would allow for a single consciousness to travel without being so complex as to have a plan as to where it was going but still have the effects of karma guide where it ended up.

I like this model. I'm sure I still don't have it right, but it's a interesting model to think about.
Shooting for the moonintuition_ist on May 4th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
so, one explanation i've heard is that before we became embodied, we were all in some other place or plane, and we all go back there after we die. some versions seem to indicate that we can choose where to reincarnate -- which life experiences to live through. so the essential 'us' does not travel directly from incarnation to incarnation, but goes back to the group mind, or whatever, between lives.
The Water Seekerplymouth on May 5th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
do religion and/or philosophy even have basic axioms? They all seem to start with some pretty high level assumptions. I'm not saying that makes them bad or useless, just that you can't break them down too far.
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on May 5th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Buddha encouraged people to challenge his teachings with logic. The Dalai lama loves science and views Buddhism more as a philosophy than a religion. This is the only reason I'm trying to treat it as such. My conclusion might eventually be that yes, it is a religion.
(Anonymous) on May 6th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
the buddha
"If you meet the Buddha on the Internet, killfile him" -- Robert Firth