Mythology and Religion: In The News

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:03 pm

"However, the basic belief in world Buddhism of karma and reincarnation based on that karmic status, implies that something is "keeping score". ~Dionysius

Dionysius, I would counter that the Buddhist would consider any implication irrelevant. There are the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. What more? A Buddhist true to the teachings would also consider reincarnation and karma of no relevance. Enlightenment is of no relevance.

To a Buddhist, who is enlightened? No one.
There is no reincarnating hero-monad to be saved, released or found. All life is sorrowful, and yet there is no self, no being, no entity in sorrow. ..."A man should believe neither in the idea of a thing nor in the idea of a no-thing." ~Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology
While there is an intersection of Western Humanism and Eastern Buddhism, I think there is a problem with equating the two in this manner. The Western mindset is rather compulsive about dualistic thinking. The Buddhist considers that the root of sorrow.
Last edited by Clemsy on Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Roncooper » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:13 am

IMHO Buddhism came from the Buddha's enlightening. experience. Buddhist's tradition teaches that it was after this experience that he began to teach.

I"m not a Buddhist but it seems to me that it recognizes the Bodhisattva as an enlightened individual.

Maybe you fellows can help me with this.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by Clemsy » Fri Feb 19, 2016 7:55 pm

The Bodhisattva is a state of being, Ron, not an individual. There is a certain paradox here exemplified by the Zen koan, which is intended to break one from the habit of linear thinking.

Remember the Buddha's answer it to hold up a flower.
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:16 am

Clemsy wrote: The Western mindset is rather compulsive about dualistic thinking. The Buddhist considers that the root of sorrow.
:)

And for me duality is an illusion, or at best a construction.
and the good/bad duality is the original sin.
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:13 am

Of course I have a different take on this. There are two non-dual positions, that of materialism which says that consciousness is an illusion and that of consciousness which says that the material world is an illusion, Maya. One says the immanent is an illusion and the other says the transcendent is illusion.

These represent the viewpoints of the enlightened consciousness and the enslaved intellect. However the other categories of Jung's functions need the duality. The heart needs someone else to love, the will needs someone else to honor, and sensual creativity needs someone to co-create with.

I believe all of these are true. Awakened consciousness is the consciousness of the whole whereas divine love is a relationship to the whole. Since the whole is much more complex and mysterious than we are, this is not a contradiction. Reality defies simple logic.

If you are on the path of consciousness, be one with the universe. If you are on the path of love, love the universe.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:03 pm

Roncooper wrote: If you are on the path of consciousness, be one with the universe. If you are on the path of love, love the universe.
I am one with the universe irrespective of nonsense like consciousness, love and and the concept of I (intrinsic self).

I can't go against the universe nor can I go for it.

To paraphrase John10:30 I and my universe are one
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:40 pm

Rom,

Thank you for so clearly stating the materialistic position. May it serve you well.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:32 pm

Clemsy wrote:
The Bodhisattva is a state of being, Ron, not an individual. There is a certain paradox here exemplified by the Zen koan, which is intended to break one from the habit of linear thinking.

Remember the Buddha's answer it to hold up a flower.
That is quite nice. I read some Watts and Suzuki a long time ago and your quote brought to mind one of my favorite Zen answers.

When a Zen master was asked a question he took off his shoe and placed it on his shoulder.


I also remember reading that talking about Zen isn't Zen, but I was never a good student. It seems to me that these answers point beyond the intellect. They state that the Buddhist's path to bliss, the path of consciousness is an intuitive path and not an intellectual path. Of course one can use their intellect to help them along the way, but it plays a supporting role.

I greatly admire the people who support and defend this path. Its wisdom is absolutely essential.
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Feb 22, 2016 3:48 pm

As a scientist I would like to point out how my theory differs from materialism. There is a lot of peer pressure for materialism in intellectual circles but peer pressure doesn't make it correct. I will use the example of a child learning to play the piano to point out the differences.

The materialistic view is that the child's DNA and her brain's electrochemistry force her to play the piano because this enhances her chance of survival. Her behavior therefore has a very practical basis, survival.

It seems to me that this description does not accurately reflect the situation.

I believe that the drive to play the piano comes from the experience of beautiful sound. The child hears beautiful music and wants more. The child takes up the piano because the sound from the piano is pleasing, and as they practice their brain develops in a way that enhances this experience of beauty.

Of course they need a human body to have a human experience, but this is not about survival. With a few exceptions, a child who is worried about survival is not going to be playing the piano. They would be hunting for food and shelter.

For me the child is driven by the experience of the transcendent mystery that is beauty, and not brain chemistry.
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Post by romansh » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:34 am

Roncooper wrote: The materialistic view is that the child's DNA and her brain's electrochemistry force her to play the piano because this enhances her chance of survival. Her behavior therefore has a very practical basis, survival.
As a scientist I would like to point out there are other interpretations of materialism.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECuarAmpK00
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Post by Roncooper » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:31 pm

IMHO Rom's link is about a different transcendent mystery, the mystery of the truth. Beauty is not the only source of inspiration. We can rephrase the question for the intellect in this way.

Is a child motivated to understand the mystery because he is forced to by his DNA for the purpose of survival, or does he pursue science because he is fascinated by the transcendent mystery of the unknown?

I would like to add that from what I have read that Carl Sagan rejected the old man in the sky image of God for something like the "God of the gaps" imagery, and while I greatly admire his scientific ability (I joined the planetary society) the "God of the gaps" concept was found wanting 200 years ago.
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Post by Andreas » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:12 am

Is a child motivated to understand the mystery because he is forced to by his DNA for the purpose of survival, or does he pursue science because he is fascinated by the transcendent mystery of the unknown? - Ron
I like that question. Personally I lean more on the latter but to be honest I think its both..

Horror and awe, right? Thats life...

And yes I agree with you that science is not immune to everything religion or spirituality (if you like the term better) are criticized for.
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by romansh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:37 am

Roncooper wrote:IMHO Rom's link is about a different transcendent mystery, the mystery of the truth.
And yet it is a different interpretation of materialism to yours.
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Post by Roncooper » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:12 pm

Rom,

Please explain. I don''t follow.
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Post by Roncooper » Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:44 pm

Andreas wrote:
Quote:
Is a child motivated to understand the mystery because he is forced to by his DNA for the purpose of survival, or does he pursue science because he is fascinated by the transcendent mystery of the unknown? - Ron


I like that question. Personally I lean more on the latter but to be honest I think its both..

Horror and awe, right? Thats life...

And yes I agree with you that science is not immune to everything religion or spirituality (if you like the term better) are criticized for.
Andreas it is nice to hear from you.

I wrote that Sagan talked about the "God of the gaps" to show that he really knew very little about religion. Just because a person is smart doesn't mean they understand everything.

I remember reading a quote from Richard Feynman who said, "Outside his area of expertise a scientist is just as dumb as the next guy."

One of the problems is that they define religion as "attending church" or believing in the "Old man in the sky." To be fair and universal I think religion needs to be redefined.

I define religion as a person's image of the great mystery we call reality, and the actions they take in response to this image.

No one "knows" all of reality, but they "believe" their image. I think this is a much more honest and unbiased definition.

IMHO churches that are stuck teaching 2,000 year old doctrine are like scientists who refuse to give up Aristotle's physics for modern physics. The image is out of date but the need for an image is still there.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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