Why I follow the Dalai Lama closely …

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  David S 4 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #42396
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    “Suppose that something is definitely proven through scientific investigation, that a certain hypothesis is verified or a certain fact emerges as a result of scientific investigation. And suppose, furthermore, that that fact is incompatible with Buddhist theory. There is no doubt that we must accept the result of the scientific research.”
    – Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th Dalai Lama)

  • #42397
    Anthony
    Anthony
    Participant

    Of course.

  • #42427

    David S
    Participant

    Well, the Dali Lama can say something that sounds like it is in line with science, like the quote in the 1st post, but his ability to reason scientifically seems more than a bit lacking. His reasoning serves the age-old dilemma of human ego-centrism. Here’s something he said in a documentary I watched:

    “If we follow Darwin’s theory then the life starts from tiny plant cells that have no mind. These cells arise during the Big Bang. But what was before that? The Big Bang is preceded by huge accumulation of energy. But where did the energy come from? We go on with the analysis and conclude that there is a point we can call a starting moment. Something that has no mind cannot give rise to the mind. So the conclusion is the mind is beginningless.”

    He starts with an assumption to reach his conclusion. “Something that has no mind cannot give rise to the mind. So the conclusion is the mind is beginningless.”

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
  • #42429
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    I think his logic is fine. He is a rather intelligent, learned man and I can follow his reasoning precisely.

  • #42430

    David S
    Participant

    I follow it too, but his conclusion is not scientific.

    A person cannot know from what the mind arises based on first person experience alone. All that first person experience can perceive is the experience of consciousness. The results of such a first person reflection are what forms his assumption.

    The mind is experienced because that is what humans have. Humans have through history placed themselves in the center of all that exists. The sun revolved around the earth. The gods chose us over animals. Yet we are extremely small in the grand scope of historical existence. Why should the perceptual apparatus we have be the basis of all that exists? That’s just the human ego at play.

    His statement doesn’t explain his assumption. Why can’t some organization of parts give rise to something greater than itself? Isn’t that the fundamental basis of all systems? A system doesn’t exist without it constituent parts, yet the parts are not equal to the whole, nor the functions that arise.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
  • #42432
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    your skepticism causes you to miss the point. He is merely saying there is no permanency in the Buddhist philosophical explanations. No view is sacrosanct. All may be updated and revised/replaced as knowledge increases.

  • #42433

    David S
    Participant

    I do understand. Yes, he stated what you say in the quote you gave, but it is clear in the quote I gave that he merely pays lip-service to science. In the second quote he can be seen fumbling an attempt to use scientific theories to support his religious stance towards consciousness. Buddhist theory is really the ground where he actual stands intellectually. I see nothing in his words to indicate he holds ideas related to his worldview provisionally.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
  • #42434
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    then you havent been paying attention to him. Over the last few years his message has been about all of mankind being brothers and how modern psychology, biology, cosmology, and quantum physics adds to the dharma of Buddhism.

  • #42443

    David S
    Participant

    I do know of those words too.

    Another thing the Dali Lama has spoken of is that people would be better off staying within the religion they were raised in, and not switching to Buddhism. His general message is about seeking a common ground between religions. I too am in favor of this. But secularists need to understand how in speaking of such things that he is holding onto and protecting his belief system.

    You said as much yourself, “…how modern psychology, biology, cosmology, and quantum physics adds to the dharma of Buddhism.”

  • #42444
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    and …?

  • #42445

    David S
    Participant

    Well, “adds to” assumes that the “dharma of Buddhism” is central. The Dali Lama’s worldview reveals that it is only a case of science adapting to, not one of changing any of his core Buddhist beliefs.

    All of his words represent his worldview, not simply those he presents as part of a program of outreach to the world. I’m pointing out that we can see deeper into whether or not he actually holds onto the tenets of Buddhism provisionally or not.

  • #42446
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    dude, you’re making assumptions that aren’t there. I have listened to him on numerous occasions applaud the diversity of beliefs within India proper. I’ve never seen anything to indicate he has some sacrosanct set of beliefs that are unyielding and immutable. You’e having to perform mental and linguistic gymnastics just to support your contrary view here.

    Why are you making things so hard? So you don’t trust him. Fair enough. Engage in skepticism, but don’t let it cloud your mind to the point that you don’t see the point being made. That’s doing no more than plastering on the same close-mindedness that you’re apparently accusing him of having and, frankly, I don’t see it the way you do at all so like all things there exists at least one other view on it.

  • #42450

    David S
    Participant

    I am reading his words.

    Do you agree with his assumption that mind cannot come from something that has no mind?

    Please give me an example of when the Dali Lama has changed his Buddhist view according to science.

    • #42453
      kauva
      kauva
      Participant

      1. he speaks of neurobiology in modern terms vice the old ethers and qualities
      2. he speaks of and supports dialogue between different religions
      3. he supports modern cosmology (over the vedic), quantum physics, and modern neuroscience.

      You can obviously continue to believe as you wish. I see much to glean from his perspective and admire the man. If you continue to close your eyes before stepping outside then you’ll never get to see the beauty.

  • #42454

    David S
    Participant

    First, let me say that the Dali Lama says somethings I wholeheartedly agree with (as does the Pope occasionally), like the quote you posted and his efforts to build a common ground between world religions. I share his and your enthusiasm for such things. Although, I knew this before I ever read a word of his, and did so simply because of the family I grew up in. He eventually caught up with my family and me decades later!

    I see no need to consider him more intelligent than myself, my family, or my friends. Sure, he has a far greater world impact given his exalted social status amongst leaders, but that is also why when he says things such as mind cannot come from something that has no mind I can’t ignore the Buddhist beliefs he holds dear.

    Just because he sometimes speaks of scientific insights doesn’t mean he has incorporated them into his deepest beliefs. I see in his own words evidence of this divide. This isn’t surprising that he holds basic tenets sacrosanct. He is after all a leader of one of the world’s largest religious sects.

    I followed closely to see how he puts his words regarding science into his worldview. I was disappointed to hear his statement, but not surprised to see him speak as he did. He is after all a Buddhist leader.

    I disagree with your third point. He does not appear to understand or accept modern scientific theory nor cosmology. Look again at the statement he made which I quoted. He begins with a reference to Darwin and adds his own spin that plant cells have no mind, and this leads to his unequivocal statement that, “Something that has no mind cannot give rise to the mind.” This is clearly not a statement from a scientific point of view.

    I can not separate such words from his Buddhist worldview.

    I have learned firsthand how Buddhism relies upon meditation as the sole tool for analysis, and have also experienced how this very tool itself has inherent limitations.

    I also know that in Buddhism there are a great majority who believe in a one-mind is all notion. From my life’s experience I can not believe in this and I think it is important to speak of this regardless of being labeled a skeptic (a handy dismissive tool that negates the call for reasoned discussion).

    I see no need to admire a man who stands for such things without speaking from my own view. Sure he has spoken of finding common ground amongst all religions, so do many other religious leaders and atheist secularists like myself. But I think it is equally important to understand and speak about those parts of the Dali Lama’s worldview that do not jive with other world religions at all, nor my personal understanding.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
  • #42455
    kauva
    kauva
    Participant

    I dont call you a skeptic to be dismissive. I apologize if that is the impression. I believe wholeheartedly in the 5 blind men koan and used it long before I heard any reference from the Zen enthusiasts. In fact, I was using it before I ever sought refuge in the jewel.

    Years ago when I split from the Baptist church I began a search through various philosophical and religious beliefs. I tried to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak and came away from my trek with 2 rules:
    1. if your beliefs exclude anyone then you need better beliefs, and
    2. there are universal truths but we see them thru limited senses.

    I believe most religions and philosophies have some insight to offer on some aspect of universal truth. We just have to discern it. So I don’t exclude anyone’s view sua sponte. They may be referring to the same things as someone else just from a different angle. I’d rather celebrate the strengths than dally around the weaknesses.

  • #42461

    David S
    Participant

    (I assume!) We are more in alignment than not. Thank you for your post.

    I think the friction comes out of describing those “truths”.

    As expected here lies the rub. 🙂

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by  David S.

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