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BillM

Non-Self Versus Loving Self?

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A few years ago I read "Autobiography of a Yogi". The entire book is full of extraordinary unexplained experiences of various Yogis in India, including those of the author. To me, it read like a bunch of "parlor tricks", but who knows!

 

Christianity is full of "miraculous" events, many of which, these days, center around apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Some of these can be explained and others cannot.

 

But, these unusual, or even miraculous events have been reported far outside of Christianity. In Buddhism, there are stories of realized monks sort of de-materializing at the moment of death, leaving only hair and fingernails behind. They remind me of the story of the Ascension of Jesus, And, in India there are many incredible stories about Yogis and holy men and women like the ones I mentioned in the above book.

 

I think Joseph is right, unless we experience something for ourselves, we won't believe it. And, I think that is exactly the way it should be. On the other hand, I won't throw cold water on the experiences of others.

 

Steve

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Blackmore started off with an illogical bias, then confused her failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence. Her wild goose chase failed, but wild geese exist.

 

I was taught in the eighth grade that one cannot prove a null hypothesis. Maybe she missed that day.

 

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open to the possibility of a supernatural realm. Not believe or disbelieve, but simply leave a little mental compartment for evidence which cannot be analyzed. Yet.

 

Paridolia is an well recognized human trait. It has been studied and found in infants, so we understand why people see faces in wood grain, tortillas and dog butts. We have a good grasp on this natural phenomenon.

 

Medjugorje is a special case. Lots of studies were conducted because millions of people simultaneously experienced what they considered miracles for several years. Something definitely happened there, and it is not completely explainable by natural means. Lots of evidence.

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I saw a UFO when I was a child. I was about 10 or so. I was at a neighbor's house. My neighbor pointed up to the sky and said, "Well, will you take a look at that!" Up in the cloudless sky, over a nearby hill, a disc-shaped black silhouette moved slowly across the sky. It was too far away to make out any details. I couldn't tell if it was spinning like in the old scifi movies. But it was steady as a rock, no wobbling. And no sound. It just moved slowly across the sky until it passed behind the hill.

 

It was a true UFO. It was Unidentified, at least by me and my neighbor-lady. We didn't know what it was. It seemed to be Flying, though it had no wings and no obvious source of propulsion. And it was an Object. It wasn't a vision (unless we were both hallucinating). So I believe in UFOs. Been there. Seen one. Wish I had a T-shirt.

 

Doesn't mean that I believe that aliens from outer space were piloting that UFO or that they were on their way to do their next anal probe. :rolleyes:

 

My experience of that UFO was real, as real as anything I know. But the explanation for it is...well...I don't know what it was. On one hand, though it was weird, it didn't seem to violate the laws of nature. No right angle turns at Warp 5 without slowing down or anything of that nature. On the other hand, there is a lot I don't know about it. Probably never will.

 

There is a BIG difference between what is unknown and what is contradictory.

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Blackmore started off with an illogical bias, then confused her failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence. Her wild goose chase failed, but wild geese exist.

 

She started off with an experience ... studied the phenomena for twenty years and became skeptical of her beliefs. I can't help but think of this as logical.

I find your assertion, just that an assertion.

 

While I take your point on black swans not existing and I will excuse those living on the same continent as the Black Swan River, but if you were to claim that we should keep an open mind regarding black swans being indigenous to the Columbia River, I would have to go to a deeply solipsistic frame of mind to agree with you here

 

I was taught in the eighth grade that one cannot prove a null hypothesis. Maybe she missed that day.

 

Again, here I think you mistake logic and science. I find I have to keep reminding people science does not deal in proof. And just because science does not provide proof does not mean we have to sit on some fulcrum of a teeter-totter (see-saw) of our beliefs. While we might wish to believe in the possibility some luminiferous aether, the Michelson Morley experiment (and subsequent physics) has put paid to that belief.

 

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open to the possibility of a supernatural realm. Not believe or disbelieve, but simply leave a little mental compartment for evidence which cannot be analyzed.

 

If I were to write:

I think anyone who is not a consummate egoist must be open minded to the possibility that they are completely a product of the universe unfolding.

 

This sentence would go down about as well as yours.

 

There is evidence that the universe is "unfolding", but the supernatural seems to be events that we have not had the ability or chance to explain.

 

Yet.Paridolia is an well recognized human trait. It has been studied and found in infants, so we understand why people see faces in wood grain, tortillas and dog butts. We have a good grasp on this natural phenomenon.

 

Yes ... completely natural. Not just faces or just vision.

 

Medjugorje is a special case. Lots of studies were conducted because millions of people simultaneously experienced what they considered miracles for several years. Something definitely happened there, and it is not completely explainable by natural means. Lots of evidence.

 

And here you confuse we don't have an explanation with supernaturalism. I would argue supernaturalism is an abandonment of an explanation.

 

I don't know how it was done, therefore supernatural, is not a logical proposition. A God of the gaps argument.

  • Upvote 1

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Burl,

 

You do have a way: throwing in a disparaging characterization,description or comment that must apply if another does not accept what you are selling (ex. poor Ms. Blackstone's education must be lacking). Merely because one does not subscribe to some of what is mentioned in these posts, does not mean they do not believe in the 'supernatural realm' - if that is what is meant by or includes 'God.' As has been discussed in these topics already (see theism, panentheism), there is a difference in defining/understanding God and, therefore, this term.

 

For me, we live in a Presence (in Being/God so must be the realm of God) that is so subtle that it is often missed (called by some an ‘epistemic distance’) yet so powerful that it thrives even when unrecognized; we are of the only realm that IS: Holy Being (this is not to deny a greater actualization or fulfillment in Being). However, If the characterization of God's realm as supernatural suggests two worlds (man's and God's) and presupposes that 'God' is 'outside' the natural world, it simply does not resonate with me. Nor does the idea of miracles or other phenomena/beings that suggest a 'breaking into the natural world' of man or breaking the laws of nature. I simply don't believe that God interact acts with us in these ways. Are there mysteries, are there unexplained experiences? Hell, I took Silva Mind Control in college and we amazed even ourselves but, if anything, I chalk that up to the power of the mind, not the way of God. I simply don't accept that that is his modus operandi. Others can, that's fine, we disagree - we will never know on this side of the grave and, sure, there might be things we discover about the power of the mind but never 'things' that we can analyze about the realm and way of God. Humbly, don't think so.

 

You stumbled on it when you said "not believe or disbelieve" (and I assume we can also include believe): those are the options. The supernatural, God's realm, God - cannot be analyzed. One can analyze things and even offer proofs for some things, but I suspect that God does not give us information to be analyzed, he gives him-Self (revelation is the Self-Revelation of God) and faith - the giving of oneself in relationship - or not, is the option. Our speculation is fine and fun but ultimately it is faith.

 

Finally, isn't it accurate that Blackstone wasn't chasing geese, she was chasing the 'paranormal' and she concluded it wasn't there. And, doesn't paridolia mean wrong image?

Edited by thormas

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Thormas, I am trying to be direct and readable. This is a casual after-dinner conversation from my POV, not an academic fussathon. Sometimes I step on a toe but at least I got people posting again. Look at the history sometime: from 2012-2016 this place was moribund.

 

I agree with you that the supernatural cannot be analyzed, but an apparently supernatural event can indeed be analyzed to exclude natural causes and this is frequently done, as was done with Medjugorje. In that case, natural causes were excluded and the event was considered consistent with previously described supernatural events.

 

>>crickets<<. As everyone who clicked my link is aware. >>/crickets<<

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Burl, I'll pass on your history but it seems from the few I've read people are often disagreeing and correcting your comments toward others. Also, this is casual after-dinner conversation - not sure what you consider academic, but this isn't it! BTW, difficult to be readable if you insult people. Perhaps you can change it up a bit.

 

And, you have just said that the supernatural can and cannot be analyzed. Helpful.

Edited by thormas

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In that case, natural causes were excluded and the event was considered consistent with previously described supernatural events.

 

Burl

The problem here is, if an event is analysable through cause and effect then it is truly part of the natural world. If we can't find the causal trail then fair enough. But I don't think the default position should be it is supernatural.

 

In your own words, it should not be confused with

 

failure to find evidence as evidence of nonexistence

 

We could end up on wild goose chases etc. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Edited by romansh

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When we speak of a “supernatural realm”, are we not attempting to gild the lily? Our daily mundane existence is perhaps too familiar to us. It has become so to me. Although, every now and then I am struck with awe at this “natural realm”. In those moments, I need no apparitions, or burning bushes, or major epiphanies.

 

Whatever can happen will happen. I think that is a restatement of Murphy’s Law. So, if it happens it happens because it “can”, not because something has impinged upon us from another realm. Although, if that’s what you think is needed, by all means posit the existence of the supernatural!

 

We don’t experience the awe, amazement and seeming impossibility of this existence because we are jaded and unenlightened. We are ordinary beings existing within something really extraordinary.

 

Steve

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I suspect that beliefs in a "supernatural realm" came about because our ancient forbearers couldn't see a direct connection between cause and effect in the natural world. Our 5 senses work fairly well in gauging and giving us feedback on the natural, physical world. But in primitive cultures, we couldn't explain how water could fall from the sky when we never saw it go up. Therefore, God (supernatural theism) did it. We couldn't explain a hurricane. Therefore, God did it, probably to punish the wicked or disobedient. We had no knowledge of germs. Therefore, God punished people with sickness and death. We didn't know anything about epilepsy. Therefore, it was demonic possession. We strongly felt that we had received a message from "another world" or "another realm". Therefore, angels delivered the message. Angels are only necessary when God isn't here.

 

As our knowledge increases, God (supernatural theism) becomes more and more unemployed. This is, IMO, what spawned the "Death of God" movement during the last century. As a "God out there", there is little left for God to do, except for those Christians who still insists that he rules and controls the cosmos.

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Thormas, I am trying to be direct and readable. This is a casual after-dinner conversation from my POV, not an academic fussathon. Sometimes I step on a toe but at least I got people posting again. Look at the history sometime: from 2012-2016 this place was moribund.

 

 

 

Burl,

Sometimes i wonder where you get your data for your statements :blink: . From January 1, 2012 to July 20 2016 (you became a member July 21, 2016) we had 13,141 posts over a 55 month perioid or an app average of 238 posts per month. Since you joined we have averaged 223 posts per month. While you have livened up conversations a bit our numbers for your 3 months are lower so i guess you could still call us moribund with your presence by your interpretation of the numbers. :rolleyes:

Joseph

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Once again, in response to the original OP.

 

Keeping within the boundaries of Buddhism and the Dharma, there is no "versus". One (non-self) would imply the other.(loving self)

 

These are the so called "twin pillars" of wisdom and compassion. (Wisdom, defined as per Edward Conze as "the mind/heart thirsting for emancipation seeing direct into the heart of reality") which can only co-exist.

 

As I see it, if one does indeed necessarily bring forth the other, this has much to say about the Ultimate Reality. In as much as, if to SEE it and know it, and live it, IS to be loving and compassionate, then any human beings simple faith and trust in God (or call it Him or what you will) is not misplaced.

 

I suppose we just need to find out for ourselves. We each have our own unique path, and as far as "only ways" are concerned, as Meister Eckhart said:- They do Him wrong who know God in one particular way; they have the way rather than God. Or, perhaps stretching it a bit ( :) ), as the Buddha said, the dharma is for passing over, not for grasping.

 

 

 

 

 

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I appreciate your thoughts and wisdom on this, Tariki. It gives me much to consider, though I admit, being a Westerner, I struggle with the language.

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I agree we can't grasp God with a closed mind or fist so why not open to everything at our disposal.

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