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Meditation and the brain

July 11th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Another interesting comment from Richard: to comment on this later

Richard
207.138.47.153 Submitted on 2011/07/11 at 10:05 am
“Mucking about the brain, while it might have a good angle somewhere, is actually confusing scientists. Best to just use the ‘software’, and forget the brain.”

The basic issue is the unconscious Cartesian dualism that pervades scientific thought. It doesn’t accurately represent Eastern traditions such as Taoism and Buddhism where the physical nervous system is acknowledged to be important for the mechanisms of “consciousness,” “mind,” etc. Hell, even the “supernormal” powers are said to be highly dependent on the nervous system:

“1. Vipassana-ñana: clear insight, through training the mind, into phenomena in and of themselves, in terms of the four Noble Truths. 2. Manomayiddhi: psychic power, making things appear in line with your thoughts — for example, thinking of a visual image that then appears to the physical eye. Those who are to develop this skill must first become expert at uggaha nimittas. 3. Iddhividhi: the ability to change such images as you like. Those who are to develop this skill must first become expert in patibhaga nimittas. 4. Dibbacakkhu: clairvoyance, the ability to see great distances. Only people with good optic nerves — and who understand how to adjust the physical properties in the body so as to keep the nerves charged and awake — will be able to develop this skill. 5. Dibbasota: clairaudience, the ability to hear sounds at great distances. Only people whose auditory nerves are good — and who understand how to adjust the properties in the body so that they act as a conducting medium — will be able to develop this skill. 6. Cetopariya-ñana: knowing the thoughts and mental states of other people. To do this, you first have to adjust the fluids nourishing your heart muscles so that they’re clean and pure. 7. Pubbenivasanussati-ñana: the ability to remember previous lives, knowing by means of mental images or intuitive verbal knowledge. To remember past lives, you first have to understand how to interchange the physical properties in the body. 8. Asavakkhaya-ñana: knowing the causes for mental defilement; knowing the means for putting an end to mental fermentations. ”

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Basic_Themes_by_Ajaan_Lee_Dhammadharo#Set_B_2

“Mucking about the brain, while it might have a good angle somewhere, is actually confusing scientists. Best to just use the ‘software’, and forget the brain.”

The basic issue is the unconscious Cartesian dualism that pervades scientific thought. It doesn’t accurately represent Eastern traditions such as Taoism and Buddhism where the physical nervous system is acknowledged to be important for the mechanisms of “consciousness,” “mind,” etc. Hell, even the “supernormal” powers are said to be highly dependent on the nervous system:

“1. Vipassana-ñana: clear insight, through training the mind, into phenomena in and of themselves, in terms of the four Noble Truths. 2. Manomayiddhi: psychic power, making things appear in line with your thoughts — for example, thinking of a visual image that then appears to the physical eye. Those who are to develop this skill must first become expert at uggaha nimittas. 3. Iddhividhi: the ability to change such images as you like. Those who are to develop this skill must first become expert in patibhaga nimittas. 4. Dibbacakkhu: clairvoyance, the ability to see great distances. Only people with good optic nerves — and who understand how to adjust the physical properties in the body so as to keep the nerves charged and awake — will be able to develop this skill. 5. Dibbasota: clairaudience, the ability to hear sounds at great distances. Only people whose auditory nerves are good — and who understand how to adjust the properties in the body so that they act as a conducting medium — will be able to develop this skill. 6. Cetopariya-ñana: knowing the thoughts and mental states of other people. To do this, you first have to adjust the fluids nourishing your heart muscles so that they’re clean and pure. 7. Pubbenivasanussati-ñana: the ability to remember previous lives, knowing by means of mental images or intuitive verbal knowledge. To remember past lives, you first have to understand how to interchange the physical properties in the body. 8. Asavakkhaya-ñana: knowing the causes for mental defilement; knowing the means for putting an end to mental fermentations. ”

http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Basic_Themes_by_Ajaan_Lee_Dhammadharo#Set_B_2
Richard
Harris attempts to evade ‘transcendence as enlightenment’
4 #

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Paul Harrison - Master Nomi // Jul 11, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I have always used mindfulness to become part of
    the moment of doing something and fully engaging.
    For instance, when drinking tea or coffee, fully
    become aware of all aspects of the preparation,
    pouring, and drinking without thinking of
    something else. Just be present, its a great
    exercise and then return to the breath when
    needed.

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