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Mind Makes the World
Posted: 19 May 2008 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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If we have a DVD of ‘Gone with the Wind’ and look at it under a microscope we don’t see any sign of Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, or Civil War scenes.  It takes a special mechanism, a DVD player, to translate the miniscule etchings into moving pictures, sounds, music, voices.

If we look at the Universe around us with a super microscope - the world of particles, atoms, molecules - we don’t see anything resembling the world as we know it.  Mind makes the world, translating the atomic dance, just as a DVD player makes ‘Gone with the Wind’ from invisible pits on a plastic disc.

Different minds make different worlds.  A fly’s world looks different from ours.  A dog’s olfactory nerves can detect and identify a single molecule whereas our ‘DVD player’ might need a thousand such molecules to make the identification.

Our own DVD player (mental translator) can be altered to play different realities.  Perhaps the most popular way to alter reality is to douse the mechanism with alcohol.  Next I’d list religion - dousing the mind with ideas.  Alcohol, religion, patriotism, cannabis, heroin, LSD, idealogies of all kinds . . . these are well-known agents to enable people to ‘play’ different realities on their DVD player.  Brain-washing children is a widespread technique for creating adults who cannot see the world the way nature ‘intended’ them to see it - the world au natural.

This is why Zen masters say, “If you want to understand the Way directly, the normal mind is the Way.  The Way does not require cultivation - just don’t pollute it.  Pollution causes delusion.  Delusion means that you are not aware of your own original mind.  (unaltered DVD player) You have always had this original mind (beneath the chemically altered, or ideologically altered mind) and you have it now - there is no need to cultivate the Way and sit in meditation.”

If there ever was a real person on whom the Biblical character of Jesus is based, it seems clear he was steeped from the getgo in the Old Testament, and in the popular shenanigans of the wandering preachers/sages of his place and time.  Still, here and there in his sayings, he seems to have valued original, untrammeled consciousness, and tried to promote it.  Today, most of his followers seem to be ‘as far from reality as the sky is from the earth’, their minds polluted with a thousand strange ideas.  The fossil record, for example, put into their DVD player, comes out in a garble of utter nonsense - the original disc, recorded by their god, scratched and damaged by folktales, seemingly beyond repair.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 19 May 2008 12:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Very true. Eliminate the few brain-damaged believers-in-God on this site, and you are left with the political forum, replete with dogma versus dogma, bickering, name-calling, and faith with regards to the unknown and unknowable. There is no precedent in history, at least that I’m aware of, to justify “you’re stupid, and your opinions are stupid” as the key to progress. And what’s with the cult-like apologetics for charismatic authors and politicians?

By the way, have you ever heard the one about the Buddhist master and his pupil, and a scorpion? The minister at a church I went to years ago told it. A creek was rising, and a scorpion was stranded, surrounded by rushing water. The master stooped down and gathered up the scorpion to move it to safety, and it stung his hand. The pupil said “Why do you try to help the scorpion? Of course it will just sting you!” The master replied, “Its nature is to sting me, just as my nature is to help it.”

The original story is probably only vaguely similar, but I thought it was a good one. That was back in the day when many Christian churches still sought to spread the Good News—maybe twenty years before I started hearing about Adam and Steve and End Times. I wish I knew what happened along the way.

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Posted: 19 May 2008 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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mcalpine - 19 May 2008 04:06 PM

Very true.

By the way, have you ever heard the one about the Buddhist master and his pupil, and a scorpion? The minister at a church I went to years ago told it. A creek was rising, and a scorpion was stranded, surrounded by rushing water. The master stooped down and gathered up the scorpion to move it to safety, and it stung his hand. The pupil said “Why do you try to help the scorpion? Of course it will just sting you!” The master replied, “Its nature is to sting me, just as my nature is to help it.”

Would an unconditioned person swat a mosquito that was biting him, or just sit and watch it?  Would a dog that was being bitten by a flea just sit with a pained expression, looking at the point of irritation?  I suspect that the minister you describe wanted to give his congregation a false idea about Zen masters and made up a story to suit his purpose.  It certainly isn’t human nature to help stranded scorpions.  When you heard that story, were you influenced by it?  Did it convince you that Zen, or Buddhism is dumb?  Did you see through the minister’s cunning propaganda?

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 19 May 2008 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“Would an unconditioned person swat a mosquito that was biting him, or just sit and watch it?  Would a dog that was being bitten by a flea just sit with a pained expression, looking at the point of irritation?  I suspect that the minister you describe wanted to give his congregation a false idea about Zen masters and made up a story to suit his purpose.  It certainly isn’t human nature to help stranded scorpions.  When you heard that story, were you influenced by it?  Did it convince you that Zen, or Buddhism is dumb?  Did you see through the minister’s cunning propaganda?”

Wow. I’m glad you aren’t one to jump to conclusions. It was a Methodist minister, and he was very open to wisdom pertaining to human interaction, whatever the source.

As I recall, the sermon in question was about the thanklessness of trying to help people who were not anxious to be helped, that is, people, especially family members, who were depressed, addicted, antisocial, self-destructive, etc.

When I heard that story, yes, I was influenced by it. I remember it whenever my patience and endurance are challenged in an effort to reach someone who is on the edge. It convinced me that all religions and philosophies have something to offer to each other.

As for seeing through the minister’s propaganda, I can only say how sorry—how very, very, sorry—I am that this is your perception. I only meant to share a minor positive experience involving the overlap of my faith and your philosophy, and I was wondering if you knew of the story in question, since you often speak of these things.

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Posted: 19 May 2008 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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unsmoked - 19 May 2008 03:39 PM

Mind makes the world

True. 

There is a chicken and egg paradox, however.  While mind makes the world, at the same time, there is no mind without brain matter as a conduit for mind to come to be.  In human experience, it is axiomatic both that there is no world without mind AND that there is no mind without world.  Each is a condition of the other.

So which came first?

Perhaps temporal priority is itself meaningless.

“There is no Nirvana except where is Samsara; no Samsara except where is Nirvana.” 
—-Lankavatara Sutra

I suspect that hearing that quote as contradictory, as default human reason does, is an indicator of non-enlightenment.

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Posted: 19 May 2008 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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mcalpine - 19 May 2008 07:01 PM


When I heard that story, yes, I was influenced by it. I remember it whenever my patience and endurance are challenged in an effort to reach someone who is on the edge. It convinced me that all religions and philosophies have something to offer to each other.

Although it has nothing to do with ‘Mind Makes the World’ a light just went off in my head.  John the Baptist tried to help people and got his head chopped off for his pains.  Jesus tried to help the whole human race and got himself tortured to death.  The Methodist minister must have felt that those examples were not clear enough, so he made a Zen master the dumb ass who tried to help an ungrateful scorpion.

Now, when you, McAlpine, are in the position of trying to help someone, you don’t think of what happened to John, or to Jesus, you think about a stupid Zen master who tried to help a scorpion! 

OK.  Here’s the deal.  (the Zen master’s acolyte could probably have explained this to his master):  If the scorpion is stranded on a rock in midstream, and is about to be swept away, and you want to help it, you don’t pick it up.  Dummy!  You find a branch that will work as a bridge and put one end on the scorpion’s rock, and the other end on the bank, and then, if the scorpion has his wits about him, he will run across the bridge to safety and not be tempted by his instincts to bite anyone.

Similarly, if Jesus had played his cards right he might have been able to help the human race without getting himself totally screwed by the people he was trying to help.  This is an important point, and I’m glad you brought it up.  I was just bristling because I thought you were relishing the part of the parable that made the dummy a Buddhist, and not a Christian. Surely a Methodist minister knows enough Christian dummies without having to dip into Buddhist lore.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 19 May 2008 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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You seem to be confusing perception with reality.

If perception were reality, what would “misperception” or “illusion” mean? Such terms and notions wouldn’t even make sense.

Byron

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Posted: 19 May 2008 07:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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“Although it has nothing to do with ‘Mind Makes the World’ a light just went off in my head.”

It has everything to do with the mind and the world. I was relating a story I heard that was credited to Eastern wisdom. You keep referring to portraying a monk as a dummy. Where did that come from?

Actually, after some searching, I have seen several versions of the the little tale. A monk bathing in the river sees a scorpion float by, two monks are washing their bowls in the river, etc. It’s offered as a Sufi parable, or Zen, even a version attributed to Shinsei, whoever that is.

But the original seems to be an Indian Yogi version from the Panchatantra, in which a frog gives a scorpion a ride across a river, and is rewarded by being stung to death, because it is the scorpion’s nature to sting.

This version migrated to South Africa, and the frog is a lizard; the river even has the name of an actual river in SA.

And last but not least, the master/apprentice version, from 2005, is on a Presbyterian website. What goes around comes around.

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Posted: 20 May 2008 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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mcalpine - 19 May 2008 11:37 PM

I was relating a story I heard that was credited to Eastern wisdom. You keep referring to portraying a monk as a dummy. Where did that come from?

The story, as you first related it, said that a Buddhist master picked up a scorpion in order to help it.  I think that most people would agree that this was a dumb thing to do.  If you feel that it was NOT a dumb thing to do, could you explain?

I’d like to learn the moral of the story from your point of view.  That we must be careful when trying to help others?

Is it related to Jesus saying, “Do not scatter your pearls before swine because they will trample them underfoot and then turn on you.”  It seems that the early Christians should have taken this advice more to heart.  Telling the Romans that their gods were all phony seems, with hindsight, a bit dicey.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 20 May 2008 02:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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mahahaha - 19 May 2008 07:16 PM

Perhaps temporal priority is itself meaningless.

All priority is meaningless. There is only one entity. Have I got the hang of this, yet?

The chicken-egg paradox that can be spoken is not the true chicken-egg paradox.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. Goo goo goo joob.

[ Edited: 20 May 2008 02:07 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 20 May 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Salt Creek - 20 May 2008 06:05 PM
mahahaha - 19 May 2008 07:16 PM

Perhaps temporal priority is itself meaningless.

All priority is meaningless. There is only one entity. Have I got the hang of this, yet?

Yes, grasshopper, you are progressing nicely and soon will be ready to enter the great field of grain.  Just meditate on the one entity that is non-entity.

Salt Creek - 20 May 2008 06:05 PM

The chicken-egg paradox that can be spoken is not the true chicken-egg paradox.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. Goo goo goo joob.

I prefer the ham and egg paradox myself: do I make a small contribution, or a lifetime commitment?

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Posted: 20 May 2008 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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burt - 20 May 2008 08:00 PM

Just meditate on the one entity that is non-entity.

Well, Who’s on third, then?

No. Who’s on first. Nobody’s on third.

Well, somebody is on third. Obviously.

No. Obviously is in left field. Somebody is the catcher.

Obviously.

No. Obviously is the left fielder.

[ Edited: 20 May 2008 05:27 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 20 May 2008 06:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Salt Creek - 20 May 2008 09:18 PM
burt - 20 May 2008 08:00 PM

Just meditate on the one entity that is non-entity.

Well, Who’s on third, then?

No. Who’s on first. Nobody’s on third.

Well, somebody is on third. Obviously.

No. Obviously is in left field. Somebody is the catcher.

Obviously.

No. Obviously is the left fielder.

Third!  This guy is a trinitarian, a closet Christian masquerading as…, or perhaps just being one-up.

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Posted: 21 May 2008 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Bailif: (in a loud voice) The Court of the Queen of Hearts is now in session!  We have before us the case of the Royal Philisophical Society in the matter of Mind Makes the World!  The Honorable Judge Yoda presides!  All rise!

Judge Yoda: (taking his seat and adjusting his gorgeous black robe.  For some reason he is wearing a white clerical collar and a bright golden bandolier that is studded with surprisingly strong peppermints)  Be seated!  Who will speak first?

Salt Creek - 20 May 2008 06:05 PM

Goo goo goo joob.

Unsmoked: (standing up) Your honor, Salt Creek is out of order.

Judge Yoda:  Mr. Creek, please.  Mr. Unsmoked, is this your topic?

Unsmoked:  Yes it is.  We are attempting to find out if the mind is a kind of DVD player that is translating the universe of atoms and vibrating strings into the thing we call reality.

SkepticX:  He’s confusing perception with reality.

Unsmoked:  No.  We are talking about the fundamental scenery of the mind ground.

Salt Creek: (loudly) Cu-cu-roo-cu-cloo!

Judge Yoda:  What is that supposed to mean?

Unsmoked: It’s Spanish for cock-a-doodle-do.  He’s probably raising the issue of the chicken or the egg conundrum.

Judge Yoda:  Do chickens speak Spanish?

Mahahaha:  No.  I was the one who asked about that paradox.  However, while mind makes the world . . .

Salt Creek:  (turns his face to the ceiling, scrunches his eyes)  Mooooooooooooooo!

Judge Yoda:  Mr. Creek, I’m going to have to ask you to . . .

Unsmoked:  (raises his hand)  No, let him be.  It’s a Zen expression.  It means a clear sky.  It can also mean no thing, you know - nothing.  It’s the answer to a famous koan.

Salt Creek:  Oink, oink!

Unsmoked:  I believe his pen is out of ink.  Will a page please bring Mr. Creek, that is, Salty, a new pen?

SkepticX:  I was going to say that if perception were reality, what would “misperception” or “illusion” mean?  Such terms and notions wouldn’t even . . .

Unsmoked:  Wait!  Wait!  Let’s bag the whole DVD/DVD player thing.  Let’s think of the mind as a mirror!  See the difference?  The mirror is part of the universe, yet it reflects it.  Get it?  The stars are aware of themselves!

Judge Yoda:  (carefully removing an extraordinarily strong mint from his bandolier and putting it slowly into his mouth.  The entire courtroom is filled with the smell of peppermint)  Mr. Creek, do you have any objection to the DVD player being changed to a mirror?

Salt Creek:  What mirror?  There never was a mirror.

McAlpine:  He’s not paying any attention at all.  He’s a nihilist. 

Unsmoked:  No, wait!  It’s the final line of one of the most famous of all Zen stories.  “There never was a bright mirror shining, so where is the dust to cling?”

Salt Creek:  Barf!

Judge Yoda:  Mr. Creek, I don’t want to have to warn you again, but if you . . .

Unsmoked:  No!  He’s not a nihilist.  There’s a famous koan in which the monk asked master Joshu, “Does a dog have Buddha nature?”

McAlpine:  So how did Joshu answer?

Salt Creek:  Barf barf!

Judge Yoda:  Bailif, will you please escort Mr. Creek to the door?  I won’t have this kind of behavior in my . . .

McAlpine:  But the original story seems to be an Indian Yogi version from the Panchatantra, in which a frog gives a scorpion a ride across a river . . .

Unsmoked:  I wasn’t finished explaining why a mirror represents the mind better than a DVD player.

Mahahaha:  Temporal priority itself is meaningless.

Unsmoked:  Your honor, everyone is speaking out of turn!  We don’t have to worry about temporal priority if we’re dealing with a universe that doesn’t have a beginning or an end!  Isn’t that a fair statement?  Also, we don’t have to worry about chickens and eggs if there’s no . . .

Salt Creek:  (shaking his arm away from the bailif)  Get your hands off of me!  I want to hear the rest of that story from the Pancho Tantro!

McAlpine:  Panchatantra.

Burt:  Wasn’t Pancho Tantro the sidekick of Don Quixote?

McAlpine:  Panchatantra!

Unsmoked:  Your honor, everyone is getting testy.  Could we each have one of those extraordinarily strong mints?

Burt:  He wore a basin on his head.

Salt Creek:  Who did?

Burt:  Pancho Sanza.  Oh, right.  It was Pancho Sanza, not Pancho Tantro. 

Judge Yoda:  I’m not sharing my mints.

McAlpine:  I’m telling you for the last time; it was the Panchatantra.  The frog did not wear a basin on his head, he carried a scorpion across . . .

Unsmoked:  Judge!  For cripes sake!

The powerful smell of peppermint has saturated the entire theatre.  All the players, and the audience too, are losing their heads.  (This phenomenon used to happen on board the lumber ships that carried Port Orford Cedar from Oregon to the Orient.  During the long voyage, the sailors could not escape the powerful aroma of the oily wood and they would start to go mad - probably the same thing that happened to termites who tried to invade this tree).  Everyone, with one mind, rush the Judge, meaning to get their hands on a mint, but the Jedi is too quick for them.  He leaps onto a windowsill and delivers one last line before springing out.  “Just the scent.”

[ Edited: 21 May 2008 12:09 AM by unsmoked]
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Posted: 21 May 2008 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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“The story, as you first related it, said that a Buddhist master picked up a scorpion in order to help it.  I think that most people would agree that this was a dumb thing to do.  If you feel that it was NOT a dumb thing to do, could you explain?”

You must decide for yourself whether or not to pick up a scorpion. I have not personally done so, in the literal sense.

“I’d like to learn the moral of the story from your point of view.  That we must be careful when trying to help others?”

That people whom we try to help may lash out in painful ways in response to that help, defending themselves against the perceived threat to the comfort of their routine. If you disagree, I can accept that.

“Is it related to Jesus saying, “Do not scatter your pearls before swine because they will trample them underfoot and then turn on you.” “

Not that I can see. You still do not get it—-I was asking you if you had run across the story, because you seem to be a fan of Eastern wisdom. You had not, so I did a little googling, and discovered that the story is known around the world in different forms, but did, indeed, arise in the East.

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Posted: 22 May 2008 12:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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mcalpine - 21 May 2008 01:21 PM

That people whom we try to help may lash out in painful ways in response to that help, defending themselves against the perceived threat to the comfort of their routine. If you disagree, I can accept that.

I agree.  One of the most typical examples is if you try to help an alcoholic who is wrecking their life and going downhill.  Their backlash, or sting, can be so painful that the friend, spouse, or relative who tried to help may opt to become an ‘enabler’ instead, or simply leave them to do their thing.

I’ve heard a few Christian sermons, but never heard a minister use an ‘Eastern’ parable (non-Biblical parable) to make a point - except perhaps to twist the meaning to put Buddhism or Hinduism etc. in a negative or foolish light.  I have never met a Christian who had the faintest idea what Zen is about.  To forget the Bible and Jesus is not possible for them.  They can never be mentally independent. 

At any rate, you have assured me that it was not your intention to make the Zen master appear stupid for picking up the scorpion, and I apologize for jumping to that conclusion.

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“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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