The Case for a Mind-Generated Existence

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Everything a human being ‘senses’ is the product of bio-chemical electricity traversing the neural network that connects the brain with the spine, and the spine with the body. The body, of course, serves as a mediation-point between the physical environment and the brain-spine nexus. A very real problem exists in the form of the gathering and interpretation of sensory data. Admittedly, this is not so much of a problem if the existence of an external, material world is taken for granted. However, the existence of an external, material world – as a distinct and separate entity to the mind-body that perceives it – is simply a philosophical interpretation of reality, entirely premised upon the agency of personal ‘choice’.  If a thought community accepts without question the existence of an independent, external world, then it follows that all scientific and philosophical speculation and development will unfold ‘a priori’ from that theoretical location. The issue here, is that this ‘theoretical location’, because it has been selected as the ‘preferred’ model of reality, is raised to the status of concretised ‘certainty’, and is taken to exist as a matter of common-sense. In this model of reality, the notion of ‘materialism’ becomes the ‘new’ orthodoxy, and all advances in scientific understanding are assumed to ‘hang’ from it, like clothing on a washing-line.

The ‘real’ world is assumed to be composed of observable and measurable matter, with the inner world relegated to the status of ‘immeasurable’ and ‘unreliable’ psychological processes and fleeting emotionally. All the mind creates is endless thought-patterns (of varying quality) that traverse its psychological fabric, interspersed with often ‘irrational’ islands of ‘feeling’. This is the status of the ‘modern’ mind, which is viewed very much as an extension of matter, or the accidental by-products of biological responses to physical conditions. Neuroscience, for instance, claims that the human-brain evolved merely as a means for early humans to effectively traverse their evolutionary (physical) environments, and that the ability to ‘think’ and to ‘feel’ are the left-over attributes associated with this successful function. However the edifice of this ‘certainty’ is punctured if the existence of a separate, material world is not taken for granted. In such a scenario, how can it be known that an ‘external’ environment independently exists, when its presence is apparently known only from the ‘inner’ biological processes associated with bodily ‘sensation’? The structure and texture of an apparently external, (material) world is in reality only the product of bio-electrical energy flowing through nerve-fibres throughout the human-body (and brain). Through a process that is still not fully understood, ‘consciousness’ is generated, and from this, the abilities to ‘sense’, ‘cognise’ and ‘interpret’.

In a sense, this model of a bio-chemical, bio-electrically generated world within the brain is an alternative ‘materialist’ interpretation that replaces a concrete ‘external’ world with an equally ‘concrete’ internally generated world. The materialistic goal-posts have been moved. Nothing for certain can be known about any theoretical ‘external’ world, because there is no way of gaining truly ‘independent’ or ‘objective’ information about such a world. As matters stand, humanity is perceiving the inner processes associated with its own biological functionality, and mistaking this ‘subjective’ data for a ‘true’ and ‘genuine’ reflection of an ‘external’ and ‘independently’ functioning world. The human-brain is a physical organ that has apparently ‘evolved’ due to environmental pressure, and yet this entire process cannot be known to reliably exist outside of the mind that perceives it. All of this interpretation exists firmly within the material realm, but relocates ‘reality’ within the human-brain, rather than being external to the human-body. If this is correct, then the human-brain ‘generates’ reality through the agency of ‘perception’, whereby nothing truly exists until it is internally ‘generated’ through the processing of sensory-data. An external world only appears to exist as a necessary means to fit-in to the trap of limited human perception. An independently functioning ‘external’ world cannot be known to reliably ‘exist’ outside of the sensory processes that assume its presence.

What of metaphysics? A brain can generate many different kinds of realities if the concrete (material) world is not a priori assumed to independently exist. These models do not necessarily have to be religious, but the idea of religion is obviously not excluded. A mind does not have to be associated with a god-concept, but neither is there any reason for it not to be. Deciding on a ‘mind’ or a ‘god’ is simply moving the metaphysical goal-posts, as in reality, existence is interpreted as being ‘non-material’ in essence. Of course, religious dogma can get in the way of interpreting reality, just as scientific dogma can hinder in exactly the same manner. Is ‘perception’ responsible for reality, or is material existence the product of a ‘divine will’? When the edifice of a separate (material) reality is rejected, then any and all ideas become of an equal validity in essence, and only differ in practical manifestation. Obviously, a religious or ideological fanaticism is problematic for the over-all survival humanity, but for those stuck in this dogmatic reality, the often violent and intolerant structures afford a certain ‘advantage’ over other fellow human-beings, despite the inherent injustices associated with such mindless violence and bigotry. It must be stressed, however, that just as much destruction has been wreaked upon the world by countries that pursue a strictly ‘scientific’ and ‘materialist’ agenda, as has been inflicted by any religiously minded regime. The point here, is the freedom to place one’s awareness exactly where it is needed to generated the maximum ‘meaningfulness’ for each individual (and communal) existence, free of anger and aggression, whilst being full of love and compassion for the entirety of existence. If a mind-generated existence is not motivated by the highest ideals envisioned by humanity, then what is the point of such a reality?

Ludwig Boltzmann (1844-1906) and the Re-Discovery of the Atom in Western Science

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Ludwig Boltzmann AUSTRIAN PHYSICIST

Although the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus (460-370 BCE), and his famous student Epicurus (341-270 BCE), speculated that ‘atoms’ existed beneath the surface of conventional reality (which could not be seen with the naked eye), this did not mean that following the ‘Renaissance’ in Europe (and the re-discovery of ancient Greek logic and reason), all Greek ideas were automatically accepted without question. This is the case with atoms. Western science evolved not only from the logic of Greek thought, but also from the rejection of Judeo-Christian theology (and faith) as a means to discern correct knowledge about the universe. Empirical science is premised upon the correct observation and measurement of matter and material processes. The problem with the atom hypothesis was that the existence of an atom had to be taken on ‘faith’, and because of this, many leading scientists in the 19th century refused to accept the idea of an atom on the grounds that its existence could not be confirmed and verified through observation and measurement. This is where mathematics and algebra came into play. Mathematics (and algebra) represent the meaningful arranging (or sequencing) of numbers and letters, so that empirical truths could be revealed about the material nature of reality. Ludwig Boltzmann, being fully aware that atoms had to be ‘statistically’ proven to exist, exercised his particular genius, and developed a mathematical formula which proved the existence and behaviour of atoms. In-short, Ludwig Boltzmann developed what is known as ‘statistical mechanics’. Statistical mechanics confirms the existence of atoms, and predicts how the mass, charge, and structure of an atom will behave. Such an observation determines the physical properties of matter – namely the viscosity, thermal conductivity, and diffusion. Ludwig Boltzmann lived at a time when microscopes were not yet powerful enough to observe individual atoms (or sub-atomic particles), and so had to use the power of representative mathematics to ‘reflect’ a material world that could be ‘predicted’ to exist with the human mind, but which could not yet be seen with the human eye.

Why Did the Dangerous Falun Gong Cult Target Teachers?

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It is well-known in China that teachers are trusted and respected, because they are considered ‘engineers’ of the human mind, and constructors of human consciousness within society. This is why teachers have been held with the highest respect throughout China’s history, and entrusted with the education of China’s youth, from the youngest (and vulnerable) pupil to the oldest (adolescent) student. Teachers are empowered within China’s society to effectively learn the knowledge and wisdom that is ‘Chinese culture’, and effectively (and correctly) convey that information to future generations. The Falun Gong cult leadership lives in luxury in the USA, and is guided by the CIA – a ruthless intelligence-gathering and military organisation that often operates beyond the control (or ‘knowledge’) of the President, and which routinely employs murder and disinformation policies around the world, to ensure the primacy of predatory capitalism. This is simply the ‘old’ Western imperialism re-invented for a ‘new’ age. As a result, although the Falun Gong is staffed at its core by ethnic Chinese people, it employed a distinctly anti-China rhetoric that is premised entirely upon the strictures of Eurocentric racism. The Falun Gong cult leader – Li Hongzhi – has ordered his subordinates to especially ‘target’ teachers in China and around the world, who are in-charge of the education of teenagers. This is because teenagers are thought to be particularly ‘impressionable’ and easy to ‘influence’. As teenagers lack a ‘mature’ ability to assess information and make sound and/or rational judgements, they are a particularly ‘vulnerable’ group susceptible to Falun Gong brain-washing.

In modern China, the Falun Gong is illegal, but due to its CIA-controllers in the US, continuous attempts are made to infiltrate China’s internet, social media platforms, and educational establishments, as a means to spread its warped ideology and illogical teaching throughout China’s society. The point of this US policy is to bring down the Communist Party of China (CPC), and eradicate all the scientific and social progression achieved by the Chinese people since 1949. Li Hongzhi was a low-level office worker when the CIA infiltrated his mind-set during the 1980’s and 1990’s. He forgot he was Chinese, and abandoned his own people for the destructive and racist policies of a ‘foreign’ power. He made-up a completely ‘false’ teaching with no basis within Chinese spiritual or rational traditions, and set-forth on his single-handed mission of attempting to bring down the Chinese Communist State. Although the education system in China is fully comprehensive and ‘free’ for all Chinese citizens, Li Hongzhi was lazy as an individual and chose not to pursue his learning to any great extent – this is why his fabricated cult has no bearing to legitimate spiritual culture within China.

In around the mid-1990’s, the corrupt Falun Gong cult attempted to infiltrate Chinese academia, and in those days, did attract one or two teachers. Quite often, in all other ways these professional people were intelligent, but prone to suggestibility. Although their colleagues and friends (who knew better), tried to warn these people that they were descending into criminal activity, these individuals did not listen. These teachers spread the dangerous Falun Gong cult through videos, discussion groups, and informal get togethers. Also used was the QQ social media platform, and the print media, as well as DVDs. Although illicit, because these corrupt teachers were trusted by society at large, they were able to spread Li Hongzhi’s pseudo-teachings unhindered in the early days. A practical problem was that although the thinking underlying the Falun Gong is racist and irrational, many of its outer movements are deliberately designed to ‘mimic’ the familiar movements associated with legitimate Chinese martial arts and Daoist self-cultivation. This mimicry acted as a type of social camouflage and aided the Falun Gong cult for quite sometime, until its numerous victims started contacting the Chinese Authorities. Over-time, it became clear that the Falun Gong was a ‘foreign’ derived, politicized movement designed to bring down the Communist Chinese State, which employed an extensive set of exploitative psychological and physiological brain-washing techniques. This includes sexual abuse, imprisonment, torture, theft, threats, and murder. Furthermore, the Falun Gong exercises themselves have been proven to be decidedly ‘unhealthy’ for the practitioner. Eventually, as it became obvious that the Falun Gong was harming China and its citizens, the CPC quite rightly moved to ban the dangerous Falun Gong cult in 1999.

As Communist China has exercised its self-determination against US racism and neo-imperialism, the CIA has initiated a number of futile but persistent anti-China campaigns, including the bizarre allegation of ‘organ harvesting’. Exactly the same CIA remains ‘silent’ as Li Hongzhi ‘orders’ various brain-washed teenagers under his influence to ‘set fire’ to themselves. Those whose lives have been saved by the Chinese medical services, have all described how they were threatened and manipulated into carry-out these self-destructive acts. This included Falun Gong cult threats against their families (usually non-members of the Falun Gong cult). Not only did a small number of teachers allow themselves to be manipulated by the Falun Gong cult in Guangdong and similar areas, there was even a case in Inner Mongolia. Many people divorced their partners when they learned of this criminal behaviour, which even included placing portraits of Li Hongzhi where family pictures once hung. Of course, teachers are human-beings, and are subject to all kinds of dangers in life, but their esteemed position within Chinese society means that they should be careful and more discerning in their personal and professional lives. As matters stand, the Chinese Communist State offers leniency to those who repent, but advocates severity for those who resist. Teachers have a social duty to ensure that they set a good example throughout their lives, and in so doing, protect and support the Communist Chinese State, and look-after the psychological and physical health of their students. Do not engage with Falun Gong cult websites overseas, and do not ‘illegally’ down-load or distribute Falun Gong cult propaganda within Communist China. Teachers have a responsibility to keep the spiritual purity of China free of Western racism and its destructive influence.

Original Chinese Language Article:

教师缘何染上邪教?
来源:新陕网 作者:政法委 字数:1,852 点击数:9     发布时间:2017-09-08
 教师被尊称为“人类灵魂的工程师”,是对下一代身心进行特定影响,向下一代传递人类科学文化知识和技能的专职人员,历来受到全社会的特别关注和尊重。由于其地位特殊,教师群体也成为邪教组织的首要目标,近年来不断有教师陷入邪教的报道见著媒体!青少年缺乏正确成熟的判断力,一直是“法轮功”等各种邪教的传播重点。青少年对老师的话深信不疑,邪教组织深知:教师染邪传播邪教,可以迅速扩大了邪教信徒的数量。

教师队伍染邪的危害不容忽视!然而,尊重、本来是向别人传道授业解惑的教师,缘何被邪教组织所攻陷,成为忠实的邪教信徒、成为疯狂传播邪教的犯罪分子?只有深究教师队伍染邪的原因,才能制定教师被邪教裹挟的防范之策!

思想空虚,轻信妖言,被歪理邪说所迷惑

不要以为邪教组织诱骗的都是受教育层次低的吃瓜群众,高学历不是抵御邪教的护身符。因为思想空虚,放松学习而被邪教的歪理邪说所迷惑从而染邪的,教师中也不乏其人。

陈某是江西省赣州经开区一名教授计算机的技校老师,1996年,他接触到“法轮功”,随即被其吸引,认为 “法轮大法”是“世界上的一切学说中最玄奥、超常的科学”,成为其忠实信徒。在学校里,因向教职人员传播邪教未果,转而将目标移到了学生们。他在课堂上以讲故事、播视频、聊天等形式向学生传播邪教内容、宣讲诋毁破坏国家法律制度的言论,煽动学生们退团退党。他还组建了多个面向学生的QQ群,在群内长期大量转发邪教宣传图片、文章、网络链接,对涉世未深的学生们造成了极端恶劣的影响。罪行败露后,陈某被依法处理,但给学生造成的影响,岂是一朝一日可以清除得掉的?

遭受挫折、急功近利,被“祛病健身”所欺骗

内蒙古通辽市开鲁县的徐某原本是中学语文教师,曾任学校教导主任。多次获县、市“师德先进个人”,优质课和论文多次获县、市级奖项。后来因患上了甲亢,治疗效果不佳,轻信了“法轮功”的谎言,认为自己的病是“业力”造成的,按师父的说法,要通过“发意念”才能“消业”。从此她痴迷上了“法轮功”,并且到处宣讲其好处,游说身边的亲友同事一起来练功。国家依法取缔了“法轮功”后。她非常不理解,仍然顽固地认为:师父李洪志讲的“真善忍”是为了指导练功的弟子“上层次”、达到“圆满”境界,是让人“做好人”。她在家中挂上李大师的画像,召集功友到自己家中练功,筹集经费印制邪教宣传单,晚上出去偷偷发放和张贴。徐某后被学校予以停课考察处理,丈夫也一气之下跟她离婚,带着儿子搬出去单过。(凯风网2017年3月22日《这名女教师陷入邪教后》)

精神苦闷、情感纠纷,转而投向“救世主”怀抱

教师也是凡人,一样有七情六欲,各种烦恼。每当遇有家庭琐事、情感纠纷之时,邪教组织往往披着“关爱”、“解脱”的虚假外衣趁虚而入,打着救赎的幌子,进行精神洗脑,此时如不注意防范,往往容易中招。据2016年9月9日凯风网报道:河南一教师由于丈夫长期在外工作,夫妻双方感情淡漠,假期期间,百无聊赖的她无意中接触到普度众人的“救世主”,立马被其吸引,一步步走入邪教内部,不仅决意离婚,甚至辞职以表决心,更是向其亲属传播教义,企图扩大信教群体,最终被有关机关收监,令人不胜嘻嘻,扼腕叹息!教师求知心、理解力更强,遇事往往喜欢刨根究底,但陷得越深,就越难自我解脱。(《教师如何防范邪教侵害》)

应聘失察,带病上岗,课堂宣讲邪教害人害己

据浙江日报报道,2014年间,重庆一所学校的老师陈某某,从“法轮功”境外网站上下载资料,并利用自购的刻录机、电脑、光盘等工具,制作了DVD光盘共17张到附近广场上散发,经群众举报后被公安机关抓获。法庭上,陈某某还不停地宣扬“法轮功”所谓的“教义”。2014年初,在衢州市一所中学任教刘某某,购置了打印机、纸张等设备材料,从“法轮功”境外网站上下载文字、照片等资料,制作了有关“法轮功”内容的宣传册、宣传单,多次前往衢州市几个小区的住户信箱里分发。她还多次利用上课及晚自习的机会,向学校部分班级的学生宣讲有关“法轮功”的内容。(《青年教师痴迷邪教被判刑校园反邪教警钟当长鸣》)

据悉,上述两个案例中的教师陈某某和刘某某,都是在担任教师以前就已经成为邪教组织的忠实信徒的,用人单位在聘用时把关不严,疏于审查,以至于造成难以挽回的后果。

以上案例当如警钟长鸣,务必关注!教师地位特殊,教师染邪对社会、对青少年的危害尤甚,决不可等闲视之!全社会必须把校园看做反邪教的最前线,把讲台看做反邪教的桥头堡阵地,既要把教师既看做反邪教宣传的首要对象,又要把教师打造成反邪教大军的坚强卫士。只有这样,我们的社会才会永葆健康!

Ch’an Buddhism as Scientific Socialism

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If Buddhism is viewed as a ‘religion’ – and the Buddha as a ‘theistic’ being – then Buddhism has nothing to do with modern science, and in that case, would represent one of many pre-modern theories devised by the human mind to explain reality. However, it is clear from a study of the Pali Canon that the Buddha’s system is a perceptual science premised upon the logical and rational observation of matter, and assessment of natural processes. Within the ‘five aggregates’ teaching, it is clear that the human mind is defined by the Buddha as a number of impermanent processes that ‘emerge’ from biological matter. This is why the Buddha places ‘rupa’ or ‘matter’ as first in the list of the five aggregates. The Buddha also seems to have been the first human in history to suggest that the tiniest specks of matter are ‘flashing’ in and out of existence during every moment, and that the idea that the world of matter forms a solid wall in-front of the senses is an illusion. This would suggest that the Buddha’s path is one of physical and psychological discipline that clears the mind of all ‘old’ and ‘out-dated’ modes of thought (such as an external or subjective belief in a god construct), and when coupled with the observation that compassion and wisdom manifest throughout society – serves as the foundation for the application of  Scientific Socialism. This is how Ch’an Buddhism is viewed in modern China.

The Limitations of Matter (Quantum Field Theory)

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The human senses developed over very long periods of time, and were designed to ‘detect’ the physical environment. This was the unfolding of the evolutionary process through natural selection. Human-beings can only ‘sense’ that about the physical environment, which is required for the species to survive. In other words, the evolutionary process does not grant or furnish any extra or superfluous sensing abilities outside of the minimum data-reception required, for the species to successfully procreate and survive (from one generation to the next). As a consequence, as diverse as the human senses seem to be, in reality the data they receive represents only a very narrow scale of what is actually ‘out there’ in the universe. Human logic has historically developed to perceive reality in two broad categories – namely the ‘materialist’ and the ‘idealist’. The materialist method of gathering knowledge (about the human condition), pays attention to the observation of the external world (which can include the human body, when it is ‘objectified’ as is the case of modern medicine), and has developed many theoretical assumptions premised upon these observations. The materialist model assumes that the external world is ‘real’ and that its study serves as the doorway to true knowledge. The idealist method, on the other hand, states that the inner world of thought is far more important than the external world, and that consciousness, in one way or another, is responsible for the generation of the external world of matter. Idealism is closely associated with theistic religion, and maybe perceived as a ‘modern’ and ‘secular’ manifestation of religious thinking, often presented in scientific garb (as is seen in the various theories of psychology). It has historically transpired that humanity has scientifically progressed through the observation and measurement of material objects and material processes. As religious theology has lost ground in the secular West, material science has come to dominate (with the caveat that ‘psychology’ in its non material mode, might well represent a ‘new’ type of religious thinking). Through the development of technology, humanity has been able to ‘see more’ above and beyond the scope of its limited evolutionary senses. This has meant that the world of matter has been examined over greater distances, and to a greater depth, to the extent that beginning of the universe can now be seen, as can the constituent particles and sub-atomic particles of atoms. Through this process, it has become clear that ‘matter’ is not a solid wall of impenetrable ‘stuff’ that stands silent and still in front of the human senses. It has been discovered that atoms are not the ‘tiniest’ things that exist, and that quarks (which exist within the nucleus of an atom), probably possess constituent elements. In short, modern material science has revealed that the world of matter is not ‘solid’ and ‘opaque’, but is rather ‘translucent’ in nature, whilst existing in a state of constant ‘flux’. This suggests that light, ordinary (byronic) matter, dark matter and dark energy all emerge from at least 12 different quantum fields (and probably more). Understanding this reveals that matter is not what humanity’s limited evolutionary senses first thought it to be, but equally important, this reasoning has been discovered through the empirical study of what was once thought to be ‘solid’ matter. Although idealism has attacked materialism as being a theory premised upon an illusion, idealism (and religion) has not been able to develop a science to demonstrate and ‘prove’ this assertion to be correct. In a very real sense, materially based science has seen beyond its own limited methodology, and proven its original models of the physical universe to be redundant. Simply put, (and a point of argument correctly made by the idealists and religionists), matter is not what humanity thinks it is. However, where the idealists have ‘rejected’ matter out of hand, the materialists have embraced the physical stuff of the universe, and made its study the basis of modern science. It is now known that the idea of ‘matter’ being a solid and impenetrable wall, is a flawed concept, but that the idea that matter must be studied to progress human understanding, has turned-out to have been correct. As matters stand, the basis of existence consists of highly fluid quantum fields. As the universe pre-exists and post-exists each individual existence, a direct connection between human awareness and the external universe has yet to be proven, even though certain academics are engaged in this study. This does not mean that the human mind has no place in science, after-all, it has only been through logical thinking that material science has been developed and progressed. The following lecture from Professor David Tong (at the Royal Institute) places all this information into its correct scientific narrative.

Materialism – A Brief Introduction

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Materialism is a set of related theories which hold that entitles and processes are composed of – or are reducible to – matter, material forms or physical processes. All events and facts are explainable, actually or in principle, in terms of body, material objects or dynamic material changes or movements. In general, the metaphysical theory of materialism entails the denial of the reality of spiritual beings, consciousness and mental or psychic states or processes, as ontologically distinct form, or independent of material changes or processes. Since it denies the existence of spiritual beings or forces, materialism typically is allied with atheism and agnosticism.’

The English word ‘matter’ has its origins in the Latin words ‘mater’ (i.e. ‘mother’), and ‘materia’ (i.e. ‘all physical things’). As existence is composed of matter, matter is viewed as the foundation of all things. Generally speaking, all matter is said to possess both volume and mass. Within the Chinese language, the concept of ‘matter’ can be expressed using the ideograms ‘物质’ (wu4zhi2). ‘物’ (wu4) is written using the left-hand particle ‘牛’ (nui2) – meaning ‘cow’, ‘bull’, or ‘ox’, and the right-hand particle ‘勿’ (wu4) – originally meaning ‘flag’. When combined together, the ideogram ‘物’ (wu4) literally means ‘matter’, ‘things’, and ‘objects’. ‘质’ (zhi2) is written using the ideogram ‘贝’ (bei4) – meaning a hard sea shell, and the right-hand particle ‘斦’ (yin2) – originally written as ‘two axes’, but also used to refer to a measure of weight equalling around one kilogram (i.e. ‘two catty’). Within Chinese thought, when taken together, the concept of ‘物质’ (wu4zhi2) represents the entirety of existence, or by implication, that physical substance which possesses  (measurable) mass and volume. Ancient India, despite its association with spirituality within popular culture, developed a school of materialist thinking named ‘Lokayata’ (लोकायत) in Sanskrit, which suggests a system of developed thought grounded in the observation (or perception) of the physical world (which is directly accessible to the senses). This school rejected all religious thought that advocated karma and karmic retribution, a belief in ‘invisible’ theistic constructs, and any notion of ‘rebirth’ or ‘reincarnation’. Therefore, the validity of inference and the authority of scripture are firmly rejected. For the Lokayata followers, only that information directly perceived through the senses is real. The Lokayata developed a theory of physical existence that involved four basic elements which combine to generate all of material reality. As a consequence of this thinking, Lokayata is associated with ‘atheism’. The origin of this school is problematic (due to the loss of primary texts), but evidence suggests a date anywhere between 600 – 300 BCE – with the possibility that the ideas associated with this school could be far older.

Whatever the case, the Buddhist Pali suttas mention the Lokayata, which is associated within the tradition of Buddhist commentary, as representing a ‘hard materialism’ (not favoured by the Buddha). However, detailed with the ‘five aggregates’ teaching of the Buddha, it is clear that his system of mind-matter integration is a form of ‘soft materialism’, which recognises a plurality, (but not a duality). This is because the Buddha’s system is premised upon ‘rupa’ (रूप) – or ‘physical matter’, which he defines as particles (paramanu) that flash in and out of existence (similar to the observed behaviour of sub-atomic particles within quantum physics). The Buddha sees the physical world as ‘existing’, but being non-substantial and changeable in nature. This ‘Buddhist’ definition of matter is different to that of the ‘Ucchedavada’ (ဥေစၧဒ) – which the Buddha criticised for assuming a permanent and unchanging physical world – despite the fact that the Buddha agreed with the Ucchedavda that there is no ‘atma’, or permanent soul. The Buddha’s soft materialism deviates away from the hard materialism of the Ucchedavada (which maybe directly linked to the Lokayata), by stressing that karma does function (in a limited, non-theistic sense), and that moral behaviour is required to escape worldly suffering.

Western scholars tend to date the Buddha as living either 563-480 BCE, or 483-400 BCE, whilst within traditional Chinese Buddhism, his date is given as 1028/29-948/49. Obviously, the Buddha’s existence, if dated accurately, would determine the antiquity of the Indian schools of materialism. In ancient Greece, however, the materialist origins of philosophy are said to have developed through the thinking of Democritus (460-370 BCE), who conceived of the universe as being composed of tiny, irreducible atoms unobservable to the naked eye. These atoms operate in a deterministic fashion, and combine to form the various forms associated with physical existence. Epicurus (341-270 BCE) – the student of Democritus, developed this thinking by asserting that every so often atoms ‘swerved’, as a means to explain unusual behaviour or happenings in the physical world. Ancient India developed a theory of materialism, whilst Buddhism developed a theory of the atom, but the (modern) Western world follows the ancient atomic models as devised within the Greek philosophical tradition. Whatever the origin, the doctrine of materialism stands in philosophical opposition to that of ‘idealism’. Idealism is usually understood as advocating that ‘mind’ is primary, and that the physical world exists only as an expression or appearance of that mind. This suggests that the physical world is not truly ‘material’, but rather ‘psychological’, or ‘mental’ in origination and nature. Within the Western philosophical tradition, theistic idealism is associated with Berkley, transcendental idealism of Kant, and the absolute idealism of Hegel. Idealism is often interpreted as being a secular version of theology, and directly related to ‘creationism’, whereby the physical world is viewed as being created by an unseen theistic entity (theology), or ‘projected’ into existence by the agency of mind (idealism), as if by an act of will and/or perception.

Within the subject of ‘philosophy of mind’, the theory of materialism has three distinct definitions, the first two of which represent ‘hard’ materialism, and the third ‘soft’ materialism:

  1. Eliminativism. This theory seeks to ‘eliminate’ entirely any notion of ‘mind’, and all theories of ‘psychology’ from modern science, on the grounds that such notions are the product of misunderstanding, and akin to ‘fairy tales’ that are the product of the residue of religious thinking. How human beings perceive their own minds is viewed as erroneous and the consequence of historical and cultural conditioning. As a consequence, as there is ‘no mind’ in reality, there can be no true experience of ‘raw feelings’ (qualia), or the exercise of intentionality. Theories of psychology are viewed as expressions of out-dated science which need to be abandoned as a necessary means to progress scientific understanding.
  2. Reductionism. In its simplest form, ‘reductionism’ reduces all psychological states to that of easily observable and measurable behaviour (i.e. ‘behavourism’). This reduces mind states to a mode of expression acceptable to modern science. Mind processes might exist as a function of the physical brain, but are viewed as knowable only through the measuring of behaviour. Other than as a producer of behaviour, the mind cannot be directly understood (because although it might generate qualia and intentionality, it does not ‘independently’ exist), and is of no further interest to reductionist.
  3. Irreducibility of mind. Although it might be accepted that ‘mind’ could exist as an apparent independent entity, nevertheless, its existence is so inherently related to matter, that this apparent ‘independence’ is not an issue. The mind is related to matter in a matter far more profound than mere causal independence. This means that the irreducibility of the mind is not a threat to the primacy of the materialist theory. Mind is a product of matter, even if the exact process of the emergence of consciousness from matter is as yet not fully understood.

Karl Marx studied Hegel’s absolute idealism, and understood it (through the work of Feuerbach) to be ‘inverted’ in nature. When turned the right way around, Marx developed the theory of ‘historical materialism’ (which replaced Hegel’s theory of ‘historical idealism’). The theory of historical materialism is ‘scientific’ in nature, and states that it is the economic reality of a society that determines the physical reality of that society. This is an ongoing historical process that does not allow for any ‘divine intervention’ in the affairs of humanity. It is through this materialist theory that Marx explains the historical reasons why it is that the impoverished working class (i.e. proletariat) exists in a subordinated and exploited manner, whilst being dominated by affluent middle class (i.e. bourgeisie), and how it is that this situation contains within itself, the seeds of its own inevitable transformation (through the agency of ‘revolution’). On this point, Marx states ‘In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.’ (Preface: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). Marx goes on to say that at some point in time, the material productive forces if become so strong that they out-grow the current organisation of society, and come into direct conflict with the existing (bourgeois) relations of society. As the workers become aware of their own material and productive powers, they mass organise and initiate an era of social revolution, eventually seizing the means of production, and radically transforming society through the agency of a socialist revolution. This is the playing-out of class antagonisms, and explains why Russian Marxist Georgi Plekhanov further developed this idea (in 1891), by referring to this process as ‘dialectical materialism’. This was developed from the work of Friedrich Engels (found in his book entitled ‘Dialectics of Nature’) whereby Engels uses the term ‘materialist dialectics’ as a means to combat and neutralise ‘idealistic dialectics’. The theory of scientific socialism as developed by Marx and Engels adopts a materialist outlook to explain human society and the human condition, but Marx and Engels rejected two forms of materialism prevalent in the 19th century, namely those of the ‘mechanistic’ and the ‘metaphysical’ variety. Marx rejected the mechanistic view because it suggested nothing could be changed, and he rejected metaphysical view because he recognised the existence and purpose of a human consciousness – even if it is generated from the brain and conditioned by outer circumstances and events. Marx views the immense productive forces of labour as the driving force behind the unfolding of history. The unfolding of the historical process is not a passive or indifferent passing of events, but is a dynamic, directing and transformative force within human affairs. Metaphysical materialism, strictly speaking denies the existence of this dialectical and historical materialism that Marx clearly sees as operating throughout human history, where it has reached a particular intensity after the Industrial Revolution. The concept of ‘dialectics’ within Marxism can also be applied to personal education, and the development of a proletariat mind that is freed of the oppression and limitations of the past, and which is collective in outlook, and thoroughly progressive and scientific in nature. This maybe taken as the use of Hegel’s dialectic of thesis, antitheses and synthesis – reworked to interpret the changes of the material world (through the negation of the negation) rather than the changes of the ‘idealistic’ (or ‘religious’) world.

 

 

The Internal Model of Perception

Inner science is a non-religious investigation of the science of perception. It has to be ‘non-religious’ because it follows the ‘no hypothesis’ methodology associated with modern scientific enquiry. This approach is not in itself a judgement against religion, or the religious mind-set. On the contrary, it is the acknowledgement that religious methodology follows the ‘yes hypothesis’ and is the exact opposite of the scientific mind-set. Theology presents an already ‘complete’ vision of the universe, where it is assumed that theism is correct (and self-evident), and that all humanity has to do – from generation to generation – is simply to study this body of theological knowledge, conform to its strictures, and apply those strictures to everyday life. There is no questioning of the root validity of theistic thinking, and no comprehension that it has been a human mind that has ‘assumed’ theological thinking into being. This is because all theology is believed to have originated not from the human mind that first conceived it, but has rather ‘manifested’ from the divine-will of a primarily ‘unseen’ theistic entity. If people find comfort in this type of thinking, that is their right – just as it is an equal right (I would hope) not to find solace in such an approach to understanding reality. From a scientific position, it seems a matter of where one places their conscious awareness – whereas from a religious position, it is a matter of ‘belief’ or ‘non-belief’, ‘theism’ or ‘atheism’, etc.

The above programme is not religious, but entirely scientific in nature (exploring the ‘internal model’ narrative). It investigates the human brain, the human mind, perception and reality. It does this from the study of reality in the form of organic and inorganic matter. The brain is an isolated organ that exists in the skull, which is entirely cut-off from the outside world. It does not directly sense anything in and of itself, and possesses no ability to sense any stimulus in and of itself. The brain communicates with the outside world through bioelectrical impulses that are received from the senses which mediate with the external world. However, all the sensed data, regardless of its nature, be it sight, noise, smell or touch, etc, arrives at the different filtering parts of the brain in exactly the same format – namely that of bio-electrical impulses. In a process that is still not entirely understood, the brain converts these impulses into what might be called the recognisable and tangible senses. All this data serves to form an all-round image of the outer world – an outer world that the brain never directly perceives – but which is assumed to exist in the manner through which it is perceived. This situation is historical and directly related to the requirements of human survival as manifest in evolutionary development. Human beings perceive exactly as much of the physical environment that they need to survive, and nothing more. This would suggest that despite a working model of the external world that all human beings share, we cannot be exactly sure what the external world is really like in all its aspects. We may assume that the external world exists independent of the mind that perceives it, simply because the human brain from which the mind emerges, is itself composed of a material substance. Human perception constructs an image of the outer world that is functional for human survival, but which is probably incomplete in its ability to ‘sense’.

Although a working reality is generated in the human mind by the human brain, this does not mean that the outer world is an illusion that is generated from within the mind. Internal perception should not be conflated with the processes of ‘creating’ the world that is being ‘perceived’. The world exists independently of the brain and mind that perceives it, and remains unchanged in its deepest aspects by the act of general human perception. Here, a distinction must be drawn between general human ‘perception’ (which is instantaneous), and ‘observation’ (which is deliberate and in the case of science, governed by strict laws of conduct). This is despite the fact that a ‘vision’ of the outer world is generated within the brain and mind, and that it is difficult to ascertain the exact accuracy of this construction. This is probably the original meaning behind the Yogacara School of Buddhism which has been generally misconstrued as assuming that all that exists, is the inner world of ideas. The inner world of ideas definitely exists, but it is a product of a physical body that interfaces with an independently existing external environment. This is important research, but my personal opinion is that there must be a correlation between inner perception and the outer world that is sensed, and that the traps of ‘idealism’ ‘psychologism’ must be avoided to retain scientific objectivity. I suspect that human perception of the environment is ‘correct’ and ‘accurate’ – even though it might be incomplete. This is because it is unlikely humanity would have survived if its perception of the material universe was fatally flawed.

 

Philosophy: Three Theistic Terms

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Technically, the three following terms more correctly fall into the category of the ‘Philosophy of Religion’. Obviously, whether or not an individual ‘believes’ or ‘disbelieves’ in religion is irrelevant to the philosophical exercise of striving to understand the theoretical basis and practice of religions that evolve around a central theistic core element or elements. This is important because theistic religion has served as a primary source for human knowledge and purpose of action for thousands of years, and still continues to exercise that influence over a great many people in the world today. Even if some people describe themselves as ‘atheistic’ (i.e, ‘not’ accepting or believing in a divine concept, or any teachings emanating from such a theistic entity), secular society tends to exhibit religious trends of thought (as morals, ethics and attitudes), although devoid of any obvious or direct religious content or control. In the West, this has been the Judeo-Christian tradition, whilst in modern China, it has been Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism that have set the moral and cultural (national) character. In modem India it has been Brahmanism, whilst in the Middle East it has been Islam, etc. This secular development tends to manifest as a parallel stream of psychological and physical influence alongside the practice of more traditional modes of religion, albeit to varying degrees of intensity, or definitional sociological frameworks. The three Greek terms under discussion in this short essay are:

  1. Theogony
  2. Theurgy
  3. Theology

Theogony literally translates as the ‘origin of the gods’, or more specifically the ‘birth and genealogy of the gods’. It stems from the original Greek word ‘theogonia’ – with ‘theo’ meaning ‘god’, and ‘gonia’ meaning ‘birth’, and by implication, ‘growth’ and ‘development’. ‘Theogony’ is a poem written by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod (8th-7th Centuries BCE), which describes the origins of the ancient Greek gods.This body of knowledge may be considered augmented by the myths and legends as recorded by Homer.

Theurgy literally translates as ‘divine work’, and stems from the original Greek word ‘theourgia’. This term is found in the thinking of ancient and classical Greece, and later in the works of Plotinus. It originally referred to rituals that created the conditions on earth for a ‘divine intervention’ in human affairs. Sometimes referred to as ‘magic’, the practice of ‘theurgy’ is used by Plotinus to refer to the act of ‘contemplation’ or ‘meditation’ designed to ‘unite’ the individual with the ‘divine essence’. In this sense, ‘theurgy’ refers to a set of (disciplined) purification practises, performed with the body and mind, which generate a ‘frequency’ of being here and now, which through its rarefied structure, facilitates the manifestation of a divine presence in the affairs of humanity.

Theology literally translates as the ‘study of god’, or the ‘science of god’, and is a Judeo-Christian term referring specifically to the study of the theory, faith and practice of the monotheistic, Christian tradition in all its various branches, sects, schools and lineages, etc. Theology stems from the original Greek word ‘theologia’, and was used by the early Christian thinkers after Christ, as a means to develop a distinctly ‘Greek’ interpretation of teachings originally delivered in Syriac-Aramaic (the probable language of Jesus Christ), which expressed religious terms as preserved in Hebrew – the language of the ancient Jewish religion. This transition became vital for the early Christians – after that sect of radical Judaism – was ‘expelled’ from the Jewish religion and had to develop an entirely ‘new’ way for interpreting its guiding strictures. The early Christian were Jews who routinely used Hebrew to communicate their non-conformist ideas, and the use of Greek philosophical terms was considered a viable alternative. In this transition, of course, the Greek philosophical terms were ‘changed’ in meaning to suit the strictures of early Christian thought, and to ‘distance’ the emerging Christian Church from the pantheistic and atheistic tendencies found within Greek thought proper. This explains why later Christian leaders ‘banned’ all original Greek thought. As a consequence, and unless otherwise stated, Christian theology ‘rejects’ the notions of ‘theogony’ and ‘theurgy’ as examples of pre-Christian pagan practises and modes of thought.

Two Interpretations of the Buddha’s Middle Way (Majjhima Patipada)

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Many people encounter Buddhism through a book, leaflet, documentary or group, and are therefore introduced to the subject through the particular interpretation implicit in those modes of knowledge transference. In the age of the internet, it can be argued that a greater degree of detail is available for the study of Buddhism, but the fact remains that as Buddhist philosophy is a complex subject, generally speaking a new student requires some sort of developmental guidance – or ‘narrowing’ of approach – to make sense of it all. This returns to the issue of entering Buddhism through a single gate of interpretation, and remaining unaware of the broader history and divergent philosophical development of Buddhist thought, or the various and distinct cultures that have become associated with the spread of Buddhism throughout Asia and the world. This insularity is compounded if the Buddhism encountered is being used for nefarious or illegitimate reasons. On the other hand, a misunderstanding of Buddhism can lead to the development of ‘quietism’, whereby an individual uses the excuse of being a ‘Buddhist’ not to get involved in important issues involving the well-being, development or safety of humanity. Even the Buddha interceded in the political milieu of his day, if he thought his personal presence could influence kings toward more humane policies, save human or animal life, or even prevent wars. He used the mediating device of cultivated wisdom as a means to ascertain when to act in the world, and when not to act in the world. This was not an interfering function that he took likely, and he advised many of his followers to sit and meditate for a considerable time so as to generate the wisdom required. Simply following personal prejudices, or current popularist trends was not the Buddha’s ‘middle way’. In essence, the Buddha inwardly followed the path of realising non-self, and of uprooting greed, hatred and delusion. On the outer the plane, the Buddha pursued policies that defused aggressive situations that were not dependent upon the belief of ‘self’ (religious or otherwise), and which advocated non-greed over greed, non-hatred over hatred, and non-delusion over delusion. His approach was that people would not treat one another in a selfish or barbaric manner if they understood the insubstantial and ever changing nature of reality. This approach included the deconstruction of the theistic religious belief system prevalent in his time.

The Buddha’s direction of inner and outer movement was defined as pursuing the ‘middle way’ (majjhima patipada), but within Early and Later Buddhist thought, this term has two distinct (and on the surface, very different) interpretations. The first statement must make it clear that all forms of Buddhism adhere to the teachings contained within the Four Noble Truths, and that within this schematic, the concept of the ‘middle way’, or ‘middle path’ is the directly philosophical consequence of the Buddha’s teachings as recorded in the ‘Fourth Noble Truth’. The full title of this teaching is the ‘Path of the Fourth Noble Truth which Leads to the Cessation of Profound Dissatisfaction’, or in Pali ‘Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipade – Ariya Sacca). Herein, the Buddha presents eight guidelines which all Buddhists (both lay and monastic) should follow as a means to create a better life free of suffering. This eight guidelines are:

  1. Right Understanding (Samma Ditthi)
  2. Right Thought (Samma sankappa)
  3. Right Speech (Samma vaca)
  4. Right Action (Samma kammanta)
  5. Right Livelihood (Samma ajiva)
  6. Right Effort (Samma vayama)
  7. Right Mindfulness (Samma sati)
  8. Right Concentration (Samma samadhi)

Together with various other instructions pertaining to thought and action in everyday life, the Buddha prescribed an ethical path of meditation (i.e. mind operation modification), and behaviour modification, primarily through adherence to the numerous rules designed to regulate moral behaviour (i.e. ‘sila’). For a Buddhist monastic, these guidelines were strictly (and literally) followed so that every thought, feeling, emotion and action was fully cognised and experienced in a ‘detached’ (or ‘impersonal’) manner. For the lay-Buddhist, the guidelines were followed in a more flexible manner, but with the emphasis being placed on the maintenance of virtuous thought and action in every situation. All Buddhists, for instance, regardless of status, are expected by the Buddha never to kill, or create the conditions for killing to occur. The same is expected with regards to stealing, inappropriate sexual thoughts and actions, speech motivated by greed, hatred and delusion, and food and drink termed ‘intoxicants’ that cloud the good judgement of the mind. Obviously, the Buddhist monastic follow hundreds of vows, but these five are essential to the entirety of the Buddha’s path, and are indicative of the psycho-physical nature of his moral teaching. For the Buddha, the greater the discipline applied to meditation and moral discipline, the quicker (in theory) a practitioner will escape the wheel of suffering and dissatisfaction. However, despite certain trends of thought found in various lineages of the more conservative extant schools of Buddhism, the Buddha did acknowledge (in the Pali Suttas) that committed lay-people (both male and female) could realise ‘nibbana’ through meditation or moral discipline, or on rare occasions, simply by being in the Buddha’s psychological and physical presence. The main point to take from this is that Buddhist monastic have an advantage in as much as their living situation is geared entirely away from worldly affairs, and completely toward the cessation of profound dissatisfaction and suffering. Although lay-people are at a disadvantage, this does not mean that they should not try, or that they are inherently unable to realise enlightenment. In many ways it is this tolerant attitude of the Buddha (found within Early Buddhism) that permeates Mahayana thinking.

The Mahayana School becomes historically observable around the 1st century CE, and is assumed to be a later development of the Buddha’s thought away from the definitional confines of what is termed ‘Early Buddhism’. Although the suttas of the Pali Canon are later developments out of Early Buddhism, it is logical to assume that much of the former is recorded in the latter. The Mahayana ‘sutras’ – by way of comparison – are written in Sanskrit, but also retain virtually everything that exists within the Pali Canon, despite the fact that various philosophical concepts have been developed beyond the foundational premise as originally laid-down by the Buddha. Having established this fact, it is also true that the ‘original’ premise of the Buddha’s teachings is still recorded in the Mahayana sutras, and have not been ‘expunged’ in an act of eradication. This means that the Buddha is presented as teaching two different but inherently ‘related’ versions of his Dharma – one for beginners, and another for the advanced (this is how the Mahayanists explain the dual nature of their own sutras). Some lineages of the Theravada School (which must never be conflated with the ‘Hinayana’ or ‘Small Vehicle’ movement), hold the viewpoint that the Mahayana School is a distortion of the Buddha’s pristine message, whilst others (such as Ven. Walpola Rahula), are of the opinion that definite philosophical parallels exists between the Pali and Sanskrit texts. This situation is fluid and need not delay us when examining the concept of the ‘middle way’ as conceived within the Pali and the Sanskrit texts. The Theravada School follows the Pali Canon and perceives the ‘middle way’ as an individual, through an act of will, steering his or her mind and body on a psychological and physical course, conducive to reducing and eradicating negative karma-producing habits in the real world. This means maintaining a trajectory that treads a path ‘exactly between the two extremes of everything that exists (i.e. the material universe), and everything that does not exist in an obvious material sense (such as states of mind, emotionality and rarefied levels of conscious development). This may also be interpreted as understanding the world of physical matter as a) existing, but b) being ’empty’ of any permanency or substantiality. To understand this reality requires the development of the mind and its awareness capacity. This includes directly perceiving the fact that within the five aggregates that define an individual, there is no ‘atma’ or ‘soul’, and consequently no link to a theistic entity controlling the world from afar. This means that the Pali term ‘sunna’ means that the existing world (according to the Buddha) is ’empty’ of certain things, and that as a consequence, everything exists in a ‘relative’ or ‘interdependent’ state.

The Mahayana School views the ‘middle way’ primarily through the philosophy of the Madhyamika School (founded by Nagarjuna), which states that the physical world is non-existant and therefore ’empty’ of ALL reality. The world of physical matter is insubstantial, impermanent and ‘non-existing’. This means that the ordinary human assumption of an existing subject-object ‘duality’ is an illusion that must be transcended through a developed mind. In Sanskrit ‘sunya’ (i.e. ’emptiness’) refers to two distinct aspects or realisations. The first is that of experiencing a personal mind free of greed, hared, and delusion, and known not to possess a ‘soul’ or any other ‘permanent’ aspect. This is the enlightenment that the Mahayana School associates with the Hinayana School – as it signifies a ‘personal’ nirvana. The full Mahayana enlightenment requires that a mind empty of personal delusion (i.e. ‘relative enlightenment’) must experience a radical expansion so that its fundamental awareness appears to ‘expand’ and become all-embracing of its environment (or the entirety of existence). Within the Mahayana School, a practitioner must adopt a path that is neither attached to the void, nor hindered by the world of phenomena. This includes the realisation that the material world is ’empty’ of any substantiality, but that ’emptiness’ itself is also ’empty’. In Early Buddhism the Buddha appears to be saying that the world is ‘real’ but ‘insubstantial’, whilst in Later Buddhism the Buddha appears to be saying that although the physical world appears to be ‘real’, in reality it is not. This divergence has happened due to the inclusion in the Mahayana (Sanskrit) Canon of a number of ‘new’ texts which convey this ‘modified’ interpretation, whilst still claiming to be utterances of the historical Buddha. Early Buddhism steers a ‘middle way’ between the existing world and its insubstantiality, whilst Later Buddhism adopts a non-dual position that perceives the physical world as being ’empty’, and that emptiness’ being ’empty’ of any substantiality. The Mahayana School, although containing all the teachings found in the Pali texts, nevertheless seems to be suggesting that whereas Early Buddhists were required to adopt a lifestyle of physical discipline – Later Buddhists could realise enlightenment by assuming a certain philosophical point of view, whilst meditating on the realisation of that view. Chinese Ch’an Master Xu Yun (1840-1959), whilst being an adherent of the Mahayana School, rejected this notion and stated categorically that enlightenment could only be realised if the Vinaya Discipline was strictly followed. This was because he was well-read, and had studied virtually all the Buddha’s teachings over his long-life. As a consequence, he had a developed and mature over-view of the entirety of the Buddha’s path – both Early and Later. Although he acknowledged that enlightenment could happen in an instant, he never negated the importance of behaviour modification as a means for ordinary people to reform their lives and realise enlightenment. From 1931 to 1945, Master Xu Yun witnessed the barbaric behaviour of invading Japanese troops in China, and he associated this barbarism with Japan’s abandonment of the Vinaya Discipline.

The middle path for early Buddhists more specifically meant that an adherent had to maintain a perfect psychological and physical balance between the world of matter, and ethereal world of eternal spirit – recognising the conditioned reality of the former – whilst rejecting the entire notion of the latter (eternal spirit is demolished and replaced with the realisation of ever rarefied and subtle levels of conscious awareness). There is the cultivated development of non-attachment to physical objects (and the physical world in general), with a simultaneous cultivation of non-identification with thoughts and feelings in the mind and body. The central concept for early Buddhism is that of the essential reality of ‘dharmas’ or material (rupa) and immaterial (arupa) objects and states. The world of matter is ‘real’ irrespective of its unstable nature – and ‘mind’ (manas), and its functioning (citta), as well as its ability to generate bare conscious awareness (vijnana), are all considered rarefied extensions of matter, to the extent where they may be interpreted as ‘immaterial’ states emanating from a material base. The Buddha states that there are suffering-inducing conditioned states of being, and there are suffering-transcending states of non-conditionality, the latter of which are achieved by following the ‘middle path’. The Mahayana progression disagrees with the idea that all ‘dharmas’ (i.e. the world of matter in its many forms) are intrinsically ‘real’, but instead asserts that the world of matter is ultimately ’empty’ (sunya) of any intrinsic reality. This is despite the fact that the Buddha clearly states that ‘matter’ is the basis of his analysis of reality and the foundation through which his self-cultivation method operates. Whereas Early Buddhists might ‘retire’ from the world to seek a secluded practice, the Mahayana practitioner might suggest that all that needs to be changed is the inner mind and its perception of the outer world. It is the human mind that is ‘defiled; (klesa), and which needs to be ‘cleaned’ through meditation in the Mahayana School. The realisation of the ‘non-reality’ of existence leads to a ‘pure’ mind free of suffering-inducing tendencies (i.e. negative psychological states), and unwise physical actions. The Mahayana demands a radical subjective transformation, and not a shift in ontological understanding. Whereas, within Early Buddhism there is a shift from the state of ‘samsara’ to that of ‘nirvana’, (as if the former is left behind and the latter is entered), within the Mahayana, ‘nirvana’ is found in the midst of ‘samsara’ through clearing the mind of the obscuring ignorance that ‘hides’ this reality from direct perception. This can happen because both states are considered equally ’empty’ of any intrinsic reality, and as this ‘sunya’ is considered the only reality, its realisation cuts through all apparent dualities. As ’emptiness’ is ’empty’ of any inherent relativity, the ultimate position for the Mahayanist remains ultimately ‘beyond words’. As it is ‘beyond words’, this allows the re-entry of the Buddha’s original teaching (found within Early Buddhism) into the equation, as the exact definition of reality defies any exact conceptual explanation. The Buddha’s method only points a ‘middle path’ toward its realisation. This is why the state of nirvana is understood to be non-conditioned.

The Material Basis of Quantum Mechanics

Quantum theory is an extrapolation of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is the study of the construction and functionality of low level physical matter. It is not a theology, a metaphysics or a spirituality. Without quantum mechanics – that is the mathematical analysis of low level physical matter – there can be no quantum theory. Quantum theory in its strict scientific manifestation, has been taken by idealists and adapted and adopted to serve all kinds of disembodied thinking – effectively the process of distorting hard material science to justify theological thinking – or the exact opposite of what scientific thinking is supposed to be. The reason this happens is because the implications of quantum mechanics (essentially the paradoxical idea that light energy can behave as either a ‘wave’ and a ‘particle’ – but never at the sametime), suggests that low level reality is different from that of macro reality as described by classical physics. As classical physics serves most human needs within macro reality (i.e. the everyday world), the low level world of quantum mechanics gives the impression to the ordinary mind that there are two radically different realities functioning simultaneously. This suggests ‘nothing is certain’, and this idea has been incorrectly used to allow for theology to be used as a consequence of this paradox – but this is illogical. Theology is not a product of science and remains ‘unscientific’ from beginning to end – and this remains the case regardless of the extent of the development of scientific understanding. The way the human mind is used to develop science, is very different from the manner in which the mind has been used in the past to develop theology (with its accompanying mythology that its theistic content was somehow developed ‘outside’ the mind that conceived it). The reality is that the micro (low level) world of quanta (or small pockets of energy), and the macro world of everyday life do reconcile – albeit in a manner that is not yet fully understandable to the rational mind. This is an ongoing process of scientific development and discovery. Even if it is allowed that human perception somehow ‘adds’ to the phenomenon being observed – there is no evidence that this process exists outside the world of physical matter. This would suggest that ‘consciousness’ (used as a back-door into science by religionists), is not an entity ‘separate’ from matter (like a theological ‘spirit’ or a ‘soul’), but is rather part and parcel of an integral aspect of material existence. Whatever consciousness is – it does not lie ‘outside’ of the realm of material existence. This is because it is incorrect to associate ‘consciousness’ with a theological concept of ‘soul’. Why this happens is curious, because even within theological teaching, it is clear that a ‘soul’ is very different from humanity’s ‘ordinary’ conscious awareness. Modern science does not speculate beyond the logical analysis of physical existence – whereas the entire premise of theology is that it speculates about what might lie beyond the boundaries of material existence. Both systems of thought are completely different and cannot be reconciled without one over-coming and subsuming the other. The theories that underpin quantum mechanics are scientific and not theological. Conscious awareness – regardless of its origin, nature and functionality – is not a ‘spirit’ that stands in opposition to physical existence. Therefore, it logically follows that quantum mechanics – regardless of its paradoxes and implications – cannot be used as a substitute for theology. Once the material basis of human consciousness is fully understood and appreciated, an in-depth study and analysis of its implication and functionality can be ‘scientifically’ pursued outside of the limitations that theological understanding suggest and impose. Without firmly separating the study of evolutionary consciousness from theology – the true extent of the power of the human mind will not be fully understood.

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