Do you believe in life after death?

Do you believe in life after death?

  • Yes

    Votes: 71 41.0%
  • No

    Votes: 70 40.5%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 32 18.5%

  • Total voters
    173
Mar 2012
4,101
I would recommend modern introductions (either articles or books) of Yogacara or of these philosophers first if you are not grounded in philosophy as a discipline, reading any philosophers directly for starters is a pain as the terminologies and language they use are often not conforming to modern norms, especially in regard to non-western philosophers (or non-modern). That's why people aren't understanding the quotes I made, even when there was already a commentary on it.
 
Oct 2013
4,802
Planet Nine, Oregon
First of all, there are very much peculiar forms of Daoist meditation. Inner alchemy (neidan) is the most notable one; where you observe and imagine your inner organs and layout. I doubt you've done any real Daoist meditation, but its not a surprise as these methods are very rare in the west. Taichi isn't meditation, its just a set of physical exercise. The fact that you talk about brain at all suggest to me that you never actually had a proper instructor teaching you how to do Daoist meditation in the standard way (nor read any authoritative Daoist or Buddhist manuals on meditation, because all of them are fairly mind centered, most denounce physical reality altogether); and no I'm not just talking about a religious believe, how you perceive and cling to things in meditation affects the result. Nowadays too many people think they are innovative by applying biology and physics theories into their meditation, which defeats the entire purpose of insight.




If you are talking about Daoist and Buddhist meditation, get that physical function of body and brain out of there completely. The first thing a qualified Zen teacher would do is to smack you out of over-theorization of these concepts; they are nothing but hindrance to Satori (wu).
It is of supreme importance not to be attached to things that arise from meditation and other spiritual practices, and this is also true of many occult techniques. It's true that many Taoist meditation techniques are for very specific purposes based on a well -defined subtle anatomy, utilizing specific energies. Similar to Kundalini yoga in that respect.
The Secret of the Golden Flower - Wikipedia
 
Jun 2012
6,872
Malaysia
What you 'see' during or as a result of meditation is kind of a bit like what you 'see' in your dream. It is just, well, in your imagination. An ex-office colleague of mine had gone to the stage where he was seeing hot beautiful women (according to him) within twenty minutes of intense meditation in his home. Completely drug free, in case anyone is thinking that kind of thing. And when he had 'progressed' a bit further, a 'man' kept coming to 'visit' him, 'beating' him up until he was bruised up all over his body, ostensibly to 'discourage' him from advancing in his skill.

Nobody in his home saw anything else or anybody else, other than just him sitting in intense meditation. Not his wife, nor his son. So, it could not hv been anything real. It was all in the mind. A mind in a so called altered state .
 
Oct 2013
4,802
Planet Nine, Oregon
What you 'see' during or as a result of meditation is kind of a bit like what you 'see' in your dream. It is just, well, in your imagination. An ex-office colleague of mine had gone to the stage where he was seeing hot beautiful women (according to him) within twenty minutes of intense meditation in his home. Completely drug free, in case anyone is thinking that kind of thing. And when he had 'progressed' a bit further, a 'man' kept coming to 'visit' him, 'beating' him up until he was bruised up all over his body, ostensibly to 'discourage' him from advancing in his skill.

Nobody in his home saw anything else or anybody else, other than just him sitting in intense meditation. Not his wife, nor his son. So, it could not hv been anything real. It was all in the mind. A mind in a so called altered state .
You would hate Dean Radin and Rupert Sheldrake! :)
 
Oct 2009
3,337
San Diego
First of all, there are very much peculiar forms of Daoist meditation. Inner alchemy (neidan) is the most notable one; where you observe and imagine your inner organs and layout. I doubt you've done any real Daoist meditation, but its not a surprise as these methods are very rare in the west. Taichi isn't meditation, its just a set of physical exercise. The fact that you talk about brain at all suggest to me that you never actually had a proper instructor teaching you how to do Daoist meditation in the standard way (nor read any authoritative Daoist or Buddhist manuals on meditation, because all of them are fairly mind centered, most denounce physical reality altogether); and no I'm not just talking about a religious believe, how you perceive and cling to things in meditation affects the result. Nowadays too many people think they are innovative by applying biology and physics theories into their meditation, which defeats the entire purpose of insight.

If you are talking about Daoist and Buddhist meditation, get that physical function of body and brain out of there completely. The first thing a qualified Zen teacher would do is to smack you out of over-theorization of these concepts; they are nothing but hindrance to Satori (wu).
Um- what the heck do you think 'Internal alchemy" is about if not using the mind to alter the body? Really? You can actually write such a self defeating retort without realizing you just contradicted yourself?

I could really give a dang what a "qualified" zen teacher would do. Number one- I've practiced taoism for 46 years. I was an assistant teacher of Tai Chi. Number two. Just as with Buddhism, the history of Taoism is the history of a fairly simple philosophical view that became embroidered with all manner of magical horse puckey over centuries of people trying to figure out a way to make a living at it. The initial and valid insight was buried.

Tai Chi, itself was a very late addition. Buddhism has variants with demons, angels, and all manner of magical delusions that various peoples decoupaged on top of the fundamental teaching. So too, with Taoism.
Later "Taoists" practiced internal alchemy with the intention of living forever. That is the same sad dodge of mortality as heaven or rebirth that every other 'faith' dredges up... except with the Tao it is entirely opposed to the actual central concepts of Taoist Philosophy.


This is a common theme in human ideation- that they tend to fantasize and re- invent and often reverse the original concepts, because human beings tend to be drawn to certain kinds of narratives... and because those narratives are an easier sell, they then tend to take over as a form of belief.
For example. Jesus claimed he was the Son of Man. He denied being the son of God. His core teaching was not that we are all sinners, it was that anything HE had accomplished, ANY person could accomplish and thus you could become truly SIN- FREE.
His Dharma was the perfectabilty of the human spirit. But within a few hundred years, Jesus had been made into an incarnation of God... and God Split into 3 separate magesties... and a host of lesser demi-gods enshrined as saints. And humanity converted into inveterate sinners who could not attain heaven without the forgiveness that only the church could offer.
Coming from a teacher who believed there was only ONE God and that any man could learn to Sin No More. ( this is why in certain Buddhist traditions, Jesus is seen as an avatar whose Dharma was lost )

What I was referring to was that, unlike buddhism, there is not one single mention of anything even remotely resembling meditation in the foundational texts of taoism.
And while you can jerk around with such later embellishments as internal alchemy- ( Like I did) they do not serve the same function as meditation. Internal alchemy is an Egoic exercise. And as such, in my experience it fails to teach what meditation is meant to teach.

As to your suggestion that modern science defeats the purposes of the insight... the Dali Lama entirely disagrees. He has stated that in any area where Science disagrees with buddhist doctrine, then buddhist doctrine must be wrong.
I would venture to say that he might understand the purpose of Buddhism better than either of us.

After decades of spiritual study and practice, as well as a keen interest in emerging real knowledge of how the human brain and body work, I had to face the obvious... peoples who had no idea how the world really worked nevertheless had experiences and insights they wanted to express... and to do so they invented the answers to which they had no verifiable means of access as a form of narrative that others could follow. A finger pointing.

Sorry- speaking as a guy who mastered manipulation of it, there really is no Chi... Its just a narrative trying to make apprehensible something that is true about your body and mind... made up for the same reasons westerners invented "Humours".
That is, traditional techniques of manipulating Chi DO WORK... for some very limited purposes... it was a narrative invented to explain something you CAN experience... But, no, it doesn't do everything that narrative claims it can do, and no it isn't really working the way they claim it works.
Accupuncture does have some effects, but... no, it won't cure disease. And much of its perceived effect in wider purposes than pain management and muscle spasms is placebo.

internal alchemy and kundalini can prove to you that your brain can exert control over autonomic functions. But its not gonna make you stop aging and retention of semen will actually make you likely to get prostatitis.
If anything- frequent ejaculation is associated with greater longevity and vitality.
Crystals and astrology do nothing and mean nothing.

After decades of practice... and the application of a genuine intellectual honesty, I had to face up to the simple logic that ALL of the various ancient traditional beliefs claim to be the one TRUE picture of reality... and that by definition that would mean that only ONE of them could be right, and yet not one of them offers anything so compellingly more effective that it can prove itself the one true faith.

However- they Can ALL be equally wrong. Thy Can all be exactly what they appear to be- primitive attempts to explain something that they did not have the tools or science to adequately examine.

So- far from my analysis defeating the purpose of the original beliefs, it is quite the opposite. I seek to RESTORE that portion of each original belief system that shows evidence of being valid, and to nderstand HOW it can be valid in light of actual knowledge we are gaining about the human body, mind, and consciousness.

Of all the Original ancient beliefs, only TWO, in my view, have stood the test of challenge and modern science without being proven erroneous. The original texts of Taoism by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tsu. And Stoicism as elucidated by Zeno and Epicurus.
Neither bothers itself with any form of "afterlife" . Rather they seek to understand Life and being as we Can know it.

Strip away the malarky in other ancient traditions- such as the supremely complex Hindu mythology, and you find much the same basic insights into perception and being in most of them.

But my argument is that if you really want to get what is of value out of ancient philosophy or mysticism... you really have to try and tear away all the generations of false embroidery and facade that people who really did not understand it laminated on top.


(ETA- In my view it is truly sad that people studying such beliefs fall in thrall to the narrative, and entirely forget about the core concepts. Your post amounted to some form of "Purity Test" about whether I correctly parroted the catechism that is Currently in vogue or that You imagine was the 'ideal' form of the belief. Zen Buddhism is what Taoism DID to buddhism as it spread across China. As beautiful as it can be, i do not entirely agree with the Rinzai school- which is the closest to Taoism.
Karma, for example, is a great way of pretending that people pay a price for evil and are rewarded for good... which is a narrative the downtrodden WANT to hear... but it has no actual bearing on real life...or actual suffering. What I like about Taoism is that in its original form, it made up nothing. It told no story about the mechanics of being. It simply dealt with perception and our individual responsibility for what we think about what we perceive.

Real spirituality has to be in agreement with what can be determined to be real.

and the Narratives, the traditions are nothing but the MEANS we use to convey the realization that matters.

As Chuang Tsu wrote- once the fish have been caught, the nets can be put away.)
 
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Oct 2009
3,337
San Diego
I don't know which is your "science", but a little bit of "metascience" can't bring any harm.
If metascience is believing in the power of crystals, or Homeopathy, then, yeah- it can bring great harm.

But we can demonstrate all human perception of reality occurs within the brain as an emergent property of its function.


Here's a interesting story about something that happened to me that I still can not find the words to fully explain.
One night ten years ago I was working thru the night to meet a deadline- sculpting something digitally.
Often in such circumstances I had a TV near my desk playing some late night movie or something just to help keep me awake.

Suddenly... i was having a very hard time making sense of the image on my computer screen. I rotated the model this way and that, and yet it simply made no visual sense to me. A model I had spent hours and knew every inch of.

And then I glanced at the TV and saw something I can not adequately describe- Harrison Ford's face had No Left side. Now, when I write that... I know you must be picturing that where the left side of his face was, must have been a blank spot.
But there was no blank spot. My field of vision seemed perfectly contiguous and whole... without any gaps... and yet, the right half of everything I looked at was simply not there.
I looked at the IBM logo on my monitor... and I could see the I and the left half of the B but nothing else- so I move my focus over to where the M OUGHT to have been and then I could see the left half of the M, but not the right.

I covered each eye, and saw the same effect in both, so I knew what was happening was not happening in my eyes, but in my brain. I must have been having either a clot, or a bleed in the visual cortex of my brain- what they call a transient ischemic event.
It was 3 in the morning and I pondered calling an ambulance- but decided that at 3 in the morning they would have to wait a long time to get someone in to look at me... so instead I took an aspiring to thin my blood- hoping it wasn't a bleed- and decided to wait 20 minutes to see if it got better. 15 minutes later, I could see the right side of things again....

But the fascinating thing was that at no time could I SEE any 'holes' in my vision. My brain was not processing any information from the right half of either retina... and it simply invented a seamless visual impression of the world around me where NOTHING HAD a right side. IF I had been born that way- I would never have known that objects in the world had a right side. IT would not be part of my experience and it would be near impossible for me to derive the knowledge that my vision was incomplete.

and even after that description... it still is not possible for me to convey what that world looked like to me. As I tried to see Ford's left cheek... his face changed shape and- really I could not even tell it was Ford other than I knew he was the star of this movie.
 
Oct 2013
4,802
Planet Nine, Oregon
Sounds like you might be seeing auras! :-D
Visual Disturbances: Related to Migraine or Not? | American Migraine fdn.
I get migraines occasionally and sometimes have them. Rarely I have seen the bottom of someones face disappear when I was talking to them. I was rightly worried before I discovered what it was. Knew a popular writer who recently died of brain cancer; after the first operation he lost over half of his visual field; there's a specific name for that particular affliction that I have forgotten.
 
Mar 2012
4,101
Um- what the heck do you think 'Internal alchemy" is about if not using the mind to alter the body? Really? You can actually write such a self defeating retort without realizing you just contradicted yourself?
You clearly haven't done internal alchemy have you? The ultimate in Daoist meditations like Neidan is the Dazhou tian, which is the unification of body into mind (神). Daoist meditations of the Tang period onwards picked up insight meditation from Buddhism and developed Inner Alchemy, that is, visualizing internal organs as a place to make elixirs. Daoist "immortality" is interpreted literally by some, but for most, it simply means the immortality of the spirit; although the Daoists takes physical exercises as fundamentally connected to the mind.

If you actually knew a thing about what emptiness is (a concept which Daoists picked up as well), you wouldn't see the contradiction. But you don't, so your comments only have comical values. For starters, emptiness is not denying the existence of objects, it is stating that they have no self existing reality. I've literally explained that for pages in the other thread.

Taoism doesn't talk about matter as the first cause of things, plain and simple; not even Laozi and Zhuangzi said that. Adopting a scientific materialist view of it is just an utter misinterpretation of the doctrine.

I could really give a dang what a "qualified" zen teacher would do. Number one- I've practiced taoism for 46 years. I was an assistant teacher of Tai Chi. Number two. Just as with Buddhism, the history of Taoism is the history of a fairly simple philosophical view that became embroidered with all manner of magical horse puckey over centuries of people trying to figure out a way to make a living at it. The initial and valid insight was buried.
You can give whatever dang you want, but you said that there are no Daoist meditation, which is plain wrong because there plenty of Daoist meditation manuals written over the centuries which you never even read or know existed. You can say they are later embellishments and illegitimate all you want, doesn't change the fact that they exist and is what constitute mainstream Daoism today and you are not in position to declare what is legitimate Daoism or not.

No offense, but from what you've said in your posts, whatever 46 years of Daoism you've practiced, it sounds just like your own hodgepodge of arbitrary readings without actually receiving real Daoist meditation techniques from any standard Daoist instructors (for example a Daoshi monk). Taichi isn't even strictly Daoist, its a martial art started by the Chen family in the late 17th century, and only in the last century did it become primarily a physical exercise. Tell me which main Daoist sect today focuses on Taichi and I know whether I should take your ideas of Daoism seriously.
Even Laozhuang Daoism is hardly "just a philosophical view," there are lots of meditation experiences in it. For example Dao Dejing has passages like these:

致虚极,守静笃;万物并作,吾以观复。夫物芸芸,各复归其根。归根曰静,静曰复命。复命曰常,知常曰明。

"By attaining the height of abstraction we gain fullness of rest.
All the ten thousand things arise, and I see them return.
Now they bloom in bloom but each one homeward return to its root.
Returning to the root means rest.
It signifies the return according to destiny.
Return according to destiny means the eternal.
Knowing the eternal means enlightenment.
Not knowing the eternal causes passions to rise; and that is evil.
Knowing the eternal renders comprehensive. "

Zhuangzi has even more explicit passages on meditation:
已外天下矣,吾又守之,七日而后能外物;已外物矣,吾又守之,九日而后能外生;已外生矣,而后能朝彻,朝彻而后能见独,见独而后能无古今,无古今而后能入於不死

"after he cuts off from the world, after seven days he can cut off from things; after cutting off from things, he guards for nine days and he cuts off from bith, after cutting off from birth, he can see clarity, after seeing clarity, he can see the unity, after seeing unity he can experience timelessness, after timelessness, he can enter the state of deathless and birthless."

What I was referring to was that, unlike buddhism, there is not one single mention of anything even remotely resembling meditation in the foundational texts of taoism.
And while you can jerk around with such later embellishments as internal alchemy- ( Like I did) they do not serve the same function as meditation. Internal alchemy is an Egoic exercise. And as such, in my experience it fails to teach what meditation is meant to teach.
It sounds to me that your Daoism is just Taichi mixed with your reading of Laozi and Zhuangzi, sorry, but that is not how standard Daoism is practiced today. Your Daoism is just a new Hippie attempt at recreating what you think is "original Daoism" and not in tone at all with the mainstream practice.

The problem with your statement is that no Daoist practices in extent today focuses on Laozi or Zhuangzi. Daoism is a lot more than just these texts. If you use these texts as the basis of your meditation technique, then you are not doing Daoist meditation, because no one knows what techniques these texts even speaks of as the direct meditation tradition from them is long lost in the distant past (that's why you think they have no meditation).
The main Daoist practices today are neidan from Zhang Boduan. If you call these later embellishments, then you are denouncing all mainstream Daoism today because they rely primarily on these later texts. You clearly haven't read any real prominent Daoist meditation books like Zuowang lun from Sima Zhencheng or Wuzhen Pian from Zhang Boduan nor know a thing about what these texts talk about.

As to your suggestion that modern science defeats the purposes of the insight... the Dali Lama entirely disagrees. He has stated that in any area where Science disagrees with buddhist doctrine, then buddhist doctrine must be wrong.
I would venture to say that he might understand the purpose of Buddhism better than either of us.
Facepalm. I cannot say how asinine this comment is if you knew a thing about Tibetan Buddhist philosophy. The main doctrine of the Gelukpa sect is Pransangika Madhyamaka, revolving around discourses like Tsongkhaba which talks about the emptiness of all phenomenon. The Dalai Lama is only appealing to the populace by making statements like these. He also talked about the limits of science. In Buddhism there is something called the doctrine of two truths. Make no qualms that Dalai Lama is only talking about the conventional truth when he said Buddhist doctrines are wrong and have to cater to science because of the limits of mundane knowledge. But when it comes the ultimate truth of dependent origination, science has no presence and provides no doctrine to even address the issue and the Dalai Lama is certainly educated enough in Buddhist discourses to understand that.
 
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Apr 2017
519
Lemuria
For an advance enough civilization yes (their memory can be transferred into clones or compatible bodies or stored in a circuit) but not you. You will vanish and no one will remember you like in this video.

 

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