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How did everything really begin?


  

52 members have voted

  1. 1. What's your creation of existence theory?

    • God created everything (spiritual/religious)
      4
    • The big bang (scientific)
      17
    • Time is running in a loop
      1
    • This is all a computer program
      2
    • Other (explain theory in topic)
      14
    • None (No idea how it began)
      14
  2. 2. Has this topic changed your mind about the theory of creation in any way?

    • Yes
      1
    • No
      51


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You are probably missing something.. The first life that emerged were simple cells that were able to metabolize. This could have happened by chance because there was an ocean of chemical reactions on the earth then. With numerous reactions taking place simultaneously, it is not unbelievable that some reactions actually gave rise to the first cell. Then we all descended from them.

 

Yes, but you need to distinguish those two concepts. Everything you say, up until the last sentence, belongs in the realm of how life on this planet started, which is called abiogenesis. Your last sentence refers to the process on how species changed, adapted, and split into different species and forms of life, which is evolution.

 

God is the most logical answer, in my very fallible understanding, it is a question that science with never answer!

Nor will they unicorns.

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Math is more of the language of science than a science itself. Mathematical proofs can actually be thought of as true, where science deals in theory which, by the nature of the scientific method, can'

If you can undeniably prove the spiritual side of things that will be quite a feat. Best of luck to you.   I believe in the Big Bang theory. However, the BBT makes no attempt to explain the 'creati

Have you seen this talk from Lawrence Krauss? It's just slightly over an hour, and discusses this concept quite a bit.    

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God is the most logical answer, in my very fallible understanding, it is a question that science with never answer!

tell me the difference between a god that exists but does not manifest in this reality and a God that does not exist.
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Hi Prometheus - This teaching about existence is the essence of the doctrine. It is the doctrine of 'dependent origination' or 'emptiness'. If things existed as we usually think they do then Buddhism, more generally mysticism, would have to be nonsense. The basic idea is that phenomena have no substance or essence 'from their own side', but are conceptual imputations.

 

Where best to find it would depend on where your interests lie . If you're into consciousness studies then I'd recommend an article by Edward Barkin titled 'Relative phenomenalism', from JCS about ten years ago. Nagarjuna is worth checking because he presents a famous logical proof that nothing really exists, and much of the commentary around his work deals with this idea. .

 

It's actually the whole idea behind 'The Matrix'. In the film there is a reference to Beaudrillard's 'Desert of the Real', and this is very relevant to the idea of 'emptiness' and maybe a way to get a handle on it.

 

As the thread is about how everything begins, George Spencer Brown is also worth checking out, since he describes the principles of the mechanism in his book 'Laws of Form'. Don't expect to 'get it' quickly though. It may look irrelevant,

 

This idea, doctrine, belief, theory or simple fact is the reason why the nondual doctrine does not give rise to any metaphysical problems.

Edited by PeterJ
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It is the doctrine of 'dependent origination' or 'emptiness'. If things existed as we usually think they do then Buddhism, more generally mysticism, would have to be nonsense.

 

Thanks. Maybe i misunderstand your interpretation, but do you mean to say the the teaching of dependent arising argues that nothing really exists? That is not my understanding of this teaching, which i understand to mean that things arise in accordance to causes. Maybe we could agree that particular things we come across are empty of inherent meaning, being that they are linked to other things by of chain of causes, and so cannot be fully understood in isolation?

 

Where best to find it would depend on where your interests lie .

 

How about the pali canon?

 

Anyway, how come this talk of Buddhism? The Buddha specifically refused to address such issues such as 'how did the world begin' as they weren't relevant to his message. To that end its probably best to discuss our interpretations of doctrine by PM rather than bog down this thread.

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This thread is about how the universe began. If Buddhism is not relevant to this then it's not relevant to anything.

 

The doctrine of dependent origination states that everything that seems to exist does so only in dependence on something else and that nothing has intrinsic or independent existence. These various aspects fo the doctrine cannot be separated because they all imply each other. The Buddha suggested that we do not get bogged down in questions about beginnings and so forth, but he did not say there are no answers. They are there in the sutras if we extrapolate, and they are presented quite clearly elsewhere in the literature.

 

I'm sorry if you see this answer to the OP's question as bogging down the thread. It's the only answer that makes sense to me, so I have nothing else to add.

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“According to the Buddha’s timeless law of Dependent Origination, it is because of volition that consciousness keeps arising throughout endless world cycles. And it is certainly true that in Buddhist philosophy one’s choice is not determined by anything in the physical, material world. Volition is, instead, determined by such ineffable qualia as the state of one’s mind and the quality of one’s attention: wise or unwise, mindful or unmindful. So in both quantum physics and Buddhist philosophy, volition plays a special, unique role”

Excerpt From: Jeffrey M. Schwartz & Sharon Begley. “The Mind and the Brain.” HarperCollins, 2002. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBookstore: url deleted by mod

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Check out this book on the iBookstore: url deleted by mod

 

!

Moderator Note

Arjun, please stop violating our rule against advertising.

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Well, then, I am, leaving finally, because, I am, getting nowhere, and, I believe, that, I am, definitely, on the totally wrong web site. I am actually seeming to be wasting my precious time right out right here right now. Before I leave, I feel so sad for all the people out there who cannot see from the Darkness into the Light, into The Path Of Illumination.

 

Good Journeys.

Arjun Shriram.

 

3, May, 2013, AD.

4:41 PM.

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Well, then, I am, leaving finally, because, I am, getting nowhere, and, I believe, that, I am, definitely, on the totally wrong web site.

It's not called endorphins, it's called adrenaline and nor-adrenaline. This forum sucks. I am leaving. Good bye guys.

I hereby request the moderater once again to kindly lock all the forums that I have started because I am finally leaving now at long last.

Empty promises.
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tell me the difference between a god that exists but does not manifest in this reality and a God that does not exist.

 

Look around you at existence, it did not just pop up from nothing. God does not have to prove himself, to you or any other entity?

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Look around you at existence, it did not just pop up from nothing. God does not have to prove himself, to you or any other entity?

hmm,

interesting,

I'm curious how,

god created everything from nothing, in a somewhere, but no where because nothing exist place,

 

why-god-never-received-a-phd-15188.jpg

 

 

Edited by krash661
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Time goes on both ways forever,

despite all mortal human endeavour,

infinity will be reached, never ever.

 

Chaos is purely nature in action,

first find that correct butterfly,

and you can make anything happen.

 

Anti chaos is also quite easy to do,

first find that correct butterfly,

and then say boo!

 

Time divided by the speed of light is the butterfly

Where wing numbers are even it is harmonic

and where odd, it is chaotic.

 

As it flutters by, it knows

It knows of wind, and food, and bats.

It knows of of sun, and dew, and rainbows.

 

...Or maybe a thinking machine created itself by inventing man to build it.

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Well I voted other, because I think it is a cyclic event: that is logically most probable seeing all observations, and answering all questions and it also what I feel will be the right answer.

 

BTW it being cyclic doesn't mean time is in a loop. Time is what the clock states it is, and as such only goes forward. (In other words MN doesn't need time in order to run around, we need it in order to describe what she's up to) That the system repeats itself even absolutely doesn't mean that time does as well, and it certainly doesn't mean that, if as I believe the entire system is at a deepest level absolutely unique at any given moment in time in which all possible scenario's are played out all the time.

 

Further more the question on a beginning and an end is wrong. There is no beginning or end as I see it.

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This thread is about how the universe began. If Buddhism is not relevant to this then it's not relevant to anything.

 

I'm sorry if you see this answer to the OP's question as bogging down the thread. It's the only answer that makes sense to me, so I have nothing else to add.

 

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about...Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about..."

 

From AN 4.77. The Buddha didn't think it relevant to his teachings, so i guess Buddhism is not relevant to anything.

Let science answer this question if it can, there is nothing wrong with Buddhism remaining silent on a topic it cares not to conjecture about.

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The OP's question is not relevant to soteriology. This is why the Buddha does not waste time on it, and why many Buddhists think we should not waste time on it. It is relevant to physics, however, and this is why I think we should consider what Buddhism, more generally mysticism. has to say about it. It is my impression that many people dismiss this long before they have any slighest idea what it is.

 

Science cannot answer the OP's question. This is the reason why this thread is in 'philosophy'. It is a metaphysical problem, and it would be a elementary mistake to wait for science to solve it. Unless, that is, you see metaphysics as as science, as many do.

 

What is your objection to the answer to this question that is given in Buddhism and Taoism?

Edited by PeterJ
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My objection

 

What is your objection to the answer to this question that is given in Buddhism and Taoism?

 

My objection is that the Buddha didn't give an answer. You seem to think otherwise - please provide scriptural evidence.

 

I do not know much of Taoism, but the first line from it's first book seems to suggest seeking an understanding of some ultimate truth is not possible.

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The Buddha did give an answer, not directly.but by implication. It hardly matters, Nagarjuna later made many of the philosophical details more clear, and there are thousands of other sages since who have dealt with this issue. Mahayana Buddhism is grounded philosophically by Nagarjuna's theory of emptiness and doctrine of two truths. This is the philosophical foundation of the Buddha's teaching.

 

Lao Tsu is explicit. He tells us he knows how the world begins, and says he knows this because he has looked inside himself and seen. .

 

I wouldn't expect anyone to take such claims seriously without a great deal of thought and research, but I am surprised when someone suggests that Buddhism and Taoism do not make a claim in this area. The claim is expllcit and no secret. Buddhism and Taoism are all about knowing how the world begins. It is about knowing the nature and origin of all phenomena. You needn;t believe the explanation given, and it is a difficult one to understand, but there's no denying that it is given.

 

We are talking about a complete philosophical scheme. It makes claims in every area of metaphysics, from origins to consciousness, from ethics to spacetime.

 

So I do not think your objections have any weight. You would need to look at the explanation given and object to that. .

Edited by PeterJ
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Please provide scriptural evidence. Just link to somewhere where it expounds some of these ideas.

 

The claim is expllcit and no secret. Buddhism and Taoism are all about knowing how the world begins.

 

I don't know enough about Taoism to discuss it.

 

As for Buddhism how do you link your statement:

 

'The claim is expllcit and no secret. Buddhism... [is] all about knowing how the world begins',

 

with the Buddha's statement:

 

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about...Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about..."

Edited by Prometheus
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Aha. Yes, I see why you think I'm disagreeing with the Buddha.

 

What the Budddha is saying is do not speculate, but go and find out. He is not saying that the truth cannot be known, but that there is no point in speculating about it.

 

As for references, I could swamp the thread with them. Better for you to go and read the sutras really, or the Tao Te Ching,,but here are some that were handy. I can post as many as you want, since the topic underlies most of the literature.


"Not from self, not from other,

Not from both, nor without cause:

Things do not arise

At any time, at any place.

 

This verse [by Nagarjuna] proves that things do not arise because they do not arise from any of the four extremes: They do not arise from themselves, from something other than themselves, from both themselves and something other than themselves, and they do not arise without any cause at all. These are the only four possible ways in which things could arise, and since none of them are valid, things do not truly arise. Therefore, things do not truly exist."


Khenpo Tsütrim Gyamtso

The Sun of Wisdom

Teachings on the Noble Nagarjuna’s

Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way

Shambala, 2003 (5)

 

This next one is the Buddha. It's the nearest thing to a philosophical statement I can find. It is primarily a psychological statement, but ontological as well. ('Demons here are mental disturbances, not little men with horns).

"Further, in his cultivation of samadi which, as a result of his pointed concentration of mind, can no more be troubled by demons, if the practiser looks exhaustively into the origins of living beings and begins to differentiate between views when contemplating the continuous subtle disturbance in this clear state, he will fall into error because of the following four confused views about the undying heaven.

 

i. As he investigates the origin of transformation, he may call changing that which varies, unchanging that which continues, born that which is visible, annihilated that which is no more seen, increasing that which preserves its nature in the process of transformation, decreasing that whose nature is interrupted in the changing process, existing that which is created, and non-existent that which disappears; this is the result of his differentiation of the eight states seen as he contemplates the manifestations of the fourth aggregate. If seekers of the truth call on him for instruction, he will declare,: ‘I now both live and die, both exist and do not, both increase and decrease,’ thus talking wildly to mislead them.


ii. As the practiser looks exhaustively into his mind, he finds that each thought ceases to exist in a flash and concludes that they are non-existent. If people ask for instruction, his answer consists of the one word "Nothing," beyond which he says nothing else


iii. As the practiser looks exhaustively into his mind, he sees the rise of his thoughts and concludes that they exist. If people ask for instruction, his answer will consist of the one word "Something," beyond which he says nothing else.


iv. The practiser sees both existence and non-existence and finds that such states are so complicated that they confuse him. If people ask for instruction, he will say: "The existing comprises the non-existent but the non-existent does not comprise the existing," is such a perfunctory manner as to prevent exhaustive enquiries.


By so discriminating he causes confusion and so falls into heresy which screens his Boddhi nature. The above pertains to the fifth state of heterodox discrimination (samskara) which postulates confused views about the undying."


Sakyamuni Buddha

The Surangama Sutra

Trans. Lu K’uan Yu

I. Publications, New Delhi, 1966 (p. 222)

 

For Taoism knowing the 'ancient origin' is the essence of the practice. .

"Without going outside, you may know the whole world. Without looking through the window, you may see the ways of heaven. The farther you go, the less you know.

 

Lao Tsu

Tao Te Ching

Trans. Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English

Wildwood House Ltd (1973)

 

The entire point of the practice is to discover such things as our own origin and the origin and nature of all phenomena. Loa Tzu states 'knowing the ancient beginnings is the essence of Tao'. Same throughout the various forms of mysticism. For the writers of the Upanishads 'The voidness is one phenomenon is the voidness of all'. That is to say, once one has seen the nature of one phenomenon one has seen the nature of them all.

 

I'm not sure why we're questionning this. It's there in all the texts. I know that many people do not think such practices lead to such knowledge, but we have to concede that this is the perennial claim.



PS. The actual claim is that the spacetiome universe doers not originate with Something or with Nothing. This is consistent with reason, which finds that neither of these ideas makes sense, as many threads in this forum illustrate.

 

The claim is also that the universe does not begin and does not not-begin, which is a very confusing claim but can be read as meaning that there are two ways of looking at it depending on what we mean by ';universe', on what level we are speaking and so forth. Also, if by reduction things do not really exist then it makes no sense to say they began. If we say they exist in a way, then they began in a way.

Edited by PeterJ
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I think we have significant differences in the interpretation of Buddhist scripture (and maybe the validity of some Buddhist scriptures). Perhaps it would be best for us to split our discussion into two: one addressing our scriptural differences, the other regarding the OP. It may be more beneficial for us, and less burdensome for others reading this thread, if we take the scriptural differences to a Buddhist forum?

 

 

Regarding the OP: mystics may have guessed at the nature of the universe and it's origin. With so many guesses floating around, someone may even have guessed right. But we won't know, unless science is able to verify this (i.e. evidence is consistent with the guess). There's nothing wrong with guessing - it's where science begins. But, in my opinion, it should be where religion, spirituality or whatever you want to call it, should end. It should end here because its sole domain should be to improve the mental condition of mankind. Guessing at the nature of the universe is not needed for this end. In fact, i would argue that such speculations are damaging because they turn away rational minded people from something they may benefit from.

 

Anyway, i'm happy to address your particular points above, i just think a Buddhist forum would be better suited.

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If you think that mysticism is about guesswork then you need to investigate it further. I can't think how anyone could reach this conclusion. The sages spend half their time telling us that there no point in guesswork, and you yourself quoted the Buddha saying so.

 

Do you think I;m discussing this on the basis of guesswork? .

 

In the mainstream science and philosophy of our western universities there is no answer to the OP's question after thousands of years of trying to find one. In mysticism there is an answer but almost nobody wants to know anything about it. I'm not even sure why anybody bothers to ask the question anymore. We've known since the dawn of philosophy that it makes no sense that the universe has a beginning, and that it makes no sense that it doesn't. Yet few people see the significance of this.

But these metaphysical question are not complicated. Kant sums up metaphysics when he states that all selective conclusions about the world.as a whole are undecidable. This is as much as one needs to know in order to work out the answers to all these questions, but I'm not convinced that many people want to work them out for fear that their cage will be rattled by their calculations. I'm deeply cynical about the idea that people want to know the truth. I think it's the last thing people are looking for, even in this thread.

 

 

 

.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm deeply cynical about the idea that people want to know the truth. I think it's the last thing people are looking for, even in this thread.

 

So what is the truth? Or will you go all Jack Nicholson on us?

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Well, what the truth actually is would not be quite the point. The point would be that logic tells us that the idea that the universe had a beginning is absurd. And it tells us that the idea that it did not have a beginning is also absurd. This is where most people stop thinking and give up on the quest for the truth. .

 

To really search beyond this conundrum for the truth would require thinking even harder. But most people cannot get beyond metaphysics because they assume that religion is nonsense before they've bothered to check. So threads like this come and go and nobody gets anywhere. But Kant and Hegel answered the OP's question a long time ago, and the Buddha and Lao Tsu a long time before that.

 

There is one answer to metaphysical questions that works and it is nondualism. This is quite easy to calculate. But how many people bother to do the calculations? Kant is supposedly a key figure in our tradition of philosophy yet he is almost universally ignored on this issue.

 

It's easy to calculate because the results of metaphysics are well documented, extensively tested.and have never required revision. It has been known for millenia that the 'beginning' question is formally undecidable. Yet here we are again trying to decide it, or proposing ideas that assume it is decidable. This is pointless. We should accept the results of logic and move on.

 

It is a profoundly unscientific approach, I would say, to assume that logic is not a safe guide to truth without any evidence to the contrary. Yet on these kinds of topics it is a commonplace assumption.

 

Sorry, a bit of a waffly answer. It's a start.

 

 

 

 

 

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