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  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      1. Yes I understand, but Buddhism has a totally different framework. We don't talk about a first cause, or creation, as if we are being created by someone. It is via causes and conditions that everything manifests.

      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.067.than.html

      "It's not the case, Kotthita my friend, that aging & death are self-made, that they are other-made, that they are both self-made & other-made, or that — without self-making or other-making — they arise spontaneously. However, from birth as a requisite condition comes aging & death." -

      2. It is not at all an absurd proposition. It is however an absurd proposition that out of billions of planets, none of them could have the conditions for life. In fact evolution can only have happened to such an advanced level after 14 billion years of history in the universe (not 6000 years like some Christians believed)

      The fact that there are billions of planets are not speculations at all - see http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/28/astronomers-billions-of-super-earths-in-habitable-zone-of-red-dwarf-stars/

      Already, hundreds of earth sized planets are discovered, and they are still at a very early stage of discovering even more earth-sized planets, needless to speak of the countless larger, non-earth-sized planets.

      There is therefore no reason to believe that we are alone - there are likely many other advanced civilizations out there.


      3. and 4. Again, the so called 'laws of nature' are like u said, contingent upon the natural processes/phenomena itself, i.e. without h2o, without all the elements on earth coming together and forming a chain reaction, there would be no rain.

      There are in fact rain in other planets even in our solar system, this is a scientific fact, but they do not necessarily rain h2o and their environment may be too hostile for life.

      5. No, I do not concede an eternal unchanging mind or a collective consciousness. There is an experience that may be reified into an eternal unchanging mind or collective consciousness. However, deeper insights reveal that this luminous consciousness is always unique, without subject/object duality, but unique processes that flows on and on without a beginning. Each of us have unique minds though equally luminous and empty. Since each mindstream is everchanging and impermanent, without an independent unchanging core, it cannot be said to be substantially existing. But like a candle that lights another candle, the dream continues via cause and effect.

      We do not teach first cause but beginningless stream of cause and effects.

      1. I understand that Buddhists don't (want to) talk about a first cause or consider it as irrelevant or unimportant compared to the present. But not wanting to talk about the past is not the same as denying anything about the past. And if you believe in causes and conditions that things manifest, why would that be a denial of God as cause of the universe? Can you clarify if the Buddha himself in his documented teachings explicitly DENIED there is a Creator God?

      2. Indeed only if there is birth i.e. life can one talk about death. The precondition for death is life, or birth if you like. So what is the precondition for life? I submit that it is Life itself. Life begats life. Even in science we have the law of biogenesis, where life comes only from life.

      3. The issue is not the conditions for life. As mentioned, having the conditions for life does not translate to having life. What is necessary conditions does not mean it is sufficient conditions. We have no evidence of life elsewhere, it is merely an article of faith, not a known fact. Which is why I consider this speculation. You may strongly believe there is life out there, but it is just strong faith, perhaps even wishful thinking.

      4. The main reason that people believe there is life out there is simply because people believe in evolution. They reason that given billions of years life can evolve elsewhere just as it did on earth. But that's just a belief. There are good reasons to think that evolution is false.

      5. To say that without H2O there would be no rain is a rather incoherent thing. Rain IS H2O. The issue is not about the conditions for rain, or the laws of nature. The question is what can account for the laws of nature themselves? Just to clarify, I am not disputing any known undisputed fact of the universe, I am saying that all these need to be accounted for in some ways. We can actually sum it all up at the level of the universe and ask, since the universe began to exist it must be contingent, so what is its cause? What is the best explanation?

      6. But it seems you do teach an eternal but eternally changing stream of consciousness. You said you teach an endless streams of causes and effects. But this is incoherent if you think about it. You must have a first cause. Every effect requires a cause. You can even have causes that are also effects, but you can't have ALL causes being effects. It is illogical.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      ‘Nirvana' is or should not be considered as a 'merging with an absolute existence' otherwise it becomes another form of Hinduism. It is not what the Mahayana teachings teach.

      In any case, here's what Kannada wrote in 2008:

      Nirvana is the word used for the cessation of all states and all conditions. Being a 'human' (human being) is a state or condition, so no human can be 'in' nirvana so
      obviously nirvana is not a destination for humans to reach or to be in, these are just figures of speech that can be very misleading. As nirvana is not a destination we
      cannot be either near or far from nirvana for nirvana is not a location in time or space, therefore no path can lead toward or away from nirvana. Nirvana cannot possibly be a goal to be attained for the person who so 'attains' would by necessity need to cease to be in order to so attain - conversley nirvana would need to be in itself a 'thing' (condition) to be so attained, hence nirvana would cease to be nirvana by its presence as a thing-in-itself. The cessation or neutralization of an attaining non-self is of course a contradiction in terms - a non-self cannot obviously cease to be.

      In order to "see 'things' as they really are" there can be no asserted seer or self that sees, neither can there be asserted 'things' (other) that are seen, only an undifferentiated seeing. It is imperative to understand that conditions do not exist outside of the cognizing/conceptualizing mind that so asserts those conditions. In other words time, space, causality, subject, object, this, that, self and other are all asserted via the cognitive processes and result through the dream of conceptuality - these assertions are the subject matter of delusion - the opposite of nirvana.

      Seeing "as is" is inherent capability of all cognizing minds hence it may be (loosely) said that "all beings are in nirvana from the beginning" it is only when the next step of conceptualization is taken that the unconditioned becomes the conditioned, the undifferentiated becomes differentiated. The non-conceptual mind does not make any such differentiations. Hence there need not be a striving to attain but rather a ceasing to bifurcate or subdivide that which by nature is indivisible - but
      appears to be divided by the conceptualizing mind. Open eyes see but do not divide what is seen from an assumed seer. Open ears hear but do not divide the hearer from the heard etc etc. In cessation no concept can survive - not of 'nirvana' or 'seeker', of 'practitioner' nor 'attainer'...

      k

      Can you clarify what Buddha rejected concerning Hinduism? Did he completely reject it? Or did he "reform" it?

      Wouldn't then the idea of nirvana as cessation be really nihilism since it means it means cessation of all states and being? Perhaps what remained is a non-conceptual mind? But what exactly is this non-conceptual mind? Does it have inherent existence?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      sure got connection, we pro interconnection.  i meant No logic mean cannot use common sense to explain it. like how a small seed can contain the entire universe. u think it's not possible, but it can be done in an advance state. for example like now a small thumb drive/chip can contain so many texts or data, last time we have papers and didn't think it's possible.  

      /\

      Sorry, I did not mean connection or common sense, but communication. Logic undergirds meaningful communication.

      I think it is fallacious to conclude that because a small thumb drive can contain vast amount of data, therefore a small seed can contain the entire universe. One is talking about packing wallops of standardised same kind of stuff i.e. information bits on a chip due to technology advancement (but there will be a limit), the other is talking about time, space, matter. We are talking about completely different things. The question is, before the univese can exist what seed are we talking about?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

       

      at first the lower realms was not suppose to be there. but because of ignorance, afflictions, greed and all, the lower realms start to manifest. the heavenly devas came to earth as u read, "created" the human realms, then with folly karma, created the animal realms, with greed karma created the ghosts realm, and with hatred karma created the hell realms. all sort of sins/karma, killing, stealing, lust, lying arises. however, there's a sutra where things will "return" back to heavenly realms. as we have End of the whole Universe (which is 1000000000 universes in all). it will start when hell realm are saved, then the ghost realm, the animal realm and the human realm will also be saved and reborn into some higher heavenly realm of light and above. but way before that we also have a smaller chaos or "end days" where a group of good people will escape to some remote place to start life over, and then after that that's also the next coming of Buddha and by then the human on earth will live like devas/gods, very happy era indeed. sound familar isn't it?

       we are not the only universe, there are countless of them like the sands on the beach said Buddha. we are in agreement with science. universes are born and die just like the 4 seasons. AEN's late master/teacher used to study bible, like how many cm thick? but after studing the massive Buddha sutras, he said that the bible is like kindergarden book. not detail enough, too general. the Buddhadharma a lot in depth.

      fyi the devas that create weathers are all mental /spiritual powers, no need any equipment like human.  

      /\

       

      So before there was ignorance, what was there?

      A return back to the "heavenly realms"?

      Yes it does sound familiar to the Bible, which speaks of a perfect creation (no sin, no suffering, no death), then man's rebellion against God (which brought in sin, suffering and death), then God's redemptive-salvaton plan, and finally the restoration of all things (no more sin, suffering and death). In fact, I think this general idea is rather universal and present in most religions. I believe this is because of the Tower of Babel incident, the point in human history when the languages of man were confused, each language group separated from the others but each retained the memory of the former times, but got embellished over time. I believe the Bible retained the true account of what human history.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by Steveyboy:

      Dear BroInChrist,

      First of all, I didn't say that Christianity believe in reincarnation but I am saying that there is a high possibility that it did because in Judaism, they did believe in reincarnation. We all know that the Christianity came from Judaism. You cannot refute that because the Old Testament and the Torah (jewish bible) are virtually the same. Jesus was a Jew and all the prophets of the Old Testament were Jews as well. The documentary explained that there was a possibility that when the bible was being translated over, it was largely rewritten to suit the needs of the Church. Hence, I am sorry but I cannot believe in most of the things that they say in the bible. In fact, bible scholars who had researched and studied the archaelogical sites in the middle east have come to the conclusion that very little of the bible can be historically verified. Here's a very interesting debate on the topic - 'Is the bible still relevant today' on BBC. It is a forum with bible scholars, Christian, Jewish and Professor Richard Dawkins...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CAEpc1zhcuo

      On the topic of control, I have no comment. This is subjective. Religion no matter how we look at it is a form of control but the purpose of this control is what makes us believe or not believe. 

      On the topic of reincarnation, please google 'past life regression'. This is not theological or religious studies anymore, it is documented proof that many people who underwent hypnosis are able to recall their previous lives. Some of these people are able to speak in languages they had never spoken before and some are able to remember details that can be verified to be true and that there's no way they could have known otherwise. If you need proof of that, refer to this site on what some professors and doctors have commented on the research of past lives:-

      http://www.victorzammit.com/evidence/pastliferegressions.htm

      I just type reincarnation in Youtube and there's a whole slew of documentaries that showcases people from all over the world with evidence of a previous life. Just because you don't recall your previous life doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Here's just one I picked up for you :- 

      http://www.victorzammit.com/evidence/pastliferegressions.htm

      Please bear in mind, the professors and doctors who commented and even the people who claimed to recall their previous lives are not Buddhists or Hindus. So, I think this information is very compelling for me to believe that a past lives does exist. There's just too much proof to disprove it.

      1. Not only does Christianit not teach reincarnation remotely (not to say central dogma!), neither does Judaism teach reincarnation remotely. I have read the OT through before and there is nothing therein to suggest reincarnation. Consider Genesis 1 and 2 where God created. If reincarnation was true, it wouldn't make sense there at all.

      2. You cannot believe all the things in the Bible but you can believe all the things that people say about the Bible? Why?

      3. The idea that religion exists to control people is an argument without merit. People who tout this line of argument cannot produce any evidence to support this. Yes, there are instances whereby religious leaders have controlled their flock, but that would be to throw out the baby with the bath water.

      4. The Bible mentions the existence of fallen angels that have been around for a long time and have lived alongside people for thousands of years. I believe the so-called memories of past lives from hypnoticism is a result of diabolical influences from such spirits to mislead mankind. When you undergo hypnoticism you allow yourself to be influenced by man and any spiritual powers. Can you say this is impossible? I would say it is evidence that there is a supernatural realm, but Christians already know this, but this does not prove reincarnation.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      In the book I showed you, the problem of evil is also addressed:

       

      The Problem of Evil

      Perhaps the most potent argument against the existence of an all- powerful and all-loving God is the undeniable fact that there is so much pain and suffering in the world. If there really is a God of love who has unlimited power why doesn’t he put an end to all this evil? Christians try to answer this difficult question in several ways.

      Firstly they will say that evil is caused by humans not God and that if only we would follow God’s commandments there would be no pain, evil or suffering. However, while it is true that evils such as war, rape, murder and exploitation can be blamed on humans, they can hardly be blamed for the millions who die each year in earthquakes, floods, epidemics and accidents, all of which are natural events. In fact, if the Bible is correct, the germs that cause hideous diseases like TB, polio, cholera, leprosy etc. and all the misery, deformity and suffering to which they give rise, were created by God before he created man (Gen. 1:11-12). So it is not correct to say that evil and suffering are caused by humankind.

      Another way fundamentalist Christians will try to explain away evil is to say that it is God’s punishment for those who do not follow his commandments. However, this implies that terrible things only happen to bad people which are certainly not true. We often hear of painful sickness or disasters befalling good people including good Christians and likewise we often hear of really bad people who seem to have nothing but good fortune and success. So it cannot be said that suffering and evil are God’s way of punishing sinners.

      Next, Christians will say that God allows evil to exist in the world because he wants to give us the freedom to choose good over evil and thereby be worthy of salvation. Evil, they will say, exists to test us. At first this seems to be a good explanation. If a man sees someone being beaten up by a bully he has a choice between turning away (doing wrong) or deciding to help the victim (doing right). If he decides to help then he has been tested and found good. However, as we have seen before, an all-knowing God must already know what choices a person will make so what is the point of testing us? Also, even if suffering and evil exist to test us couldn’t an all-loving God think of a less cruel and painful way to do this? Further, it seems rather unloving and unfair to allow pain to be inflicted on one person just so that another can have the opportunity to choose between good and evil.

      Some fundamentalist and born again Christians will try to free God from responsibility for evil by saying that it was not created by him but by the Devil. This may be true but again if God is so loving why doesn’t he simply prevent the Devil from causing suffering and doing evil? And in any case, who created the Devil in the first place? Surely it was God. By this stage the Christian will start to get a bit desperate and shift the argument from logic to pragmatism. He will say that even though there is suffering in the world we can use it as an opportunity to develop courage and patience. This is undoubtedly true but it still does not explain why an all-loving God allows babies to die of cancer, innocent bystanders to be killed in accidents and leprosy victims to suffer deformity, misery and pain. In fact, the existence of so much pointless and unnecessary pain and suffering in the world is very strong evidence that there is no all-loving, all-powerful God.

       

      Perhaps the most potent argument against the existence of an all- powerful and all-loving God is the undeniable fact that there is so much pain and suffering in the world. If there really is a God of love who has unlimited power why doesn’t he put an end to all this evil? Christians try to answer this difficult question in several ways.

      Firstly they will say that evil is caused by humans not God and that if only we would follow God’s commandments there would be no pain, evil or suffering. However, while it is true that evils such as war, rape, murder and exploitation can be blamed on humans, they can hardly be blamed for the millions who die each year in earthquakes, floods, epidemics and accidents, all of which are natural events. In fact, if the Bible is correct, the germs that cause hideous diseases like TB, polio, cholera, leprosy etc. and all the misery, deformity and suffering to which they give rise, were created by God before he created man (Gen. 1:11-12). So it is not correct to say that evil and suffering are caused by humankind.

      Another way fundamentalist Christians will try to explain away evil is to say that it is God’s punishment for those who do not follow his commandments. However, this implies that terrible things only happen to bad people which are certainly not true. We often hear of painful sickness or disasters befalling good people including good Christians and likewise we often hear of really bad people who seem to have nothing but good fortune and success. So it cannot be said that suffering and evil are God’s way of punishing sinners.

      Next, Christians will say that God allows evil to exist in the world because he wants to give us the freedom to choose good over evil and thereby be worthy of salvation. Evil, they will say, exists to test us. At first this seems to be a good explanation. If a man sees someone being beaten up by a bully he has a choice between turning away (doing wrong) or deciding to help the victim (doing right). If he decides to help then he has been tested and found good. However, as we have seen before, an all-knowing God must already know what choices a person will make so what is the point of testing us? Also, even if suffering and evil exist to test us couldn’t an all-loving God think of a less cruel and painful way to do this? Further, it seems rather unloving and unfair to allow pain to be inflicted on one person just so that another can have the opportunity to choose between good and evil.

      Some fundamentalist and born again Christians will try to free God from responsibility for evil by saying that it was not created by him but by the Devil. This may be true but again if God is so loving why doesn’t he simply prevent the Devil from causing suffering and doing evil? And in any case, who created the Devil in the first place? Surely it was God. By this stage the Christian will start to get a bit desperate and shift the argument from logic to pragmatism. He will say that even though there is suffering in the world we can use it as an opportunity to develop courage and patience. This is undoubtedly true but it still does not explain why an all-loving God allows babies to die of cancer, innocent bystanders to be killed in accidents and leprosy victims to suffer deformity, misery and pain. In fact, the existence of so much pointless and unnecessary pain and suffering in the world is very strong evidence that there is no all-loving, all-powerful God.

       

      The problem of evil is really a toothless argument.

      Remember, if there is no God, there is no problem of evil. Apart from there being a God you cannot define good or evil because you have no moral absolute standard to judge.

      If there is a God, then and only then can the "problem" of evil be raised. If so, then the problem of evil is not an argument against the existence of God. 

      Neither is the argument from evil an indictment on the omnipotence of God. God CAN stop evil right now. But God has His time table when this will all stop. Do not mistake God's choice to decide when to stop evil as His lack of ability to stop evil.

       

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      1. Rain is not caused by a God, but by "natural phenomena like heat, evaporation, precipitation, etc." Universe also has its cause, but by natural phenomena, and it is being explained by science as investigations advance, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCnvuKb0T7E

      (p.s. I have to admit, I'm a bit of a fan of Michio Kaku, hehe)

      2. No, of course Buddhists don't concede the necessity of a God, but points to the fallacy of the need to have only 'One God' even in the imaginary scenario that the world is created by intelligent being(s). But the very scenario itself is flawed as pointed out later.

      3. No, we do not say a mind existed eternally, that would be the wrong view of eternalism or self. We say that the mind continuum has no beginning, but it is not an unchanging entity but a stream, arising and ceasing moment to moment, and then causing another mind moment to arise, like candle lighting up another candle ad infinitum.

      1. Because God sets the laws of nature in place, so rain obeys the the laws of nature. In that sense we attribute rain to God. In fact, God can also send rain in response to man's prayers.

      2. Why would you say that it is imaginary that the universe is created by an intelligent designer? And as noted, you have not shown that it is a fallacy. As mentioned, an omnipotent being is all that is necessary to get the job done, applying the principle of parsimony.

      3. It begs the question that eternalism is wrong. If you say that the Mind exists and that it has no beginning, that is already saying that it is eternal and has always existed. You said it is a stream, but a stream of what? How can it be arising and ceasing moment to moment, which means it exists and then not exists? It's quite an incoherent thing. God, on the other hand, always existed. He never ceases to be God or ceases to exist. He never changes. God is the solely independent inherently existing entity which all other depends on.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

       

      we explain it with 12 dependent origination.

      With Ignorance as condition, Mental Formations arise

      With Mental Formations as condition, Consciousness arises

      With Consciousness as condition, Mind and Matter arise

      With Mind and Matter as condition, Sense Gates arise

      With Sense Gates as condition, Contact arises

      With Contact as condition, Feeling arises

       With Feeling as condition, Craving arises

      With Craving as condition, Clinging arises

      With Clinging as condition, Becoming arises

      With Becoming as a condition, Birth arises

      With Birth as condition, Aging and Dying arise

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da


      only the law of change is continuum(we try not to use eternal). even the Mind undergo change as it's not independent. even the change of emotion, or thoughts is a form of change. and u can say karma of wholesome and unwholesome is created after that of ignorance. but Buddha(s) who escape this do not have karma anymore nor will be affected by the law of change. it's neutral, as within good, there's bad and within bad there's good. so we can not say what's good or bad.

      to ask who set it up is like asking who's the bachelor's wife. meaningless. or just say the mind set itself up. it's perfect in itself, hence what physic it manifest will also work properly without creating any chaos. like how a car should move, how a bird can fly and how all things fall into place etc.

      /\

      Question then is, how does ignorance came about as a condition in the first place? Condition is if, then. It is still contingent upon something else. And why should ignorance be the starting condition?

      The law of change seems to have its counterpart in the theory of evolution, which means change. But changes presupposes the existence of something. Something must exist in order for it to change. But if change is constant, then it would also require a start or point when it began to exist and change. God , on the other hand, does not change. His dealings with His creation may differ, but God never changes. He is always God. God who is perfect has no evil. He is morally pure and perfect. To say that there is bad within good is like saying there is impurity within the pure. It is self-contradictory.

      It is not meaningless to ask who sets up the laws of karma, since by experience we know that laws require a law-giver. The bachelor's wife question is meaningless because it stems from a failure to note the very definition of bachelor itself. It is not the same situation here. How can the mind set itself up? It would have to exists prior to setting itself up, which is absurd. Better to say that the Mind has always existed. God has always existed. It is a divine Mind. How a car can move is because human intelligence was used to put parts and tools to get a machine. A bird can fly because God made it to fly, just like man make planes to fly. Which part of a plane flies? None. There are no flying parts in a plane. But put the parts together and you can get it to fly. The plane is a marvel of intelligent design, how much more so the common bird?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Well, the fact that he was guided and influenced by the misguided notions of 'weaker' and 'stronger' races or the notion that their own race is the 'Aryan superior race' - that already proves my point that Hitler is guided by ignorance.

      He may have good (or rather what he felt was good) intentions for his people and race and for the future of mankind. But it is guided by ignorance and lack of being able to extend compassion beyond his limited nationalistic and racial scope.

      Hitler should be made accountable to his actions before a court of law, no doubt, but not necessarily because it is 'evil' or 'wrong' but because he was responsible for so many unwholesome actions such as the deaths of so many people and countless untold sufferings as a result of his actions driven by the mental afflictions of craving, aggression and delusion. The court of law's job is simply to ensure that law and order is enforced on the people. If no law and order is enforced, people will be free to commit crimes without deterrence.

      Lastly I understand your point about God and God's judgement... I'm just saying this does not apply to Buddhist karma.

      1. Regarding Hitler, my point was that he acted based on certain beliefs. In other words, beliefs can have terrible consequences. Wrong beliefs acted upon can be horrible consequences. You can of course say that he is ignorant of the truth but I think if you could put him on trial he would defend himself that he was acting on what science is telling him. He would deny he was ignorant and say that you are. The point is then not that he was ignorant, but that what he did was evil and wrong, regardless of his ignorance. He had no right to murder millions of people.

      2. It is the police's job to enforce law and order. It is the court's job to determine if someone should be punished for doing wrong. The court exists to uphold the existing law and to judge cases based on existing laws. Hitler cannot be tried for unwholesome acts. If he is, then so should the US President when he authorised the dropping of the A-Bomb to end the war. No, the court rules the action as good or evil. I think the idea of wholesome or unwholesome does not enter the court's vocabulary in rendering a judgement.

      3. In Buddhism, people are also being judged, but more by an impersonal law of karma, am I right?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      what u think, we have about 28 realms of heavens.

      http://web.singnet.com.sg/~alankhoo/DharmaRealm.htm#Deva

      each happiness/joy/pleasure is double when you move up a heavenly level. like you have so much joy in the first heaven, but the joy of the second heaven is double that of the first level. and the joy of the third level is double that of the second. moreover, and the lifespan of the devas be it millions of light years or so is also double for each level. 

      they do have very very long life, however, there's an end to it, unlike what u all think is "eternal". they suffer, at the very last day of their "life" and "die" to another (lower)realms. that's change at work.

      ps : we do have devas with the power to create rains/weather btw.

      /\

       

      The Bible also speak about the 3rd heaven.

      But unlike the Buddhist notion of "evolution" where change can take place and one can "change down" (devolution?) to lower realms, the Bible speak of the corrupt being transformed into incorruptible, it is a transformation to a glorified body (not Optimus Prime) where body/soul/spirit are complete.

      Humans also have the power to create rain and alter weather conditions using technology and chemistry. But that's tickling with what is already there. Man can even believe they can create life, but even if they succeed that's also using what's already existing. The problem is to create life from nothing. That's a tall order!

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:

      in the ten realms (6 samsaric plus 4 noble realms) we can use logic, but beyond this ten realms, is 一真法界 Dharmadhatu there's no more logic.

      /\

      No logic basically also means there is no communication taking place?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      1. Yes but only a conventional you, not an inherently existing you.

      2. It does not concede 'evidence of design'. It points out the logical fallacy that the universe has a perfect order or design.

      I'd add that the universe manifest due to so many causes and conditions. And people too, manifest out of many causes and conditions. Out of the billions of planets in the universe, it so happens that this planet Earth has all the conditions for life. The Earth is "people-ing" like Alan Watts said: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppyF1iQ0-dM

      People manifest when the conditions are there. If the temperature is hotter by 20 degrees, the Earth can no longer do its people-ing - the conditions would have ceased. We grow out of this Earth just like apple grows out of an apple tree.

      3. and 4. Again, the notion that there is a universe that is "best explained by a intelligent designer" is the very notion that is being negated as having inconsistency and being a logical fallacy. There is no need to posit everything to have come from an intelligent first cause, just like rain isn't a result of 'intelligent design' but countless causes and conditions.

      By the way, other planets rain also, but they probably don't rain H2O and their rain probably isn't conducive to human life. But I personally believe there are other extraterrestial planets that harbour life or even advanced forms of life, but I digress.

      If you put water, food, etc and ants in a place, they will soon grow into an ant colony. If you remove the water, food, etc, the ants cannot do their ant-ing anymore. So we know ants grow out of suitable causes and conditions and so do we. They are not anymore created than we are.

      1. Again the better word is not conventional me or inherently me, but whether I am a contingent being or a necessary being. Other than God, everything else is contingent. Other than God, everything else is dependent on God, who is eternally self-existing and independent. Again this would be the Mind we both talked about.

      2. There is no logical fallacy at all. Christians believe that the perfect creation was ruined by the Fall. But the fact of design is not negated. Look at yourself, you are a marvel of intricate design. Look at the eye, see how things work together to give you sight. To think that things just fall into place by itself or by some undirected natural processes is IMO a highly absurd proposition. Having the conditions for life just tells us what is necessary for life, it does not mean it is sufficient for life. Conditions are not causes. From nothing nothing comes. There are no conditions to speak of. God, however, is the cause of the universe. He doesn't need any conditions, He spoke and it happened. The idea of there being billions of planets is just pure speculation. We really don't know. But we do know that as far as we can see, only earth contains living things. And via the anthropic principle it has been shown that earth is unique, just like what the Bible says.

      3/4. Sorry but you have not established any fallacy in my argument at all. Everything that has a beginning must have a cause. As mentioned, I am taking a macro view and taking the universe as a whole. So be it rain or snow or fire and what not that occurs in the universe, it is ultimately caused by the Being that caused the universe to exist and who sets the laws of nature to give us rain, snow, etc. I am saying that God is the ULTIMATE cause, not just about proximate causes.

      5.  Sure, if I put ants and food together I would have an ant colony. But this does not answer the question of wher the ants or food originated from. Like it or not, you will inevitably have to acknowledge a first cause. And endless chain of causes answers nothing. Besides, I think you have also conceded the existence of an eternal Mind, just that you have a different view of it. I believe it is a being called God but you think it is some sort of collective consciousness, am I right?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      actually Nirvana is neither a place, nor not a place. it's meaningless to in place a meaning to it. :)

      kind of suit ur explaination of the somewhere ur God dwell, isn't it?. hmm..all i can say is when the mind is pure, the land is pure.

      btw i say its a 'realm' or "eternal" are for explanation purpose or at "skillful mean" to suit your understanding. if one attached that it's a place and more into eternalsim, i'll say it's not. if one attached that it's not a place and go into nullism, i'll say it is. but both i will move on to say that it's neither.

      /\

      I think the laws of logic must apply. The law of identity and the law of excluded middle and the law of noncontradiction forms the bedrock of any good argument and reason.

      A cat is a cat. A cat is not a dog. It is irrational to speak of there being a cat and a non-cat at the same time in the same sense. Where A and non-A are held at the same time in the same sense, you have a contradiction. Contradictory statements are necessarily false. If it is neither this or that, then nothing meaningful is being said since ambiguity is intended.

      God is omnipresent, so it does not make sense to say that God is located anywhere. We can speak of the heavenly realms, but it is the spiritual we are talking about, not a place.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Lest Nirvana is mistaken to be a place by others: Nirvana is not a place but simply the cessation of the deluded mode of conceiving, Nirvana is the cessation, the termination, of all craving, aggression, and delusion, including all deluded conceivings or conceptual elaborations (prapancha). The Buddha's awareness is non-manifestive suchness, in which neither a seer nor an object being seen is conceived, instead there is only the suchness of in seeing just the seen, in hearing just the heard (see: kalaka sutta, bahiya sutta).


      That saṁsāra is nirvāṇa is a major tenet of Mahāyāna philosophy. "Nothing of saṁsāra is different from nirvāṇa, nothing of nirvāṇa is different from saṁsāra. That which is the limit of nirvāṇa is also the limit of saṁsāra; there is not the slightest difference between the two." [1] And yet there must be some difference between them, for otherwise no distinction would have been made and there would be no need for two words to describe the same state. So Nāgārjuna also distinguishes them: "That which, taken as causal or dependent, is the process of being born and passing on, is, taken noncausally and beyond all dependence, declared to be nirvāṇa." [2] There is only one reality -- this world, right here -- but this world may be experienced in two different ways. Saṁsāra is the "relative" world as usually experienced, in which "I" dualistically perceive "it" as a collection of objects which interact causally in space and time. Nirvāṇa is the world as it is in itself, nondualistic in that it incorporates both subject and object into a whole which, Mādhyamika insists, cannot be characterized (Chandrakīrti: "Nirvāṇa or Reality is that which is absolved of all thought-construction"), but which Yogācāra nevertheless sometimes calls "Mind" or "Buddhanature," and so forth.

      ~ http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/david.htm


      It seems the concept of nirvana is one that cannot be explained. It seems in some sense to be a mental state. Yet in some sense it is not. 

      http://buddhism.about.com/od/abuddhistglossary/g/nirvanadef.htm

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by SJS6638:

      This topic is provoking.    Sure there will be christians get angry when reading it.

      Ummm...so far it seems I am the only one here, and I am certainly not angry. : D

      I think it is OK for topics to be thought-provoking. Problem is when people with ill intent purposely provoke people with provoking words and does not keep words in check, like some trouble maker......

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by 2009novice:

      Steveyboy has expressed my sentiments fully. And we don't mean we use Buddhist concepts to press you down too BIC. We are expressing our stance in Buddhism... That's all. Nothing dogmatic. Just the way it is.

      And please... don't quote me back icon_lol.gif

      I certainly do not think that you are using Buddhist concepts to press me down. Like you , I am also expressing my stance in Christianity based on the Bible. Perhaps some do not like me to quote from the Bible? Anyway my point is that one should not take issue with me quoting Bible verses, just as I do not take issue with Buddhists quoting Buddhist teachings by various monks. (Though I would admit that having to read long passages of cut-&-paste Buddhist teachings can be quite a daunting task!) Surely It can't be the case that my quoting Bible verses got no point but your quoting of Buddhist teachings got point, right?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by jlowbog:

      well if the nuclear bomb example was not clear enough…think abt the birth of a plaanet, an explosion is triggered…huge amt of energy n gases are released…they cool down giving birth to a new sys…this demonstrate something out of nothing n vice versa by the nuclear bomb example…as for the truth u r seeking, there is none cos everything is an illusion…

      The nuclear bomb example was NOT a clear example of something coming from nothing. I think I have made that clear why.

      Birth of a planet? No one has seen it or observed it happening. In any case, it doesn't prove your point because the universe is already there. Why not sum it up and take it at the level of the universe? Where did it come from?

      You say there is no truth because everything is an illusion. Is that statement true? I hope you can see how you have just refuted yourself. It's shooting yourself in the foot, if you really think about what you said.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      The Nirvana realm where Buddha(s) are, is also not to be confused with the universe or cosmos or samsara which is what the unenlightened dwell. One is pure and the other is impure. even the word divine/heavenly in itself is still impure as there's pleasure in heaven. who ever has a discriminating thoughts of judging or wanting to control or create rules, that itself is impure mind at work. Nirvana realm is related to peacefulness, calm and blissfulness. not to be confuse with mere happiness.

      i do know atom is a matter. but to us that matter can also be created by the spiritual mind even with certain practice. Mind over matter. Buddha did performed that "miracle" when he was alive.

      oh, so u see bachelor's wife as to expose illogical and meaningless questions, but i see a deeper meaning, i see the moon. hence very difficult.

      /\

      Since AEN has mentioned that nirvana is not a place, I suppose to speak of it as a realm is also not correct? The Bible does not speak of heavenly joy as something impure. In fact, joy and rejoicing is something the Bible speaks about. But perhaps you have other meaning in mind when you think of the word "pleasures" in heaven?

      We are in agreement that Mind precedes matter. God, who is spirit, spoke the universe (matter) into existence. So it wasn't something that come from nothing by nothing, it was something that come from nothing through the act of an eternal Being, God.

      Asking who is the bachelor's wife IS a meaningless question, don't you agree? It's like asking whether you have ever seen a triangular-circle. You don't even try to think of the answer, you render the question as a meaningless one, or the questioner has some issues.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

       

      2. The Existence of the Universe

      In their attempts to prove God’s existence Christians will sometimes say that the universe didn’t just happen, someone must have made it and therefore there must be a creator God. There is a major flaw in this argument. When it starts to rain we do not ask, “Who is making it rain?” because we know that rainis not caused by someone but by something — natural phenomena like heat, evaporation, precipitation, etc. When we see smooth stones in a river we do not ask, “Who polished those stones?” because we know that their smooth surface was not caused by someone but by something — natural causes like the abrasive action of water and sand.

      All of these things have a cause or causes but this need not be a being. It is the same with the universe — it was not brought into being by a god but by natural phenomena like nuclear fission, gravity, inertia, etc. However, even if we insist that a divine being is needed to explain how the universe came into existence, what proof is there that it was the Christian God? Perhaps the Hindu God, the God of Islam or one of the gods worshipped by tribal religions created it. After all, Christianity is not the only religion to claim that there is a creator god or gods.

      ......

      4. The First Cause Argument

      Christians will sometimes say that everything has a cause, that there must be a first cause and that God is the first cause. This old argument contains its own refutation because if everything has a first cause then the first cause must also have a cause. There is another problem with the first cause argument. Logically, there is no good reason to assume that everything had a single first cause. Perhaps six, ten or three hundred causes occurring simultaneously caused everything. And as before, even if we accept the necessity of a first cause, what proof is there that it was the Christian God? None.

       

      1. The universe has a beginning, thus it must have a cause. This line of argument is water tight. As for rain, it also have its cause. And the Christian worldview is that God is the one who sets the laws of nature in place. Thus the natural phenomena we observed ultimately points to God.

      2.If even the Buddhist can ask "why must it be the Christian God and not some other deity?", then it only proves the point that the argument from first cause or design is rational and logical. Creation is the logical explanation.

      3. The first cause argument has not been correctly understood. It is incoherent to ask that the first cause must have a cause. The first to win the race cannot have someone before him! Every effect requires a cause, but not every cause needs a cause. That's why we have to start/end somewhere. Buddhists said a Mind existed eternally, isn't this also the same starting point?

      4. As to proof of it being the Christian God, there was good reasons for it. But perhaps another post.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      I wouldn't say "before you can do something you need to exist" but rather, before action can be done, a physical-mental aggregate must manifest.

      And Buddhists attribute it to a beginningless mental continuum driven by causes and conditions.

      As to your argument on order etc:

      BEYOND BELIEF by A. L. De Silva


      3. The Argument from Design

      In response to the above refutation the Christian will maintain that the universe not only exists but that its existence shows perfect design. Here is, a Christian might say, an order and balance in the universe which point to its having been designed by a higher intelligence and that this higher intelligence is God. But as before there are some problems with this argument. Firstly, how does the Christian know that it was his God who is behind creation? Perhaps it was the gods of non-Christian religions who designed and created the universe. Secondly, how does the Christian know that only one God designed everything? In fact, as the universe is so intricate and complex we could expect itto need the intelligence of several, perhaps dozens, of gods to design it. So if anything the argument from design could be used to prove that there are many gods, not one as Christians claim.

      Next, we would have to ask whether the universe is really perfectly designed? We must ask this question because it is only natural to expect a perfect God to design a perfect universe. Let us look first at inanimate phenomena to see whether they show perfect design. Rain gives us pure water to drink but sometimes it rains too much and people lose their lives, their homes and their means of livelihood in floods. At other times it doesn’t rain at all and millions die because of drought and famine. Is this perfect design? The mountains give us joy as we see them reaching up into the sky. But landslides and volcanic eruptions have caused havoc and death for centuries. Is this perfect design? The gentle breezes cool us but storms and tornadoes repeatedly cause death and destruction. Is this perfect design? ese and other natural calamities prove that inanimate phenomena do not exhibit perfect design and therefore that they were not created by a perfect God.

      Now let us look at animate phenomena. At a superficial glance nature seems to be beautiful and harmonious; all creatures are provided for and each has its task to perform. However, nature is utterly ruthless as any biologist or careful observer will confirm. To live, each creature has to feed on other creatures and struggle to avoid being eaten by other creatures. In nature there is no room for pity, love or mercy. If a loving God really designed everything, why did such a cruel design result? But the animal kingdom is not only imperfect in the ethical sense; it is also imperfect in that it often goes wrong. Every year millions of babies are born with physical or mental disabilities, are stillbornor die soon after birth. Why would a perfect creator God design such terrible things? So if there is design in the universe, much of it is either cruel or faulty. This indicates that the universe was not created by a perfect all-loving God.

       

      1. Which is simply another way of saying that you must exist before you can do anything.

      2. Regarding the supposed refutation of the argument from design, I think the article failed to refute the argument from design. The argument is that there is evidence of design in the universe and in living things. That the best explanation is that there is an intelligent designer. Even your article conceded that point, though it throws in the additional point that there could be many designers and not on. But I can use Occam's Razor and say that one supreme omnipotent Designer is all it takes to do the job and need not invoke multiple ones.

      3. The article also failed to note the Bible's teaching that the universe we live in today is a FALLEN and cursed world. I mentioned many times that God created the universe perfect but it has been ruined by sin. Thus it is no longer a pretty world like it once was. This does not negate the argument from design, but it does explain why we do not see a perfect world. The argument from design is that there are features in the universe that is best explained by an intelligent designer. I can create a perfect car  but you can drive it and kill people. Whose fault is it?

      4. In short, only by careful attention to what the Bible teaches can one understand why the world is the way it is. The Bible does not teach that we live in a perfect world. It teaches that this is a perfect world gone wrong because of sin. Thus I believe I have amply shown why your article has not refuted the Christian view.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Buddhist don't believe in a lawmaker. Just like science doesn't tell you the law of gravity is created. It is simply so.

      Wholesome is precisely defined as "Not characterized by or conducive to health or moral well-being."

      If it causes suffering, that by definition, is unwholesome since it is characterized by actions that are not conducive to someone's wellbeing, be it self or others.

      You don't need to judge whether smoking causes cancer. Factually, it causes cancer.

      It is not within the domain of science to ask such questions but that does not mean such questions ought not be asked. Science have assume the uniformity of the laws of nature and the intelligibility of the universe without being able to account for why the laws of nature are uniform and why the universe is intelligible. Modern science was founded upon the Christian worldview that the universe is a creation of a rational Mind, and that is why there is order, and why humans can discover the order in the universe, and peep a little in the "Mind" of God. To say that the laws of nature are simply so does not account for it, since if the universe does not exist, then neither do the laws of nature. The laws of nature are as contingent as the universe. Again the reasonable conclusion is that someone (Mind) created the universe and put in place the laws of nature.

      That smoking causes cancer is an observable fact. I think this is not in dispute. That unwholesome actions causes suffering to others is also an observable fact. But the point is still, before you can do something you need to exist. We are right back to the question of origins.

       

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by sinweiy:


      but i think the different in yours is that it's independent, where it can think by itself, while ours is Dependent arising, where it react upon the action of the beings' (or "children's" in your term). as all beings came from it.

      /\

       

      But I thought it was mentioned that it was the Mind that existed eternally? Then surely the Mind can think and judge, and make moral rules and enforce them. If the view is that the law of karma is dependent arising and merely react, the question is, who set it up this way? How does it "know" if some action is wholesome or if it produces suffering since it would have to be an impersonal law?

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      In Buddhism, karma is the inescapable law but it does not require a judge. Even if you can escape from every being in the world, the law of karma will still catch up.

      My moral judgement is always on the basis of: does this cause suffering to myself and others? And not necessarily "is this what Buddha or what God said I should do?" Though of course I still reference the Buddha's words in times of need but it is not treated as some commandments but guidelines.

      But then I have a question: Every law requires a law-maker. A law does not just exists. So who sets up the law of karma to function as it does?

      If the basis of moral judgment is whether it causes suffering to you or others, the question then is, what's wrong with causing suffering to others? The answer may be "because it is unwholesome." But one can also ask, who's to say that causing suffering is unwholesome? I hope you get the point of my persistent asking. Ultimately some absolute standard must be forthcoming, it cannot be a matter of man's opinions. It must be an authority.

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      By the way I have no problem calling unwholesome actions as 'evil' - it all just depends on the definition. Unwholesome action is 'evil' or 'immoral' in Buddhism not because it is someone's judgement to be so but because unwholesome actions create negative effects, i.e. suffering, on oneself and others.

      But if there is no absolute moral law or law giver, then what's wrong with causing suffering on others if one can get away with it or derive happiness from doing certain actions? As mentioned, if there is only natural law, and lions eat deer because this is the way nature works, then you can't pass a moral judgement on what is a matter of natural law. Yet we make moral judgements all the time, in fact, we have to do that. We are made in this way. Good and evil is a universal way to make moral judgements. 

  • BroInChrist's Avatar
    3,110 posts since Dec '11
    • Originally posted by An Eternal Now:

      Buddhism strives to overcome the roots of the unwholesome, i.e. craving, aggression, and delusion. We strive to cultivate wisdom and compassion, and through wisdom and compassion, we no longer need to follow rules/precepts/commandments. Because the underlying tendency towards the unwholesome is eliminated.

      If you have great compassion, there is no need for you to practice non-violence. There is already no violence in your mind. If you have great wisdom, there is no need for you to practice the precepts of non-killing, etc etc... the underlying tendencies towards them are eliminated.

      What Buddhism tries to overcome is the effects of a cursed world. I think there is a misdiagnosis here. We crave, fight, hate, hurt each other because we are fallen creatures in Adam. We inherited Adam's sin nature, which is why we are dead in Adam. We have a disposition to sin. The Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. God's wisdom, not man's, is peaceable and true. The Bible sums up God's moral commands as (1) Loving God, and (2) Loving your neighbour as yourself. God is love, and thus He tells us to love each other just as He loves us. If we love God we would obey His commandments. The natural state of fallen man is to do wrong, not good. Little kids can lie and cause hurt even without having been taught to do so.