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August 08, 2017


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We might be able to put aside distracted thinking.
We might find peace and happiness in simple things without worrying about tomorrow, or regret about yesterday.
We might go to places we never were before, both within and outside.
But we can never be in the "now".
That is truly misconception.
We are all watching a recording made long, long ago.
Even if the movie goer finally realizes they aren't in the story and it isn't happening now, but was made some time ago, we are still not in the 'now' so long as we remain in that place watching what is played before us by our mind.

It is all history, even what will happen tomorrow.
We'll watch that reel tomorrow, we'll call it 'real', but it's been in the can for eons.

Like @rssb the main component of Buddha is Compassion, Empathy
which is the nearest to LOVE

Without that the Sounds will not come


Hi Brian

You cited Gopnik

"Now, what story can tell us best what connects those apple-moments from branch to ground? Sprites? Magnets? The mysterious force of the mass of the earth beneath it? What made the damn thing fall?” That’s a story we tell, not a moment we experience. The Buddhist Newton might have been happier than ours—ours was plenty unhappy—but he would never have found the equation."

Like most writers Gopnik has his own narrative to promote.

But his reference to Newton is unfortunate. Newton never tried to explain why the Apple fell. In fact when questioned about what is the actual force behind gravity he famously replied, in Latin, "Hypothesis No Figo."

'I frame no hypothesis.'

He never tried to uncover the force of gravity. He simply understood to mathematical precision, the event of gravity. Far more Buddhism than Gopnik himself understands.

Spencer, I disagree. A Buddhist wouldn't have labored to figure out the equations that Newton brilliantly came up with. Or if a Buddhist had, he/she wouldn't have acting like a Buddhist, but like a rational scientist.

As you probably know, even modern scientists don't know why the apple fell. There are two computing notions of gravity, relativity theory and that of quantum mechanics. But much effort has been, and is, put into reconciling these notions -- perhaps finding a third theory, or proving that one or the other is true and the other false.

So Gopnik does correctly observe that simply "being in the moment" is very different from analyzing the moment. Both ways of being are important. It's a matter of balance. Those who say there is only one way aren't speaking truly, in my view. Reality is too varied and complex to be understood by only one way.

Hi Brian

I think we agree in concept, but I avoid labeling Newton or attempt to depict what a "true" Buddhist would actually do because I'm not a mind reader. Though in the world of conceptual writers one can take that role.

But as to Newton, if he was anything, he was an astute observer happy to remain so. As mentioned earlier he is more Buddhist than not, and would be a better example of 'Buddhism western style' than a contrast to it, as Gopnik suggests.

Newton didn't even care to explain what caused the apple to fall. He was happy to simply describe the event with an amazing degree of precision. People thought he was mysterious and arrogant. But he was happy to be perhaps the greatest observer in the history of modern scientific inquiry.

Same is true for Calculus. Newton described movement and change in a discrete way to account for what is actually continuous. Flow is continuous, but we can only see it and measure it in discrete snapshots. That is a very subtle degree of observation. Buddhism translated to science.

We find his synthesis shaping the work to come, for within the notion of strings, waves and particles is the conceptual framework Newton provided in his (and Liebniz's) calculus. The synthesis of continuous (analog / wave) and discreet (particle, digital).

Now what would a good Buddhist do? They would be content to observe also, like Newton, to ever more subtle degrees. Their work in math or philosophy would simply be symptomatic of their experience. And that good Buddhist, working their day job as a scientist, would say just as Newton, "Hypothesis No Fingo."


I think Gopnik is talking bullshit.

Why confuse science and belief. They are completely different, neither has anything to say about the other.

Hi and thanks for the lovely post. In my humble view, there is no greater loss than one's own life. The prospect of death is usually rationalized away or avoided due to distaste, fear or inability to view calmly. It is only in the human form, as far as we know, that the questions of - "where do I come from", "what am I doing here for such a short time" and "what is to become of me after leaving this mortal frame" - can be entertained. These are not just metaphysical questions or grist for polemics...for me, they are constant internal reminders of uncertainty, an unknown destiny, a volatile/ever changing universe and a goad to seek for the unchanging, imperishable Truth. Thanks.

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