Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Blog

Welcome to Lumbini, Nepal – the birthplace of Buddha

Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 19, 2012

By John Stanley and David Loy

“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Buddhism and the Unconscious

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 9, 2012

By 

 “My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious.” –C.G. Jung

Those who see into the Unconscious have their senses cleansed of defilements, are moving toward Buddha-wisdom, are known to be with Reality, in the Middle Path, in the ultimate truth itself. Those who see into the Unconscious are furnished at once with merits as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. They are able to create all kinds of things and embrace all things within themselves. –Shen-hui (as translated by D.T. Suzuki)

At the end of his life, C.G. Jung dictated to his secretary an extraordinary autobiography, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections,” whose first sentence we cite above. Earlier he had observed how human nature resembled the twin sons of Zeus and Leda: “We are that pair of Dioscuri, one of whom is mortal and the other immortal, and who, though always together, can never be made completely one. … We should prefer to be always ‘I’ and nothing else.” Recent neurological studies into those “twin sons” have been exploring Jung’s insight, leading to discoveries that have many important implications, including how we might understand traditional Buddhist teachings today.

Neuropsychology of the Unconscious

Brain research over the last generation has confirmed the difference between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Our left cerebral hemisphere is the place where language is generated and received. It serves a linguistic consciousness with which we describe and think about the world. On the other side, our silent right brain hemisphere serves an unconscious awareness that cannot be coded in language. Non-verbal contemplative practices — such as being quietly present in the natural world, “open presence” meditation, tai chi chuan or yoga — elicit sustained awareness rooted in the unconscious. We are fully aware of what is happening, within and around us. Yet such experiences cannot be put into (or directed by) words because they are served by modules for sensory awareness in the right hemisphere. Focusing attention in the present suspends the usual executive functions of the conscious mind, so that the resources of the unconscious may unfold. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buddhism, Cosmology and Evolution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 5, 2012

By John Stanley & David Loy 

Even with all these profound scientific theories of the origin of the universe, I am left with serious questions: What existed before the big bang? Where did the big bang come from? What caused it? Why has our planet evolved to support life? What is the relationship between the cosmos and the beings that have evolved within it? Scientists may dismiss these questions as nonsensical, or they may acknowledge their importance but deny that they belong to the domain of scientific inquiry. However, both these approaches will have the consequence of acknowledging definite limits to our scientific knowledge of the origin of our cosmos. I am not subject to the professional or ideological constraints of a radically materialistic worldview. – The Dalai Lama

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved. – Charles Darwin

For traditional Buddhist cosmology, the life cycle of a universe is cyclical. There is a period of its formation, a period where it endures, a period where it disintegrates and a period of void before a new universe forms from the luminous space that remains. That space, according to theKalachakra Tantra (Wheel of Time) is inseparable from beginningless, universal consciousness.

The constraints of scientific materialism

A very different perspective is offered by mechanistic science. From its European origins in the 17th century to its final triumph in the 19th, it has insisted that matter is non-conscious stuff interacting in dead space. And these premises are not merely intellectual abstractions. They have become beliefs about reality, shared by a globalizing human culture. The structure of our subjective experience is inevitably influenced by the notion that we too are mechanisms located in a non-conscious mechanical universe. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why the Buddha Touched the Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 23, 2011

By John Stanley and David Loy

“The entire cosmos is a cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and the Earth. When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise — then we can build a noble environment. If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall perish.” –Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

“The term ‘engaged Buddhism’ was created to restore the true meaning of Buddhism. Engaged Buddhism is simply Buddhism applied in our daily lives. If it’s not engaged, it can’t be called Buddhism. Buddhist practice takes place not only in monasteries, meditation halls and Buddhist institutes, but in whatever situation we find ourselves. Engaged Buddhism means the activities of daily life combined with the practice of mindfulness. –Thich Nhat Hanh

In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Gautama Buddha sits in meditation with his left palm upright on his lap, while his right hand touches the earth. Demonic forces have tried to unseat him, because their king, Mara, claims that place under the bodhi tree. As they proclaim their leader’s powers, Mara demands that Gautama produce a witness to confirm his spiritual awakening. The Buddha simply touches the earth with his right hand, and the Earth itself immediately responds: “I am your witness.” Mara and his minions vanish. The morning star appears in the sky. This moment of supreme enlightenment is the central experience from which the whole of the Buddhist tradition unfolds.

The great 20th-century Vedantin, Ramana Maharshi said that the Earth is in a constant state ofdhyana. The Buddha’s earth-witness mudra (hand position) is a beautiful example of “embodied cognition.” His posture and gesture embody unshakeable self-realization. He does not ask heavenly beings for assistance. Instead, without using any words, the Buddha calls on the Earth to bear witness.

The Earth has observed much more than the Buddha’s awakening. For the last 3 billion years the Earth has borne witness to the evolution of its innumerable life-forms, from unicellular creatures to the extraordinary diversity and complexity of plant and animal life that flourishes today. We not only observe this multiplicity, we are part of it — even as our species continues to damage it. Many biologists predict that half the Earth’s plant and animal species could disappear by the end of this century, on the current growth trajectories of human population, economy and pollution. This sobering fact reminds us that global warming is the primary, but not the only, extraordinary ecological crisis confronting us today. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Article | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: