Thursday, 26 November 2015

Why nothing composed of matter can be inherently existent

Ten properties of inherently existent entities:

(1) An inherently existing entity exists in splendid isolation without the need to reference any other entity. It is completely defined by its own nature.

(2) An inherently existing entity is uncaused.

(3) It is indestructible.

(4) It is eternal.

(5) It is unchanging when viewed externally.

(6) It cannot undergo any internal changes of state.

(7) It either has no constituent parts, or if it has parts those parts are inseparable.

(8) Consequently, nothing can be ejected or removed from it.

(9) Nothing can be added to it (this would change its definition).

(10) No change in external conditions (up to and including the destruction of the entire universe) can affect it.

The fact that an inherently existent object would be indestructible rules out anything composed of physical particles being inherently existent, because every subatomic particle is in principle destructible.   Every particle of matter can be annihilated in a burst of energy when it reacts with its corresponding antiparticle, in accordance with the familiar mass–energy equivalence equation,
E = mc2 .

More at Buddhist Philosophy

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Buddha of Absolute Freedom

by Karen Dobres  at The Huffington Post

"...The Buddha of Absolute Freedom doesn't live up a mountain but in Kilburn, Hackney, Essex... anywhere. He turns out to be a state of unshakeable and genuine happiness that anyone can reveal, because it's already in there somewhere waiting to get out.

The trick is to believe that and to let him out. So I'm trying every day to let her out. Not up a mountain, not even sitting cross-legged. Just trying to be me..."  read it all

Friday, 6 November 2015

Ku Klux Klan church targets Buddhists in Thailand.

Give me that old time religion

The Southern Baptist Church, notorious for its support of the Ku Klux Klan, is now attempting to convert Thai Buddhists to their brimstone-burning version of Christianity.    Why  they should be targetting these 'sons of Ham' (people of color)  isn't clear.   Maybe they're looking for a new supply of slaves  since the last lot got uppity.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Neuroscience backs up the Buddhist belief that “the self” isn’t constant, but ever-changing

This could be YOU

From Quartz 

by Olivia Goldhill

"While you may not remember life as a toddler, you most likely believe that your selfhood then—your essential being—was intrinsically the same as it is today.

Buddhists, though, suggest that this is just an illusion—a philosophy that’s increasingly supported by scientific research.

“Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness,” Evan Thompson, a philosophy of mind professor at the University of British Columbia, tells Quartz. “And from a neuroscience perspective, the brain and body is constantly in flux. There’s nothing that corresponds to the sense that there’s an unchanging self.”

Neuroscience and Buddhism came to these ideas independently, but some scientific researchers have recently started to reference and draw on the Eastern religion in their work—and have come to accept theories that were first posited by Buddhist monks thousands of years ago...."  Read it all

Related posts

Sutra and Tantra in Buddhism

The webcrawler in your mind.

The Emptiness of the Mind in Kadampa Buddhism

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Blasphemy laws versus the inalienable right to cause religious offense.

Should religions and their founders be uniquely protected against criticism and ridicule, in a way that political and philosophical systems are not?  And if so, what would happen if the Nazi Party started marketing itself as a religion? Would that put Nazism and Der Fuhrer beyond criticism?


Alternatively, should religions have to take their chance in the free marketplace of ideas, as do secular belief systems?

Here's a thought-provoking article by philosopher Roger Scruton:

"To people like me, educated in post-war Britain, free speech has been a firm premise of the British way of life. As John Stuart Mill expressed the point:

"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

That famous statement is not the last word on the question, but it is the first word and was, during my youth, the received opinion of all educated people. The law, we believed, would protect the heretics, the dissidents and the doubters against any punishments devised to intimidate or silence them, for the very reason that truth and argument are sacred, and must be protected from those who seek to suppress them.

Moreover, public opinion was entirely on the side of the law, ready to shame those who assumed the right to silence their opponents, whatever the matter under discussion, and however extreme or absurd the views expressed.

All that is now changing. Under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, it is an offence to stir up hatred towards religious and racial groups. "Stirring up hatred" is an expression both loaded and undefined. Do I stir up hatred towards a religious group by criticising its beliefs in outspoken terms?..."

Ed Miliband promised last April that a future Labour government would make Islamophobia into an aggravated criminal offence, and meanwhile the consequences for a civil servant, a policeman or a teacher of being accused of this fault are serious in the extreme."

This takes us back to what John Stuart Mill had in mind. It is not falsehood that causes the greatest offence, but truth. You can endure insults and abuse when you know them to be false. But if the remarks that offend you are true, their truth becomes a dagger in the soul - you cry "lies!" at the top of your voice, and know that you must silence the one who utters them..."
More here

Fortunately, in contrast to some of the more intellectually-challenged religions,  Buddhism has no need of special protection from criticism, as it is firmly grounded in philosophy and science