A conversation with Steve Daut’s Buddha Science, Chapter 2, Two Fingers
Chapter 2a, Two Fingers, Pointing at the moon
¶a1 “… We (humans) suffer from the tendency to form concepts that may or may not have anything to do with the words, or intent of the speaker (or author). … Perhaps this just gives us unlimited number of opportunities for subtle and complicated miscommunication. …”
No doubt. It's a reason why I think the quest for “Truth” is a self deception.
People tend to seek their own truth and everyone is the center of their own world.
¶a6 “Are objects real, or are they just transient event that mark a convergence of smaller events that we call atoms? Since every language is constrained by a particular viewpoint, is it even possible to describe reality with language? …”
Transient doesn’t mean illusion.
Why the need to second guess the transient nature of everything? What other option is there for nature?
Existence flows down the river of time. It is what it is.
Enjoy your transient moment and appreciate being an aware participant in Earth’s pageant of evolution, while you can.
¶a7 “… The Buddha was concerned with the causes of suffering in the world, which he viewed as attachment to our mistaken view of reality. …”
Attachments ~ Expectations, seem like two sides of the same coin.
My particular journey has been a pursuit of clarity and minimizing my expectations of others and the world, because that's how it was. Finding value within. Striving to take nothing for granted and remaining supple enough to weather the changes as they come.
¶a8 “… As the Buddha taught, everyone must learn the truth for themselves, … Our focus here is about the methods that science and Buddha Science use to acquire knowledge about reality, rather than the reasons for seeking this knowledge.”
This harmonizes with me, though I am leery of the concept (or is it conceit) of “truth.”
For me a most fundamental reality for us, is that, I am not alone, like it or not, we are connected to the people around us and beyond.
On this Earth we are joined by an unimaginable number of beings all having their own needs and points of view. How does the concept of “truth” fit into this melange of society, geology, biology and life?
Truth is always relative.
For me, the best I can hope for is “Honesty,” as in honestly observing, experiencing, and conveying facts and feelings.
Chapter 2b, Two Fingers, Walking the paths
¶b1 “Let’s begin with science. In general, science begins with inductive reasoning as a method to try and understand how things work. This method is a function of the thinking mind, direct observation, measurement, trending. … According to deductive reasoning, I can logically assume that …”
I’ll add that, science is a set of rules based on the unspoken understanding that, we need each other to keep ourselves honest.
These rules make honesty and accuracy the gold standard and strive to remove ego driven bias from its deliberations as much as possible.
¶b3 “Although Buddha Science also starts with observation, it has a much different view of the concepts. It says that concepts get in the way of actually seeing and experiencing the world around us. The methods employed by Buddha Science are therefore designed to clear out all of the noise, thoughts, distractions, and details to achieve silence necessary to experience things as they are. …”
In other words, to help discipline the realm of our mindscape.
¶b4 “Another way to think about the difference between formal science and Buddha Science is to suggest that formal science deals with objective phenomena that can be proven (or disproven) and measured by experimentation and Buddha Science is focused on aspects of reality that can only be felt and understood at the subjective level, but still can be rigorously explored and tested by disciplined mental training. …”
“Mental training” our mind holds all we know and experience.
¶b9 “In fact, mathematically you can never know everything there is to know about a circle because of her pesky little child, pi. Because of pi, if you know the circle’s circumference, or area, or radius, you can’t use any of those to exactly calculate the other two. Here we have the most universal shape, the most natural, comfortable and seemingly simple share we know, and it is mysterious. So is pi irrational, or simply unknowable?"
Sorry, from down here at ground-level, that looks like a contrived philosophical mind game. I know extreme accuracy has its purpose. But, in dealing with our lives, the human side of things, how is it going to help inform us about ourselves and how we perceive the world and deal with challenges?
I don’t understand the point of impossible expectations of exactitude in a dynamic reality, mystifying unavoidable human/natural limits seems silly to me.
¶b10 “… trees are 99.99999999999% empty space …”
That’s looking through the lens of an inaccurate solar system atomic model and a great example of how we deceive ourselves with the way we enunciate our thoughts.
Electrons are not tiny balls of energy, they spin unimaginably fast, their energy is smeared out into energetic clouds.
Thing is, there’s nothing “empty” about the space within an atom’s electron valence shells. (That unfortunate trope, "emptiness of atoms," ergo, matter is empty, has spawned a great deal of intellectual mischief)
¶b12 “… formal science and Buddha Science generally share the perspective that reality encompasses some elements that are tangible and measurable, and others that are mysterious and cannot be perfectly known or understood. …”
Through my Earth Centrist eyes, what “Reality encompasses” is simpler to define:
and Human Consciousness,
that is our living mind.
Where all our thoughts, dreams and mysteries reside.
Chapter 2c, Two Fingers, Two realities
¶c1 “Buddha Science explains this conundrum with the perception that there are two levels of reality: the dualistic reality of our day-to-day experience, and the ultimate non-dual reality that cannot be fully understood. When we use the term dualistic, we simply mean dividing things into “this” and “that” …”
I believe a more succinct description of the dualistic nature starts with recognizing the profound divide between physical reality and our mind. After that, “this” and “that” gets much easier to reconcile.
Try imagining this physical biological organism we inhabit during our lives, a creature's act of living is what drives the biological dynamo of consciousness - that is, generating our sense of self, of me, myself, & I, and everything else we know.
Why? Because any organism and body needs to communicate and command itself, along with monitor, and process sensory inputs, and orchestrate responses.
¶c2 “Since non-dual reality cannot be divided, it cannot be measured, compared, or tested the way we measure and test our day-to-day reality. …
That’s a good description of our mind full of thoughts.
¶c3 “… there are two reasons for this inability to describe non-dual reality, first… reality is larger than any concept. …”
¶c4 “… “Second reason we can’t express non-dual reality … with the limitations of our language. …”
The biology of our bodies is a physical reality. Our bodies need to be able to communicate with themselves, it’s a basic organism/creature imperative for survival.
All we know, is perceived and processed through our physical body; followed by further processing in the brain; before being broadcast as ideas running through our mind and body; while giving out instructions to every nook’n cranny of our bodies.
¶ “… But the contradiction is not an inherent property of reality; it is due to the limitation of the language we have available to describe it. After all, our language allows for self-reference that can lead to paradox. …”
A point worth keeping in mind.
¶c8 “According to Buddha Science, non-dual reality can’t be adequately described, but it can be experienced … being “in the zone” … no separation between them and the flow of experience. …”
Being in-the-zone is the product of disciple and training bodily reflexes and internal communication and learning to shut down our constant upper-level conscious chatter, thus allowing our body’s complex systems to focus on accomplishing the task at hand without interference.
¶c13 “Even though these various views of non-dual reality are very different from each other, they all point to a reality that is larger and different from the one we experience day-to-day. … as soon as we
¶c20 “… in the broadest sense non-duality can be understood as indivisible Reality. …”
I look at this from a much more biological Evolutionary perspective.
I believe the actual duality that deserves much more attention is the duality between a creature’s thoughts (mind) and body (physical reality).
After all, consciousness* is the inside reflection of a biological body getting on with the job of living, it’s a self-consistent necessity that every organism must achieve, if it’s going to thrive.
It also explains so much about the constant tensions and struggles between our flesh & spirit that challenge all of us humans, each in our own way. This kind of awareness opens up strategies for constructively taming the beasts within us.
The rest of the categorizations and explanations and variations discussed in these paragraphs belong within the realm of “Mind.” How we think about things and process incoming information, while integrating all of it with past information, etc..
On the other side of that is geology, biology, physiology, physical matter. It’s organized life that spark’s awareness, and creatures, and consciousness, and the meta-physical realm of our thoughts in all their majesty. Therein lies the duality of my Reality.
*(key thought: Consciousness is a spectrum.)
¶c22 “… Reality cannot be divided, except in our minds, … According to the Buddhist principle of “dependent origination,” even matter and mind are co-dependent. Reality is non-dual.
¶c25 “… We view our world through a lens of duality , and we come to believe in separate beings and phenomena occupying an objective universe. But if non-dual reality is indivisible, these divisions are artificial no matter how real they seem … Separate, independent beings and phenomena cannot exist. The disconnect between these two levels of reality is the basis for our existential sugaring, and Buddha Science has developed certain principles to help us understand both the levels of reality and the relationship between them. Now we let’s take a closer look at these principles.
I don’t think it needs to be this convoluted. Reality can’t be divided by our minds because there’s nothing to divide it into.
See Dr. Solms and Dr. Damasio for more on consciousness from a biological perspective, David Sloan Wilson for Evolution's relevance to our lives.
I thank Steve Daut for the thoughtful intellectual vehicle he’s provided for my own adventure.
I encourage you to read his complete book.
Buddha Science, ©2016, Steve Daut - For a copy: email@example.com