Wednesday, July 19, 2023

4/10 Dialogue with "Buddha Science" - Buddhism (Steve Daut)


Chapter 3, Buddhism

This is another Cc's Student's Workbook, of sorts, 
meaning a little repetition is to be expected, 
honing concepts and descriptions.
Is there anybody out there?


Chapter 3a, Buddhism, Buddha Science

(edited July 28)

¶a1  “… (Buddhism’s) four noble truths can be stated as follows:

  • Life is unsatisfying, and causes suffering and anxiety.
  • We suffer because all things are impermanent, yet we crave pleasant things and push away unpleasant things.
  • We can escape the suffering.
  • Outlines a path that leads to escape from suffering.

I’m sharing these “Noble truths of Buddhism’ for a point of reference, with the single observation that reading it, I can’t help but notice that it reflects the same self-absorbed  human outlook, that is the hallmark of the “Abrahamic mindset” that I sometimes pick on.  

This exercise is all about me trying to convey an Earth Centrist, evolutionary bottom-up perspective on our human conundrums, which requires the ability to think outside of oneself.

In any event, I can only tell this story from my perspective, and though I’m rather ordinary, with 68 years I’ve come to appreciate I was blessed in circumstance, body, health, mind and heart - so mine was never a search for the solution to human pain, I was simply busy trying to make sense of the wonder of the creation I found myself embedded within.  

Although writing those lines, I now recall my adolescent “weltschmerz” was quite intense.  But, once I got out of high school and got on with living my life, things got too crowded for that sort of self-indulgence.

¶a2  Siddhartha Gautama, … came to thoroughly understand “the human problem, its origins, its ramifications, and its solution.  The four noble truths are a simulation of this understanding and how to achieve it.  Enlightenment is simply, “seeing things as they are  rather than as we wish or believe them to be. …”

I was fortunate (though I didn’t always appreciate it at the time), coming from a lower income family, my dad always worked, mom at home raising us, and we always had enough, a home, food, clothing, etc. With secular parents who loved us and loved introducing us to the wonders of our world, and frugality, while doing a good job of shielding us from the ugly.  In my formative years there was no dealing with serious pain, betrayal or hopelessness, it was simply never part of our childhood so it didn’t weigh down my thoughts and spirit the way it does those people who don’t get lucky and who experience deprivation, abuse and nasty attitudes their young years.  

Meaning that my internal dialogue, my observations, thoughts, inquiries were free to be self indulgent: Who am I?  Who are these people around me?  Why does the landscape look and change as it does?  Where did I come from?  Why doesn’t my mind control my body’s impulses? What’s evolution all about?  What’s growing old all about?  Who is God?  Why is Earth so fantastically special?  Fun interesting stuff like that.  

¶a4  “This empirical aspect of Buddhism is best summed up in these words that the Good Reads website has attributed to the Buddha:

  • Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.  
  • Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.  
  • Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teacher sand elders.  
  • Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down from many generations."  

This resonates with my own practice and aspiration.

“But after observation and analysis when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”


¶a6  “Buddhist tradition describes three types of “facts” and the method used to qualify them as factual:

  • Direct perception, known through the five senses.
  • Hidden facts, known by reliable inference.
  • Extremely hidden facts, known by reliable testimony.

… (these are) empirical observations."

¶a7  “… the first work of a Buddhist is to see things as they are, without the distorting influence of concepts - thoughts, expectations or ideas. … For most, it’s a gradual process, an incremental series of changes in perception and of the way they relate to the world. …”

Along with the occasional epiphany when disparate facts and ideas fall together into a new insight that forever changes one’s perspective and the way one relates to oneself, others, and the world.

I easily accept that I never see things “as they are” - I see things “as I perceive them,” and my perception isn’t always accurate.  That's a critically important distinction worth understanding.  The challenge is to perceive as critically and completely as possible, this requires striving to be cognizant of one’s own biases and limitations.  

As Daut goes on to explain, we need to do our own homework, each must figure out these lessons for themself.  I’m 68 and it’s only in the past few years that the final pieces of the puzzle have come together for me.  Which is why I know it takes effort and why I’m trying to explain myself to others.  I believe this under-represented perspective could be helpful to some.

¶a9  “It is not that people who have achieved some level of enlightenment never form concepts, but they are fully aware that these mental formations are not Reality.  

The mental impression of Reality is never Reality itself. …”

That’s important.  Though I have a more straightforward suggestion for that message.:  

Our mind is the product of our living body/brain with its multiple sensing systems.   We perceive Reality through our particular filters, body and brain, then are left with our impressions of Reality. 

How could it be any different? 

That said, the biological matter and function of your body/brain is part of physical Reality and it produces your Mind, which in turn, is our meta-physical Reality. 

Seems to me that’s the Duality we should be meditating on and coming to terms with.

¶a11  “… a Buddha makes their observations from the “inside,” (instead of) from the “outside” and is therefor subjective. …  Traditional science, on the other hand, says that we can observe aspects of Reality from the “outside,” so we can make unbiased, objective observations.”

¶a12  “… from the perspective of Buddha Science, we live life from the inside, and the challenge is to avoid getting so enmeshed in this perspective that we cling to it as if it’s Reality itself. …”

I’m not sure what happened there, what I know is that when I think of the inside, it’s about my body, it’s biology, my blood and genes studded with innovations that go back millions, hundreds of millions of years, and more.

My consciousness grows out of my body.  That is, my “Mind” is the inside reflection of my body communicating with itself and dealing with the world out there.  

There is the outward material manifestation of my body, and there is its inside awareness of itself.  That’s where the meta-physical wonder that is our thoughts in action, or more descriptively our mindscape is to be found - via biology, not philosophy.  How we process those facts becomes philosophy.

¶a14  “… how do we distinguish between observation and simply personal conclusions? … the distinction goes something like this: our senses record information, which is converted into perceptions by our mind, and then the intellect converts these perceptions into concepts or idea. …”

As an Earth Centrist I process all that quite differently.  

“Observation” is a recording of information, but it’s our entire body that’s reacting to that information before moving to brain and thought.  

Your conscious mind is busy trying to make sense of what is happening, 

while your body is taking care of the heavy lifting (fight or flight, flirt or fade away, etc.) - 

and then your mind relays that story back to yourself, 

as mind develops its action plan for explaining what has just been experienced, 

and is being done by the body in response.  

Then we move on to the next moment. 

{Interesting side thought: 

“We humans don’t have free will, we have free “won’t”.”  Dr. Mark Solms}

¶a15  “… Chaos Theory … This is also one way to think about the two levels of reality - ultimate Reality as the attractor, which is the broad shape of Reality that is timeless and unchanging, and the smaller patterns of reality that we see at the day to day level, which constantly change and flow. …”

Poetically that sounds nice and there may be timeless principles.

Still, there’s nothing unchanging about the entire universe that we have ever been able to observe with our instruments, or our hearts for that matter.  Change and time moving forward is about the only unchanging thing we do know about life and Reality.  

What’s the point in pretending it away?


Chapter 3b, Buddhism, What Buddha Science Sees

¶b1  “… but at the ultimate, non-dual level, time has no meaning.

What of it?  At the ultimate level, nothing has meaning.  

What are we reaching for?

I’m concerned with the way our human minds process information in the here and now.

Why question Time?  How does the question advance anything constructive?

I’m sorry, I have a tough time seeing these suggestions that “time has no meaning” as anything other than frivolous self-indulgent intellectual entertainment.  

There is nothing this side of esoteric physics equations (math) that doesn’t move forward with time, from the oscillations of atomic particles, to the waves crashing on the coast, to the blood pumping through our bodies and every dang thing in-between.  

Is their intellectual object to remove all benchmarks to Reality?  

Seriously, what does the fascination with wishing away time, or change, say about our own minds and What We Choose To Be Present To, while avoiding the actually physical Reality unfolding in front of us?

“ … The observations we will be discussing are interconnection, karma, impermanence, and illusion.”

¶b2  “The observation of interconnection says simply that everything is connected to everything else. …”

Daut spends a few pages exploring interconnectedness and Karma and its worth the read.  Since, I don’t have anything to add, I’ll keep my Earth Centrist’s project moving forward and breeze through the next few pages.  

If you find any of these snippets worthy, consider reading the complete book, Buddha Science, it’s interesting and deserves your time.

¶b12  “The second observation to discuss is karma.  Although karma is often associated with the idea of rebirth into multiple lifetimes, the actual Pali word simply means action, work or deed. …”

¶b18  “… the third observation of Buddha Science, everything is in the process of becoming, and this process never ends. …

¶b23  “What about the soul - is there some intangible, immaterial essence of self that persists forever after the body dies?  If this soul is not dependent on physical being then it couldn’t have been created when you are born.

Our soul is the product of consciousness; and consciousness is a product of our physical body getting on with the act of living.  

It’s not: “I think, therefore I am!”  In our real world here on Earth, it’s entirely a matter of I am, therefore I think! 

An easy metaphor for the mystery of biology creating consciousness, (mind & soul) - is a metal coil and a magnet creating electricity.  Transient, unique onto itself, and it disappears when the dynamo stops spinning, and scientists remain baffled by it.  

¶b24  “The fourth observation of Buddha Science is that the world we think we experience is an illusion. …”

What makes it an illusion?  That it’s transient?  Why that?

To me it makes much more sense to realize that all creatures create ongoing impressions of the information that relates to their particular being.  Then they do their best with what their senses collect.  

For a fascinating, even revolutionary, expose’ on the story of Earth’s creatures sensing their way through Reality, read: Ed Yong’s, An Immense World, sensing the reality around us.

¶b25  “The ultimate expression of this conventional view is that we, as individuals are somehow separate from Reality. …

Sounds about right and I think it’s a shame.  

I believe there’s another down to Earth & constructive approach to all this confusion and angst.

“… But our efforts at reconnection will not succeed because we never lost the connection.  There is no connection to lose, because we are an integral part of Reality itself. …”

Sure, why not, it’s plenty true that our bodies never lost connection with Earth.

The problem is, that our modern human mindscapes most certainly have lost touch with those connections to ancestors and Earth.  That’s what desperately needs rediscovering.

¶b26  “… The point that Buddha Science says, if we cling to our belief that we are somehow separate from the rest of Reality, we will never escape the suffering that we create through this clinging. …”


Although in our modern society I think it’s become more a problem of the delusion of our expectations.  That is, for the haves.  

The have-nots . . . I can’t go there . . . for them, today’s problem is total loss of hope, with no place to run, no redemption in sight, only increasing horrors in the here and now, as a crowded modern global society continues ignoring the challenges that are starting to boil over.


Chapter 3c, Buddhism, A way of seeing

¶c1  “The Buddha Science line of inquiry can be summarized as practices that result in a perspective with two parts.  These are the practices of developing mindfulness and acting without intention.  The resulting perspectives will be called awakening and equanimity. …”

Okay, still it should be clear both of these parts reside within our Mindscape, as opposed to the physical world of matter, biology and the laws of nature.

¶c3  “Meditation is the primary method … goal is to train the mind to recognize when concepts are forming in the mind and then let go of them in order to free the mind so that unbiased observation of reality can take place … Psychology Today describes mindfulness:

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present.  When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance without judging them good or bad.  Instead of letting your life pass you by mindfulness mean living in the moment and awakening to the experience.” 

Great point, great strategy, great goal, meaningful to achievement. 

Something I’ve found worth pursuing is a mindfulness time spent exploring the interior of my own biological body.  We have enough amazingly accurate information and imaging of our interior body and brain in all its glory.  

Those images are mental tools for building one’s own interior awareness of our own living body, while inhabiting it, while allowing your imagination to explore it.  Talk about a spiritual experience, it can be pretty cool!

No woo, simply a deep awareness of your own body, the one your Self inhabits, until death do you part, in all its mind-bending glory.  

It’s not simple, but it is a fascinating journey of discovery into the most mind expanding topic on Earth, the human experience.  A journey with occasional blasts of enlightenment that will blow away a life time of misplaced dogma.  

The beauty is that a thorough understanding of serious scientific evidence is what provides the backbone I need to trust these musings that have lead me to my Earth Centrist perspective.

¶c4  “… the experience of waking up isn’t simply an internal experience, it is a way of interacting with the world. …”

As are all the next steps you take.  Be a self aware filament in Earth’s Evolutionary Pageant.

Me, myself and I am, today, the cumulative total of all my experiences and all my days that came before.  

My biological body is the sum total of hundreds of millions of years worth of biological research and development with real time testing, modifications, and production.  And like new car models every year, every generation was busy changing and improving - while the eons kept racing along.

¶c5  “The next practice to discuss is acting without intention. …”

Worked stone implement

Allow me some rambling since Daut’s writing has me reminiscing on younger days when I took religious claims and philosophical mind games more seriously.

When “Mindfulness and living in the moment without intention” was within reach as I lived my vagabond years, hitchhiking and taking the moments as they came.  Often living without intention.  Well, okay, I found that’s impossible, so I settled for minimal intention.  Giving others the benefit of doubt, going along with the flow - to a point.  Without intention, does not mean, without situational awareness or self-preservation reflexes. 

Putting myself on the line, going with the flow, a simple striving to live and absorb as much of the moments as I could.  While staying clear of trouble, because: Coyote is always waiting. { hat-tip to Hillerman ;-) }.  Rule one, don’t look for trouble, rule two, learn your lessons from it, when you find it.  

I was living the age-old birth-right of every curious young person who wasn’t satisfied staying at home, who needed to find out what was out there.  To “find the world” and make a place in it. 

Unbeknownst to the sincere innocent youth throughout the ages - but, as we soon learn -  there's an ever-present danger in the world, it is full of predators and parasites.  Often, not “bad” people, simply self-serving, opportunistic, too self-absorbed to be aware of others as anything more than “things.”  Fortunately, there are a lot more good people and we learn to respect and trust and do, and thus gain respect and trust.  Or not.  By our deeds do we proceed.  Karma.

Great times!  Got to better understand myself, and others, in a day when people weren’t as scared, angry and unhinged as these days.  We were still more open to each other’s humanity and I was fortunately to experience society's last great hurrah, before our short-sightedness started catching up with us for real, and our self-made future slammed all it's doors of opportunity to the dreams of youth.

I was young and healthy and polite and liked to take it as it came, having the space to be alone and go my introspective way and strive for a thing American Indians spoke about as:  Walking with grace.  I’ve touched it on occasion. It feels like a meaningful holy sacrament, and the memory is never lost. 

I’ve drunk in the pure joy and the mediative splendor of walking down empty freeways with nothing but wide open western landscape for as far as the eye could behold, or a sky full of stars at night.  Making a nest for sleeping, then waking up to the glory of the warming rays of the sunrise.  Watching the world wake up, then getting on the road again.  

Soaking in the place and the specialness of my moment.  There were times I’d just walk for a while, seeing landscapes up close with time to stare, smelling it, touching it, savoring the experience.  No matter where you go, there you are!   But it wasn't all lonely roads, plenty of jobs and socializing that kept things 'real'.  Still, at some point, it was always time to stick out that thumb again, and the show would move on down the road. 

Well, except when we drive down into Silverton July ’79, that turned out differently.  Didn’t totally stop my traveling, but it gave me a new home, first one since leaving Yosemite. 

Nowadays, I’m settled down and blessed to be living across the mountains in the mythical “banana belt’ on 40 rural acres with a ‘river’ running through it.  A few thickets of trees, meadows on the ancient river bottom, sage-piñon mesa land on the top side, mountains off to the north (Silverton just yonder), then there's desert land and more mountains stretching off to the distant southwestern horizon.  

I seldom walk my dog, usually it’s a matter of her walking me, as she follows her nose, I follow her.  Through thick’n thin ( Occasionally it’s helped to know how to crawl with my toes, knees straight and locked, forearms being forepaws, thermo Carhartt coveralls making it okay, maybe even fun, different view of life from down there, that’s for sure.).  

So these days, my Maddy dog, provides splendid opportunities for living in the moment, without intent and finding what we find. 

Once I found a spot a few hundred yards from our cabin with a couple worked stone "tools" and flakes.  Nothing fancy, just a couple guys messing around back when.  It was a nice overview, under a couple old trees, overlooking the riparian strip that passed below us, a few hundred yards distant.  Suddenly I was there, sitting with them, checking out their rock chipping, them looking over the same, but unspoiled landscape, with tons more familiarity and insight than I can dream of.

Time melts away in those moments sitting on the same spot ancestors did hundreds of years ago (in this particular spot - up to thousands of years throughout the greater 4-Corners area).  The hands that touched those rocks had the same human curiosity, same pride in their own intelligence, same hopes and need to gossip while working, or sitting and watching.  Love and thankfulness and passions flowed through these others, right on this same spot many generations ago.

We gain something from having an appreciation for Earth and our Deep Time history, with its staccato beat of reality altering epochs, one building upon the previous.  I am a self-aware filament in Earth’s pageant of Evolution.

I remember another moment when time melted away, walking down the middle of our nearly dried up ‘river”, looking at rocks, their various types and shapes, then finding one.  A curious rock that simply fit right into my hand, like it belonged there.  I’m without a thought, it comfortably snuggled into my fingers to find a perfect resting points for a firm finger grasp, and a sharp edge.  Before a conscious thought, I found myself lightly testing the sharp edge against my forearm, then on a piece of bark, later on I sliced into a piece of meat and it did well.  I wonder about of the inspiration that sort of serendipity triggered in early humans.

At the moment I felt a visceral kinship with some ancient person and the way they must have experienced Earth teaching the attentive receptive mind.  Lessons that were always there, but that lacked someone to recognize them.  With the learning curve that is evolution, suddenly there we were, able to recognize, then appreciate what was being looked at.  When inspiration resulted in whole new worlds opening up to us.

Another wonderful ah-ha moment, Canyonlands, walking up to, then staring mesmerized at an awesome old well weathered formation of limestone layers that had evolved into layers of limestone blocks, stacked pretty as a mason could have laid.  In a burst of daydreaming, I can imagine some long ago ancient ah-ha moment. 

A formation that was probably already known for generations as a landmark.  Then one day a primitive person once again stopped to stare at it.  Perhaps someone who'd known the rocks since playing on them as a child, perhaps parents even shared myths about the exposure.  On this day, a lone niggling something blossomed into that human's imagination and came to the surface.  

An idea formed into a plan with a purpose, and the resources handy, and Mother Nature having transmitted an unspoken challenge to excite those humans into embracing a new idea.  By and by, rocks became building material and homes were being built, and humanity experienced another quantum leap.

We’ve been in this cabin some twelve years now, longer than any other patch of land I’ve lived on before.  Being fully retired now, I’ve been able to better watch this same 40 acres going through its seasons, to watch weather and plants and wildlife patterns through our day to days and season by seasons, then year by years.  

Past six, seven some years with my Maddy dog acting as my guide.  Multiple times during the day, night.  No two long walks are the same, no two years alike.  My ever increasing awareness of the scope of the constant subtle transforming surprises me, though it shouldn’t, yet it does.  

Daut’s next paragraphs are good, but outside of my purview.  This is about me pointing out where I believe my Earth Centrist, bottom-up Evolutionary perspective offers a fresh constructive lens worth considering.  The above was about me sharing a bit of my background, and perhaps a hint at why all this fascinates me so much that I have this need to share it. 


¶c5  “If the practitioner can learn how to see (their) leaning, (they) can separate emotion from observation, so the bias can be detected and (their) observations become more accurate. …”

I believe, better clarity can be achieved by starting with the fundamental recognition of the Physical Reality ~ Human Mind divide, and then, working out from there.

¶c6  “This approach towards observation follows from the discussion regarding two levels of reality.  In the non-dual view that is ultimate Reality, there is no subject or object, so the only way to get a glimpse of this Reality is to see through a larger perspective.

This brings us right back to appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mind divide benchmark.

Deeply, personally, viscerally appreciating that our mind inhabits a biological body that was hundreds of millions of years in the making. 

Beyond that, absorbing that our mind is the inside reflection of our body communicating with itself, while dealing with its physical being and the environment and circumstance it finds itself in.  

The experience of your own mind struggling with your own body’s impulses highlights why a deeper understanding of your body, and it’s historic origins might be important for personal wellbeing, along with coming to terms with what life dishes out for you, for us.

¶c13  “This concludes our brief overview of Buddha Science.  Now we turn to an overview of science, the second finger that we will examine in our quest to point toward the moon of Reality.”

One of Steve Daut’s tasks is to succinctly describe a Buddha Science path and I think he does a good job of it.  I skip over many details because that isn’t my particular focus, I’m in a different discussion with his book, striving to portray my Earth Centrist’s perspective.  

If you’ve been finding this interesting and curious about what I skipped over, consider getting a copy of Buddha Science, ©2016, so you can read the rest of Steve's story.  Contact, Steve Daut


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