Please join us at Gar Drolma for the continuing study group; Buddhist and Western Concepts Study Group. The group will meet on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
The discussions will include reflecting on Buddhist and Western philosophical thinking about the mind, reviewing neurophysiological evidence concerning the body and mind, and discussing recent theories and ideas from physics. We will provide web links each month that provide relevant background information on the topics to be discussed to make it easier for everyone to participate in the discussion.
The principal focus of the group is to attempt to reconcile Buddhist ideas and concepts about the body, mind, and universe with Western knowledge.
The March 13 topic is:
Appearances Are One’s Own Mind
The above phrase is a quote from H.E. Garchen Rinpoche. Similar quotes can also be found in the sutras. But what does this statement actually mean?
Does it mean that my mind and its perceptual/cognitive processes create the world that I see, out of all possible worlds that I could see? That is, would I see the world differently if I were embodied a different way (e.g., bees and bats have different perceptual apparatus and see frequencies of light that we cannot see), or would I see the world differently if I had different karma and lived in a different one of the six realms of being? Or alternatively, is it possible that all of matter has another attribute that is awareness, and the universe is a giant mind, of which I am a part?
The dominant view of contemporary cognitive science is that consciousness emerges (almost magically) from a system once it reaches a certain level of complexity. There is a minority view, however, that argues that matter does have an attribute that is awareness (see panpsychism link below), and there are other views that suggest that consciousness is a property of living systems (as opposed to non-living systems). We will discuss some of these alternatives.
10 Examples of How Animals See http://morgana249.blogspot.com/2014/07/10-examples-of-how-animals-see-images.html
How Animals See the World
Six Realms of Existence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saṃsāra_(Buddhism)
Is consciousness Universal? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-consciousness-universal/