Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

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Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 20 Feb 2014, 05:25

There is a Tibetan story about Lama Marpa, in the time when Buddhism was entering Tibet, who went to India three times to bring back Buddhist scriptures which he would then translate.

The first time he went to India, his mother asked him to bring back a tooth relic of the Buddha. That was something he could not have done. However, when he returned, he told his mother he had forgotten. The second time he went to India, she also asked him to bring back a tooth relic of the Buddha, and again, when he returned without one, he told her he had forgotten.

His mother also asked him when he went to India the third time. This time, as he was walking back to India, he saw the skull of a dog next to the trail. So he took out one tooth from the dog's skull, wrapped it up, and gave it to his mother when he got back, telling her it was a tooth relic of the Buddha.

She was overjoyed, made an altar for it, and every day, her neighbors came to do rituals. Nothing happened at first, but a bit later, a light began to glow out of the tooth.

Whether that story is true or not, it is saying that people can imbue almost anything with spiritual power if they wish.

Is that then true? Can people imbue almost anything with spiritual power?

Jim

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby Gwion » 20 Feb 2014, 10:12

The question implies that there are things that do not already possess their own spiritual power [and that such power is given to these lesser (?) objects by humans]. Not sure that my journey starts from there. I’d be more inclined to ask “Are you more likely to find something if you know it’s in the place you’re looking?”
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby Aphritha » 20 Feb 2014, 21:13

Yes, I think a person can imbue an object with power with some effort. I think children do it best, with their accepting attitude of things that cannot be proven. THey give power to their blankets, toys, anything they may find value in.
I remember when I was a child, I was plagued by nightmares. My mom gave me a stuffed horse and told me that the horse's name was Nightmare and it would chase other bad dreams away. Well, it worked.
Now, who's energy was put into the horse, I can't really say. Was it my own, being young and scared, and wanting those dreams to go away so badly? Was it my mom's, wanting me to sleep through the night? Or, was it the horse's itself, the energies of the fibers it was made up of, or maybe even the energies it had picked up through the years(it was an old toy). I'd be inclined to say a mixture of all, but that's just my opinion.
Also, it seems as if an outside power can amplify the power of another. A seed holds great power, but the ability of the seed is enhanced if I formally plant and attend to it on a regular basis. This idea is also very obvious in people. If I hold any sort of power within myself, how I handle it may be influenced by others. If another person is cruel to me, I may become jaded and use my power for negative. If others are kind, I may return more of the same.


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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby treegod » 21 Feb 2014, 00:32

I don't believe that objects are "imbued" with anything as such (at least, I'm not convinced of it yet), but I do believe that any object can carry deep symbolic significance in the mind of the human.

Whether a tooth is from a dog or the Buddha, what matters is the significance of that tooth in the mind of people.

Symbolic objects don't have to be "special" to resonate within us.

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby ShadowCat » 21 Feb 2014, 09:20

If Einstein is right and everything is energy, then it wouldn't be "imbuing" energy since everything already is energy, but either raising frequency and/or ampitude of the object or tuning into the energy of the object that would create the magic.

In a way we all do this all the time, with small items, souvenirs, tokens, that we save because they have special meaning to us. Your old loveletters might might just seem to be a sheaf of old paper to me.
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby DaRC » 21 Feb 2014, 10:33

Is that then true? Can people imbue almost anything with spiritual power?
Looking at some of the crazier cults there have been I would guess that it is.
However, another viewpoint is to take an example like cairns; individual walkers have imbued 'their' stone with their energy and brought it to the top of a mountain or mountain pass. Enough people do it and then you have a landmark which has a lasting impression on all who come across it.
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 22 Feb 2014, 17:22

Since I myself don't know, I can't say which of you might be wrong or right. Of course, you might all be right. People can be right in different ways about something. Therefore, I'll try to find some additional questions. Trying to find new questions is something I do frequently.

For Gwion: Since all things come from the ground of existence, I think you are probably right about everything having some spiritual ground energy in it. The puzzling thing is why things which emerge out of the same ground are different. Could we say that with the dog's tooth, what in imbued is perhaps a tiny bit of the *something* which makes objects different? I don't know whether this question leads to a dead end or a helpful idea. The broader question is, what is that *something* which causes things that emerge from the ground of existence to be different? Is this *something* which can can be moved, a bit at a time, from object to object? What might be the difference between a *something*d, bits of which could move from object to object, and a *something* which could not move from object to object?

For Aphritha: My feeling is that the massive complexity you are talking about is true, but I'm not sure because I don't have a proof of it. An additional question occurs to me. How can the universe have so much complexity and keep it all orderly, rather than sinking into chaos?

For treegod: I can certainly see the possibility that everything involved is an effect of a symbol in the mind. That would be a little like the sigils used in chaos magic. If this is exclusive, then why does a symbol have power and not other things in the mind?

For shadow cat: I would agree that everything is energy, although physical energy may be a subset of consciousness energy. There is also something which structures the energy, and I don't know exactly what that is. The physicists seem to just take that for granted until they gain more knowledge. So, what is this structure thing which shapes the energy?

For daRC: I can see that about the cairns, and have felt it out hiking. A question for that might be-- Does the person1 leave that energy back in the stone, or is what is really happening that person1 still has a memory of the stone, and when someone else encounters the stone, what that person2 is doing is connecting telepathically with person1, even at a great distance?

Jim

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby Aphritha » 22 Feb 2014, 17:53

In response to the question directed at me, I have to ask another question. Is chaos really chaos, or is it just an order we(as human beings) don't really understand? If I leave my dining room table a mess, it might seem chaos to me or my family, but a bug might find a perfect home under a napkin, or my cats might see it as the perfect buffet.
If you look at something under a microscope, and don't really know what you're looking at, it might seem to be a big mess. An uninformed person might write it off as nothing. But, it could a small part of something that once made up part of a larger, such as an expired bug's wing, or a fiber from someone's clothes. Or it could even a microscopic organism that exists on its own, but the person doesn't understand what they're seeing. So, what one person has dismissed as chaotic really has meaning, just not one the individual understands.
Does chaos really exist, or is it a label we use to describe things which we don't yet understand? Could the universe be prevented from sinking into such because it doesn't exist?
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby treegod » 22 Feb 2014, 22:06

How can the universe have so much complexity and keep it all orderly, rather than sinking into chaos?
According to physicists it is sinking into chaos. They call it entropy.
For treegod: I can certainly see the possibility that everything involved is an effect of a symbol in the mind. That would be a little like the sigils used in chaos magic. If this is exclusive, then why does a symbol have power and not other things in the mind?
Other things do have power in the mind because they connect or resonate with symbolism. Symbols aren't isolated things, they are always connecting between things: between mind and senses, between conscious and unconscious. Symbols are a manner for the human mind and "other things" to communicate.

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby ShadowCat » 23 Feb 2014, 11:20

For shadow cat: I would agree that everything is energy, although physical energy may be a subset of consciousness energy. There is also something which structures the energy, and I don't know exactly what that is. The physicists seem to just take that for granted until they gain more knowledge. So, what is this structure thing which shapes the energy?
Physical energy can mean a lot of different things, from the physics that keeps electrons moving around, yet bound to the protons and neutrons, to the (remarkably similar) forces that keep planets and universes spinning among themselves. It's the photonic patterns of light and the pulses of my cellphone.

My conciousness is, at least at a physiological level, powered/carrried by the pulses that run through my neurons and synapses. Does my consiousness create the pulses so to create itselves, or is the consiousness a byproduct of a process that can be solely explained by physics? Do I define or am I defined?

Does it matter?

The newage-ish "you create your own universe" makes for lonely people sometimes, all cooped up on their own island of reality. Yet, the idea that we are mere cogs in the relentless clockworks of times is equally unsettling.

I can't answer your question, and if I could, I probably wouldn't since the answer is directly tied in to the age-old dilemma's of the meaning of life (72) that all who seek that answer have to figure out for themselves. Just some thoughts though:

- a key might be found in the physical conundrum of the wave-particle duality;
- another key might be found in old tales and more modern stories that touch our hearts, where often music/song are ways of shaping the world;
- an answer might be hiding in the eyes of animals and the whisper of plants, who don't bother with asking the question and by effect aren't hindered by the implications of possible answers;
- and finally, there might be glimpses of insight in your mind, grasping the whole thing and then almost immediately forgetting it again, leaving only this lingering longing for understanding.
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby DaRC » 24 Feb 2014, 12:54

Is chaos really chaos, or is it just an order we(as human beings) don't really understand?
Well Chaos Theory has started to be able to explain some things, previously thought as completely chaotic, in an order we can mathematically explain.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory
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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 24 Feb 2014, 17:22

All of your messages are of high quality, which leads me to believe that you could make a group of important discoveries in the area of consciousness. A possible ultimate goal is to develop a massive enough and good enough theory of consciousness to know exactly how everyone can quickly develop their own minds to the best kind of consciousness possible given the basic laws of the universe. That is something that could well take a number of thousands of years, with the length depending on how many people work towards that goal. People of any religion and any secular tradition can contribute. Whether or not you are interested in that goal, I see you as having the necessary skills to make discoveries.

For Aphritha::: In line with your comment, chaos may be only a kind of theoretical fulcrum. It is true that all real units have connections with some other units, which would mean that chaos isn't real. Instead, one can test hypotheses if one can find reasons that: if hypothesis A is true, there would be a real chaos while if it isn't true, there would not be chaos --- or if a hypothesis B is true, there would not be a real chaos, but if it is false, then there would be a real chaos. So the idea of chaos would be a theoretical fulcrum which in some cases might help support, or not support, a theoretical idea.

For Treegod: Certainly, everything we experience is in consciousness, whether or not it exists in the physical world. There is plenty of evidence for the unconscious, but it may have some properties that awareness doesn't have. I think that your comment that symbols make real connections, in consciousness at minimum, is true. Of course, the standard advice is that one should always question the obvious. Often, one might not overturn the obvious, but questioning it leads to the discovery of other knowledge.

I any case, to expand on your idea: Are symbols the only things which connect in a manner that causes things to happen, or are there some other things? If there are several things, how are they similar to and different from symbols? Symbols are at least somewhat complex, including both a perceptual aspect and a process aspect. How are the perceptual aspects and the process aspects related?

For DaRC: Is physical Chaos Theory similar to anything which happens in conscious awareness, and if so, what?
-------
In general, when one can't answer a question right away, one can answer it in a period from days to weeks to years if one works on it now and then.

One more message will be added, hoping that this message board works like others in the relevant ways ---

Jim

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 24 Feb 2014, 18:30

ShadowCat:::Physical energy can mean a lot of different things, from the physics that keeps electrons moving around, yet bound to the protons and neutrons, to the (remarkably similar) forces that keep planets and universes spinning among themselves. It's the photonic patterns of light and the pulses of my cellphone.

Jim:::Yes. There is a basic energy, and then processes which shape the basic energy into different fields and different particles. The Higgs boson is supposed to explain why energy is shaped into the particular particles with particular masses, etc. but we will see where that goes in the future. We have a lot to discover about how energy is shaped. Since consciousness and the physical in the brain exchange energy, I think that means that both must have a common ground, or common ground energy. If my hypothesis about dimensions is true (it might or might not be) then consciousness has more degrees of freedom than the physical because consciousness is in more dimensions than the physical. Therefore, consciousness is either closer to the ground thsn the physical, or consciousness is the ground itself. The physical is energy restricted to a small number of dimensions.

ShadowCat:::My conciousness is, at least at a physiological level, powered/carrried by the pulses that run through my neurons and synapses. Does my consciousness create the pulses so to create itselves, or is the consiousness a byproduct of a process that can be solely explained by physics? Do I define or am I defined?

Jim::: If we have a dual processing system, I think that it would be both. There would be causal relationships going each way, and highly complex patterns over time. So, for example, my eyes and brain might encode a landscape with some trees in it. My consciousness might decode the nerve impulse pattern and create a subjective visual image of the landscape and trees. My consciousness might decide that a particular tree looks interesting. My consciousness might then set off some nerve impulse patterns that would cause my brain to "look" closer, "look" in terms of its information processing. When the brain looks closer, the new nerve impulse patterns that produces would be observed by my consciousness, which would change or replace the subjective image. This might go back and forth a number of times.

ShadowCat:::Does it matter?

Jim::: Some people might be interested and some not, which is OK. However, it would matter in terms of increasing our knowledge about consciousness, and increasing our knowledge should provide various benefits for people. However, we can't predict future discoveries, so some benefits might be some we would expect, while other benefits would be a surprise.

ShadowCat:::The newage-ish "you create your own universe" makes for lonely people sometimes, all cooped up on their own island of reality. Yet, the idea that we are mere cogs in the relentless clockworks of times is equally unsettling.

Jim:::Traditionally, that is solipsism. It is true that we can't prove, at this time, that other minds exist. However, just because we can't prove the existence of other minds doesn't mean that they don't exist. Eventually we might be able to say "An X exists in my conscious experience which could not be there for reasons A,B,C if no other minds exist. I have seen the idea of group solipsism. That is to say, we each create our own universe, but the universes intersect at many places. So some experiences are being shared with others, while other experiences are not. I've come up with a hypothesis that we might be a massive multiple personality disorder, that we are all one mind, but sometimes we think we are George, sometimes we think we are Mary, sometimes we think we are the dog Fido, and so forth. I am far from any evidence for or against the multiple personality disorder hypothesis.

ShaadowCat::: can't answer your question, and if I could, I probably wouldn't since the answer is directly tied in to the age-old dilemma's of the meaning of life (72) that all who seek that answer have to figure out for themselves. Just some thoughts though:

Jim:::My own feeling is that the purpose of life is to discover and actualize the best form of consciousness possible given the basic laws of the universe. To that extent, the purpose isn't yet known, because nobody knows what the best possible form of consciousness is. Buddhists say that the best possible form of consciousness is Nirvana, but Buddhists don't know exactly what Nirvana is. Pagans hold that it is a harmony with the natural world, but I haven't seen any knowledge of what the best possible harmony with the natural world would be. Those concepts are quite useful, because they point to some directions in which to search. We have a choice. We can say "Oh dear, we don't know what the best possible form of consciousness is," or we can say, "This is so exciting. We have things to explore and discover in the future." Since nobody knows, any theory might be a stepping stone towards discovering new knowledge, so every religious and secular tradition is valuable and should be nourished.

ShadowCat:::- a key might be found in the physical conundrum of the wave-particle duality;
- another key might be found in old tales and more modern stories that touch our hearts, where often music/song are ways of shaping the world;
- an answer might be hiding in the eyes of animals and the whisper of plants, who don't bother with asking the question and by effect aren't hindered by the implications of possible answers;

Jim:::All of the above. Anything which exists reflects deeper processes, so one can use anything at a stepping stone to discover those deeper processes.

ShadowCat:::- and finally, there might be glimpses of insight in your mind, grasping the whole thing and then almost immediately forgetting it again, leaving only this lingering longing for understanding.

Jim:::Very much so. Notice that one can remember something about the glimpses, and then one can look for something similar in everyday subjective experience. When one discovers enough subjective experiences which are similar, then that can get the whole thing back again for a somewhat more complete glimpse before one forgets much of that. Then one can go back to looking to see what individual everyday experiences might be similar. And so forth.

I will note a reference, Wechsler, Judith, ed. (1978), OM AESTHETICS IN SCIENCE, Cambridge, USA: MIT Press. One finding is that most scientists, of those studied, who make serious discoveries have a hobby in the Arts. Evidently, creative activity in the Arts increases creative intellectual problem solving skills. There is muvch more research that could be done to discover why this is happening.

Another discovery was a mystical activity in some of the scientists who made major discoveries. To begin, the best scientists experience theories as aesthetic, such as that a theory is elegant. Of those which do, when they make a major discovery, they first see-feel in their head a vague distant kind of point of the beuty they see in theories. Then, when they concentrate on that vague see-feel, and the distant vagueness expands and unpacks into a theory.

In contest, the creative process is widely held to involve four stages. Preparation, Incubation, illumination, and verification. First, one gathers information relating to one's question, over a period of time. Then one turns to other things and allows ones unconscious mind to work on the problem If successful, the answer will come into one's awareness, the illumination. Then, one must verifty that the discovery is genuine.

Jim

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby ShadowCat » 26 Feb 2014, 14:38

O well... Jim... that's quite some text you've written here...

I'll mull some things over and get back to it within a week or so

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 26 Feb 2014, 17:18

Just the right thing to do. When working on new ideas, a lot of time is required. For me, it sometimes happens relatively quickly, but it took several years to solve certain problems.

Jim

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby treegod » 28 Feb 2014, 18:29

Often, one might not overturn the obvious, but questioning it leads to the discovery of other knowledge.
Most certainly. :)

Are symbols the only things which connect in a manner that causes things to happen, or are there some other things?
Well, yes. That's what electric cables are for. Or the number of ecological connections that distributes the sun's light (absorbed by photosynthesis) so that we can all be sustained by that energy.

If there are several things, how are they similar to and different from symbols?
There are too many things to compare with. Perhaps it's better to ask "how are symbols different from these things?"
I would say, in this moment, that symbols deal with meaning. They evoke certain feelings of association within us (other connections), often non-verbal, or perhaps they initiate curiosity to discover their mean - the meaning of symbols aren't immediately obvious to our conscious perception.

Without specific examples, it's difficult not to wander into generalisations.

Symbols are at least somewhat complex, including both a perceptual aspect and a process aspect. How are the perceptual aspects and the process aspects related?
A very interesting question.
Have you heard of the expression "energy follows consciousness"? We might also say that "process follows perception". Whatever comes into contact with perception enters into a process of transformation. But then, so does perception. But it's not enough to merely "become aware", but also enter into the process, become compromised in it. As Sai Baba said, "You seek too much information and not enough transformation."

There are plenty of processes that happen without human perception, natural and bodily processes that have no particular significance for human consciousness. But there's plenty of processes that are potentially significant for human consciousness, a process of evolution and transformation that, for the most part, remains unconscious (perception does not implicate itself in its own process),

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby JamesNewell » 28 Feb 2014, 19:01

DaRC:::If there are several things, how are they similar to and different from symbols?
There are too many things to compare with. Perhaps it's better to ask "how are symbols different from these things?"
I would say, in this moment, that symbols deal with meaning. They evoke certain feelings of association within us (other connections), often non-verbal, or perhaps they initiate curiosity to discover their mean - the meaning of symbols aren't immediately obvious to our conscious perception.
Without specific examples, it's difficult not to wander into generalisations.

Jim:::A couple of examples.

1. In decoding a pattern of nerve impulses, consciousness is combining information from different locations in space, without a material connection which instantly links the parts of the pattern. This is therefore a form of telepathy on a small scale, connecting different locations in a nonmaterial way.

2. When consciousness sets off new nerve impulse patterns, that is telekinesis.

Thus, can symbols do things with the natural processes above, and if so, can some symbols do it while other symbols can't do it?

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Re: Lama Marpa and the dogs tooth

Postby ShadowCat » 07 Mar 2014, 11:51

It took a while but I'm back with this topic. Points I don't further comment on, I just agree with without having anything sensible to add or comment.
I think that means that both must have a common ground, or common ground energy. If my hypothesis about dimensions is true (it might or might not be) then consciousness has more degrees of freedom than the physical because consciousness is in more dimensions than the physical. Therefore, consciousness is either closer to the ground thsn the physical, or consciousness is the ground itself. The physical is energy restricted to a small number of dimensions.
The visual you invoke here, brings me back to music: the same tone, one octave (or dimension if you will) higher, invokes a completely different feeling. Music if everywhere, but if you want to play a specific recognisable song (the physical) you have to stay within the set range, pitch and timbre. Some embellishements may be made, but go to far and the song has changed beyond recognision.
ShadowCat:Do I define or am I defined?
Jim::: If we have a dual processing system, I think that it would be both (...)
This is on the level of what's going on in your mind a wellput explanation. In my questioning I was also pondering it into a further, more existential context. Am I creator or creature? Again, one might argue both sides, same as with the chicken and the egg. On the other side, things might be odd considered apart from all the philosophical pondering we might do on this subject, we still exist while pondering this. Life still goes on in it's own current when (or despite) we stepp out of it to discuss it's flow. So there is this external source. Yet, the source too, only is percieved when it is seen by something exterior to itself, say: me.

All in all I often like to bridge the gap between internal and external manifestation with the image of a discoball. While the tiny mirrors are touching and in essence all connected to the same ball, the flecks of light bouncing off it are often larger than the mirror, not square anymore, with more fuzzy edges and seemingly wide apart from one another. I might argue that we are all both flecks of light and discoballs at the same time. :sparkle:
or we can say, "This is so exciting. We have things to explore and discover in the future." Since nobody knows, any theory might be a stepping stone towards discovering new knowledge, so every religious and secular tradition is valuable and should be nourished.
:tiphat: Very astute. To me, this is also a heart-value of druidry...
Three sounds one should treasure:
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the callings of the universe

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