I must be missing something?

When it comes to the Buddha-Dhamma when something is unclear to us, we know it’s unclear and, when it’s clear we know it’s clear. The Buddha helps us to see our lack of clarity - clearly. If we cannot see something clearly however hard we try we can live in the light of that understanding.

There is so much that is ‘missing’ in my understanding of the Dhamma. When the sense of self is missing this is very telling. Without a word spoken or a thought in mind everything is clearer than before.

On my phone just-now the virtual-keyboard wouldn’t disappear. I couldn’t access the ‘Save Edit’ button. A thought appeared: if I push the space button it might disappear. Then, a shop appeared - I was walking to work - it was called: Space - an interior design shop. It had space-signs on its windows and hanging brightly over-head. Have I got a bug or is something else going on?


The marvel of rebirth and reboot is the marvel of repeatable suffering. We can only fix what keeps reappearing. Everything else is a feature or not reproduceable.

I was driving through northern Italy in 1984 listening to Armed Forces Radio and the song “Gloria” by the rock group Them was playing. As the song was playing I passed a large water tower. On the side of the water tower was written in large billboard letters: “Gloria.” Go figure.


There is a far greater marvel than the marvel of repeatable suffering. The Buddha has invited us to come and see - to be known by the wise each for themselves.


Awakening, I say

i just heard i am to become a grandfather - so it seems

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I have experienced such uncanny-seeming coincidences as well. But when that happens, I try to recall that we often underestimate the probabilities of coincidences, and that can make the coincidence seem more “canny”.

For example, suppose you have two clock-like devices that each display a number between 1 and N, inclusively, with the number displayed changing once per second, just like the seconds display on a clock. The displayed number is always selected randomly. So, for any given display second T, the probability that a given number M will be displayed during T is unaffected by the numbers that have been displayed at times prior to T. For any number M between 1 and N, and any display second T, the probability that M will be displayed during T is therefore 1/N.

Since there are two of these devices, A and B, then at any time T, the numbers displayed on A and B either match or they do not. There are N2 possible combinations of numbers for two dials. The number of possible matches is N, and the number of possible mismatches is N2 - N. The probability of a match is thus N/N2 = 1/N. The probability of a mismatch is 1 - 1/N = (N2 - N)/ N2 = (N – 1)/N.

Now suppose the two devices are started at the same time and allowed to run indefinitely. What is the probability that, after the device has run for two seconds, there will have been two consecutive mismatches? The answer is:

(N – 1)/N x (N – 1)/N = (N-1)2/N2

What is the probability that, after the device has run for five seconds, there will have been five consecutive mismatches? The answer is:

(N – 1)/N x (N – 1)/N x (N – 1)/N x (N – 1)/N x (N – 1)/N = (N-1)5/N5

In general, for any number k, the probability that there will have been k consecutive mismatches after the device has run for k seconds is (N-1)k/Nk, or [(N-1)/N]k. Since N-1 is less than N this fraction decreases monotonically as k increases.

Now, how large does k have to be for the probability of k consecutive mismatches to have decreased to 1/2? In other words, how large does k have to be for the probability of k consecutive mismatches to equal the probability of at least one match? The answer is the solution for k in the equation [(N-1)/N]k = 1/2, which is

k = log (N-1)/N (1/2).

We can now calculate the answer for different values of N. If N = 1000, so each of the devices is capable of outputting only 1000 random numbers, k is 692.8 seconds. For reference, there are 57,600 seconds in a 16 hour “waking day”, so 692.8 seconds is just a bit over 1/100th of a waking day. Now we can look at the answers for a few other possible values of N. In the table below, the first column is the value of N, the second column is the number of seconds k for which the probability of a match has grown to 1/2 or fifty-fifty, and the third column is the number of waking days corresponding to the number of seconds in the second column.

N Seconds Waking Days
10,000 6931.1 .12
100,000 69314.4 1.2
500,000 346,573.2 6.02
1,000,000 693146.8 12.03

So, even if both devices can output a million numbers, and even if they operate completely independently and randomly, changing the number displayed once per second, there is a fifty-fifty chance that if the devices are allowed to run for just over 12 waking days, at least one match will occur.


yes coincidence its possible

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Or the “birthday paradox” is another nice result in that kind of direction. Put 30 random people in a room and more likely than not two of them will share a birthday. Similarly, finding people winning a lottery twice is not as uncommon as one might think (though the odds of a specific person winning it twice are billions or trillions to one). This kind of logic is exploited in cryptographic attacks also (trying to hack or reverse engineer a secret key or password).


Fourier analysis and then entanglement both destroyed my faith in the sovereignty of locality and strict mutual independence. I understand statistics, yet in my life and practice I simply have faith that we are all connected through all time and all space. :pray:

On the way home from work I was on a bus - not far from my stop - when a man I know (a local artist) jumped on. We exchanged greetings and I asked him about the giant plant pots that run the length of the median-strip on the main street in our town - they contain trees. These pots are decorated with an abstract art that looked a bit like his work, so I asked him if it was his. He was the artist responsible for the beautiful pots and then I realised I might have played a part in the trees being there. I had gone to university with the now-mayor and many years ago I had reported to him something I had witnessed on the main street that I was moved by. Some ‘guerilla gardeners’ had appeared on the seen and they were attempting to plant trees on the same median-strip late at night. The authorities were alerted and the organic subversive behaviour was stopped. I asked my future mayor if anything could be done to make the trees a reality. Coincidence - maybe? Connected through time and space?

What we see is a function of how we look.

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There actually is a universe that is what it is independently of our self-indulgent projections and fantasies, and will go on being what it is after we are gone. Quantum entanglement does not provide a warrant for whatever pleasant conceit we want to entertain, nor do the kinds of quantum correlations we actually have evidence for provide a warrant for attributing reality and significance to whatever meaning-making conception we fashion out of the contingent patterns of experience. Release from clinging or attachment involves relinquishing all such narcissistic conceits about what I was, what I will be, and what hidden forces might be at work to make the small part of the universe I experience seem meaningful and special to my impermanent and conditioned mind.

I couldn’t agree more - but this opens up another area of inquiry: what constitutes self-indulgent projections and fantasies and what is devoid of these aberrations. If you are implying that your personal musings on this site are free of projections and fantasies I would invite you to reflect on this - is it necessarily so? We haven’t actually established - conclusively - without room to manoeuvre, the true and absolute nature of this independently existing universe and our role in the process. For some, they may feel they have all the answers - which is kind-of laughable.

Philosophical realism* is not the ultimate understanding of the way it is - its just another point of view. Its of great interest - an infatuation - for some and, boring to others. What you see is a function of how you look - if you see something as desirable i.e realism, then, that is a way of looking. A view conditioned by craving that leads to grasping and becoming. I ‘become’ a realist and have an emotional investment in it for reasons that are not transparent and undisguised.

Don’t be a realist, don’t be a *post-structuralist, don’t be any-thing at all. If you are anything at all, you will suffer.

*Philosophical realism - Wikipedia

*Naïve realism - Wikipedia

*Post-structuralism - Wikipedia

“Yes, Kālāmas, it is proper that you have doubt, that you have perplexity, for doubt has arisen in a matter which is doubtful. Now, look you, Kālāmas,
do not be led by reports, or tradition, or hearsay.
Be not led by the authority of religious texts,
nor by [mere logic or inference], […] nor by the idea: ‘this is our teacher.’ […]” - Kalama Sutta

Something worth noticing in all of this is the point of the OP - as a whole - was completely overlooked for reasons unknown.

I have been lead to believe - rightly or wrongly - that the socalled independently existing ‘real’ world comes into existence because of the craving of sentient beings. Is this an EBT teaching? If this is actually the case that would mean the notion that sentience is just an epiphenomena and the physical world is the ‘reality’ underlying everything is not supported in the Buddha’s teachings.

I also vaguely remember some verses from the Sutta Nipatta that negate philosopical realism. I will make a search and post a link or two.

You are confusing realism with naive realism.

I don’t believe that philosophical realism is a philosophy that is compatible with the Buddha’s teachings. I have heard many realists assert the superiority of their views and dismiss much of what the Buddha taught. Claiming his teachings on kamma and rebirth are archaic. The product of an ancient and superstitious culture. They say, what the world needs is more realists. These are the people who see things clearly as they have freed themselves from projections and fantasies.

I have heard other belief-systems which have emerged out of the western philosophical tradition that compliment the Buddha’s insights. They tend to show respect to the Buddha and are not lost in a false sense of superiority.

I have a tendency to feel suspicious of philosophies that insist that the views they hold are the truth - the way it is. For me, the truth can never be captured in philosophy. At best, philosophy may help to foster open inquiry and, at worst it can promote blind dogmas.

Buddhism cannot be understood without deep meditative inquiry, sustained practice that involves many things that cannot be imbibed by avid reading, occasional visits to temples, and a blind devotion. There is more to it than that, it goes beyond theory.

Kamma and rebirth have no logical connection to realism. A person could be a realist and believe in kamma and rebirth, or they could be a realist and reject kamma and rebirth.

A separate issue is what is a permissible basis for believing in any such doctrine. Some people believe that their personal feelings and personal interpretations of the events they experience are good enough. Some think faith-based appeals to textual authority are enough. Others think we should be more careful and scrupulous in deciding what doctrines to believe - and spread.


I don’t believe in rebirth and I don’t disbelieve in rebirth. When I hear teachings that I don’t understand clearly I acknowledge that fact.

I remember an instance when the Buddha spoke well of Ananda who had overheard a teaching given to someone else.

The Buddha asked Ananda if he believed the teaching and Ananda said he didn’t. The Buddha asked Ananda if he believed what he had taught and he replied ‘no’.

Ananda made it clear that he didn’t believe or disbelieve the teaching because he didn’t understand it.

The Buddha approved of Ananda’s response. If anyone can help with source material that would be helpful.

I have no issue with anyone self-identifying as a philosophical realist or anything else they imagine into existence. It’s just something I find pointless and potentially problematic for the reasons stated above.

I am reasonably sure that the Buddha’s teachings diverge - are not commensurate with - what is referred to as philosophical realism and idealism.

Unfortunately, if you want to clarify these matters for the Buddha it’s to late.

I appreciate you have an interest in these things and I hope they help you in some way. I really have no use for it but, I wish you well.