Palmistry, Predictions, Psychic phenomena and Changing Fate

@Moloch

https://www.dhammatalks.org/books/uncollected/Worlds.html

This above article can change your thinking sir…I would suggest you to read that. Venerable Bhikkhu Thannisaro gave very clear explanation regarding relationship between supernatural and science!

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There is no rebirth evidences, it’s all fraudulent. I’ve looked into them before, and it’s always just some story about a kid who remembered some past life… but it’s always some kid whose parents believe in past lives and coached him on what to say… it’s quite obvious since nobody whose parent’s didn’t raise them in a religion which believes in such things ever views past lives… it’s simply a charade, a hoax, a scam, a con… only people who believe in such things make such claims… there is never a Christian child who views past lives, only Buddhist children… amazing eh?

I don’t believe in past life claims for the same reason I don’t believe in claims of Christians seeing visions of the virgin mary, or Catholics exorcising demons… it amazes me that each religion has these crazy things that only ever happens to people of that specific religion… I’ve never heard of a Buddhist exorcising demons or seeing visions of the virgin mary…

I’ve studied many of these things in my youth. I was always open-minded, and kinda believed in this stuff for most of my life. Unfortunately, I discovered that it’s all fraudulent. Fraudulent psychics are prolific, and magicians like Houdini and James Randi have spent decades exposing them as the frauds that they are.

Evidence for me must be scientific. Anecdotes are not scientific… stories about past lives are not scientific. This is all just stories that cannot possibly be confirmed by science. There are too many con-artists that grift a living off gullible people.

Scientists do study this stuff… scientists test these claims all the time, and psychic phenomenon always fail the tests of science. Any reputable scientist gives this up, because the evidence always shows that palm readings and other psychic phenomenon is false.

The question I have for you is… why do you believe this stuff? Was there something specific that convinced you that palm reading, etc is true? Or… did you already believe in it before doing the research?

Is there any evidence that any of that is true? No, of course not.

It sounds like you are starting with a conclusion, then trying to find evidence to confirm your preconceived notions (confirmation bias), rather than study both sides of the argument, and draw a conclusion based on the evidence.

I prefer to study both sides of an argument before drawing a conclusion. The problem with having a conclusion first is that it always affects your judgement of the evidence in a biased way. People always find evidence to support the beliefs that they already have. Two people can look at the same evidence and draw different conclusions if they have biases.

I am certainly open to changing my mind if I come across legitimate evidence (but evidence for psychic phenomenon is never legitimate in the eyes of science, it is always anecdotes and the like, never a scientific double-blind study).

I trust science because it works! Science builds rocket ships that can send people to the moon! Science builds medical devices which can scan your internal organs without cutting you open. Science put a smart phone in my pocket that has a video camera, and internet access… psychics have done nothing to advance humanity in any meaningful way. Psychics only lie to people and scam them out of money.

Psychics are shown to be frauds every day. Is there any other profession which allows con-artists to run amok? A fraudulent mechanic would get sued… a fraudulent doctor would go to prison for malpractice… a fraudulent psychic is protected from legal ramifications because it is specifically, “for entertainment purposes only” (In other words, it’s known to be fake, and you shouldn’t believe it)

Claims of religious/psychic phenomenon always remind me of this story from Mumbai:

There was a statue of Jesus, which started weeping one day. Tears were physically pouring down the face of the statue. It was a miracle! Christians came from all over to witness this miracle, and wash themselves with the tears of the Jesus statue in hopes of curing illness, etc.

There were many claims of this water from the statue healing their illnesses. But then science came along, and traced where the water was coming from:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weeping_crucifix_in_Mumbai

Scientific explanation

The Indian rationalist Sanal Edamaruku was invited to investigate by TV9 of Mumbai with the consent of the church authorities. He went with an engineer to the site where the alleged miracle had happened, and traced the source of the drip to the rear side. Edamaruku found that the water was seeping through the feet because of capillary action and faulty plumbing.[11][12] Moisture on the wall where the statue was mounted seemed to be coming from an overflowing drain, which was in turn fed by a pipe that issued from a nearby toilet.

It was a leaky toilet, not tears of Jesus (was anyone really surprised?). These people were washing themselves with toilet water and claiming they were being healed by the tears of a Jesus statue!

This is why I trust science, and not fairy tales. I don’t want to take a bath in toilet water…

Now we can engage.

First up, don’t lump all supernatural stuffs together, just because I believe in rebirth, supernormal powers, ghost, gods, etc as the suttas describe them, doesn’t mean I believe in feng shui, palmistry, fortune telling, astrology etc, which are said to be animal arts by the Buddha.

Second, you really haven’t read properly the rebirth evidences literature then. I can only engage in rebirth stuffs as the others I am not familiar with their evidences or lack thereof.

Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot by Andrea Leininger & Bruce Leininger

This case is of the kid has parents of Christian background, who didn’t believe in reincarnation until they investigate into their kid’s claim and found real life details not easily found which corresponds to their kid’s detailed claim. Including meeting (online) the sister of the past life of the kid, and the kid was able to describe family secrets which the sister would verify only her Brother knew.

European Cases of the Reincarnation Type by Ian Stevenson collects cases from backgrounds which are likely to be Christians than Hindu or Buddhists. Ian Stevenson works are from the pre internet age, yet when they find real world details based on the kid’s claims, a lot of the details ring true.

Some cases they have has the parents having no benefit at all for the kid to claim that their past life was from a poorer family.

Thousands of cases collected has analysis that the strength of the cases is independent of whether the parents believe in rebirth or not, of course, due to the more willingness of parents who believe in rebirth to investigate their kid’s claims, we expect and indeed get more cases from those who believe in rebirth.

The matching of the kids to real life details makes a prediction which makes people who study it properly and declining it to be simply closed minded. The details include: where (the kid can often even guide the researchers to their past home even if the researcher and the kid had never been to that area, or country before in this lifetime), who (including names of the previous family). Combining these two details, it’s only a limited amount of families who can live in a certain location for the time which we have historical records. So the kid to be able to come out with 2 details like this and have a match in the real world, it’s better than mere guessing or making it up.

Many cases are pre internet, even so, to be able to verify that there was such and such a family in so long ago in that local area, that information is sometimes not easy to find physically (like in an old record book of an old church), certainly not something which is easily googlable.

Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect by Ian Stevenson shows birthmarks corresponding to fatal wounds of the previous dead person, some cases even have the researchers confirming that the previously dead has injuries on the same place.

Let me just copy and paste one case from this book:

Hanumant Saxena was born in 1955 in the Farrukhabad District of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Not long before Hanumant’s mother conceived him, she dreamed that a man of the same village called Maha Ram appeared to her. Maha Ram had been shot dead only a few weeks earlier. In the dream, Maha Ram said to Hanumant’s mother: “I am coming to you.” Having said that, he lay down on a cot. The dream ended there.
When Hanumant was born, his parents noticed a large birthmark on the lower part of his chest near the midline (Figure 6). It was irregular in shape and really consisted of several birthmarks close together. The birthmark had diminished pigmentation in comparison with the surrounding skin. Hanumant later said that as a young child he had had no pain in the area of the birthmark, but his parents said that he sometimes had complained of pain there. He himself said that intermittently from the age of about 14 on he had had some pain in the area of the birthmark.

Hanumant’s birthmark corresponded closely in location to the fatal wound on Maha Ram, and 1 shall say a little about him and how he died. Maha Ram was born in about 1905 in the same village as Hanumant, and his house was not more than 250 meters from that of Hanumant’s family. He was a farmer who had some land and owned a bullock-cart, which he sometimes drove for hire. He married and had five children. His younger brother described him as a “simple, good fellow.” He had no known enemies. Nevertheless, on the evening of September 28, 1954, he was standing near a teashop at the crossroads, not far from his home, when some- one shot him at close range with a shotgun. He died almost immediately. His assailant fled, and because he had not been identified, the police made no arrests. Because Maha Ram was such a harmless person, he might have been killed acci- dentally, his murderer, in the dark, having mistaken him for someone else.

The postmortem report showed that the main charge of pellets had hit Maha Ram in the lower chest in the midline; there was some scattering of wounds from shot around the principal wound. The Indian doctor who examined the post- mortem report with me (and who had no knowledge of the location of Hanumant’s birthmark) sketched in the location of wounds on a human figure drawing (Figure 7). This shows the almost exact correspondence between the wounds and Hanumant’s birthmark.

Hanumant began to speak when he was about 1 year old. When he was about 3 years old, he started referring to the life of Maha Ram. He said that he was Maha Ram, and, pointing to his birthmark, he said that he had been shot there. He made a few other statements that were correct for Maha Ram, and he recognized some people and places familiar to Maha Ram. In particular, he recog- nized Maha Ram’s bullocks, which was perhaps not difficult because the bullocks were standing outside Maha Ram’s house.

Hanumant liked to visit Maha Ram’s house and to be with Maha Ram’s mother, who still lived there. Hanumant’s mother told us that he talked about the previous life until he was 5 or 6 years old, but his father said that he continued to visit Maha Ram’s house until the age of 10. Unlike many other subjects of these cases, however, Hanumant never seems to have become intensely involved with the memories of the previous life.

Although I first learned of this case in 1964, it was in what was then for me a particularly remote part of Utter Pradesh, and I did not reach the scene of the case until 1971. By this time Hanumant was already 16 years old, but the infor- mants seemed to have a good recollection of the main events in the development of the case. Two of them did not support Hanumant’s claim to be Maha Ram reborn. Maha Ram’s wife declined to be interviewed, possibly because she mis- look us for some kind of government officials whom it was better to avoid; and Maha Ram’s oldest son rejected the claim, apparently because Hanumant had not recognized him. The other major informants endorsed Hanumant’s statement that he was Maha Ram reborn.

Before leaving this case, I will draw attention to the possibility that there are many like it in India that neither our team nor anyone else ever learns about, let alone investigates. This case received no outside publicity, and we came across it almost accidentally. A systematic search for such cases in its area would undoubt- edly reveal many others like it. Indeed, a judge of this district advised me to drop all my other projects and move to Farrukhabad. The homicide rate was extremely high there, and the judge seemed aware of the connection between violent death and cases of children who claim to remember previous lives.

As for demon exorcisms, you should come to Malaysia, and listen to tales of forest monks. It’s not uncommon to have Chinese folk religions to have ceremonies for some ghost (or they believe it’s god), to take over a person’s body and perform some ghost removal from some other possessed person. Exorcism is a common theme for Taoism, and for Buddhist monks, we too are sometimes called in to pray, chant to help the ghost to move on.

Some tales are really quite bizarre. If you got HBO, The Teenage Psychic is more or less an accurate description of what many believers in folk religions personally see and interact with. That is there exist from time to time some people with supernormal powers who can interact with ghosts, and some others who got possessed. The point here is not to show scientific evidences of ghost possession as in the rebirth thing, but to debunk your misconception that there’s no such thing as demon exorcism outside of Christianity, we just call it a different name.

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@Moloch

Sir I never believed in psychics, trust me we are on same page there atleast. I believe one thing if someone actually has some supernatural ability or something like that he or she will never ever claim it. And if someone claims like examples you mentioned above then they all are fraudulents which was proved!

You should not mix up all these supernatural stuffs like venerable sir said…why are you doing that? Psychics are the most fraudulent that is ok but that doesn’t mean you should just put every supernatural thing in the same category! First of all I will clarify myself by supernatural I don’t mean the same things as you are interpreting. I am talking about doctrines of karma, rebirth, planes of existence (which includes explanations for that ghost and similar things), that’s it. I don’t mean vampires, skinwalkers, and all those things from movies and games…which are just born from imagination… only for entertainment purposes.

I am not starting from conclusion sir I reached conclusion after reading some buddhism texts for finding many answers. It’s just that doctrine of karma actually gives explanation for inequalities in our life! It answers every kind of inequality! For instance some people live life full of pain and suffering till the end while others enjoy luxury of every kind! Some people die early and some people live astonishingly long lives, some people are so rich some people are so poor, some people get everything what they want and some don’t, some people are extraordinarily beautiful and attractive and some are supremely ugly! How else can you explain reason for this inequality then? Some people are getting murdered even right now on this earth while some like us are using mobiles to debate without danger to our lives! Take for example being beautiful and being not beautiful…let’s say for example I am ugly then whats my fault? Is god unfair to me? Or just because my parents are ugly? But there are some people whose parents are ugly but still they are beautiful unlike their parents vice versa sometimes beautiful people have ugly children also! How do you explain this? Even if our personality traits are something we receive from our parents, still we are different from them…why??

Also animals, are they not living beings? Why some are as pets in our homes while others are getting killed and getting eaten by humans or other animals! Don’t tell me it’s just their fate because they are animals… it does not fit in logical REASONING mind! You can say nature has it all planned but again what is the fault of sufferers that is causing him/her/it such suffering?

And tell me even though we all die why the ways people die are not same for everyone? Dont you feel even if science is everything still it can’t explain reason of death(not cause) …ok there is answer that its the truth of this nature whoever is born has to die. But then why are we even born? Science can explain all the procedures that occur after mating of sperm and egg but what’s before that? Can science answer this?
We all usually don’t live for more than 100 years, we will experience certain things but not everything this humanity has to offer. We cannot experience all the millions of things this life has to offer, we only experience certain things… although it’s many still not one millionth of all the things on this earth!? Is it all fate or destiny? If it’s fate and destiny then why struggle? Are these questions answerable by our so called all explaining science? All these questions have answers given by doctrine of karma and rebirth!

Sir I believe every question has answer and every doubt can be solved only if we approach right teacher, right doctrine and if we don’t get answers then it just means we haven’t asked them to right person. And if we don’t even get these questions then we might be ignoring the reality around us and living life of great ignorance by clinging to certain views!! But that is only if we believe we actually have questions and not answers and if we don’t pick sides!

I am not saying science is wrong…I am just saying our science cannot answer every question there is. For instance questions I posed above…which can be answered with only doctrine of karma and rebirth.

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OK… Mod prediction coming up!!

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This was not my intention, but I do not know what supernatural beliefs other people do or do not hold… the topic of this thread is “palmistry, predictions, psychic phenomena”… perhaps I lump them altogether because I believe they are all nonsense?.. I was asking for what evidence convinced him of [insert supernatural belief here]. I wanted to know if he was convinced by good evidence or bad evidence, or simply trying to find evidence that confirms a preconceived conclusion.

I used to believe in psychics, etc, because I thought people were honest. Sure, I knew Sylvia Brown and the “psychic friends network” were frauds, but I thought some of these people were honest and legitimately had supernatural abilities.

I used to watch John Edward, and actually believed he was psychic, until I did the research into him… he turned out to be a fraud too:

Critics of Edward assert that he performs the mentalist techniques of hot reading and cold reading, in which one respectively uses prior knowledge or a wide array of quick and sometimes general guesses to create the impression of psychic ability.[16][17][18][19] Choosing the first reading from a two-hour tape of edited shows as a sample, illusionist and skeptic James Randi found that just 3 of 23 statements made by Edward were confirmed as correct by the audience member being read, and the three statements that were correct were also trivial and nondescript…

People attending his audience reported that 75% of the show was cut (all the times he made a bad guess), and that only his “hits” were shown on television.

I spent a long time researching Edgar Cayce, because I thought he was legitimate. According to his institute (definitely a biased source for information), he cured 99% of the people he spoke with. But if you ask the patients themselves, perhaps half of them gave Cayce a positive review.

I liked Cayce because his cures were loosely based in science. He mostly had people hook themselves up to a contraption that would allow silver ions to pass into their body. Silver is known for its antibacterial properties, so I could see that actually being effective for certain conditions. Modern hospitals use silver ions to kill Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), so there is some positive evidence for his abilities. (though he likely read this in a book, silver has been used as an antibiotic for centuries)

But Cayce also predicted things like the entire east coast of America falling into the ocean around 2010. He predicted that we would find a cache of ancient knowledge underneath the sphynx around 2010 as well. Neither of these things happened (among other failed predictions). Another con artist…

What about faith healers? My favorite was James Randi exposing of Peter Popoff. Thousands, if not millions of people believed this guy was a legitimate healer. He knew things he could not know, and healed believers as if by the hand of God himself… but it was just another scam. His wife fed him information through a wireless ear-piece.

If 50% of psychics are proven scammers/frauds/con-artists… what are the odd that the other 50% are con-artists as well?

This is why I simply cannot take a person’s word for anything. People in general are big fat liars (or delusional). I prefer the philosophy of “pics or it didn’t happen”… I need solid evidence, not some fairy tale story, or something written in an old book (a 2000 year old book is not science… science was not even invented yet)

Why does inequality need an explanation? Science would say some people are born with different genetics due to random mutations from radiation (yes, everywhere on this planet is radioactive and changes DNA), and survival of the fittest.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… why would you listen to what society tells you is ugly or beautiful? I find beauty in many people or things that others call ugly.

I don’t believe gods exist, so I’m probably the wrong person to ask this question.

When 2 parents get together to make a child, their DNA combines in a somewhat random way… It’s certainly possible for 2 ugly parents to have a beautiful child, or two tall parents to have a short child…

Two parents could have brown eyes, and give birth to a child with blue eyes… blue eyes are a recessive genetic trait, while brown eyes are dominant. Each parent has 2 chromosomes which control eye color, and if they each have one brown and one blue, then the chance of having a child with blue eyes is 25%. This is genetics, nothing supernatural.

Of course animals are living beings… I don’t understand this question.

Is this a question or an exclamation? Do you really need me to explain why people prefer cats and dogs as pets instead of squirrels and skunks? Some people even keep skunks as pets… so I really don’t understand your question. People have pets from all types of animals, snakes, monkeys, lions, skunks, bears, wolverines, etc…

Why would you expect everyone to die in the same way? Does that make sense to you?

The reason for death? Like, Why don’t humans live forever? That’s just how the world works… cells get replaced over time. The scientific reason why humans age is because the telomeres on the ends of our chromosomes get degraded over time. They get shorter and lose information, this causes us to age and eventually die. Cells just don’t live forever (though perhaps science could fix the degradation of telomeres in the future and we could prevent old age)

That’s not a question anyone could possibly answer. I suppose I’d say “because we can”?.. I’d refer to the Anthropic Principle which says, “we could only exist in the particular type of universe capable of developing and sustaining sentient life”.

Why would there be something before that? Do you have evidence of something before that?

Is this even testable/falsifiable? How would science test whether souls exist before the body is formed in a mother’s womb?

I would refer to Occam’s Razor. A soul adds a level of complexity which is unnecessary. The simplest answer would be that we have no soul. This should be the default answer unless there is extraordinary evidence proving that we do in fact have souls (no such evidence currently exists).

I don’t really understand this line of questioning… are you saying that because humans don’t have enough time to experience everything that is possible to experience then everything is simply fate/destiny?

I don’t completely disagree with that… I believe most people exercise zero free will (if such a thing even exists). Without mindfulness and other Buddhist techniques, people appear to be little more than a conglomeration of their past events, and their future decisions are easy to predict based on their past experiences. Perhaps this is why Buddha is said to have psychic powers? Because people who don’t practice mindfulness are easy to predict their actions?

@Moloch

Yes sir I completely agree with you about such psychics who abuse people’s blind faith! Yes not 50% all 100% of them must be frauds.

Sir I would like to point one thing here…you said science was not invented 2000 years back how can you say that there are many fair evidences that in past technology was actually far more developed than right now. Also 2000 years ago era was completely different even though it may seem science was not there…we should atleast agree that people were wiser then before now…by wiser I mean they had more tendencies to find answers to questions about life and they knew more about suffering of this life…pain of this life! So even though technology was not like that of today they certainly were conscious of many things than we are now except technology…because maybe perhaps they were not in need of technology like we are dependent on it.

Also sir you should not term buddhism as some books written 2000 years ago without studying about it. Please read some texts or commentaries before terming this beautiful doctrine of lord buddha which actually teaches a wonderful way of fulfilling all wishes and can free us from every kind of dissatisfaction (literally every kind of)… even from death!

Inequality does not ask for explanations sir; the explanation is an answer for person who is experiencing inequality (that is if he is aware of it) someone who is asking for explanation and way out of it for himself.

Regarding beauty I agree with you completely sir but still answer for this is not for everyone it is only if person asks for himself. For instance almost we all in our life atleast once ask this question that why this is happening to me only…I was talking about answer to that question.

Regarding pets I meant those who are getting killed… why are they getting killed and eaten and not be able to live their life fully like lucky ones(from same species) who don’t get eaten but live their full life. Why are they not fortunate enough?

And no sir I am not expecting everyone to die in same way. I only meant why some get painful death even though they don’t deserve and some ruthless people who killed many living beings, they die natural death! Is this not inequality? For me atleast I feel everyone should get what they deserve but I cannot see that hence this question.

Sir you said our cells die… we all die and that’s how nature works. Yes agreed completely. But is it wrong to wish for freedom from this dissatisfaction? I think there should be way…here I wanna say that…Lord Buddha when he was prince, he had all the pleasured everyone could desire for or wish for, he was prince of glorious and wealthy kingdom, he had many riches, three kinds of mansions for three seasons, beautiful wife, loving father, caring mother, all relatives…and so on everything he possessed there wasn’t a single reason to leave all of that …still he left all those things when he became aware of old age, sickness and death. He wanted to find something which is free from old age, sickness, death and every suffering/dissatisfaction there is. Lord Buddha’s sole reason to teach us was to make us free of this suffering forever (old age, sickness, death). You say through science we will find cure to old age in future which might prevent old age…but in truth lord buddha gave that cure in his teachings and not only for that but for every problem there is!!!(literally) and I have read many such texts and then only I thought yes this can be true. I would suggest please first read texts or ask questions to monks who are practicing buddhism,…before terming whole doctrine as ‘books written 2000 years ago’. Sir this is my sincere request because you seem very kind, disciplined and very wise person unlike majority delusional ones out there. You can test this doctrine and trust me it can pass all the tests!

Sir you said about that question (why are we born) how can you be so sure no one can answer that!? And what you said ‘because we can’ this is right…that’s how buddhism would start answering it. It can further answer on ‘we can but how?’. The buddha dhamma(buddhism) actually answers these questions and can be again answered perfectly…based on this doctrine of dhamma.

And yes sir there should be something before sperm and egg…and this is for the being who is going to be born. My question is for and through each individual. Let me frame correctly. What was I before I was zygote? Before sperm & egg? Was I non existent or was I existing? and why can’t I remember things from before that if I was that zygote? Yes brain was not there to memorise…but still something should be there… This was my question sir.
And I don’t have evidence yet but I am searching for that…as I believe there isn’t any question which cannot be answered…unless you get to right teacher, right doctrine or right people who practice that doctrine.

And yes sir I have read about occams razor that soul adds unnecessary complexity. But question is why does it happen? Even this question has answer. It’s because things we want to experience need complex form to experience them, to satisfy our craving we need complex machine…and that’s why we accumulate complexity. That complexity may be unnecessary from pov of that principle of occams razor but for us it is necessary. This answer I found in buddhism only…it has further explanation also.

Sir I know that line of questioning is hard to understand. Buddhism says there is nothing such as fate which can’t be changed…but still struggling does not necessarily change everything? Answer for that is given by buddhism. According to Buddhism it is like we have decided to play cricket match against something x and now while we are batting we are wondering why these different kind of balls(some are good ones & some are bad ones and we hate bad ones)(bad balls means all kinds of dissatisfaction) are being thrown at me…we forgot we are the ones who decided to play match. By balls it means various situations(both good and bad) we are experiencing and batting means our response to them or how we are acting or living the life. And since birth we started playing cricket. But we don’t know why, we also don’t know how to get good balls only from the bawler. Buddhism answers all about this game of cricket why we are playing it, how to stop playing and even how to play better and better! So Buddhism gives explanations like this and 100000000 times better than one I tried to give just now about cricket.

Yes sir I completely agree with you we(not just most people)(you and me are also included) don’t usually exercise free will. Our free will is obstructed by three poisons (desire, ill will & ignorance). Desire means we have certain desires(of all kinds good bad all kinds), ill will means we don’t love everyone equally(we all have some people who we don’t like) and ignorance means we don’t know everything! We are unaware of others pain and so on…(yes this feels as truth unlike any other philosophy). Liberation means actually achieving freedom of will and everything! That’s what buddhism teaches. This all I found in buddhism texts and it fits in my logical mind with all the reasoning. You should read this sir before dismissing it as 2000 years old books. I would suggest study before then judge happily. Because judging something before studying is a kind of ignorance. We all share that though in different contexts.

Yes you are right buddha is SAID TO have all the psychic powers which are there(scientific evidence is maybe not there and we don’t even need that, no need to believe if he had or didn’t have) but he was against demonstrating or claiming about having them…because it will not free us from all the pain. Now his this teaching satisfies my logical mind. Because there is no room for blind faith in buddhism.

And extremely sorry sir if I sounded rude. We can agree to disagree :slight_smile: just as respected moderators said.
I just mean you/me/everyone should judge anything only after studying (even a little bit) and not before that.

My apologies for assuming you believed in psychics, but you did start a topic where you claimed a palm-reader said that your girlfriend would die in 10 years. You were asking for solutions to help her live longer, and pass your “merits” onto her, so I assumed you actually believed in it. I’m not sure why you would start a topic looking for a solution to a problem that you don’t believe exists…

Why would you believe that people were wiser 2000 years ago? I certainly don’t… people believed in all manner of crazy things 2000 years ago… people believed in vampires, dragons, faeries, etc… graves have been found where bodies were staked through the heart because people were afraid vampires would rise out of the grave… wise? No

I’ve studied Buddhism, and still study it (I’m here aren’t I?)… I think there is some great wisdom in the Buddhist texts, but there are some mistakes(?) as well. Buddha predicted in the Vinaya that the “true Dhamma” would last only 500 years. When were the Buddhist texts written down? 500+ years after Buddha?

But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the Dhamma and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth… this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years.

My understanding of this passage is that Buddha is saying that the Dhamma will become corrupted 500 years after his teaching. If this passage is true, then the dhamma was corrupted before it was ever written down. Buddha predicted this would happen. This is why I can’t take the texts on faith, and must discover the truth of them for myself through personal experience (like Buddha did himself).

I believe that Buddha was not a Buddhist anymore than Jesus was a Christian. Buddha’s path was one of discovering the truth for himself, not reading an ancient text and believing what other people claim to be true.

I have read several passages in the Pali canon where Buddha specifically says do not take what people say on faith, no matter if they are a respected teacher or not. Take MN38 for example:

“would you say, ‘The Teacher is our respected mentor. We speak thus out of respect for the Teacher’?”
“No, lord.”

“would you say, ‘The Contemplative says this. We speak thus in line with the Contemplative’s words’?”
“No, lord.”

“Is it the case that you speak simply in line with what you have known, seen, & understood for yourselves?
“Yes, lord.”

"Good, monks. You have been guided by me in this Dhamma which is to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the observant for themselves.

The key words here being “inviting verification”. If it cannot be verified, there is no reason to believe it.

Or the Kalama Sutta:

Please, Kālāmas, don’t go by oral transmission, don’t go by lineage, don’t go by testament, don’t go by canonical authority, don’t rely on logic, don’t rely on inference, don’t go by reasoned contemplation, don’t go by the acceptance of a view after consideration, don’t go by the appearance of competence, and don’t think ‘The ascetic is our respected teacher.’ But when you know for yourselves: ‘These things are skillful, blameless, praised by sensible people, and when you undertake them, they lead to welfare and happiness’, then you should acquire them and keep them.

For myself, the key word in the Kalama Sutta I quoted is know… when you know for yourself that something is true/skillful.

Knowledge is a subset of beliefs… my preferred definition for knowledge is, “justified, true belief”. A person could believe things that aren’t true, or they could believe true things without proper justification… these are both mistakes. Without the belief being true, and justified, it is not knowledge.

The Kalama sutta seems to echo this point. Do not believe things on faith just because someone said it, even if they are an “authority” or “respected teacher”. Always find the truth within your own experience.

I don’t mean to be rude, but you ask a lot of questions which appear pointless or trivial to me:
“Why do some animals get killed while others are pets?” That’s just how the world works…
“Why are some people ugly and others pretty?” That’s just how the world works…
“Why do some people die painful violent deaths, and others have natural deaths?” That’s just how the world works…

These are not things that need a supernatural explanation, so why are you searching for one?

My understanding of Buddhism is the way to free yourself from this dissatisfaction is to stop caring about it. That’s the message Buddha repeats over and over, it’s our craving/clinging/attachment to things which produces this dissatisfaction (or repulsion of things we don’t want… in this example, death). The solution is to stop worrying about it. Either things work out well, or they don’t… does it matter? If you believe in rebirth, then why are you worried about death?

Does any of this matter? Would it affect your life in any meaningful way? I forget exactly which questions Buddha refused to answer, but IIRC, they were these types of questions… these are not questions that could be scientifically studied, so any answer you get will be someone’s opinion only (and probably incorrect).

This sounds close to things I have pondered in the past. I have no good evidence to support such claims, so I am hesitant to even speak about them, but… IF (and this is a BIG IF) we have a soul that existed before our bodies, then I could speculate on several possibilities for us being here. We could have made the choice to come here as you say, “we are the ones who decided to play”. Or, perhaps we are here as a punishment for committing a crime before we had this body (more akin to karma)? Or perhaps it is exactly like The Matrix movie and we are being used as batteries for some other entity. I could “what if” all day, but without evidence, speculation is meaningless…

I am fond of Simulation Theory, but I have no good reason to believe in it. And, even if it was true, would it make a difference? Would my life be any different if I thought I was a simulation vs a real person? No, I don’t believe it would. Even if I thought I was inside a video game, I would not go around shooting people and looting their corpses as if I’m playing World of Warcraft.

I study Buddhism for the parts which I can confirm to myself are true and skillful. I know that craving leads to dissatisfaction, and I understand this at a deep level. I can know via personal experience that this is true… but a belief in souls is not something I can know via personal experience, so it is quite pointless to even speculate on such things.

Yes sir I started that topic. Talking about my girlfriend, she has cyst and in her ovary and also a very small and mild tumour somewhere else and doctor said it can have carcinogenic potential in future. So she is actually not well and not perfectly healthy. She is good now. I love her more than anything. And suddenly this so called palm reader told that thing to her. So I was scared as hell. Even if I believe palmistry is con artistry still I felt I need to make sure by asking people who are wiser than me or anyone around me. Because if that’s not true it’s well and good but if it turned out true then whom can I blame!! I was panicked…so that’s why I started this topic to look for a solution in case if problem arrived in future! I am searching for guidance because I am not wise enough…and yes I got the guidance here.

Sir today also there are many who are abusing people’s blind faith by claiming they are psychics, can read minds and so on…still there are people like us and many others here who are wiser and who don’t believe in any such nonsense. So I meant to say that just as people in past believed in more non sense(vampires, dragons, fairies …so on) compared to today’s people…then there is possibility that wiser people at that time were actually more wiser than wise people of today…just as nonsense was more at that time compared to today so there is possibility that even wiseness was more at that time I mean.

Yes sir I agree with you completely we all should discover truth for ourselves. But even though Buddha said dhamma will corrupt 500 years after his passing. He didn’t say dhamma will vanish after 500 years…so it can mean dhamma is here although in impure form. We can realize it if we study it like you are studying (evidence based studying without blindly following), or like me(always inquiring to teachers and posing questions). So I meant here we can search for evidences and proofs and after finding them we can take these texts on faith to the heart.

Completely agreed sir. I must be sounding like I have taken on belief some texts about Buddhism (such as rebirth or different planes of existence) but I have reason for that…my intuition says this can be true…and I then checked reasons for that so that’s why I felt yes it can be true and can be taken on faith. About virtue/merits can increase lifespan, happiness, beauty(all good things included). This also I pondered …texts say collective human lifespan on earth can increase and collective problems such as sickness, poverty, lack of satisfaction can decrease if all the people start behaving morally good, following precepts and caring for each other. But it is obviously impossible because it’s hard for ourselves to make our conduct morally pure perfectly …and how can every single person on this earth would follow this? It can’t be possible even in dreams! So increasing lifespan of every human is utterly impossible thing just as causing every human on earth to behave virtuously and morally pure is, which is also utterly impossible. So these both impossibilities meet each other equally so I thought we can say that it’s true that virtuous behaviour can increase lifespan, happiness and decrease problems and dissatisfaction. And yes for atleast oneself it seems true…if we became good it actually benefits us and makes us happy.

So just as above I am trying to confirm or subtantiate all the supernatural things mentioned such as clairvoyance, and all that. Not yet confirmed though.

Sir even though above questions seem pointless/trivial, doctrine of karma and rebirth actually answers above questions…and I thought of it as way of substantiating law of karma and rebirth…or else that law of karma and rebirth could be false. I tried to understand it.

Yes sir it can be solution to stop worrying but it doesn’t satisfy me I want to find a way to make every thing or atleast most of the things work out…(yea I know it also sounds trivial). I am worried because if I believe in rebirth then next question comes where? So it makes me study further things given in texts.

Yes sir I am also trying to do the same thing like you maybe in different way. For me I am soul(constantly changing unlike it implies) or more correctly the ‘self’ which is seeing feeling doing all the things, and maybe awakening will happen when I will realize that this soul or self is actually not there. Same as if we try to look for the one who is looking we will see noone. That’s anatta I guess. So in this way I try to understand things. Just as everyone I am prone to make mistakes and hence this studying goes on.

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I’m probably the worst person to have this conversation with because I don’t believe in anything supernatural. I believe every supernatural claim is a fraud (or a mistake/delusion). I study all religions, but do so with a skeptical mind. I follow the path that the Buddha followed, not the texts of Buddhism. This is to say that I do what Buddha did - I study the world’s religions looking for what is true or false based upon my own personal experiences and meditating deeply on each topic. Buddha spoke with the religious leaders of his day, listening to what each of them had to say. This is how Buddha found the truth - he did not study a bunch of old books and believe everything he read…

I suppose I’m a “secular Buddhist”, because I don’t believe in any supernatural claims. I believe these are the parts of Buddhism that became corrupted through a misunderstanding of the dhamma while it was being passed down through the oral tradition of the early Buddhist monks. Could I be wrong? Certainly. Perhaps some day I will find evidence that shows I am incorrect, and I will change my opinion if that happens.

I am hesitant to speak about the parts of Buddhism that I don’t believe, because this is not my forum. It is usually a bad idea to walk into another person’s home and criticize it.

There are certainly parts of Buddhism which can be confirmed through personal experience. There are even parts which have been confirmed by science. MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) has been shown to be as effective as modern chemical anti-depressants in treating stress, anxiety and depression. In my eyes, this is a huge victory for Buddhism, mindfulness meditation has been confirmed by science! But, many Buddhists dislike MBSR because it only takes the mindfulness part of Buddhism, and separates it from the ethical teachings.

Ummm… up there. You seemed to skipped the whole rebirth evidences thing altogether.

I am trying to get at least one secular Buddhist to convert via this rebirth evidence thing, then he/she can properly use this technique to convert other secular Buddhists. So far, I haven’t seen success yet. Haiz.

I thought the since the standard is to ask for evidences, provide them, let them read enough then they got convinced. However, by feedback, a lot of the secular Buddhists who later became Buddhists got converted via faith, after they had practised enough and faith kept on increasing, rather than the evidences, as they kept on saying: if got evidence, then I’ll change my mind. Seems like it’s not so easy to change views, even if one believe one can do so via evidences.

Usually the standard reply by secular Buddhists when shown these rebirth evidences is: but mainstream science has not approved it, so not scientific, or certain procedure is not up to standard… I would say that design a better way to investigate if rebirth is true. Seriously, read enough cases, then judge. Not all cases are going to be very strong, but the strong ones adds up until Occam’s razor says: it’s a much simpler explanation for all these cases to see that rebirth is true rather than to have to explain away all the details of all the various cases of all the various researchers.

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No, I have looked at them, but find it lacking. I do not accept anecdotes as evidence… science does not take someone’s word for anything, it must be tested. It is too easy to fake an anecdote. A child could have read about a character in a book, or had his parents tell him what to say… there are a million explanations that don’t involve anything supernatural.

And why is it always children who can view past lives? Isn’t this supposed to be a Buddha/Arahat ability, not a child’s ability? Where in the Pali canon does it say children possess the ability to view past lives?

As always, extraordinary claims (like supernatural claims) require extraordinary evidence… anecdotes are not even ordinary evidence, much less EXTRAordinary evidence.

I will never be convinced that someone saw a ghost just because they claim to have seen a ghost (or alien or gremlin or vampire or past lives). People love telling fantastic stories, and sometimes these people even believe their own stories… but that does not make them true.

Please do this if it interests you. If you find a better way to investigate these claims using a scientific method, I will surely look at it. But this is not something that interests me enough to waste my time looking for something that I do not believe exists… why would I waste my time doing that?

The same could be said about alien abductions, or ghosts, or near death experiences, or bigfoot, or religious people seeing visions of Jesus/Mary… If I believed everything people said, I would fall for every scam in the world. Once again, anecdotes are not evidence… a whole bunch of anecdotes is still not evidence. It doesn’t matter to me if a billion people claim they saw Jesus, it does not make it true… “Pics or it didn’t happen”

Did you miss the part where the child’s story is validated by real world details?

Say someone realised he lost a baggage, after exiting the passport checking area, the airport staff asked the person to describe his baggage, he described it to the best of his memory, the airport people found the exact baggage more or less to the details as he described it, at the exact location where he said he left it. We all would agree that it’s reasonable to conclude that this baggage belongs to the traveller right?

In the same way, kid= traveller, baggage=past life. Searching the baggage described, and found to the exact description= matching the exact location and name of the past life person.

According to what you prefer to think of what happened is that, the traveller had never been inside the airport and is now trying to lie (or brainedwashed into lying) that a certain baggage with some exact description is his. Maybe he got drones to go into the airport and checked it, including X-ray to scan the insides of the baggage to get some items correctly identified. It’s a more elaborate way to explain what’s a clear cut lost baggage (rebirth) case. And actually in many of the cases, there’s no way for them to send drones, cause the tech has not been invented.

This tells me you haven’t actually read enough cases. Many of them actually have ruled out unfair play and normal means for the kid to obtain information which they had never learnt or encountered in this life, with parents objecting to the kid’s delusional stories and so on.

The prediction to verify here is that rebirth exist.

Also, not all arahants can recall past lives. Nope, the prediction is not to verify that the sutta says kids can recall past lives, which so far, I see not mentioned in the suttas.

Here’s some from B. Analayo’s Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research.

In three cases in Sri Lanka, assistants of Ian Stevenson were able to arrive on the scene before a corresponding previous personality was recognized.259 This enabled them to take down various statements made by the three girls in question and then proceed themselves to identify a corresponding deceased person. In the first of these three cases, the location of the previous personality was over two hundred kilometers away from the town of the girl’s present life, and the two families concerned were to all appearances not previously acquainted with each other.260 Several of the statements she made about the past life were rather specific, and they turned out to be correct.

In the second case, besides various verified details about the family of the previous personality, the girl also correctly described earlier features of the boutique run by the previous person’s father and of the former house, even though in both cases these features had in the meantime changed. The roof of the boutique had earlier been made of coconut leaves, but in the meantime this had been replaced by tiles; the walls of the house had been painted in a different color.261 The two families involved did not appear to have known each other prior to the development of the case.

The third girl remembered dying in a landslide in a different part of the country and as part of a family unrelated to her present one.262 When her present father took her to the tea estate where the landslide had happened, she started to scream and refused to proceed, whereupon he had to abandon his plan to reach the site. Besides providing various correct details about the previous personality, the girl also showed behavioral continuities with the former life that were out of keeping with her present living situation, including the use of specific words appropriate for dwellers on a tea estate.

Sir I would say by reading suttas, it seems clear to me that those disciples of Buddha(mahakassapa, ananda and so on…) were far more wiser and capable than you and me and many others. Just by looking how they answered questions or how they even asked questions or how they converted other people…it seems pretty clear to me that they were very capable and far more advanced than us! Don’t you think they would have done this task of transmitting teachings by keeping them as pure as possible, very efficiently? Don’t you think they would have made sure that dhamma reaches to future generations as purely as possible? Atleast to me it seems yes…because that conversations they seem flawless to me atleast! And I think that’s enough proof for me to trust those texts.

One thing I suppose you know the discovery of Higgs boson the god particle which dies almost instantly as its formed. Something like this is actually given in abhidhamma called kalapas. In theravada Buddhist phenomenology, Kalapas are defined as the smallest units of physical matter. Kalapas are described as tiny units of materiality, “tens of thousands of times smaller than a particle of dust,” coming into existence and disappearing in as little as a billionth of a second or a trillionth of the blink of an eye. And science has found proof for that now. But through meditation it is possible to perceive that phenomenon inside our body directly!

I suppose you know Vipassana insight meditation…if we progress through it we can feel sensations/vibrations on our body itself and if we continue to do it whole body can be seen as a sensation/vibration. When whole body is seen as sensation our attachment to this body reduces because we are seeing impermanence directly in our body! And after seeing impermanence in this way we see smallest particles in our body constantly forming and decaying! Now after seeing this inside our body by ourself we know that this body is not worth getting attached to and then when we drop our attachment to this body…we get the glimpse of permanence, glimpse of immortality, glimpse of nirvana.

Now why I explained Vipassana above which you probably know. I wanted to show that …the Higgs boson discovery actually became so late and in our texts its mentioned already and even through experience we can see that. So do you still really think science can be the perfect parameter for judging something? I am not saying it is bad parameter it is actually best parameter, all I am saying is that it’s not complete, it is lacking in many things and is imperfect. Above evidence I provided is a proof that whatever discoveries are mentioned in texts(buddhism) science hasn’t yet fully discovered. What I am saying is that…whatever things which are possible through science such as flying, hearing things from far away(through transmission), seeing inside our body without cutting open(x-rays and all), and so on, all of these things actually can be done through our mind also just as we can perceive Higgs boson inside as well as outside and that’s what constitutes supernatural.

Here also by supernatural I don’t mean bigfoot, alien abductions are real things…these things i don’t think exist because they don’t feel scientific to me. By supernatural I meant extension of our abilities! I mean whatever we can do with body we can do that with our mind also…just as we can see Higgs boson with our mind.

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Well. There’s an issue with the Theravada model of kalapas, which as far as I know is not in EBT, so I wouldn’t place too much faith in it.

Kalapas in the Theravada model doesn’t corresponds to any of the particles in particle physics.

Say from Knowing and Seeing (5th ed) by Pa Auk.

Colour (vaõõa), the fifth type of materiality to be discerned, is the object of sight , and is found in all rupa-kalàpas. It is very easily known with a mind consciousness alone, because by seeing the rupa-kal- àpas you have already seen colour. Colour is always the colour of some- thing, and that something is the four elements.

Well, if we stick to visible colours, it’s about 500 nm for wavelength, go smaller than that, then we can’t see the things, as it’s smaller than visible light. Atoms are around 1nm size. We use electron microscope to see atoms, not visible light microscope. Needless to say, subatomic particles are even smaller.

Say we be generous and give that light can mean gamma ray with very small wavelength as long as we got enough energy for the photon (light). There’s issue with the next few properties of kalapa.

Odour (gandha), the sixth type of materiality to be discerned, is the object of smell and is also found in all rupa kalapas, because it is a lifelong habit to use the nose to smell with, you will in the beginning need a nose consciousness to help you know odour with a mind consci- ousness.

Flavour (rasa) is the seventh type of materiality to discern, is the object of taste (rasàrammaõa), and is also found in all rupa-kalàpas. As with the nose, you will in the beginning need a tongue consciousness to help you know flavour with a mind consciousness. And here too, you need first to discern the materiality that the two types of consciousness depend on: the tongue translucency and heart materiality. Having done that, you then discern the flavour of a rupa-kalàpa. You can take a rupa-kalàpa from the saliva on your tongue.

Molecules are the smallest unit whereby smelling and tasting are discerned. If each rupa kalapa has molecules which can break off from it for it to be smelt and tasted, then… it’s certainly not subatomic size.

Also, do learn more about particle physics before placing too much importance to Higgs’ boson.

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Venerable sir I will keep that in mind from now on. Thank you for pointing out the mistake!

My path was like this:

I had to give myself permission to “try on” a belief in reincarnation “temporarily” by framing it as an experiment. Just to see what having the belief would be like … I was so scared to give up my “scientific” identity and embrace something so “out there” So yeah, no amount of arguing online is going to convince anyone, @NgXinZhao Btw: do you have a new Dharma name, brother? You said in the other thread you finally got full ordination? If so: congratulations!

Yup in Profile - NgXinZhao - Discuss & Discover Paññādhammika

Thanks!

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