SuttaCentral

What would you classify aliens as in the 31 realms of existence?

I am using the term as living beings/ intelligence from another planet (not earth).

I would like to ignore disrespectful way of engagement. Anyway, haven’t formally taken the sekiya rules on that. Also, I ignored the earlier comment you made because it’s not on the topic. You redefined alien as alien to oneself.

wait, are you by any chance the person who started a subreddit on the same topic and ended it because you were going to ordain very shortly? I was possibly the very first or maybe the second person to respond on that subreddit when it began and got into a discussion about thermodynamics.

The link you gave reminded me of that subreddit.

Ya, r/PhysicsandBuddhism right? I am u/DiamondNgXZ. It’s not active, cause I am on quantum interpretation now.

Also, I made r/quantuminterpretation. That’s the physics part, haven’t finished yet, to compare with Buddhist philosophy.

@trusolo what’s your reddit name?

Not at all. (Major Star Trek fan here.) The Q were far more powerful than the Brahma gods in Buddhism since they could alter reality, time, etc. Brahma can appear and disappear and change into whatever shape he likes, but that’s about the limit of his power over the physical world. There are a few sutras in which the lower level gods will say, “We have no idea where Brahma is, but judging by the light right now, maybe he’s going to appear any time now.” So, even to the lower gods, Brahma was on another level, like the Q in Star Trek.

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Yes I thought as much! I saw your last post when you announced you were not going to be active and would someone else take over. I saw some posts on quantum stuff but since the online transition because of covid there is a lot of extra work in teaching so I kept delaying and I never got around to posting my thoughts there.

same. I keep this usrname on all forums and my one star trek ipad game that I play.

it’s not oneself it’s not self it’s alien

Not even nibbana is self

Mn1
He directly knows Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having directly known Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself in Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself apart from Nibbāna, he should not conceive Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he should not delight in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he must fully understand it, I say.

What’s self according to you ?

How about other interpretations of what corals are? do they rely on other methods except through comparing and contrasting? and do you know of any examples of purposeless grouping that you could share?

Ya, I am using it to mean what you said. Anyway, it’s troublesome to keep track of the conventional vs ultimate usage of self.

Here’s a detailed version to stop any misunderstanding.

The 5 aggregates are alien, because they are not self. Done.

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I am not sure I understand what you mean exactly. It was an example of how perception influences beliefs. I myself used to think the same about corals until I read an explanation in a picturebook. All classification is inherently somewhat arbitrary because one has to create boundaries, which is an artificially imposed construct. Since nature does not care about our classifications, there are always going to be plenty of examples that are at the boundaries or don’t follow all the rules of a class. Pitcher plants are plants that are carnivorous for example, not something we normally associate with plants. Also, the whole perception that plants are isolated individuals, static and non communicative with others is quite misleading.

Yes I think some animal can be found in other planets but to call them alien is wrong especially if we use buddha’s terminology

The real question is whether there are other human in other solar system because interestingly buddha have something to say regarding this

Mn115
They understand: ‘It’s impossible for two perfected ones, fully awakened Buddhas to arise in the same solar system at the same time. But it is possible for just one perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, to arise in one solar system.’

Do you know the implication of that sutta ?

Yes that means 2 buddha can arise in 2 solar system at the same time

But we need 8000 years just to reach alpha centauri the next solar system

That is not entirely acccurate. We do have the technology and proposals for spacecrafts that can reach there anywhere between 50 and 150 years. The issue is willingness to spend large amounts of money for a potentially no reward enterprise. Also, it probably needs to be a global initiative so the bureaucratic negotiations themselves will take about ten years.

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The fact that perception influences belief is what makes human knowledge purposive. Belief in aliens usually lack a comprehensible purpose as to why they want to visit us assuming they have the better technology.

In Buddhist realms, for example, Mara is said to be a Deva who generates pleasure out of our sensual pleasures. His interference in our affairs is driven by his nature. Following this line of logic, describing him as evil can be a human bias, or context sensitive to convey danger in seeking sensuality.

For all the practicle reasons, especially in relation to Buddhist practice, believing in other realms or in aliens seems of little utility, unless the practitioner finds these beliefs helpful to his/her own practice, or having a first hand encounter with them.

@Bundokji Now I understand and also agree with what you are saying. As far as Buddhist (or any religious or psychological) beliefs in “other realm-y” beings is concerned, I agree that it is pointless. But this whole thread is on the speculation that based on what we know in the suttas and what we know from sciences, is it possible that some of those entities mentioned in the suttas could be beings from other plantes or planes of existences that we may discover/reach/contact someday by means other than “I had a vision”? Whether the answer is yes or no is also equally useless to us at this point in time because currently it is not objectively verifiable. The point of interest is that given how rapidly our knowledge of the nearby universe is expanding and how nature and statistics work, it is almost impossible that there aren’t beings of similar nature to us and of unfathomably dissimilar nature to us, reasonably nearby. So in theory, it is possible that these entities mentioned in not just Buddhist texts but in other non buddhists texts as well could very well be what we have come to call as “aliens” in popular usage.

Why anyone would want to visit us is a separate issue. Given how much interest we take in studying and interacting with all sorts of plants and animals on our own planet, it is just a matter of scaling up the same attitude. There is no shortage of reasons if we need one. For example, when we plant even a small garden, the amount of trouble we take and check on it regularly is a common experience. Now imagine if we had started a whole evolutionary process on a planet (it is not that far fetched, we have a name for it - terraforming), how many times would we go and check up on it?

Thanks trusolo. I admit that my knowledge of physics is very limited, but i have always thought of cosmology as metaphysics, not physics.

Human curiosity, from a Buddhist perspective as i understand it, is mostly misguided. The teachings in general discourages speculating and focuses on liberation. The poisoned arrow simile comes to mind. This raises the question of what would be the right grasp in relation to other realms as mentioned in the texts.

The way we define our planet, and the way we deal with each other as well as how we deal with other species raise moral questions about our curiosity and how we set our priorities. Not long ago, some scientists went hysterical over landing a rover in Mars. This happens at a time of a pandemic and raising poverty. If anything is worthy of curiosity, it has to be our own strangeness.

Sadly it has become nothing more than metaphysics/mathematical gymanstics even in some science quarters but there is still a good proportion of scientist who study cosmology solely based on what is observed and not speculate on exotic theories. I agree with the rest of your points as well and that is why I think in Buddhist teachings the focus is always back to our own minds - one can travel to the ends of the universe and know countless things and yet be miserable!

Indeed!

It’s not to be reached by traveling,
the end of the cosmos —
regardless.
And it’s not without reaching
the end of the cosmos
that there is release
from suffering & stress.

So, truly, the wise one,
an expert with regard to the cosmos,
a knower of the end of the cosmos,
having fulfilled the holy life,
calmed,
knowing the cosmos’ end,
doesn’t long for this cosmos
or for any other.

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Speculation can be important in developing models that can eventually be tested. One of my colleagues is busy trying to rid the models of the universe of “dark energy”, but that requires a much more complex calculation than the current models…

As in any other Science, there is no absolute certainty. However, it is remarkable that the measured fluctuations of the microwave background can be modelled quite accurately in terms of how the universe was “ringing” about 400,000 years after the big bang, when it cooled enough to become transparent.

Yes that is quite a fair line of inquiry along the lines of staying strictly with the observed and creating minimalistic models. I was referring to more exotic models involving string and membrane theories and some other models, which are popular simply because of their mathematical elegance.

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String and membrane theories have not (yet) managed to come up with testable predictions (partly because the tests would involve unachievable energy scales). However, much of the development of Einstein’s theories, quantum mechanics, and the Standard Model of particle physics, was based on using symmetry principles to constrain the possible forms of the models, and those models work spectacularly.