new age spirituality

finding purpose in infinite reality

Allah's Worlds Are Discovered

abracad, · Categories: externally authored, religion, science and spirituality

by Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Both the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an teach that the One God created the whole universe to be conducive to the universal evolution of life. Recent astrophysical studies discover ever more evidence of the truth of this Biblical and Qur'anic view. (more…)

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Buddhism and Meditation Practice

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, meditation, science and spirituality

The Buddhist response to the pervasiveness of unsatisfactoriness is to seek to extinguish attachment and craving (ie enlightenment or nirvana). The practice of meditation plays a significant role towards this end.

There are numerous varieties of Buddhist meditation, eg Zen, Vipassana, concentration to name but a few. However, one that has gained much attention and credibility in the West is mindfulness (eg a Google search for this term yields 39 million hits, an Amazon search some 56,000 titles).

Mindfulness meditation is about objective observation. It's about simply being in the here and now, seeing and accepting reality as it is, without feelings or judgement, not measuring it against some ideal that we'd like it to be. (more…)

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Buddhism and the Human Predicament

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality

After being raised in a background of wealth and power and sheltered from the harsh reality of life it is said that upon first witnessing sickness and suffering the Buddha was so overcome that he renounced his privileged status for a life of contemplation.

The Buddhist conception of the human predicament is summed up in the first two of the four Noble Truths, taught by Buddha shortly after he attained enlightenment; ie: (more…)

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Study Buddhism Free Online

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality

Free "MOOCs" and other resources exploring Buddhist philosophy and its relationship to and value in the modern world.

The Buddha's Teaching As It Is

Ten Audio lectures on the fundamentals of the Buddha's Teaching, by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi

Available at BuddhaNet

Buddhism Through Its Scriptures

Learn about the rich and diverse beliefs and practices of Buddhists across time and place. Experience Buddhism through its scriptures, both relationally as well as academically.

Self-paced edX course from Harvard University, starts May 3, 2016.

Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Examines how Buddhism is faring under the scrutiny of science and modern psychology.

Self-paced Coursera course from Prof. Robert Wright, Princeton University.

Tibetan Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World: Lesser Vehicle

This course explores the immense variety of meditation practices past and present.

Self paced Coursera course from the University of Virginia.

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Does 'Self' Exist?

abracad, · Categories: buddhism, science and spirituality, spirituality

The Buddhist Perspective of Self

Buddha's assertion that the self does not exist was first described in the famous "Discourse on the Not-Self". It is a fundamental principle of Buddhist philosophy and is said to be the second sermon delivered by the Buddha after his enlightenment.

Buddha defined five "aggregates" that together constitute the entire person. These are: form (body), feelings (positive, negative, neutral), perception, mental formations (thought, emotion, will), and consciousness.

Buddha declared each aggregate in turn (like most of reality) to be impermanent, and therefore not identifiable with 'self'. This implies Buddha's concept of self has (a degree of) permanence.

Considering the aggregates again, he declared that each is not controllable (we cannot control the fate of our body, our emotions etc), and is therefore not self. This implies Buddha's concept of self is controllable. (more…)

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Do We Really Have Free Will?

abracad, · Categories: science and spirituality

The question of whether we really have free will is fundamental to understanding the purpose and nature of our very existence.

Free will can be defined as an individual (human or other living entity) having the capacity to determine its own actions, and to some degree destiny, i.e. within the limits of external circumstance.

Models of Reality

Determinism

Determinism results from the absolute rule of cause and effect. In the Newtonian clockwork universe, every precise detail of the future is already determined to an infinitesimal degree of accuracy, and has been so since the start of time. There is no scope for straying from the cosmic script.

Determinism is intuitively reasonable. I push an object, it moves in the direction of my force. The universe, including ourselves, consists of matter and energy in motion behaving according to eternal all-encompassing laws. Thus every tiny detail of the universe's, and our, is already fixed and has been so since the beginning of existence.

This begs the question of whether existence has a finite beginning, and if so what "caused" or preceded it? But if something caused it, then that something pre-existed existence and so what might be labelled the "big bang" was not in fact the beginning at all.

Randomness

The currently preferred scientific explanation for the underlying nature of what we perceive as the universe is quantum physics. This theory, well supported by experimental evidence, postulates that rather than being deterministic (as the universe appears to our senses) at the sub-atomic level the universe contains inherent indeterminacy / "randomness" (more…)

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Is Nature Random?

abracad, · Categories: purpose, science and spirituality

Life isn't always 'just'. 'Bad' things happen to 'good' people, and vice versa. When stuff happens seemingly regardless of our personal choices/actions it can cause us to question our beliefs about the nature of reality. And in particular whether there is some purpose or meaning driving the universe.

Science has been incredibly successful at discovering and explaining the mechanism by which the physical universe operates. However, science itself in the form of quantum physics has shown there to be not just a practical but an absolute theoretical limit to our knowledge of reality. At the very limits of our understanding the fundamental building blocks of the world around us behave randomly. It is the huge number of such random micro-events that statistically give the appearance of determinism (cause and effect).

But what might lie beyond this impenetrable veil at the limit of potential knowledge? And how might 'randomness' at the micro level give rise to apparent randomness at the level of our experience? (more…)

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Hacking Consciousness

abracad, · Categories: consciousness, externally authored, reviews, science and spirituality

The Stanford University Video Series

Reviewed by William T. Hathaway

This new Stanford video series investigates consciousness as the source of not only the human mind but also of all energy and matter. Consciousness is seen as the essence of the universe, a unified field which gives rise to and pervades all manifest phenomena. Five scientists from different disciplines describe how we can contact this field and use it to improve our lives. The series, designed by Michael Heinrich, is now available free on YouTube.

The intellectual background of the series is a fascinating conflict affecting all of us that is now going on in science and philosophy, centering on the question, What is the basis of the universe? In the 19th century advances in physics, chemistry, and biology led to an empiricist understanding of nature, and Enlightenment philosophy replaced superstition and myth. Leading thinkers in all these disciplines agreed that the universe is just matter in motion governed by natural laws which are open to human understanding. Reality is fundamentally material. Humans and other animals interact with an objective, external world through sensory input mediated by our consciousness, which is a neuro-chemical phenomenon of our brain cells. Thoughts are just reflections of the material world in the brain. (more…)

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Conscious Peace

abracad, · Categories: books, externally authored, meditation, science and spirituality, spiritual politics, spirituality

From the Book RADICAL PEACE: People Refusing War By William T. Hathaway

I was sitting in full lotus, body wrapped in a blanket, mind rapt in deep stillness, breathing lightly, wisps of air curling into the infinite space behind my closed eyes. My mantra had gone beyond sound to become a pulse of light in an emptiness that contained everything.

An electric shock flashed down my spine and through my body. My head snapped back, limbs jerked, a cry burst from my throat. Every muscle in my body contracted ― neck rigid, jaws clenched, forehead tight. Bolts of pain shot through me in all directions, then drew together in my chest. Heart attack! I thought. I managed to lie down, then noticed I wasn't breathing ― maybe I was already dead. I groaned and gulped a huge breath, which stirred a whirl of thoughts and images.

Vietnam again: Rotor wind from a hovering helicopter flails the water of a rice paddy while farmers run frantically for cover. Points of fire spark out from a bamboo grove to become dopplered whines past my ears. A plane dives on the grove to release a bomb which tumbles end over end and bursts into an orange globe of napalm. A man in my arms shakes in spasms as his chest gushes blood. (more…)

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The Case for Telepathy

abracad, · Categories: externally authored, psychic development, science and spirituality

by Tom T. Moore - Copyright 2013

How many times have you, your family, or friends began to think of someone, and the phone rings and they’re on the phone?  Coincidence?  That’s what a scientist would say, because they’ve not been able to replicate this under “controlled conditions” in a laboratory.   Or perhaps you or one of your family members suddenly receives a feeling or message that another family member in another city was injured or died?  And how many times have you heard that twins or a couple married for many years can read each other’s thoughts?

All are examples of telepathy, which is defined as the transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. (more…)

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