The Net of Indra - Rebirth in Science and Buddhism

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Forgot your password? PDF Preview. Table of Contents. Related Content. The result is a transformation of the Buddhist-Christian dialogue from insights generated in the theology-and-science interface and a contribution to the religion-and-science dialogue from a comparative theological and philosophical perspective. Author: Paul Hedges. In this first volume of Brill Research Perspectives in Theology , the field of comparative theology is mapped with particular attention to the tradition associated with Francis Clooney but noting the global and wider context of theology in a comparative mode.

There are four parts. In the first section the current field is mapped and its methodological and theological aspects are explored.

The second part considers what the deconstruction of religion means for comparative theology. It also takes into consideration turns to lived and material religion. In the third part, issues of power, representation, and the subaltern are considered, including the place of feminist and queer theory in comparative theology. Finally, the contribution of philosophical hermeneutics is considered.

The text notes key trends, develops original models of practice and method, and picks out and discusses critical issues within the field.


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Author: Nathan Crawford. In Theology as Improvisation , Nathan Crawford reimagines the possibilities for how theology thinks God within a postmodern world. He argues that theology is improvisation by analyzing the nature of attunement within theological thinking and how this opens certain possibilities for theology. He navigates the nature of thinking God in a postmodern world by using these thinkers to offer critiques of onto-theological thinking and totalizing systems while also following their embrace of the fragment and focus upon the nature of thinking as attunement.

We eradicate destructive viruses. We weed our gardens. However, problems arise in the idea that buddha-nature is contained in all creatures. The paradox is compounded in the doctrines of impermanence and emptiness sunyata : not only do individuals have no intrinsic value, neither do environmental wholes.

Others argue that biodiversity itself has no inherent value and the interests of a species must be balanced against the interest of individual members of another species. To lose a whole species or a few thousand of another is difficult to evaluate.


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He suggests that within the context of a dilemma, individuals must use a combination of skilful means and insight. Considerations include: being broad-minded or narrow-minded; whether the goals are short or long term; and whether or not the compassionate motivation genuinely relates to all beings. As to whether intent is as important as the act itself, there is much debate. Killing with glee, torture, or lack of remorse for example would be more karmically harmful than killing whilst motivated by compassion to protect another species and whilst acknowledging the sacrifice and gravity of taking life.


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  4. Even worse, according to Harvey, would be killing whilst ignorant of the notion of karma. There is a memorial service conducted by Japanese restaurant owners and customers that atones for the taking the life of eels. In a valley in Kashmir, monks kill predatory wolves. After luring them into traps, large stones are thrown over the wall by groups so that no single person is responsible for killing. Despite the fact that they hold rites for the dead animals, there is no easy answer or simple solution to taking responsibility for killing.

    Even when Chinese Communists invaded Tibet and brutally tortured monks and nuns, or when Vietnam was ravaged by Marx-inspired nationalists, the Dalai Lama and monk Thich Nhat Hanh urged the upholding of non-violent methods. However, this absolute stance may stem from the distinctly preferred status of humans in the Buddhist cosmology.

    What does seem clear from scripture, from history, and from the internal logic of the Buddhist idea of karma, is that the individual is encouraged to find their own position, rather than rely on blind faith in the precepts. The individual is the final arbiter on right and wrong, since it is only he or she who can take responsibility and accept the karma of an action. The Relativity of Time, and Human Intervention A species imported by humans is clearly an interloper.

    A species occurring naturally is native. The initial intent for the cane toad was not necessarily based on greed or delusion — but to support the production of food.

    However, neither is ignorance an excuse for blindness to consequence. Biodiversity can only be measured at a point in time — it does not accommodate changes that have occurred and will continue to occur on the earth. If we have a moral obligation to undo our damage, how far back does that extend?

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    Utility - the most good for the most benefit. A focus on Results vipaka Welch points out that commitment-to-act assumes that a particular result will entail. History shows that humanity is rarely in touch with the full implications of an action. The problem is knowing whether, on balance, the effect of killing will be ultimately beneficial or harmful utilitarian.

    Certainly killing will cause karmic pain and suffering for those who killed. On the surface, while many cane toads have already been killed, it appears that little has been gained environmentally. Given the speed at which humanity arrives at decisions for invasive action in the environment, the usual arrogance of assuming correct knowledge and the actual limited understanding of the risks involved, a Buddhist approach would tend to err on the conservative, least dramatic action.

    We do not know if the presence of cane toads would ultimately force the evolution of tougher native animals. Often humanity does not have the far-reaching wisdom to make the best decision. If this was not the case, the ineffective and harmful cane toad solution would never have been used in the first place. In fact, according to recent scientific information, the cane toads are having less impact than originally expected on the native frog population.

    We are yet to discover whether culling is truly necessary in the long term. If a discovery that cane toad toxin was able to be used to benefit humanity in an AIDS virus medicine, would this make the culling less right? Other consequences may also be important.

    The Net of Indra: Rebirth in Science and Buddhism - Sante Poromaa - Google книги

    When children see society killing, without understanding the context, psychological moral judgments about righteous action may form. What long-term impact may this cause? Just as bad habits become norms for an individual, the role of custom may dangerously extend for example in societies where honour killing is practiced. The result of unchecked killing of humans could become an ordinary event. The Hierarchy of Transmigrating Beings Some environmentalists claim that our status at the top of the evolutionary ladder is simply anthropocentric chauvinism.

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    Scriptures note that it is worse to kill a large animal than a small one, since this involves more sustained effort, and it is generally understood that fish are a low form of life. Toads presumably sit lower than the native quoll, but on what grounds do we kill off one amphibian to protect another native frogs? Why should they be protected over the superior adaptive skills of Bufo Marinus - the remarkable toad?

    The idea that we ourselves may fall to the realm of toads is a selfish yet effective deterrent to culling. The modern Buddhist faces an interpretation dilemma - did he mean quantifiable numbers of individual beings, species or whole biospheres? Like any animal, humans kill in order to eat. This is true for vegetarians as well since the sowing, harvesting and transport of vegetables involves killing myriads of small creatures. Buddhism acknowledges our interdependence on all creatures and our collective karma in creating this planet as it is.

    There is no possibility of release from any sin by means of divine intervention. Individual free will and choice of action alone determines our quality of rebirth and speed to enlightenment.

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    While multi-causality offers insight and guidance for modern Buddhists, many factors and consequences are involved in the precept of non-harming. It can be applied and understood in great depth and variety. While the Buddha was critical of extreme moral relativism, he did not uphold absolute or abstract theory in these matters.

    Moreover, time, place, circumstance and the level of understanding is duly recognised. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the fusion of Buddhism and environmentalism is the clear necessity for change. None of our opinions in this matter should be held onto too tightly. And yet, we still need to act. There are far too many variables to assume a position of righteousness.

    If reality is a reflection of what is occurring in our minds, we may have some way to go before we understand what the cane toad symbolises in ourselves.