Where Science and Enlightenment Collide


The Year of Change

16_origThis year has turned out to be the year that everything changes, for everyone I suppose.  Elections and what not here in the United States.  For me however there have been plenty of personal life changes.  For those of you who don’t know I am a disabled Veteran of the United States Army.  That’s right this peace loving hippie was once a soldier *chuckles*.

This year is the year my claim with the VA was finally approved.  Financial situations changed and now I am looking at buying my first house.  As things are pending I find that its a perfect time to let go of material possessions that no longer serve me.  Let go of earthy attachments.  The important lesson I have learned is, as my grandfather would put it, “the sun shines on a dog’s ass once in awhile!”.
According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It is a progressive moment, a successive series of different moments, joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or the other from moment to moment.

Even from a scientific point of view this is true. We know cell divisions take place in each living being continuously. Old cells in our bodies die and yield place continuously to the new ones that are forming. Like the waves in a sea, every moment, many thoughts arise and die in each individual . Psychologically and physically he is never the same all the time. Technically speaking, no individual is ever composed of the same amount of energy. Mental stuff and cellular material all the time. He is subject to change and the change is a continuous movement.

So when you find yourself dealing with issues that arise, take comfort in knowing that in this existence, the only thing that is constant is that everything changes at its own pace and in its own time.


The Divine in Nature.

kevin-beiler-networkWhen we say ‘namaste’, we are saying we recognize what is good and divine in someone else and we are honouring that spirit in them. This is what gives root to my pantheist approach to Buddhism.

The cosmos is also within us, we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. -Carl Sagan

“All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else.” -Buddha


Buddha himself gave quite a few talks on interconnectedness, one of which Shakyamuni used the image of two bundles of reeds leaning against each other to explain this deep interconnectedness. He described how the two bundles of reeds can remain standing as long as they lean against each other. In the same way, because this exists, that exists, and because that exists, this exists. If one of the two bundles is removed, then the other will fall. Similarly, without this existence, that cannot exist, and without that existence, this cannot exist.

Recently through scientific study Dr. Suzanne Simard discovered that Mycorrhizal fungi form obligate symbioses with trees, where the tree supplies the fungus with carbohydrate energy in return for water and nutrients the fungal mycelia gather from the soil; mycorrhizal networks form when mycelia connect the roots of two or more plants of the same or different species. Graduate student Kevin Beiler (network pictured above) has uncovered the extent and architecture of this network through the use of new molecular tools that can distinguish the DNA of one fungal individual from another, or of one tree’s roots from another. He has found that all trees in dry interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) forests are interconnected, with the largest, oldest trees serving as hubs, much like the hub of a spoked wheel, where younger trees establish within the mycorrhizal network of the old trees. Through careful experimentation, recent graduate Francois Teste determined that survival of these establishing trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees.Through the use of stable isotope tracers, he and Amanda Schoonmaker, a recent undergraduate student in Forestry, found that increased survival was associated with belowground transfer of carbon, nitrogen and water from the old trees. This research provides strong evidence that maintaining forest resilience is dependent on conserving mycorrhizal links, and that removal of hub trees could unravel the network and compromise regenerative capacity of the forests.

Not only did this lead to the discovery of these networks and their hubs, but through observation Dr. Suzanne Simard was able to discover that in this network the younger (offspring) trees received the nutrients before the hubs even when these nutrients were introduced at the Hubs first.

This is a prime example how compassion extends outside the realm of mankind and exists not only in the animal kingdom but in the plant kingdoms as well. It is my belief that it is suggestive that consciousness exists in these networks on a unquantifiable level, and that just as Carl Sagan and the Buddha suggest, everything is connected, the divine exists with in us all.

~ “We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Created vs Made

dna_galaxy_lynnette_cookOne of the arguments I have heard about the Divine being a part of everything has been “That is ridiculous, when I build a house I am not really a part of it, I may feel like I am but I am not!” I always have the follow up “Did you create the seed that grows the trees that becomes the wood you use to build the house?”

There is a fine line but a finite line between something that is made and something that is created. When the consciousness that exists in the universe created and manifested the universe in its glory it became a part of the universe, in as much as the same way as I, a father created my children, and a part of me exists in them as a whole.

You are unique, but you are also a part of the whole the same atoms that make up the stars and planets, the animals and plants, also make up you.

Bio Electrical Science

ImageRecently I poised a question, not entirely certain if it has an answer, also I am not entirely sure of my current level of understanding when it pertains to the neurosciences, when it comes to cognitive behaviors, as well as my extremely fundamental understanding of physics on the sub atomic level, but here we go none the less.

Scientific theory begins with observation followed by a question, the question came to me during some reading I had been doing on Buddhist teachings and traditions by The Dalai Lama. The question came when I pondered if there are minute bio-electrical differences to establish a basis for fingerprinting…I mean obviously there are biochemical difference, emotional responses are biochemical, and imbalances lead to emotional disorders; but our brains are biochemical and bio-electrical as well.  Are there distinctions? If not would this point to where universal thoughts come from?  And biochemical interruptions of bio-electrical signals lead to social disorders?  Or perhaps a distinction, thinking on the opposite side of the coin, would that prove the existence of what we call a soul?  Because energy cannot be destroyed instead transforms be the transition to the next stage of existence on this or another plane or dimension of existence?

Sorry if it is random or over heads lol I like to seek connections between scientific principals and spiritual connections.

What originally got me on this train of thought, was the curiosity of trying to show scientific evidence of the existence of a soul and determination of a method to prove or disprove reincarnation or rebirth. I find it fascinating the process Lamas are found in the Tibetan tradition and scientific curiosity got the better of me lol

Can this postulating really be considered theory with such a limited understanding or is it simply a guess from a hopeless romantic? I guess that will be for others who have a greater understanding than I to decide.