RE: virus: Belief and Knowledge (was: The truth about faith)

Wright, James 7929 (
Mon, 07 Jul 97 16:33:00 EDT

From: Wade T.Smith[]
>And my claim of 'been there, done that' will fall on equally incredulous

>ears, yes?
>I don't think reaching a state of relaxation by any means (and I know
>several, including mantra/trance) is in any way an explanation of your
>incredible statement.
>What I am asking, besides a general definition of terms from you, is in
>what way there even is a 'non-physical' arena to arrive at 'impressive
>results' about....
>In the last 100 years of physical world exploration we have enabled the
>means to gaze upon rocks on Mars.
>And the last 3000 years of omphaloskepsis have accomplished, what? Let

This is another one of those posts I'm probably going to regret writing,
but here's a try.


Note that *I* do not claim to be enlightened - and it's one of those
terms that defies definition. Language suffers, when called upon to
describe processes/results/functions of the mind. In Zen one may be asked
to show evidence of enlightenment, which is judged by another who was
judged by a previous, back a few hundred years or so, to establish
whether or not one has attained the condition of enlightenment.

Basically, though, the whole thrust of Zen is a teaching that is
transmitted "outside the sutras, independent of words, directly
experiencing..." what? Nothing that can be weighed, counted, measured,
run through the geiger counter or otherwise subjected to the kinds of
tests that western science (and western sceptics) love to run.

Therefore it does not, cannot exist, right?

Wade, the problem I THINK you're having is that you are looking for
something you can get a hold of - something that can be shown, inferred,
demonstrated to an outside person who has no background or training in
the field - the way that one can SEE evidence of mass, motion,
acceleration, force, and so forth. Am I correct in interpreting your
position here? Please say if not.

Yet the proponents of Zen and enlightenment all insist that there is
nothing physical to be measured, nothing concrete to be observed, it is
an INTERNAL process/result/function (I am stifled by a lack of a correct
word/concept here) and must be experienced, directly and thoroughly by
each individual, to be understood. I am leaving out the accounts by
various observers of Tibetan monks sitting comfortably while naked in the
snow, controlling heartbeat down to the point of death, etc. as goals
that were accomplished by "omphaloskepsis", a word I am repeating without
looking it up here.

I will, however, leave you with the following observation. Until quite
recently in modern times, nuclear radiation was unknown. It always
existed, of course; no sane person would argue that nuclear radiation
began when Becquerel left his uranium salts on a photographic plate and
astonishingly found them developed with images he never purposefully
created. The tools necessary to detect and understand nuclear radiation
were simply not available, even if the radiation was.

What if we simply don't have the tools yet developed to understand the
powers of the mind, measure them, and explain how they work? Does that
mean that no powers of the mind exist?

Hope I haven't aggravated you beyond belief or stepped on your toes -
after all, since I am not enlightened, I am simply repeating what I
understand from my reading. Feel free to tell me where I missed the boat.