Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Mind after death

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I was just reading some older threads on the forum through a few searches, and I came across this thread:

Mind during sleep vs meditation vs death

And I ended up watching Ajahn Brahm's talk about "What happens to you when you die?" and it was actually really good. I very much enjoyed his talk around near death experiences, but what I found especially interesting was the section on the similarities between meditative visions and what happens after death, around 55 mins in. If you can see and perceive after death, a lot of the Buddhist teachings on the nature of perceptions and what arises should still hold. That blew my mind... A whole lot of the mechanism would still have to exist.

A lot of the discussion around consciousness and sleep I found interesting as well. I've experimented a bit with yoga nidra and some other techniques and it triggered a few things. Mostly I still find sleep impenetrable, and the most restful states I have encountered have still just been actual, proper deep sleep after heavy exercise.

«13

Comments

  • In the dervish tradition, death comes after mind. In other words fana is seen as the death of our unreal components and the attainment of a divine attribute/stage/station.
    The Buddhist equivalence of the 'death' of karmic impediments and the unfolding of Buddha Nature qualities.

    The problem with NDE is they occur when the brain is under extreme stress and trauma. I expect it to come up with calm, serotonin release, bright light etc. I would take Ajahn Brahm's experiences, during extreme meditative calm far more seriously. However the ability to reach dream scenario constructs is not evidence of thought independent of running hardware.

    More info when I am dead ... but not from me.

    BunksSwaroopperson
  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Swaroop said:
    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    There are reliable reports of human heads continuing to 'function' after being detached from the body; accounts from eye-witnesses reporting interactions with beheaded people (after public executions) so even when a person might be declared deceased, dispatched and their life brought to a halt, who knows at which precise point, "the hardware is totally shut down."....?

  • ^^. Indeed. Lasts for a few moments, words. Try having a conversation the next day. o:)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Swaroop said:
    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    Sounds right about we humans (with reservations), but what about Mothman?

    lobsterSwaroop
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    There is the idea of "subtle mind" in some Buddhist schools, but it's not something I have looked at recently.
    http://www.scdharma.org/teachings/gross-mind-subtle-mind-and-very-subtle-mind

  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Swaroop said:
    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    However the human body-mind-spirit is not a computer... There is a long history in science of people using the most advanced metaphor of their time in order to try and understand something complex such as the body. During ancient times people tried to understand the mind as a hydraulic device, because hydraulics were the most sophisticated science. During the Middle Ages it was vapours, during the Enlightenment mechanics and clockworks.

    The truth is that we are no closer to understanding the "hard problem of consciousness" today than Buddhist philosophers were 2000 years ago, and although we know more about which parts of the brain do what, we still don't know wether it's a controller or whether it functions more like a television set receiving a 'mind signal'.

    There are also medical sources which state near death experiences cannot be the result of physical phenomena happening to the dying brain, such as Dr Eben Alexander who was a well known neuroscientist before the experience which he details and analyses in his book Proof of Heaven.

    I have that book in my phone. One day I may even read it.

  • SwaroopSwaroop India Veteran

    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out. Maybe we are afraid of the nothing.

    silverFosdickSteve_Bcarolann
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out. Maybe we are afraid of the nothing.

    I suspect that fear of extinction is at the root of most religious belief systems, which invariably include some kind of afterlife or continuation. Even Buddhism!

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    But perhaps there is also the fear of the unknown - because what if life really doesn't stop? What if death is a moment of transformation, like the earth being absorbed into the seed to make the flower which decays to feed a tree and so on, in a never-ending sequence? That would seem to be the way of nature.

    I feel that Buddhism is more honest in the picture it paints, of rebirth and a new life, than for example Christianity, which merely puts up a father-like God and a heaven without cares. But yes, all religions seem to get sucked into providing an answer of some sort here.

    But to say we do not know is also not accurate. A lot of research has been done into near death experiences, and there is enough there to say, in my opinion with some certainty, that there is something after this life.

    dukkhacarolann
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out.

    Oh, we are definitely afraid of the nothing, but that doesn't mean there isn't something.

    Keromedukkha
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    But perhaps there is also the fear of the unknown - because what if life really doesn't stop? What if death is a moment of transformation, like the earth being absorbed into the seed to make the flower which decays to feed a tree and so on, in a never-ending sequence? That would seem to be the way of nature.
    I feel that Buddhism is more honest in the picture it paints, of rebirth and a new life, than for example Christianity, which merely puts up a father-like God and a heaven without cares. But yes, all religions seem to get sucked into providing an answer of some sort here.

    I'd agree the Buddhist belief looks more "natural". It's true that there are many cyclical patterns in nature, though these mostly seem to related to planetary movement, and there is no evidence of consciousness surviving brain death in animals

    But to say we do not know is also not accurate. A lot of research has been done into near death experiences, and there is enough there to say, in my opinion with some certainty, that there is something after this life.

    The NDE stuff I've looked at doesn't seem conclusive.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:
    The NDE stuff I've looked at doesn't seem conclusive.

    The key thing to realise is that the scientific materialist consensus opinion that 'the mind is the brain' is essentially very fragile. It only takes one case which is said to be "impossible" to disprove it beyond repair and set in train the search for a wider explanation.

    The NDE literature contains many such cases, from the woman who was supposedly brain dead who could quote back what the surgeon had said about her in the operating theatre, to the man who requested his false teeth back and could accurately direct the hospital staff to the closet where the intern had left them.

    I have some personal experience also, surrounding the death of my stepmother, where my father and I felt her passing from about 20 yards away through several walls and closed doors. It took some time to process, but eventually I realised what it meant and it changed my world view.

    dukkha
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @Kerome said:
    It took some time to process, but eventually I realised what it meant and it changed my world view.

    It meant she had gone to heaven?
    http://opcoa.st/0RgRr

    Type in 'sceptic NDE' in Google for some insight.

    Here is a doctor who was brain dead
    http://opcoa.st/0Rnt8
    This frozen effect is a known phenomena gaining usage in medical procedure for example in some brain surgery ...

    ... back to woo? ...

  • try to understand DO

    no questions arise about previous life, after life or present life
    because
    we would know
    what is previous though-moment, after thought-moment and present thought-moment

    pegembara
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    My grandma was gone before her body stopped working. A couple of days before. It was a palpable difference, very interesting. It was sad, but at a relief at the same time as she has been suffering and was ready to go for a long time But I am grateful for having been so close to that process. I spent many days in the hospital with her up until the time of death. But the palpable difference of "her" being gone before her body cells stopped doing their thing was the most notable.

    I actually need less sleep since I started meditating. Which is a good thing because I probably after 3-5 days per year of uninterrupted sleep, lol.

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    But perhaps there is also the fear of the unknown - because what if life really doesn't stop? What if death is a moment of transformation, like the earth being absorbed into the seed to make the flower which decays to feed a tree and so on, in a never-ending sequence? That would seem to be the way of nature.

    From my view, since mind cannot be physically located there is the possibility that it takes up no space. If it takes up no space then it would also be timeless. Of course, the body dies along with the brain leaving no way to interpret mind.

    Everything changes and pretty much anything makes more sense than "nothing" since there is no such thing as nothing. If there was such an occurrence as nothing there would be no potential for anything. Unless by "nothing" we really mean something that takes up no space and is thus, timeless.

    I would have to hazard a guess and figure that after death would be the same as before birth. I made it here fine after this "nothing" so why fear the same thing after death?

    Probably because it won't be me and even if it is I won't remember being this specific person.

    Just rambling.

    FosdicksilverdukkhaDeformed
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

  • @lobster said:

    @Kerome said:
    It took some time to process, but eventually I realised what it meant and it changed my world view.

    It meant she had gone to heaven?
    http://opcoa.st/0RgRr

    Type in 'sceptic NDE' in Google for some insight.

    Here is a doctor who was brain dead
    http://opcoa.st/0Rnt8
    This frozen effect is a known phenomena gaining usage in medical procedure for example in some brain surgery ...

    ... back to woo? ...

    Sometimes it is better to pay attention to the what than trying to figure out the how.

    I have had an old lady seeing a cat that I failed to save earlier in the morning. The only person who saw it was her and she had no knowledge of what happened before. There must be some scientific explanation.

    No, I didn't see it either.

    lobsterSpinyNorman
  • @Shoshin said:
    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

    Like going to sleep and never waking up. If only all deaths are so peaceful.

    SpinyNorman
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out. Maybe we are afraid of the nothing.

    I'm sure this is true for many. Bob Thurman likes to point out the other side of this coin though that the idea of living life after life being held responsible for the actions we take can be an existential threat if we believe when we die we're home free.

    David
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @person said:

    @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out. Maybe we are afraid of the nothing.

    I'm sure this is true for many. Bob Thurman likes to point out the other side of this coin though that the idea of living life after life being held responsible for the actions we take can be an existential threat if we believe when we die we're home free.

    Blasted karma! There's always small-print! :p

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    yes and it's usually so small, it looks like this:

    P.... .. .... .. ..... .... ...! M...... .. ... ..... .. ...... ... . ...., ... ..... ..... Thank you.

    SwaroopDavid
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:
    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

    Like going to sleep and never waking up. If only all deaths are so peaceful.

    Dying's the problem.... "Death" is the easy part :)

    pegembara
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @silver said:

    @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out.

    Oh, we are definitely afraid of the nothing, but that doesn't mean there isn't something.

    True, though I don't think that attaching to the idea of life after death is conducive to letting go of clinging and grasping, which is a central theme in Buddhist practice. In the Second Noble Truth, one cause of suffering is the craving for future becoming/lives.

    According to the suttas, if we are reborn we would have no memory of this life anyway, so it seems pointless to speculate.

    Swarooplobstercarolann
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Hmm. As far as I'm concerned life after death is just a fact. Nothing to be attached to, just acknowledged. We always do the best we can, and this human life is a precious chance to make progress in the dharma. Stay in the present, learn, meditate, live, laugh, share with your loved ones.

    silverdukkha
  • @Shoshin said:

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:
    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

    Like going to sleep and never waking up. If only all deaths are so peaceful.

    Dying's the problem.... "Death" is the easy part :)

    Trying to sleep is the problem .... Sleeping is effortless.

    ShoshinSteve_B
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @lobster said:

    @Kerome said:
    It took some time to process, but eventually I realised what it meant and it changed my world view.

    It meant she had gone to heaven?
    http://opcoa.st/0RgRr

    What happened was when we were in the hospital hallway deep at night I felt a tremendous cloud of peace appear in the direction of my stepmother's room, accompanied by a wondrous perfume which was part scent, part something else. At that moment my dad said, "do you feel that?" He visited her room and called a nurse, and she had passed.

    So not only was there the sense of her passing, but I was later able to compare notes with my father, who had also felt it. That pretty much rules out hallucination, the experience was shared, and it proves to me that loved ones at least can sense each other's deaths in a local space, regardless of physical obstacles, and that our consciousness connects to others in ways beyond the ordinary senses. Further, something seems to manifest at the time of our death that isn't normally present.

    Some months later, a medium visited my dad's home town and did a demonstration. He had been struggling for a while with grief at her passing, and went along to it on a hunch. They picked him out of the crowd, and said that his wife wanted to thank him for the travels in India and for the way he had assisted her in leaving her body. Unbeknownst even to me, let alone the medium, when she was very ill and close to dying he had told her some material from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, including to exit her body from the crown chakra. He told me about this a number of years afterwards.

    Now I can't say anything about where she went, except that she appeared to be happy there, and responded to my father's grief to reassure and thank him. The medium being a setup would be so extremely unlikely as to be bizarre - my dad didn't go with anyone, and hadn't discussed the details of my stepmothers passing with any of the locals, with whom he only has occasional contact.

    Raymond Moody MD has written an interesting book on shared death experiences called Glimpses of Eternity, which you might find interesting.

    Type in 'sceptic NDE' in Google for some insight.

    I did, thanks. Most of what I read seemed to be hard-headed scientists reaching for unlikely explanations, such as "she can't have been dead... must have been hearing subconsciously", or personal attacks on the reputations of people writing about NDE material. It's a bit sad that the debate is so polarised.

    dukkha
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    There have been some interesting threads on this topic in the past, like these...

    Consciousness after death
    BBC programme on NDEs

    This forum sure has a intrigueing and lengthy history! If I had known it was going to be controversial then I would have put it in General Banter, lol.

  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:
    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

    Like going to sleep and never waking up. If only all deaths are so peaceful.

    Dying's the problem.... "Death" is the easy part :)

    Trying to sleep is the problem .... Sleeping is effortless.

    Death is the least of my problems. When I am here, death is not and when death is here, I am not.
    (Epicucurus)

    Shoshinpegembara
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited August 2016

    @zenff said:
    Death is the least of my problems. When I am here, death is not and when death is here, I am not.
    (Epicucurus)

    Now he really knows his stuff.....He was here, now he's not ...he's dead :lol:

  • @zenff said:

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:

    @pegembara said:

    @Shoshin said:
    Mr Watts poses an interesting question regarding "Death" "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?"

    Like going to sleep and never waking up. If only all deaths are so peaceful.

    Dying's the problem.... "Death" is the easy part :)

    Trying to sleep is the problem .... Sleeping is effortless.

    Death is the least of my problems. When I am here, death is not and when death is here, I am not.
    (Epicucurus)

    One gone to the far shore
    without clinging
    without effluent
    his task completed,
    welcomes the ending of life,
    as if freed from a place of execution.
    Having attained the supreme Rightness,
    unconcerned with all the world,
    as if released from a burning house,
    he doesn't sorrow at death.

    Ven Adhimutta

    zenff
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    In some ERs they place lights and signs near the ceiling so anyone experiencing an OBE during an NDE should be able to see them and report back. Unfortunately, so far no one in one of these ERs has had an OBE to either confirm or deny seeing these signs.

    Many seemingly strange events have been explained away but many haven't. I think there is probably enough there to confirm anyone's metaphysical predisposition on either side of the fence.

    I personally don't have any experience with mysterious occurrences around death but have had enough at other times in my life to put serious doubt in my mind to the validity of physicalism.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    It seems that what happens at death is one of the great unknowns. Do we accept the uncertainty, or do we start making stuff up?

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I wouldn't strictly agree it is that much of an unknown, or that I am making stuff up. I have some well-constructed reasons for my beliefs about the afterlife, and have resolved some of the uncertainty. Whether you follow along in my line of reasoning, is of course entirely up to you :)

    The thing that amazes me is that if we can still perceive things after death, and are capable of thinking in that state, then much of the same set of mechanisms around the arising of phenomena would seem to also apply. One would suggest the dharma might even survive, in similar forms to what it has here on Earth.

  • dukkhadukkha Quebec, Canada New

    Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant:

    http://gizmodo.com/russian-man-volunteers-for-first-human-head-transplant-1785926258

    If our mind is from our brain, what would happen to us when we have a brand new head from another person?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Watch this space....!

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:> I wouldn't strictly agree it is that much of an unknown, or that I am making stuff up. I have some well-constructed reasons for my beliefs about the afterlife, and have resolved some of the uncertainty. Whether you follow along in my line of reasoning, is of course entirely up to you :)

    My comment was a general one and not directed at you. We all have different experiences and base our assumptions on them.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> I wouldn't strictly agree it is that much of an unknown, or that I am making stuff up. I have some well-constructed reasons for my beliefs about the afterlife, and have resolved some of the uncertainty. Whether you follow along in my line of reasoning, is of course entirely up to you :)

    My comment was a general one and not directed at you. We all have different experiences and base our assumptions on them.

    That is so, and we also have a certain obligation to teach those still so unfortunately left in the darkness that is ignorance - to at least debate and discuss our truth, no?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Kerome said:> I wouldn't strictly agree it is that much of an unknown, or that I am making stuff up. I have some well-constructed reasons for my beliefs about the afterlife, and have resolved some of the uncertainty. Whether you follow along in my line of reasoning, is of course entirely up to you :)

    My comment was a general one and not directed at you. We all have different experiences and base our assumptions on them.

    That is so, and we also have a certain obligation to teach those still so unfortunately left in the darkness that is ignorance - to at least debate and discuss our truth, no?

    Or at least to share our current opinions. ;)

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    ....> @dukkha said:

    Russian man volunteers for first human head transplant:

    http://gizmodo.com/russian-man-volunteers-for-first-human-head-transplant-1785926258

    If our mind is from our brain, what would happen to us when we have a brand new head from another person?

    If our mind is from our brain, and surgeons could actually perform such an operation on a human being.... I guess "I" would not longer be the old "me" ...."I" would be heading in a new direction so to speak :winky: :)

    marcitkosilver
  • I have always found "The Law of conservation of energy" to be quite interesting when I think about it in relation to our thoughts and life after death. The law states that energy can not be created or distroyed but it can change form. When I look at the brain and thoughts we know they are transmitted by electrical impulses. So if our thought are electrical in nature, they are energy and the law would apply.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Richdawson said:
    I have always found "The Law of conservation of energy" to be quite interesting when I think about it in relation to our thoughts and life after death. The law states that energy can not be created or distroyed but it can change form. When I look at the brain and thoughts we know they are transmitted by electrical impulses. So if our thought are electrical in nature, they are energy and the law would apply.

    I have wondered about that, but thoughts are not the same as electrical impulses, and thoughts are transient phenomena.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @Swaroop said:
    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    But what about when the power is partly shut down?
    Our brain is powered by glucose and oxygen delivered by the blood. No blood flow, no "power" equals (or causes) death. Reduced blood flow, though, makes "life" interesting. Can a dying person, as their heart fails and blood flow deteriorates, have an out of body experience as a result of the cerebral hypoperfusion? There is certainly ample anecdotal evidence. People in near-death states who recover have been known to report such experiences. Is it simple hypoperfusion? Could a prospective experiment be designed to test this hypothesis? And could such experiments be ethically conducted on healthy humans?

    It turns out, intriguingly, that the aerospace industry has been doing exactly this for many years. Pilots with induced cerebral hypoperfusion as a result of g forces report out of body experiences, tunnel vision, beckoning light, etc. The parallels to people reporting near death experiences are striking.

    http://www.radiolab.org/story/91527-out-of-body-roger/

    lobster
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @Swaroop said:
    No program can run after the power to the hardware is totally shut down.

    -Unless a transfer of data occurs. It seems to me what we refer to asConsciousness is probably the brain running a program unique to the subject which models awareness. I see nothing which precludes the possibility of a transfer of data...

  • @Will_Baker said:
    I see nothing which precludes the possibility of a transfer of data...

    Except there is no convincing evidence for the mechanism or process. Absence of evidence is no proof for the existence of the reincarnating Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    When a computer shuts down or is fried irreparably, is there a cloud or temporary heavenly data storage server? The assumption is there is some such procedure.

    Miraculously, rather than through biological diversity and child development, which we have considerable evidence for, an imprint from spooky never-land storage facility occurs.

    Superstitious wish fulfilment is something we are all familiar with as a human tendency ...

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    I can't help but wonder how instinct and natural selection fit into all of this.

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @lobster said:

    @Will_Baker said:
    I see nothing which precludes the possibility of a transfer of data...

    **Except there is no convincing evidence for the mechanism or process. **Absence of evidence is no proof for the existence of the reincarnating Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    When a computer shuts down or is fried irreparably, is there a cloud or temporary heavenly data storage server? The assumption is there is some such procedure.

    Miraculously, rather than through biological diversity and child development, which we have considerable evidence for, an imprint from spooky never-land storage facility occurs.

    Superstitious wish fulfilment is something we are all familiar with as a human tendency ...

    -As an aside, we are transferring data right now. In addition, there are libraries and other bodies of knowledge which have been built upon. Perhaps, in a way we are all appendages of a larger organism. But to get to my original point, I see everything in terms of mass equaling energy. I view the universe as a closed system. I believe that, at its basis, the mind is an organic computer modelling attention, perhaps in bits of stored electrical impulses , we don't understand that part yet, but we do know that according to the law of conservation of matter, in a closed system "it" doesn't just go away. That's why I stated the above...

  • @Swaroop said:
    I think we have a need to believe that there is something after the lights go out. Maybe we are afraid of the nothing.

    Don't forget we experience nothingness everyday when we sleep. We don't dream the whole time. Its not an unpleasant experience either.

«13
Sign In or Register to comment.