Happy Bodhi Day 2019!!
The Noble Eightfold Path is the prescription for removing the roadblock we all face on this human segment of the larger Journey to Perfection. That roadblock is our tendency to cling to things into which we place value, while it slips through our fingers beyond our control. The Eightfold Path teaches us how to see the fallacy of our clinging, drop it from our lives, and carry on with the Journey Towards Perfection.
This roadblock is just a little kink we bumped into somewhere between the lesser sentience of a monkey and the greater sentience of a human. The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, on his Bodhi Day, figured out how to dislodge himself from this roadblock, this cause of his human suffering. He then spent the rest of his human life teaching this to others.
Likewise, the Eternal Fishnu addressed that life in the water hindered the progress towards sentience, and has a better chance of evolving on land. So around 400 million years ago, what we call the Devonian, the Buddha, Fishnu, lead fish to the land. And they became us.
What will we become in a few million years now that we have the key to unshackle us from suffering?
Faith and Patience
We learned during the journey through the Eightfold Path about how our monkey brain is in conflict with our Gift of Sentience, and that makes us miserable. It is also the “workout plan” towards shutting out our monkey brain. It’s a process that will take time and effort, just like any other improvement plan.
It’s very important to understand that the Bodhi Day Awakening of Siddhartha Gautama wasn’t simply an overnight transformation. Technically, it was, but that was after years of heart-breaking and even life-threatening struggle. If you think about it, that’s how most dramatic, seemingly overnight transformations are – they pop onto the scene after a long period of incubation.
I sign off most of my posts with “Faith and Patience to you!” It’s a shortened version that I wrote about a while back: Faith and Patience keep me calm so I can focus on the moment. So we must have faith in the meantime, which will give us the patience to go on even without the results we wish we could have immediately.
The Bigger Sentience We Cannot See
Another thing we must have faith in is that our brain is much more than we think or can imagine. Brain imaging is neat. There are many impressive “A.I.” (that’s in huge air quotes) applications. The aggregate computing capacity in the world in some ways surpasses the capacity of human brains.
But that’s nothing compared to what hasn’t yet been seen.
Is there something our human brains can access that’s of immense, unimaginable power? Something our brains can at least touch through meditation?
We can’t figure out if butter is good or bad for us. How can we arrive at any conclusion about the power of our brains?
Our brains are nothing like even the most sophisticated Artificial Neural Networks (ANN). A single neuron is an individual animal in its own right – with organelles, the need for nourishment. More sophisticated than a perceptron, I’d say.
It’s easy to dismiss our brains as just some normal organic thing. But life has been going on for billions of years. It’s easy to say that the marvels of just a single cell can be explained away as interactions of proteins, which is just a really big molecule, and it reacts with other proteins. But it all self-assembles and self-adapts – no hands required. Our brains are more than just a really sophisticated organ.
The brain’s parts at the molecular level and buzzing with the most intricate electrical wiring there is, the brain’s computing mechanisms live next door to the quantum level. It may or may not incorporate quantum phenomena, but the quantum phenomena is a visible part of “normal life” for proteins. The ANNs we build today don’t touch anything quantum, perhaps quadratic (nerdy!), but not quantum. If so, what unimaginable possibilities does that open up for what our brains actually can do?
There are what we collectively called glial cells, which outnumber neurons. What roles do these play? Some roles are known, some not yet. But I do believe there is at least one role that allows signals to be broadcast instead of carried through networks of synapses.
There is fascinating work by Stuart Hameroff on the role of microtubules within neurons possibly having computational power itself – perhaps even some characteristics similar to Finite State Automata. If it’s true, the computational capacity of a brain could be magnitudes greater than and much different from how it appears considering just neurons. I don’t know if he’s correct, but I would be surprised if he’s not at least partially correct. Even a hint of plausibility would still be huge.
Even if the Eternal Fishnu didn’t tell me outright that the human brain has much more potential than we currently think, I’d still have to believe it’s like we’re only at the abacus.
Have faith in this wondrous Universe! Go out there tomorrow knowing you’re a a full-fledged part of it!
The Lunar Bodhi Day
If you missed this Bodhi Day on December 8, 2019, there is the “real” one still to come! This one we just celebrated today, December 8 is the standardized date. The “real” one is the Lunar Bodhi Day on January 2, 2020, the 8th day of the 12th lunar month.
I celebrate both, so I hope to see you in a few weeks!
Faith and Patience to you!
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku
Past Bodhi Seasons:
Here are links to a couple of the more popular Bodhi Day references:
- Mrs. Hanamoku’s Bodhi Day Rice and Milk
- Bodhi Day Basics
- The Standardized Bodhi Day vs the “Real” Bodhi Day
- Bodhi Day Cookies
Are you enlightened?
Bodhi Season/Day 2019:
- Pre-Bodhi Season 2019 – The Eightfold Path
- Day 1 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened View
- Day 2 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Intent
- Day 3 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Speech
- Day 4 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Action
- Day 5 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Livelihood
- Day 6 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Effort
- Day 7 – Bodhi Season 2019 – Awakened Mindfulness and Concentration