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The Buddha

Or, intuition is the best access to reality.

This is very counterintuitive to us in our empirical age. Empiricism, the theory of knowledge that undergirds our scientific method and thus the amazing technology of our age, tells us that valid knowledge comes to us via our five senses, suitably enhanced where possible with devices that improve those senses without changing the information too much.

Our culture tends to deprecate intuition as at best a secondary source of knowledge that usually defies empirical observation and verification.

The Buddha said that our basic problem as humans is ignorance, primarily ignorance of our inherent enlightenment. This ignorance manifests as what Buddhists call defilements. If you are here, and you are not fully awakened, then you have defilements in your mind that impair your perceptions of and thinking about the world.

No one perceives the world directly. Light and sound get to your brain through the relevant organs, but what you know is the result of arrangement of the light and sound into a coherent story by your brain that is consistent with what you already know.

The Buddha’s awakening involved a massive flash of intuition that allowed him to understand lots of things about the world that we are only know discovering via our empirical, scientific research. The Dalai Lama sees quantum physics as confirming the Buddhist worldview. According to the Buddha, we are all connected by being made out of the same basic elements.

Before awakening, all human minds have defilements that impact our perceptions at the most basic level. This is an obvious problem for empiricism because it indicates that our senses are not as reliable as we might like to think for acquiring knowledge. The scientific method corrects for this problem to a significant extent by requiring confirmation of scientific claims by multiple people, which helps filter out some of the noise. Obviously, our technology would be impossible if it rested on science that did not accurately reflect how the world actually works to a significant degree.

It turns out that all of the knowledge humans can have is already available in our consciousness. We just don’t know it because of our defilements.

So keep meditating until your intuition takes over and reveals all to you.

Please help spread the word.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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