Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The essential moral self - Bodhisattva Activity of Serving

There is interesting new research results in neurological and brain studies.

These findings are especially significant in light of the Buddha teaching of the importance of intention regarding cause-effect (what is loosely called karma and karma-Dharma) and the importance of effort and intention regarding ongoing practice; 

the emphasis on compassion as a manifestation of wisdom, serving all beings, and Bodhisattva practice and Vows such as, "Beings are numberless, I vow to liberate them (from the attachment and delusions manifesting in dukkha/unsatisfactoriness/suffering);

the perfection of Dana/Giving Paramita; and the many texts describing Bodhisattva practice including the Lotus Sutra and Heart Sutra, to name two of the most well known;

and the many different Bodhisattva in Buddhist cultures and their varying practices and emphasis on their paths as guides for ongoing life practice.

Below is the abstract and link:

"It has often been suggested that the mind is central to personal identity. But do all parts of
the mind contribute equally? Across five experiments, we demonstrate that moral traits—
more than any other mental faculty—are considered the most essential part of identity, the
self, and the soul. Memory, especially emotional and autobiographical memory, is also
fairly important. Lower-level cognition and perception have the most tenuous connection
to identity, rivaling that of purely physical traits. These findings suggest that folk notions of
personal identity are largely informed by the mental faculties affecting social relationships,
with a particularly keen focus on moral traits."

(c)2013 Elsevier B.V.

Here are comments from an interpretive article and the link:

"This summer my 93-year-old mother-in-law died, a few months after her 94–year-old husband. For the last five years she had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. By the end she had forgotten almost everything, even her children’s names, and had lost much of what defined her—her lively intelligence, her passion for literature and history.

Still, what remained was her goodness, a characteristic warmth and sweetness that seemed to shine even more brightly as she grew older. Alzheimer’s can make you feel that you’ve lost the person you loved, even though they’re still alive. But for her children, that continued sweetness meant that, even though her memory and intellect had gone, she was still Edith."