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Science and Meditation

Are spiders enlightened?

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Are spiders enlightened? Daniel Mon 3/11/20 8:54 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Brian 3/27/20 9:35 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? A. Dietrich Ringle 3/27/20 11:39 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Olivier 3/27/20 2:35 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Olivier 3/27/20 2:44 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 4/10/20 8:59 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 4/10/20 8:57 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 4/10/20 8:36 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 4/10/20 8:51 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? spatial 4/10/20 9:09 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? agnostic 4/11/20 7:16 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? T 4/10/20 1:35 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/10/20 1:41 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? agnostic 4/10/20 2:23 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? agnostic 4/10/20 2:22 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Ni Nurta 4/10/20 8:53 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Ni Nurta 4/10/20 7:14 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 4/11/20 7:32 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Daniel Mon 7/31/20 12:29 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Hibiscus Kid 4/10/20 9:03 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Matthew R Judd 8/1/20 6:53 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Olivier 8/1/20 10:36 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 8/1/20 12:05 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Olivier 8/1/20 12:25 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 8/2/20 8:18 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Olivier 8/2/20 1:56 PM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Tim Farrington 8/3/20 5:26 AM
RE: Are spiders enlightened? Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 8/2/20 1:41 PM
Are spiders enlightened?
enlightenment conciousness awareness of awareness animal
Answer
3/11/20 8:54 PM
I was watching at a spider in my terrace, just waiting, waiting, I suppose that it was hightly attentive to every vibration on its web, constantly tagging physical sensations as "wind", "rain drop", or "prey" and though, well, isn't that meditating? If we assume that spiders are not highly neurotic, and that they live "in the moment", wouldn't that put their brain in some kind of djanic space? Wouldn't that even make them experience sunyata?

This though came after reading how meditation trains our brains to perceive things "as they are", to explore the limits of awareness/conciousness (who is the watcher) and I though that perhaps what we were trying to do would be something that other animals do without "training"? That perhaps the salient quality of the human mind is that it makes us suffer, perhaps as an evolutionary strategy for survival? That by learning to "escape" suffering we might be paying attention to more primitve parts of our brain which might be predominant in other beings across the awareness continuum?

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 

But perhaps someone with better or direct experience of higher human experiences can let us know what they think.

Cheers, Daniel.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
3/27/20 9:35 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Well, I often compare humans to cows, rather than spiders. Cows wake up, and they're still tired, and they don't want to get up because their legs hurt, but hunger drives them to get up and start eating. Maybe there's a storm with thunder, and it's scary, and they run somewhere to get shelter. Maybe some dogs come and bother them and it's scary and confusing. Eventually it's time to sleep and they can't quite get comfortable, but they need to sleep, etc. So, point being, it seems to me that cows are always being pushed around by feelings and fears and so forth, essentially the same as humans, even if the specific feelings aren't very intricate by our standards.

With the spider, if you put your finger near it, it might raise its arms. It's not just a machine. I think it must be feeling alarm, to whatever extent it can, and is trying to warn you to go away. It doesn't want to fight. It has some (to us) very basic preferences.

In my mind, humans are the only animals we know of that are capable of doing the trick of exploiting the brain's plasticity to cause it to incline toward happiness and have craving-free (and hopefully low-distortion) perception.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
3/27/20 11:39 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:
I was watching at a spider in my terrace, just waiting, waiting, I suppose that it was hightly attentive to every vibration on its web, constantly tagging physical sensations as "wind", "rain drop", or "prey" and though, well, isn't that meditating? If we assume that spiders are not highly neurotic, and that they live "in the moment", wouldn't that put their brain in some kind of djanic space? Wouldn't that even make them experience sunyata?

This though came after reading how meditation trains our brains to perceive things "as they are", to explore the limits of awareness/conciousness (who is the watcher) and I though that perhaps what we were trying to do would be something that other animals do without "training"? That perhaps the salient quality of the human mind is that it makes us suffer, perhaps as an evolutionary strategy for survival? That by learning to "escape" suffering we might be paying attention to more primitve parts of our brain which might be predominant in other beings across the awareness continuum?

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 

But perhaps someone with better or direct experience of higher human experiences can let us know what they think.

Cheers, Daniel.

This sounds like an AandP experience. How can you develop/let go of this encounter?

I would also like to point out that I have pointed this out as a potential Arising and passing away experience because it seems like the Arising of humor and insight all in one. Brillo.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
3/27/20 2:35 PM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:
I was watching at a spider in my terrace, just waiting, waiting, I suppose that it was hightly attentive to every vibration on its web, constantly tagging physical sensations as "wind", "rain drop", or "prey" and though, well, isn't that meditating? If we assume that spiders are not highly neurotic, and that they live "in the moment", wouldn't that put their brain in some kind of djanic space? Wouldn't that even make them experience sunyata?

This though came after reading how meditation trains our brains to perceive things "as they are", to explore the limits of awareness/conciousness (who is the watcher) and I though that perhaps what we were trying to do would be something that other animals do without "training"? That perhaps the salient quality of the human mind is that it makes us suffer, perhaps as an evolutionary strategy for survival? That by learning to "escape" suffering we might be paying attention to more primitve parts of our brain which might be predominant in other beings across the awareness continuum?

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 

But perhaps someone with better or direct experience of higher human experiences can let us know what they think.

Cheers, Daniel.

Reiner Maria Rilke, The eigth Duino Elegy


 
Dedicated to Rudolf Kassner
 
 
 
With all its eyes the creaturely world sees
Openness. Only our eyes are
as if reversed and surround it quite,
like traps around its free outgoing.
What the external is we know only
from the animal’s face; for we already
turn round the very young child and force it
to see things backwards, not the Openness
that is so profound in the animal’s face. Free of death.
Death only we can see; the free animal
always has its demise behind it
and before it God, and when it moves, it moves
in eternity like a running spring.
We never, not for a single day, have
before us that pure space into which flowers
endlessly open. Always there is world
and never anywhere without the No: that pure,
unguarded we breathe and
endlessly know and do not desire. As a child
may in stillness there be lost to itself and be
shaken. Or someone dies and is it.
For, close to death, death is no longer seen
and we stare beyond, perhaps with an animal’s vast gaze.
Lovers, if it were not for the other
blocking the view, are close to it and marvel…
As if by mistake something is revealed
behind the other…But no one gets beyond
the other, and again all becomes world.
Always turned to Creation we only see
in it the reflection of the free,
darkened by ourselves. Or, when some animal,
a dumb animal, looks up, serenely, right through us.
This is what fate means: to be opposite
and nothing else, and always opposite.
 
 
 
If there were consciousness of our kind in the
secure animal moving toward us
in the other direction – it would toss us around
with its transformation. But it feels its being is
infinite, unfathomable and without regard
to its own condition, pure, like its outward gaze.
And where we see future, it sees everything
and itself in everything, and forever healed.
 
 
 
And yet in the watchful warm animal there lies
the weight and worry of great sadness.
For to it too always clings what often
overwhelms us, – memory,
as if what we seek were once already
closer, more loyal, and its connection to us
infinitely tender. Here all is distance,
and there it was breath. After the first home,
the second seems ambiguous and wind-blown.
Oh bliss of the tiny creature
that forever remains in the engendering womb;
oh joy of the gnat that still hops within,
even when it weds: for womb is All.
And see the half-assurance of the bird
that almost knows both, from its source,
as if it were an Etruscan soul,
from a dead person that a space received,
but with its reclining figure as the lid.
And how dismayed is a thing that must fly
and stems from a womb. As if afraid
of itself, it zigzags through the air like a crack
through a cup. The way the track
of a bat rips through the porcelain of evening.
 
 
 
And we: spectators, always, everywhere,
turned towards all this and never beyond!
It overwhelms us. We order it. It falls to pieces.
We order it again, and fall to pieces ourselves.
 
 
 
Who has turned us around like this, that we,
no matter what we do, are in the posture
of one who is leaving? Just as,
on the last hill which one last time shows him
his whole valley, he turns, stops, lingers –,
thus do we live and are forever taking leave.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
3/27/20 2:44 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Whenever I encounter some animal, a wild animal I mean, a fox crossing the road hurrily at night or some strange sea creature, like the apparition of an octopus while bathing, I get this sense of wonder and magic.

This happened again last night, I was taking a walk, and as I looked up over the path I was on I saw this big owl fly away from where it was standing, above my head. It disappeard into the dark, completely silent, otherworldly. What I felt this time, was that this was not an animal, it was a piece of the world, a piece of the fabric of the world, moving, present, other, but world. I disturbed it. It was very beautiful, almost mystical. Infused the sense of existence with sacredness.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 8:36 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:


But perhaps someone with better or direct experience of higher human experiences can let us know what they think.

Cheers, Daniel.

You sort of skewed the talent pool there with those criteria, Daniel, and I doubt that you'll find many willing to take on a gig like that, and it ain't me. since i only know how to reply to one box at a time, i'll start by saying that my perspective is coming, as it appears yours did here, launching this lovely meditation, from direct experience of higher spider experiences.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:
I was watching at a spider in my terrace, just waiting, waiting, I suppose that it was hightly attentive to every vibration on its web, constantly tagging physical sensations as "wind", "rain drop", or "prey" and though, well, isn't that meditating? If we assume that spiders are not highly neurotic, and that they live "in the moment", wouldn't that put their brain in some kind of djanic space? Wouldn't that even make them experience sunyata?

This though came after reading how meditation trains our brains to perceive things "as they are", to explore the limits of awareness/conciousness (who is the watcher) and I though that perhaps what we were trying to do would be something that other animals do without "training"? That perhaps the salient quality of the human mind is that it makes us suffer, perhaps as an evolutionary strategy for survival? That by learning to "escape" suffering we might be paying attention to more primitve parts of our brain which might be predominant in other beings across the awareness continuum?

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 


Now to the heart of your koan! Do spiders suffer? Pain, certainly: pain is feedback, in evolutionary terms, a signal with a high urgency to-be-sorted-out-and-addressed factor in survival itself: the pain-free die quickly, free of pain. So we're distinguishing dukha from pain here, tentatively (because as we know from dealing with  our necks, knees, asses, and backs in meditation, attitude toward pain will skew it toward or away from dukha to a greater or lesser extent, and by all reports--- I mean, the Buddha died of throat cancer, dukha-free and in what I know from watching a best friend die of the same disease must have been godawful physical distress--- it is possible to max out on mortal pain and remain free of dukha). So I think you might really be onto something substantially interesting in your wild mad speculations here, pending better communication skill from the spiders: that learning to "escape" suffering is somehow inherent in the human evolutionary survival make-up, the primate cards dealt to us by genetics, including that large brain and its risky evolutionary ventures into dukha inconceivable to spiders, for example (hell yes spiders are enlightened, this far out on the speculative limb, by the way). So if we avoid Ken Wilber's pre-/post- fallacy, even our meditative "achievement" in "returning" and even re-programming the more basic parts of our brain is absolutely necessary: it is human to be born without that higher level integration of the feedback of dukha, human to want to end that dukha, and human to do the brain work that strives toward that state. Now I must go spin a strand of web that doesn't make my brain explode. Thank you for spinning THIS thread!

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
[quote=

Reiner Maria Rilke, The eigth Duino Elegy


Dedicated to Rudolf Kassner


 


 


 


With all its eyes the creaturely world sees


Openness. Only our eyes are


as if reversed and surround it quite,


like traps around its free outgoing.


What the external is we know only


from the animal’s face; for we already


turn round the very young child and force it


to see things backwards, not the Openness


that is so profound in the animal’s face. Free of death.


Death only we can see; the free animal


always has its demise behind it


and before it God, and when it moves, it moves


in eternity like a running spring.


We never, not for a single day, have


before us that pure space into which flowers


endlessly open. Always there is world


and never anywhere without the No: that pure,


unguarded we breathe and


endlessly know and do not desire. As a child


may in stillness there be lost to itself and be


shaken. Or someone dies and is it.


For, close to death, death is no longer seen


and we stare beyond, perhaps with an animal’s vast gaze.


Lovers, if it were not for the other


blocking the view, are close to it and marvel…


As if by mistake something is revealed


behind the other…But no one gets beyond


the other, and again all becomes world.


Always turned to Creation we only see


in it the reflection of the free,


darkened by ourselves. Or, when some animal,


a dumb animal, looks up, serenely, right through us.


This is what fate means: to be opposite


and nothing else, and always opposite.


 


 


 


If there were consciousness of our kind in the


secure animal moving toward us


in the other direction – it would toss us around


with its transformation. But it feels its being is


infinite, unfathomable and without regard


to its own condition, pure, like its outward gaze.


And where we see future, it sees everything


and itself in everything, and forever healed.


 


 


 


And yet in the watchful warm animal there lies


the weight and worry of great sadness.


For to it too always clings what often


overwhelms us, – memory,


as if what we seek were once already


closer, more loyal, and its connection to us


infinitely tender. Here all is distance,


and there it was breath. After the first home,


the second seems ambiguous and wind-blown.


Oh bliss of the tiny creature


that forever remains in the engendering womb;


oh joy of the gnat that still hops within,


even when it weds: for womb is All.


And see the half-assurance of the bird


that almost knows both, from its source,


as if it were an Etruscan soul,


from a dead person that a space received,


but with its reclining figure as the lid.


And how dismayed is a thing that must fly


and stems from a womb. As if afraid


of itself, it zigzags through the air like a crack


through a cup. The way the track


of a bat rips through the porcelain of evening.


 


 


 


And we: spectators, always, everywhere,


turned towards all this and never beyond!


It overwhelms us. We order it. It falls to pieces.


We order it again, and fall to pieces ourselves.


 


 


 


Who has turned us around like this, that we,


no matter what we do, are in the posture


of one who is leaving? Just as,


on the last hill which one last time shows him


his whole valley, he turns, stops, lingers –,


thus do we live and are forever taking leave.]


]


ooooohhhhhhhh. . . gorgeous. (forgive my ineptness on the use of reply-with-quote, but this poem can handle it, and repays a second reading anyway.)

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 8:59 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Whenever I encounter some animal, a wild animal I mean, a fox crossing the road hurrily at night or some strange sea creature, like the apparition of an octopus while bathing, I get this sense of wonder and magic.

This happened again last night, I was taking a walk, and as I looked up over the path I was on I saw this big owl fly away from where it was standing, above my head. It disappeard into the dark, completely silent, otherworldly. What I felt this time, was that this was not an animal, it was a piece of the world, a piece of the fabric of the world, moving, present, other, but world. I disturbed it. It was very beautiful, almost mystical. Infused the sense of existence with sacredness.

Yes, precisely, a very powerful sense at work here. Gooseflesh, the small hairs standing up, in these encounters. Gifts, shared.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 9:09 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 

This is a horrifying prospect.

It is occurring to me that any one of you could be a spider, and I wouldn't know the difference.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/11/20 7:16 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Daniel Mon:
I was watching at a spider in my terrace, just waiting, waiting, I suppose that it was hightly attentive to every vibration on its web, constantly tagging physical sensations as "wind", "rain drop", or "prey" and though, well, isn't that meditating? If we assume that spiders are not highly neurotic, and that they live "in the moment", wouldn't that put their brain in some kind of djanic space? Wouldn't that even make them experience sunyata?

This though came after reading how meditation trains our brains to perceive things "as they are", to explore the limits of awareness/conciousness (who is the watcher) and I though that perhaps what we were trying to do would be something that other animals do without "training"? That perhaps the salient quality of the human mind is that it makes us suffer, perhaps as an evolutionary strategy for survival? That by learning to "escape" suffering we might be paying attention to more primitve parts of our brain which might be predominant in other beings across the awareness continuum?

I know this question is speculative by principle, at least until spiders learn how to browse the "web" ;) 

But perhaps someone with better or direct experience of higher human experiences can let us know what they think.

Cheers, Daniel.

Hi Daniel,

Interesting question! I'm a bit late to the party, but I've thought about these questions in the past and here's the best I could come up with.

All life forms experience pain (aversive reaction to certain stimuli) but humans experience suffering on top of it because of their self-awareness (thoughts like oh why is this happening to me, what's going to become of me etc.) Lots of other "higher" life forms (apes, dolphins, dogs etc.) also appear to have some degree of self-awareness and experience commensurate levels of suffering. Spiders probably not so much.

From an evolutionary perspective, self-awareness seems to have developed to enable living in more complex social groups. There is no a priori reason for evolution to generate ever-increasing levels of complexity (orthogenesis). Complexity is just an adaptation to a particular ecological niche (e.g. changing climate, food sources etc). Complexity brings all sorts of other side-effects which actually reduce fitness (e.g. suffering, mental illness, global warming, nuclear weapons etc). Some animals (e.g. bats) have in fact evolved towards lesser complexity if that is advantageous in their niche.

Mammals have only been around for 200 million years and if it wasn't for a chance asteroid hitting the earth they would never have emerged from the shadow of the dinosaurs. Spiders have been around 400 million years. The most successful species are things like microbes, bacteria, worms etc and these will all be around long after humans have disappeared. Humans like to believe they are special because of the sistine chapel, but in evolutionary terms they are a chance adaptation and a rounding error. The biomass of fungi exceeds all animals. Yes humans have reduced a lot of the biomass, but it will recover pretty quickly once they are gone. Sorry.

It seems that the Buddha was an empiricist and pretty smart, so he would have observed and understood a lot of these things. You could characterize his project as reducing suffering by reducing self-awareness (the idea that there is a separate me which neurotically needs to cling to the pleasant and reject the unpleasant). In this sense, Buddhism could be characterized as a strategy for debugging evolution. Most religions and spiritual practices seem to have a core which is about relieving human suffering by reducing the painful sense of self-identification, although it often gets bundled up with a lot of other junk.

In terms of enhancing evolutionary fitness, Buddhism seems pretty neutral. Less self, less need to kill oneself, but also less need to breed, work and conquer. If everyone was an Arahant then the human race would die out within 100 years. In this sense Buddhism is like a human parasite, which can't become too successful without killing its host organism.

To answer your original question: are spiders enlightened? I would say yes. To the extent they have less self-awareness then they are free of suffering and hence enlightened!

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 1:35 PM as a reply to agnostic.
Maybe a glitch in the matrix, agnostic. 

Many of the accessible enlightened beings didn't have it happen until they had at least one kid. Seems to be continuing. 

A lot of the seeking seems to happen after the kid has been made, ya know? It's like the programming is such that the person has the kid and then realizes it's all shit and tries to learn why. 

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 1:41 PM as a reply to T.
It's the Angst of having brought a child into this world... 

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 2:22 PM as a reply to T.
T:
Maybe a glitch in the matrix, agnostic. 

Many of the accessible enlightened beings didn't have it happen until they had at least one kid. Seems to be continuing. 

A lot of the seeking seems to happen after the kid has been made, ya know? It's like the programming is such that the person has the kid and then realizes it's all shit and tries to learn why. 

Hey T!

You're right, I meant that if everyone (adults, children, babies) instantaneously became an Arahant, then no more babies would be made. Obviously babies are already Arahants, so that bit is redundant.

You know my view, that anything can happen after ahem enlightenment, but I was just trying to stick to the party line that Arahants are actually people.

LOL about this shit going down after having kids. That brings up an interesting question actually ...

What percentage of people become enlightened without having kids? (You're not allowed to exclude illegitimate children by lama/guru fuck-buddies.)

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 2:23 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
It's the Angst of having brought a child into this world... 

Too too true.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 7:14 PM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
Why would being still and attentive have anything to do with enlightenment?
Spider is not vertebrate so it is rather hard to relate to such being. You have spider don't you? Does it seem to you that your spider experiences Nibbana or is in union with God's consciousnes?

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 8:53 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
All life forms experience pain (aversive reaction to certain stimuli) but humans experience suffering on top of it because of their self-awareness (thoughts like oh why is this happening to me, what's going to become of me etc.) Lots of other "higher" life forms (apes, dolphins, dogs etc.) also appear to have some degree of self-awareness and experience commensurate levels of suffering. Spiders, probably not so much.
What is suffering? When there is a pain (any pain) but we expect to get better as time goes on then it still sucks but it is not yet proper suffering. If we experience pain but expect to be better overall after pain passes then we might even feel happy despite suffering eg. feeling pains after hard workout. If we however experience pain but it is not expected to get better and only worse then this will be experienced as suffering.

Self-awareness itself is not source of suffering but broken self-awareness is. Broken self awareness is one that uses too little pathways in your nervous system and in turn overuse these pathways and neurons which it uses.

We get used to how our mind works and as we get older we permit less changes, less unique mind states shifting to using those which make us feel certain way we take as ourselves. As we get used to how we feel any change that makes this feeling disappears gets banned and stopped. This is not good when this sense of self is barely workable and not very "wide" because it will naturally get even more limited and thus less pathways will be used and those which are used will be more overused and tired.

Simplest solution is to use more nervous system pathways and even do not require certain pathways to work when they do not feel like working. When we were young (children) we did not have these issues, not at least to such degree. When one part got tired another could just take over and while there was pain there was no suffering. It could be not immediate, let alone pre-emptive as to not even let parts of nervous system get to the point of being tired in the first place but in general children management of brain is better than typical DhO user can do it for sure.

Why as adults that srive for being enlightened and what not we could not manage our brains better than human children can do it? With little practice it should be possible to learn how to feel what is happening in nervous system and train additional parts of nervous system and them to work with each other and then intelligently schedule what is used when as to make all neurons to be used as much and at the time when they feel good and pleasure and let parts which do not feel like working or feel like working but maybe with different parameters to have little rest and also feel pleasure.

We have almost 100 billions neurons in our brains and much more in our bodies. Put more of them in active use and you won't feel suffering associated with sense of self and self awareness. There is much more to it technically but general issue and solution is this and it will also automatically for the most part solve many other issues with signaling and such and also give brain ability to observe and control/manage itself properly.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/10/20 9:03 PM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
This question reminds me of a quote (from Bill Hamilton, but there is a similar one from Anagarika Munindra):

"The Buddha's enlightenment solved his problem."

Even if spiders are enlightened, how does that help you and your practice? You have to practice to solve it for yourself. 

Another (humorous) thought: maybe spider enlightenment is different from human enlightenment... so that would lead to a whole series of other maps, definitions, descriptions, saints, suttas, analogies, etc. that would not be helpful to humans. 

 

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
4/11/20 7:32 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:

Spider is not vertebrate so it is rather hard to relate to such being. You have spider don't you? Does it seem to you that your spider experiences Nibbana or is in union with God's consciousnes?


It does seem to me that my spider experiences Nibbana. But not union with God's consciousness, which as I take it involves a journey through self. Ken Wilber's pre/trans distinction applies here.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
7/31/20 12:29 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Hi all, and apologies for replying so late, missed the notifications! A very interesting discussion and very good ideas. Loved the poem too. Thank you!

There seems to be some agreement that spiders are quite rad. They inspired me because of their waiting and observing which, unlike the cow's daily routine, kind of reminded me to a still meditation. The cow's metaphor is very interesting too, of course, but I think it conveys a different aspect. Naturally spiders' meditation/concentration is likely motivated by hunger, whereas our motivation is motivated by...  other kind of hunger.

I found the distinction between pain and suffering very interesting. Certainly spiders probably feel pain but perhaps not too much ego-related suffering and, in that regard, yes they might be elightened (under the definition that they overcame their egos, or never had them). But this opens a more subtle question, which is, do spiders experience samadi-djanas? I suppose there would have to be some evolutionary hack so that they don't go to the higher ones, that wouldn't be very good for fitness...

Finally I found the point of bodisatvas being unfit for survival quite interesting. I would turn around your poll and ask: how many bodisatvas had children after enlightement? I wouldn't be surprised if there were many, and I do find this very interesting, since it might give hints as to what enlightement is and why evolution didn't shape us to feel suffering in a more equanimous way. Another way to see it of course is that we are still being shaped and are on our way to become an enlightened species...    perhaps just like the modest spiders, but with the Sixtine chapel and all.

Thank y'all!! Daniel.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/1/20 6:53 AM as a reply to Daniel Mon.
No, spiders are not enlightened. You are projecting experience and personality onto them. The mind of insects is quite alien to humans and their reactions are instinctual. Simply noting observations is not the same as meditating (it is a tool used to assist meditation, not meditation itself) and the idea that spiders are doing such is speculation on your part. 

You can be certain that spiders are not enlightened due to the fact that spiders exhibit fear. You can't truly know what anyone else is experiencing, but enlightened beings do not experience fear. 

Animals, however, do possess a type of natural wisdom. This is not the same wisdom as panya, but rather just an attribute of the fact that animals are very good at living in harmony with their environment. I've learned lessons from the natural wisdom of spiders, but such experiences was a result of "my inner bodhisattva." Our inner bodhisattva can teach us many things through our interactions with other creatures (even inanimate objects) but such experiences are not a result of any enlightenment in such creatures (or ourselves!).

If you need proof, I can site Buddha who, in his many discourses, explained who, what, where, and how sentient beings can attain awakening and the animal realm is not one such place. 

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/1/20 10:36 AM as a reply to Matthew R Judd.
I mean, i'll state the obvious, but how do you know spiders experience fear ? That's a full blown projection, my friend :p

Secondly, it seems that most here hold a non literal understanding of the realms, meaning that the animal realm would actually correspond to a type of human.

Third, the pali canon buddha does not have the last word on everything.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/1/20 12:05 PM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
I mean, i'll state the obvious, but how do you know spiders experience fear ? That's a full blown projection, my friend :p

Secondly, it seems that most here hold a non literal understanding of the realms, meaning that the animal realm would actually correspond to a type of human.

Third, the pali canon buddha does not have the last word on everything.

Party pooper.

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/1/20 12:25 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
That's me :p

You should have seen me during my freshman year in college though !

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/2/20 8:18 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
That's me :p

You should have seen me during my freshman year in college though !

You mean, stoned, and communicating with arachnids?

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/2/20 1:41 PM as a reply to Matthew R Judd.
Matthew R Judd:

You can be certain that spiders are not enlightened due to the fact that spiders exhibit fear. You can't truly know what anyone else is experiencing, but enlightened beings do not experience fear. 

I don't know how you define "enlightened", but if you mean awakened with regard to insight, then this is bullshit. Not that I believe that spiders are awakened, but assuming that someone awakened would never experience fear is just a harmful myth that makes people prone to suppress their emotions. 

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/2/20 1:56 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Olivier:
That's me :p

You should have seen me during my freshman year in college though !

You mean, stoned, and communicating with arachnids?

No, partying without pooping on anything !

RE: Are spiders enlightened?
Answer
8/3/20 5:26 AM as a reply to Olivier.
Olivier:
Tim Farrington:
Olivier:
That's me :p

You should have seen me during my freshman year in college though !

You mean, stoned, and communicating with arachnids?

No, partying without pooping on anything !

oh, i was just teasing you. Party on, dude. You ain't no pooper.