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Old 09-23-2013, 11:02 AM
Norma Rae's Avatar
Norma Rae Norma Rae is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Default East/West - Yin/Yang?

Hello Friends. I just encountered a passage related to J. Chandra Bose in Autobiography of a Yogi, and I'm pretty certain (although I do not have the book close to me right now and cannot confirm) that there is also a chapter in Baxter's book The Secret Life of Plants that addresses Bose's discoveries. Here is a passage that, I believe, captures a ying/yang relationship of Eastern philosophy and spirituality with Western Science. It's a topic Shirley often touches on in her interviews.

What are your takes?
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"I was educated at Cambridge. How admirable is the Western method of submitting all theory to scrupulous experimental verification! That empirical procedure has gone hand in hand with the gift for introspection which is my Eastern heritage. Together they have enabled me to sunder the silences of natural realms long uncommunicative. . . . Love, hate, joy, fear, pleasure, pain, excitability, stupor, and countless appropriate responses to stimuli are as universal in plants as animals."
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Actually, this passage gets into the yin/yang (East/West) interplay and also what Baxter explored in The Secret Life of Plants--that is, plants also have the capability to experience the whole range of human emotions (on a sometimes much subtler level that we've forgotten thanks to our conditioning--conditioning by whom or what, though? What do you think?).

In regards to the first question, it is interesting to hear someone grounded in Eastern philosophies and spirituality to find the usefulness for that Western scientific characteristic of skeptical questioning. However, if you think about it, Buddhism is very much an Eastern philosophy that, I think, advocates healthy skepticism. I believe the Buddha quite often encouraged and expected his disciples not to take his word as inherent Truth, but to test and apply it in their own lives and see for themselves. Or perhaps my understanding of Buddhism is too colored by writers like Stephen Bachelor who wrote Buddhism Without Beliefs? (A great book, too!)

Namaste from the Autumnal Midwest,
Stephanie
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