Introduction: Five realities: a day without yesterday – a day without tomorrow?


In the previous post your Narrator has said that according to Buddhism, the five skandha’s provide everything what we need for our spiritual development [1]. The Heart Sutra [2] – one of the later Sutras in the Mahâyâna Buddhism – says that the skandha’s are empty. Are these statements correct?

Why don’t the two main characters examine these claims immediately? The explanation is very simple. The description of the first skandha “form or matter” over 2000 years ago – by the four elements earth, water, air and fire – is not compatible anymore with the contemporary perception of science. The refutation of the claim that the five skandha’s give everything what is needed for our spiritual development, is easily possible on the basis of the contemporary perception of science, because the description of the first skandha by the four elements earth, water, air and fire is completely obsolete. If we assume a universal description of the skandha’s – which adapt itself to the circumstances, then the refutation is less easy, because in this case the first skandha includes a large part of the natural sciences. In our contemporary society the spiritual and (natural) scientific reality are separated. Is this separation of religion and science justified?

The Belgian priest, astronomer and physicist Georges Lemaître [3] is the founder of the theory of the big bang and the expanding universe. He has also made a contribution to general relativity. He has developed the theory of the expanding universe on the basis of the premise that the observation of the red shift of light emitted from the celestial bodies is the result of the Doppler effect [4] by the expanding of these celestial bodies. In 1927 Einstein said to Lemaître: “Your calculations are correct, but your grasp of physics is abominable”. In 1933, Einstein has frankly admitted the incorrectness of his remark [5].

 [6]

During his lifetime, Georges Lemaître – also as a member and later President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences – has made a plea for a separation between religion and science. Has he maintained this distinction to avoid a mixing between inequivalent doctrines emerged from the (natural) science and the Catholic Church with its history of Scholasticism and the Roman Empire on the other? Or wishes he to maintain this distinction to avoid downsizing the “Mysterium magnum est, quod nos procul dubio transcendit” [7] – part of his priesthood? Your Narrator does not know the answer.

Possible George Lemaître does not wish to transcend the basic doctrine of the Catholic faith. The basic doctrine states that first there is a creation, then there is a life on Earth. After life on Earth there is an afterlife: for the elect a happy afterlife and for the damned follows repudiation [8]. The theory of the big bang is completely in line with this basic doctrine. Previous to the big bang, there is nothing: there is no day prior to the big bang or there is “no day before this first yesterday”. Is this assumption correct? Your Narrator does not know the answer, but he is aware of discussion on this topic.

 [9]

Has Indra’s net – the other metaphor that our two main characters have encountered on their Odyssee for “Mysterium magnum est, quod nos procul dubio transcendit”  – any difficulty with “the day before yesterday” or the time previous to the big bang? Your Narrator thinks that Indra’s net will respond to this issue in the Swahili with: “Hakuna matata [10]“. Your Narrator expects that Indra’s net will manifest “the day before yesterday” perfectly when the circumstances may arise. Your Narrator also expects that Indra’s net will reflect the distinction between the spiritual and (natural) scientific perfectly when the conditions for this are present. Indra’s net will let this distinction easily evaporate again or transcends it when conditions require.

The following message continues on the question whether the five skandha’s give everything that we need for our spiritual development.


[1] Source: Red Pine (Bill Porter), The Heart Sutra. Washington D.C.: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2004 p. 56

[2] See: several translation of the Heart Sutra, e.g. by Red Pine (Bill Porter), Edward Conze, Donald S. Lopez Jr.

[3] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

[4] The Doppler effect is immediately noticed when a car drives past: the pitch of the sound is higher when the car is approaching and lower when the car drives away. The red shift in the light of the celestial bodies suggest that celestial bodies move away from our position.

[5] Source: Midbon, Mark, A Day Without Yesterday: Georges Lemaitre & the Big  Bang. Zie: http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/science/sc0022.html

[6] Source image: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1998/38

[7] From the Encyclical of Pope Johannes Paulus II on the Eucharist (Rome, 2003); see also the post “Introduction: Three – Object in the middle – The Word” of 11th of Juni 2011.

[8] Source: Credo. See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geloofsbelijdenis_van_Nicea-Constantinopel

[9] Source image: http://liaturches.blogspot.com/

[10] Literal meaning in Swahili: “No problem”.

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