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So here is a quick "disclaimer":

I know that the Buddha didn't answer metaphysical questions since it made no sense to him. He wanted to afaik limit/remove suffering as much as possible. Also I know that science isn't always right and is itself making up theories which more then often enough turn out to be false. Also I meditate a lot every day as in sitting meditation and all together mindfulness.

Well now to my question: I somehow get scared of thinking how there was (according to science) a big bang and then I wonder what was before the big bang or where the space comes from that the universe takes up etc. I don't know why but especially these last days I'm drawn to think about it even though I know it doesn't help me in any way and even if I happen to know everything it won't change anything.

Also another thing I think of is heat death. Which again I know is a story made up by science and then I ask myself is it really worth to do anything, live, help etc. anybody if in the ultimate end everything will be gone and does that maybe imply that all beings will reach paranirvana?

And just like these questions seem metaphysical and paranormal I feel like the idea of rebirth and paranirvana is also somewhat scary to think about and is as well somewhat metaphysical.

I wish I could give up all these unnecessary thoughts which cause suffering to me. Also I wish science wouldn't go as far as trying to explain everything.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

  • Good! A very prerequisite to seek and possible use a path beyond: In Bekräftigung der Wahrheiten des Herzens: Eine Darlegung von Samvega und Pasฤda. Seldom that one finds that far, more seldom to even meet pasaga after Samvega. – Samana Johann Apr 29 at 14:57
  • Thank you for your resources I will check them out ๐Ÿ™ – buddhismcuriousity Apr 29 at 15:50
  • Bhikkhu, im übrigen, wird auch gerne als "jemand der die Welt/Universum fürchtet" erklärt, seit der Buddha dieses tat. – Samana Johann Apr 29 at 16:04
  • Und Sadhu: "Bhikkhus, diese zwei Personen findet man schwer in der Welt. Welche Zwei? Jene, die einen Gefallen [1] im Voraus tut und jene, die sich für einen Gefallen rückverpflichtet fühlt. Diese zwei Personen findet man schwer in der Welt." – Samana Johann Apr 29 at 16:06
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OP: I know that the Buddha didn't answer metaphysical questions since it made no sense to him. He wanted to afaik limit/remove suffering as much as possible.

No. The Buddha did not answer metaphysical questions because it confuses and bewilders the questioner.

You are confused now, and it makes you scared and gives you suffering.

The Buddha already predicted that in AN 4.77:

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

This is what you're experiencing now. Confusion caused by thoughts about the metaphysical nature of the world.

OP: I don't know why but especially these last days I'm drawn to think about it even though I know it doesn't help me in any way and even if I happen to know everything it won't change anything.

The Buddha did not discuss metaphysics also because it is not useful. That is exactly what you have written here. It won't help you in any way and it won't change anything. It is completely useless.

The Buddha taught in MN 63:

"It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.

It is more useful to remove the poisoned arrow i.e. end suffering, rather than think about where the arrow came from, who shot it, what kind of arrow it is etc.

Also, why does metaphysical speculation lead to madness?

It's because it's outside our range of senses (including thought and mind). So, you can never completely understand it.

This too, the Buddha taught in SN 35.23:

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Physics - this is possible to theorize and prove. For e.g. Einstein's Theory of General Relativity can be proven by the perihelion precession of Mercury, deflection of light by stars, gravitational waves, gravitational lensing etc. It is also useful - for e.g. Theory of General Relativity has been used in the application of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, to compensate for time dilation.

But metaphysics? It's impossible.

Then you may ask, why do some other religions or philosophers discuss and debate about metaphysics extensively? The answer for this comes in Udana 6.4 (parable of the blind men and the elephant).

OP: I somehow get scared of thinking how there was (according to science) a big bang and then I wonder what was before the big bang or where the space comes from that the universe takes up etc.

If you fear something where there is nothing to fear, it means you are holding a false view about something. You need to let it go. As the Buddha has taught in Dhammapada 22:

  1. Those who see something to fear where there is nothing to fear, and see nothing to fear where there is something to fear โ€” upholding false views, they go to states of woe.

There's nothing to fear about the universe.

OP: Also another thing I think of is heat death. ... if in the ultimate end everything will be gone and does that maybe imply that all beings will reach paranirvana?

Parinirvana is not the same as non-existence. It is also not the same as existence.

This is discussed in many suttas like SN 44.6, SN 44.8, SN 44.11, SN 22.86, AN 10.95 etc.

The Buddha has never declared whether the Tathagata (Buddha) exists or does not exist after death.

OP: And just like these questions seem metaphysical and paranormal I feel like the idea of rebirth and paranirvana is also somewhat scary to think about and is as well somewhat metaphysical.

All the confusion about rebirth and parinirvana and what happens to beings can be answered by SN 22.86:

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard form as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard feeling as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard perception as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard fabrications as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard consciousness as the Tathagata?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think, Anuradha: Do you regard the Tathagata as being in form?... Elsewhere than form?... In feeling?... Elsewhere than feeling?... In perception?... Elsewhere than perception?... In fabrications?... Elsewhere than fabrications?... In consciousness?... Elsewhere than consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"What do you think: Do you regard the Tathagata as form-feeling-perception-fabrications-consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"Do you regard the Tathagata as that which is without form, without feeling, without perception, without fabrications, without consciousness?"

"No, lord."

"And so, Anuradha โ€” when you can't pin down the Tathagata as a truth or reality even in the present life โ€” is it proper for you to declare, 'Friends, the Tathagata โ€” the supreme man, the superlative man, attainer of the superlative attainment โ€” being described, is described otherwise than with these four positions: The Tathagata exists after death, does not exist after death, both does & does not exist after death, neither exists nor does not exist after death'?"

"No, lord."

"Very good, Anuradha. Very good. Both formerly & now, it is only suffering that I describe, and the cessation of suffering."

Also SN 44.6 is useful.

OP: I wish I could give up all these unnecessary thoughts which cause suffering to me.

Yes! You need to give up unnecessary thoughts, for the reasons already explained above.

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    Thank you for your extremely detailed answer which, I'm sure, took quite some time to write. I appreciate it deeply ๐Ÿ™ I will stop pondering these questions which will not alleviate my suffering or the suffering of anyone else. I will keep on practicing and check out all the resources you provided. Thank you again. – buddhismcuriousity Apr 29 at 15:58
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Sometimes our need for control reaches a tipping point, and becomes counterproductive in that it gives us more pain than relief.

Maybe at some point in your life, control and predictability was necessary (it usually is to some degree). Now it seems that the tipping point has been reached and clinging for control demands more than it gives.

What is worse, anicca or control? What is required for nekkhamma, and how does it compare to the requirements for remaining in control?

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  • Control is worse and for attaining nekkhama I have to let go of control. I have to let go of the craving for wanting to have an answer to everything. I guess this will take some time for me. Thank you for your answer ๐Ÿ™ – buddhismcuriousity Apr 28 at 19:35
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There comes a time when, Vฤseแนญแนญha, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos contracts. As the cosmos contracts, sentient beings are mostly headed for the realm of streaming radiance. There they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this cosmos expands. As the cosmos expands, sentient beings mostly pass away from that host of radiant deities and come back to this realm. Here they are mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time. - DN 27

This is what the pali texts say on the expansion-contraction.

I don't have much else to say but you do seem a bit confused by technical terminology such as 'nibbana', 'space', 'big bang' and etc; most people are confused about these things and of those who claim not to be confused many have contradictory views.

Perhaps if you look into the usage of the words 'all', 'world', 'origination of the world' and 'cessation of the world' in the discourses, perhaps it would make things a bit more clear or at least send you down the right rabbit hole.

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  • Yeah now that you say it. Yes I confuse myself and I overwhelm myself ๐Ÿ˜… thank you I will look into it. – buddhismcuriousity Apr 28 at 19:38
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    You can find a lot of sutta excerpts explaining the meaning of the different words here; docs.google.com/document/d/… – deadmanposting Apr 28 at 19:40
  • Thank you a lot ๐Ÿ™ I appreciate it very much :) – buddhismcuriousity Apr 28 at 19:41
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    It has no references but these are all pali Sutta excerpts with a section on 'form' being partly from the theravadin abhidhamma. You can usually find the Sutta if you google "a particular passage" + sutta – deadmanposting Apr 28 at 19:44
  • I read through the more important ones right now but I will definitely reread it again and make some notes about it. I definetly see that I'm still craving a lot. Thanks again ๐Ÿ™ – buddhismcuriousity Apr 28 at 19:54
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I know that the Buddha didn't answer metaphysical questions since it made no sense to him.

No, no, no. This is a catastrophic misperception. Nagarjuna explains why the Buddha steered clear of metaphysical questions. It was because they made complete sense to him. But the answers wouldn't make sense to his audience and they cannot be stated in ordinary language. This is a technical matter to do with the rejection of extreme views for a non-dual metaphysical scheme. If you understand Nagarjuna then you understand why the Buddha avoided metaphysical questions. It was because he understood the answers.

Well now to my question: I somehow get scared of thinking how there was (according to science) a big bang and then I wonder what was before the big bang or where the space comes from that the universe takes up etc. I don't know why but especially these last days I'm drawn to think about it even though I know it doesn't help me in any way and even if I happen to know everything it won't change anything.

Thinking about these things is important. As a Buddhist you're attempting to transcend space-time, so thinking about what comes 'before' is useful. If you discover answers it will help you in almost every way and change everything for you for the better.

Also another thing I think of is heat death. Which again I know is a story made up by science and then I ask myself is it really worth to do anything, live, help etc. anybody if in the ultimate end everything will be gone and does that maybe imply that all beings will reach paranirvana?

The Ultimate can never go anywhere and as this is what you are neither can you. The heat-death of the universe is a regular event and of no consequence. As for whether all beings reach paranirvana, I suspect there may be two ways of looking at this.

And just like these questions seem metaphysical and paranormal I feel like the idea of rebirth and paranirvana is also somewhat scary to think about and is as well somewhat metaphysical.

It can be scary at first, but in fact there's no downside. Inevitably these ideas are metaphysical. Any fundamental theory is metaphysical. But don't imagine Buddhist metaphysics is as hopeless and pointless as the academic discipline.

I wish I could give up all these unnecessary thoughts which cause suffering to me. Also I wish science wouldn't go as far as trying to explain everything.

The practice is the medicine and cure for your problem, and it is a science. It may be called the science of Yoga and it meets Popper's criteria for a science.

I think you only need to keep studying and practicing and all these issues will disappear or be resolved.

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  • Thanks a lot for your time and clarification. I think I still do misinterpret quite a lot of things. The part where you said that Buddha doesn't talk about it, because he knows it doesn't make sense to us really makes sense to me now. I will definitely keep on practicing and learning and I guess that will make a lot of things clearer day by day. – buddhismcuriousity Apr 29 at 12:58
  • Can you please, if you have the time, elaborate on the part where you say "The heat death[...] Is a regular event and of no consequence". How? Again thank you very much ๐Ÿ™ – buddhismcuriousity Apr 29 at 13:02
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    "Science" of yoga is Hinduism - and so it is off-topic. – ruben2020 Apr 29 at 15:18
  • @ruben2020 - Oh okay. For me Buddhism is Yoga. Let's call it the science of consciousness. – user14119 Apr 30 at 10:12
  • @buddhismcuriousity - I assume space-time universes all end the same way and that there are infinitely many. So heat-death would be a regular event. If so then there'll be more heat-deaths than grains of sand in the Ganges. – user14119 Apr 30 at 10:19

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