Author Topic: Could we cure death?  (Read 11067 times)

Barzin

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Could we cure death?
« on: February 24, 2013, 07:47:51 AM »
Came across an interesting article about a group of researchers are exploring the possibility of "curing death" so we can live longer than expected.  There is also an interview if you click on the article.  Looks like people are interested in living longer?  Interesting, what do you say?

http://www.dazeddigital.com/blog/article/15690/1/could-we-cure-death]
[url]http://www.dazeddigital.com/blog/article/15690/1/could-we-cure-death
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Could we cure death?

The Californian collective adamant they have discovered how to live to 1000 – by diagnosing ageing as a curable illness

tommynease

Ageing and eventual death have long been considered the only absolute inevitabilities of life. A morbid thought, perhaps, but up until recent years, it has been broadly accepted as an accurate one. Recent research into regenerative medicine has begun to lace such conviction with doubt, however, and if experts are accurate, the prospect of living for several centuries could become realistic in the foreseeable future.

SENS Foundation is a non-profit organisation that was founded in California in 2009 and they are at the forefront of such pioneering research. The name is an acronym for “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence”: a term, which was coined by co-founder, Aubrey de Grey. In layman’s terms, engineered negligible senescence refers to eradicating the symptoms of aging. A number of animals, including giant tortoises and lobsters, are believed to be naturally negligibly senescent, hence their apparently extended life spans (around 250 years and 100 years respectively). One species of freshwater animal, the hydra, is actually considered “biologically immortal” due to the fact its stem cells have the capacity to regenerate themselves indefinitely.
 

The existence of such an elongated ageing process is a factor that has spurred researchers to consider the prospect of similar qualities being achievable in humans via medical or technological enhancement. What SENS proposes, is that if extensive research and testing were to continue at full force, the lifespan of somebody undergoing regenerative therapy could be extended by 30 years within a decade.

In a TED talk, which took place in 2005, Aubrey de Grey smartly notes that, “aging is a side-effect of being alive.” He continues to explain that the sophisticated network of internal processes that enable us to live (i.e. metabolism) has a number of side effects that eventually cause the degenerative processes that result in aging and, eventually, death. The damaging side effects of metabolism are not actually part of metabolism itself, however, so if they were treated effectively, ageing would be extensively minimised.

Every metabolic development is relevant to ageing, but SENS believe that they have narrowed down the most consequential to a list of seven reversible processes. These include obvious issues, such as the literal degeneration and loss of important tissue and cells, and some, which are more complex, like damaged proteins, which impede the function of cells from both inside and outside cellular walls.

These currently unavoidable symptoms can apparently be sidestepped with numerous innovative methods. One example is mutated mitochondria, another of the seven harmful results of metabolic processes. This could be eradicated by administering missing proteins to the damaged cells in question. Once mitochondria are formed in the cell, the pores of the membrane become blocked, which is why the necessary proteins aren’t naturally relocated. SENS have discovered that inserting inteins (described on their website as a kind of molecular “brace”) into protein sequences, would allow them to pass through this membrane, effectively reversing the mutation.

SENS are currently experimenting with mice. If the preferred timeframe is retained, within a few short years, the mice in question may live to the seasoned age of five – more than twice the average two-year expectancy. The foundation remains ambitious that the eventual longevity for humans undergoing regenerative treatment could be anything up to 1,000 years, with minimal mental or aesthetic consequences. For the time being, the certainty of death remains unflinching, but if this research is successful, the process of aging could soon cease to impede our extended mortality at all.


dondrup

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 09:49:11 AM »
Buddha had mentioned in the Abidharma that at a period in time in the future, human life-span is very long.  Humans can live up to ten thousand years old. It is possible that scientists can find solution to stop aging and extend the human life-span.  It is about knowing how to ensure the human body continues to function and to slow down the aging process. 

However, the actual factors that determine every human’s life-span is the past causes created. If a human had performed long life pujas, saved & released animals, provided medicine to help the sick, saved others’ lives, they could have long and healthy lives.

Once the human life-span is expired, that human experiences death.  Humans can prolong their lives but they cannot prevent death because death is certain. 

RedLantern

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 02:36:00 PM »
Death is nothing more than the cells in our body working themselves to the end.Our heart,gives out and stop beating,thus stopping blood flow to the brain and we die.As long as we keep the brain function,then we are alive.What if with a cure for death and development of science,we are able to see beyond death from the physical realm,and truly delve into the nature of spirits and beings long past?
What if we are able to reanimate dormant spirits,or if they reside in a world of consciousness and vibrancy themselves,bridge the gap between them?With all the possibilities out there ,would you abandon them for the misguided  desire to only live the lifespan that was " naturally" allotted to you?
The answer to all this is of course to conquer aging and death itself.

fruven

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 06:05:41 PM »
Buddha had mentioned in the Abidharma that at a period in time in the future, human life-span is very long.  Humans can live up to ten thousand years old. It is possible that scientists can find solution to stop aging and extend the human life-span.  It is about knowing how to ensure the human body continues to function and to slow down the aging process. 

However, the actual factors that determine every human’s life-span is the past causes created. If a human had performed long life pujas, saved & released animals, provided medicine to help the sick, saved others’ lives, they could have long and healthy lives.

Once the human life-span is expired, that human experiences death.  Humans can prolong their lives but they cannot prevent death because death is certain.

We can never cheat death. Because there is birth therefore there is death. It becomes a cycle of birth and death or what is know as rebirth. Even if we prolong our life through medical means when our negative karma is ripen we will experience it.

diablo1974

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 03:17:25 AM »
Should we cure life instead of death. or curate our Karma and purify it. Which is better? Sometimes i am wondering if we are not using this body to do create good karma and merits, then there is no meaning in living a 1000 years or more if its possible. We are just creating more and endless bad karma (endless vicious cycle)

apprenticehealer

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 06:34:25 AM »
Modern science can do wonders for the physical body. It has already been proven that science had prolonged a person's lifespan. Less than half a century ago, an average person's lifespan was probably in their fifties, but nowadays we hear of people living up to their eighties and nineties and above a hundred.
However, even if science can achieve the lifespan of a person to a few hundred years old, i do wonder about the following issues :
1. A person's actions in whatever span of his present lifetime - creates his karma in his future lives. By living much much longer , whether the person creates more negative karma or initiate more good karma depends on the person himself. Therefore does that mean the ripening of that karma is delayed ?
2. Science can delay the aging process of the physical body, but what about one's mental and emotional health ? What would the quality of life be if one is in mental and emotional turmoil , but 'trapped' in a fit and healthy physical body ?
3. As it is, the world is already bursting in it's seams with overpopulation. What is going to happen to the environment when there is an unequal balance of deaths and births.
I know i'm being negative about this scientific breakthrough, but there are many consequences that needs to be considered at all levels.
I, personally, would not want to live any older than what my karma permits me to.



Big Uncle

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 12:48:33 PM »
This is very fascinating and somewhat Frankensteinish! I would not want to live to 1000 years old and be totally invalid though through half of that time. I think it is a possibility for the future and someone earlier down the thread did mention that the Buddha talking about beings in the past could live to long periods of time.

This would be very interesting because great practitioners would live to a very long time to practice more Dharma and great masters could live to very old to disseminate the Dharma and teach others. I wonder if such cures would include regenerating the brain and its capacity for thought. I think it is a very exciting prospect but I do wonder how living such extended periods of time would effect the urgency towards spiritual practice. I would imagine, people would be more distracted because of the duration of time as the urgency to practice is not there. But I could be wrong about that. Whatever it is, this is still good news.

Manjushri

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 08:37:43 AM »
Maybe science can cheat death and aging, but I don't think one can cheat their karma. If our time of existence to be on this planet is over, then I think how ever much revitalisation of cells or whatever it is you do cannot stop death. Otherwise, then why do unfortunate events of death to newborns, children, teenagers or young adults happen? The aging process hasn't even begun!

I guess people do want to live longer, but what for? To continue enjoying the attachments that they currently have? If they benefit others and that is the reason that they want to live longer, that is extremely beautiful, but if for any other reason, then I think it is redundant, for everything in life is impermanent.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2015, 06:53:49 AM »
"Should we cure life instead of death. or curate our Karma and purify it. Which is better? Sometimes i am wondering if we are not using this body to do create good karma and merits, then there is no meaning in living a 1000 years or more if its possible. We are just creating more and endless bad karma (endless vicious cycle)"

The physical body is only but the vessel which holds the mind.  Buddha taught that as we go through the vicious cycle of birth and death it is all about suffering.  The Buddha's teaching is without contradictions.

As such the quote from Diablo 1974 is very essential for contemplation for a cure to death.  In living longer with science to assist what are we doing with the mind.  The body will expire but the mind with our Karma continues.

On curing death of the physical body, we need to consider how we will use this longer duration as a precious human life to purify our karma.  Would the longer time give us better opportunity to gain enlightenment so that any return to the realm of a human would be more beneficial.

Tempting it is to live longer but definitely with the right motivations as I doubt Samsara will be better off and not cause bigger and more degeneration which has been happening throughout known historical facts.

psylotripitaka

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2015, 05:26:13 AM »
The only cure for death is a direct realization of emptiness with the very subtle mind.

Technology may be able to prolong the human forms ability to sustain life, but to think it can control the very subtle wind, merit, and karma is nonsense. Everything that appears to a coarse consciousness depends on coarse minds and coarse inner energy winds. These arise from the 3 subtle minds and their associated winds, and these arise from the very subtle wind and mind. Like waves dissolving back into the ocean, coarse minds and appearances are ebbing and flowing from the subtle. When merit for the continuity of life in the human body runs out, or karma makes the body uninhabitable, everything disappears into the very subtle and it moves on to the next life. By realizing emptiness we can purify this process and achieve a deathless body. Such a body is not a human body of coarse elements.

Death is permanent separation from our present form. If we gain full conscious control of the very subtle body and mind through realizing emptiness, such a body and mind never separate and with these we can enter any and many coarse bodies to help others, and though these bodies eventually cease to support life, the Master remains truly alive and fully conscious at all times spontaneously emanating in coarse forms to help others.

Sounds to me like that might be the most worthy thing to have ever been called "the meaning of life".

For more details see the book Clear Light of Bliss. Trijang Dorjechang also gives a beautiful explanation in his Heruka body mandala commentary.

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 10:14:07 AM »
Death is part of the cycle of life. All beings will take rebirth, life, get sick and eventually die even applicable to unseen beings like spirits or hell. Death is a notion that something will end when death occurs. But let us not forget that the Mind or Mental mind stream does not end at death.

So the question is - Could we cure death? The answer is No, we cannot cure death for there is no antidote to death when the karma for the condition to arise, no matter how many prayers or deeds the person had done will not and cannot evade death when it comes.

What we can do before death occur, is to learn to train the mind to practice control of it to take better and higher rebirths.

kelly

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2015, 04:19:17 AM »
I fully agree with what Kim Hyun Jae said we cannot cure death because we something call karma will catch up with us no matter where we go the karma will follow us so there is no way we can cure death, but i think is important what do we do when we are alive to we change our mind to a more compassion mind or we keep feeding our mind with negative habituation that is where we going to create more negative karma for us.

eyesoftara

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 04:28:35 AM »
Regardless of how long we can live, death is certain. It is not how long one live but rather what one do we the life that is the most important. If one has a life of say 1000 years and spend it on frivolous activities one is like a god who exhaust all the good karma; what is the point?

Also, animals like turtle/tortoise and sharks actually have very long life written into their genes and continue to grow throughout their live but still it can die prematurely due to accident, predator, starvation and disease. So, even if we can "cure death", there is no assurance that death wouldn't come prematurely.



MoMo

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2015, 02:22:11 PM »
Interesting article to read and learn regarding this seemingly immortal animal called hydra that doesn’t t subjects  to the effect  of senesce that we human do. In Buddhism, Lord Buddha declared that the very nature of samsaric existence was nothing but impermanence and suffering. Knowledge of modern science today still incapable of refuting such a statement made 2500 years ago. Yes, we may be prolonging average human life span for a few decades through modern medicine, easy availability of food and hygienic living condition but that doesn’t change mankind eventual inevitable death. The proof of this was the seemingly immortal hydra will also die one day due to external conditions rather than due to natural senesce that we human subjected to. Every existence in this universe arises out of causes and conditions, when their conditions cease to be so do that existence.
A perfect solution had been pointed out by Lord Buddha to transcend death was to achieve the vajra body of immortality that does not subject to cause and effect. Why should we cling to this body as clinging to an old pair of shoes that bring nothing but prolong our human existence’s suffering indefinitely in samsara?

fruven

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Re: Could we cure death?
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2015, 10:23:38 PM »
Sorry to be a pessimist, do you think it would be available to all? Only the rich will have access to it and the world would turn into chaos than peace.  The haves will oppressed others, they will become 'gods'. It is scary to live in such a world where such imbalance exists.