DO without rebirth?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby SamKR » Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:44 pm

SDC wrote:So at that point he was experientially aware of the former lives and was able to speak of suffering on that scale. As a common person, which I know I am, I cannot speak of suffering in that regard. The dukkha the Buddha speaks of in the first noble truth has more to do with the suffering that is being experienced here and now and not referring to the suffering that we will come to understand when we are able to view all of our past lives.

Most of us are not experientially aware of the former lives (and I am not saying we must believe in former births to understand PS); we are only aware of the suffering here and now. The question is: what did the Buddha mean by birth (in PS)? Without trying to interpret in more complicated way, I would say birth means just the birth, what else could it be? There is aging and death because there is birth - this is straightforward. If there were no birth, there would not be aging and death.
"And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] spheres of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.


SDC wrote:If well versed in any interpretation of the PS there is no sutta quote that can be used to successfully disprove any other. I understand what followers of the three lives interpretation see when they read this and I know what the non-three lives followers see. So you’ll have to be more specific in what you are trying to say with this quote.

I don't think in this case we require to prove or disprove anything (or use anyone else's interpretation) when the Buddha himself is stating in a straightforward way - the meaning of birth is simple. The use of "re" in rebirth may be required in English language (I am not sure because English is not my primary language) but in a few Indic languages that I am aware of it is not required to convey the meaning of "rebirth".

Now to talk about my own interpretation, let me take a Sanskrit/Hindi word janma which means birth. This word can have different emphasis when used differently. For example, to emphasize the type of (re)birth the word "janma" is normally used as in "because of good karma my janma will be in a good destinatinon ". In this sense the emphasis is on the effect of something in the type of (re)birth. But to emphasize the very fact of (re)birth, the word "punarjanma" is normally used as in "This is my punarjanma (rebirth)". Both are implying rebirth. I am not fully sure if similar is the case with Pali word "Jati" but I guess it is.
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby SDC » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:00 pm

SamKR wrote:Most of us are not experientially aware of the former lives (and I am not saying we must believe in former births to understand PS); we are only aware of the suffering here and now.


Glad we agree on that. :smile:

SamKR wrote: The question is: what did the Buddha mean by birth (in PS)? Without trying to interpret in more complicated way, I would say birth means just the birth, what else could it be? There is aging and death because there is birth - this is straightforward. If there were no birth, there would not be aging and death.


There is nothing complicated about any of the alternate interpretations.

Only starting halfway through – with tanha, there is a unique identification with specific parts of the experience (uppadana) specifically the body, thoughts, etc. That identification leads to the idea of an existence (bhava), these things are an existence, these things are “mine”, “I exist”. Once “I” exists its leads to the understanding that in the past there was the birth (jati) of the body which was also the birth of “I”, and it understood that in the future at the death (jaramarana)of the body that is the death of “I”. That knowledge of mortal existence leads to suffering, tanha being the aspect that has the biggest impact on this misunderstanding.

So yes, birth means birth.

However if there is no tanha, there will be no unique identification, and therefore no classification of an existence, and therefore no birth, and then no death, and then no suffering.

There is only birth because there is the idea of an existing self. That birth is gone once the idea of self is gone.

SamKR wrote: I don't think in this case we require to prove or disprove anything (or use anyone else's interpretation) when the Buddha himself is stating in a straightforward way - the meaning of birth is simple. The use of "re" in rebirth may be required in English language (I am not sure because English is not my primary language) but in a few Indic languages that I am aware of it is not required to convey the meaning of "rebirth".


I was just assuming based on the sutta and the bold highlight that you were trying to emphasize something to prove your point. Sorry for misunderstanding. Also, not sure it is valid to say "when the Buddha himself is saying" when we are discussing English translations. Someone from Europe chose to use those words.

SamKR wrote:Now to talk about my own interpretation, let me take a Sanskrit word janma which means birth. This word can have different emphasis when used differently. For example, if someone uses the word "janma" to say "because of good karma my janma will be in a good destinatinon ", he is emphasizing the type of (re)birth he will have. In this sense the focus is in the effect of something in the type of (re)birth. But if he uses the word punarjanma to say "This is my punarjanma (rebirth)" he is emphasizing the very fact of (re)birth. Both are implying rebirth.


Interesting. Of course based on what I wrote above I have an obvious disagreement.
Through many of samsara’s births I hasten seeking, finding not the builder of this house - pain is birth again, again. O builder of this house you’re seen, you shall not build a house again, all your beams have given away, rafters of the ridge decayed, mind to the unconditioned gone, exhaustion of craving has it reached.(Dhp - 153, 154)
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby SamKR » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:34 pm

SDC wrote:
SamKR wrote: The question is: what did the Buddha mean by birth (in PS)? Without trying to interpret in more complicated way, I would say birth means just the birth, what else could it be? There is aging and death because there is birth - this is straightforward. If there were no birth, there would not be aging and death.


There is nothing complicated about any of the alternate interpretations.

Only starting halfway through – with tanha, there is a unique identification with specific parts of the experience (uppadana) specifically the body, thoughts, etc. That identification leads to the idea of an existence (bhava), these things are an existence, these things are “mine”, “I exist”. Once “I” exists its leads to the understanding that in the past there was the birth (jati) of the body which was also the birth of “I”, and it understood that in the future at the death (jaramarana)of the body that is the death of “I”. That knowledge of mortal existence leads to suffering, tanha being the aspect that has the biggest impact on this misunderstanding.

So yes, birth means birth.

However if there is no tanha, there will be no unique identification, and therefore no classification of an existence, and therefore no birth, and then no death, and then no suffering.

There is only birth because there is the idea of an existing self. That birth is gone once the idea of self is gone.

This interpretation is interesting, and perhaps a little bit more complicated than the "straightforward" interpretation (well, I know that is subjective).
But this does not make much sense in the light of other Suttas, and even the DO's cessation (nirodha) aspect too:
Bhava-nirodha jati-nirodho
With the cessation of Becoming, Birth ceases.

The meaning of nirodha, as I understand it, is non-rearising. It does not just mean disappearance or ending. It means ending such that there is no reappearance (in future). Which excludes the possibility of interpreting the past-births being ended (after awakening). Even if there is no "I-am" now, there was birth of aggregates. If there is no "I-am" now then there is no possibility of birth of aggregates in future.
(I am not a Pali expert, and if someone is sure that this meaning of nirodha is wrong, kindly please let me know.)
Last edited by SamKR on Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:16 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:58 pm

Interpreting birth as just the past birth doesn't really fit into DO. Of course the previous birth was also dependently arisen, but the whole point is preventing future birth.

There there is the growth of fabrications, there is the production of renewed becoming in the future. Where there is the production of renewed becoming in the future, there is future birth, aging, & death, together, I tell you, with sorrow, affliction, & despair.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby SDC » Sat Jul 20, 2013 6:06 am

SamKR wrote:This interpretation is interesting, and perhaps a little bit more complicated than the "straightforward" interpretation (well, I know that is subjective).
But this does not make much sense in the light of other Suttas, and even the DO's cessation (nirodha) aspect too:
Bhava-nirodha jati-nirodho
With the cessation of Becoming, Birth ceases.

The meaning of nirodha, as I understand it, is non-rearising. It does not just mean disappearance or ending. It means ending such that there is no reappearance (in future). Which excludes the possibility of interpreting the past-births being ended (after awakening). Even if there is no "I-am" now, there was birth of aggregates. If there is no "I-am" now then there is no possibility of birth of aggregates in future.
(I am not a Pali expert, and if someone is sure that this meaning of nirodha is wrong, kindly please let me know.)


Well it depends on how you are looking at it. As I said - without existence (bhava) there is no birth (jati) - because you do not identify an existing self there is no concept of the birth of that self. Right now birth can be experienced at any moment. It is the starting point of "I" and we always know it is there at one end of the spectrum. The same for death. It is the whole idea of our existence. With the removal of the idea of self, birth is no longer experienced in this way. It is no longer a starting point for anything and has no relevance. Same with death. The spectrum of existence is gone.
Through many of samsara’s births I hasten seeking, finding not the builder of this house - pain is birth again, again. O builder of this house you’re seen, you shall not build a house again, all your beams have given away, rafters of the ridge decayed, mind to the unconditioned gone, exhaustion of craving has it reached.(Dhp - 153, 154)
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby Holdan » Sun Jul 21, 2013 8:24 pm

Anders wrote:Rebirth is a natural extension of this, as is the impossibility of materialism in such a causal system.

Hello Anders

In the scriptures, when the stream-entry was gained, it was declared: "That which is subject to arising is subject to cessation". The scripture do not say: "That which is subject to cessation is subject to arising". How do you reconcile your view with the view of stream-enterers & arahants, who are considered to be Noble Persons?

Then Ven. Assaji gave this Dhamma exposition to Sariputta the Wanderer:

Whatever phenomena arise from cause:
their cause
& their cessation.
Such is the teaching of the Tathagata,
the Great Contemplative.


Then to Sariputta the wanderer, as he heard this Dhamma exposition, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."

Upatissa's (Sariputta's) Question


:?:

Anders wrote:If you want Buddhism without rebirth, you have to start moving the pieces around in the DO puzzle and start putting Form and the senses ahead of consciousness and ignorance in that causal chain.

How do you reconcile your view, with the view in scriptures, which seems to be concerned with what becomes of body, speech & mind when they are influenced & tainted by ignorance (and, alternately, when body, speech & mind are free from & untainted by ignorance)?

Thanks :?:

Monks, ignorance is the leader in the attainment of unskillful qualities, followed by lack of conscience & lack of concern. In an unknowledgeable person, immersed in ignorance, wrong view arises. In one of wrong view, wrong resolve arises. In one of wrong resolve, wrong speech... In one of wrong speech, wrong action... In one of wrong action, wrong livelihood... In one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort... In one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness... In one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration arises.

Avijja Sutta: Ignorance


For him — infatuated, attached, confused, not remaining focused on their drawbacks — the five clinging-aggregates head toward future accumulation. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now this & now that — grows within him. His bodily disturbances & mental disturbances grow. His bodily torments & mental torments grow. His bodily distresses & mental distresses grow. He is sensitive both to bodily stress & mental stress.

MN 149


In dependence on the sensuality element there arises sensual perception; in dependence on sensual perception there arises sensual intention; in dependence on sensual intention there arises sensual desire; in dependence on sensual desire there arises sensual passion; in dependence on sensual passion there arises a sensual quest. Engaged in a sensual quest, the uninstructed worldling conducts himself wrongly in three ways—with [sensual] body, [sensual] speech, and [sensual] mind.

In dependence on the ill will element there arises perception of ill will; in dependence on perception of ill will there arises intention of ill will; in dependence on intention of ill will there arises desire [driven by] ill will; in dependence on desire [driven by] ill will there arises passion [driven by] ill will; in dependence on passion [driven by] ill will there arises a quest [driven by] ill will. Engaged in a quest [driven by] ill will, the uninstructed worldling conducts himself wrongly in three ways—with body, speech, and mind.

In dependence on the harmfulness element there arises perception of harming; in dependence on perception of harming there arises intention to harm; in dependence on intention to harm there arises desire to harm; in dependence on desire to harm there arises passion to harm; in dependence on passion to harm there arises a quest to harm. Engaged in a quest to harm, the uninstructed worldling conducts himself wrongly in three ways—with body, speech, and mind.

SN 14.12


There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form to be the self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that. And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen.

Parileyyaka Sutta


:?:
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:50 pm

For me looking at DO as occurring in each moment and jati meaning birth of "I am" has been the most benefical way of understanding rebirth and I personally think thats how the Buddha intended it to be understood

I like how Ajahn Sumedho explains it here


To the extent to which (paccaya) the mind has not comprehended (avijja) Truth, habitual drives
manifest and condition (paccaya) awareness into a discriminative mode (viññana) that operates
in terms of (paccaya) subject and object (nama-rupa) held (paccaya) to exist on either side of the
six sense-doors (salayatana). These sense-doors open dependent (paccaya) on contact (phasso)
that can arouse (paccaya) varying degrees of feeling (vedana). Feeling stimulates (paccaya)
desire (tanha) and, according to (paccaya) the power of desire, attention lingers (upadana) and
so personal aims and obsessions develop (bhava) to give (paccaya) (jati) rise to selfconsciousness. That self-consciousness, mental or physical, once arisen must follow (paccaya)
the cycle of maturing and passing away (jara-marana) with the resultant sense of sadness (soka)
varying from sorrow (parideva) to depression (domanassa), to anguish (dukkha) and emotional
breakdown (upayasa).

When the mind looks into the sense of loss and comprehends Truth (avijja-nirodha), habitual
drives cease (sankhara-nirodha) and the awareness is no longer bound by discrimination
(viññana-nirodha); so that the separation of the subject and object is no longer held (nama-rupanirodha) and one does not feel trapped behind or pulled out through the six sense-doors
(salayatana-nirodha). The sense-doors open for reflection, rather than being dependent on
contact (phassa-nirodha) and impingement does not impress itself into the mind (vedananirodha). So there is freedom from desire (tanha-nirodha) and attention does not get stuck
(upadana-nirodha) and grow into selfish motivations (bhava-nirodha) that center around and
reinforce the ego (jati-nirodha). When no personal image is created, it can never bloat up, nor can
it be destroyed (jara-maranam-nirodha). So there is nothing to lose, a sense of gladness, uplift,
joy and serenity (soka-parideva-dukkha-domanass-upayasa-nirodha).
With the cessation of such a death-bound frame of reference there is the living of the True life,
the Holy life, of which Ajahn Sumedho so evocatively speaks.



http://thetaoofwealth.files.wordpress.c ... umedho.pdf

and


In Ajahn Buddhadasa's book on Dependent Origination, he emphasises that his approach has
been on the paticcasamuppada as working in the moment rather than in terms of past present
and future lives. When you contemplate, when you practise, you realise that that is the only way it
could ever be. This is because we are working with the mind itself


...

When we get to cessation of ignorance then at that moment all the rest of the sequence ceases.
It is not like one ceases then another ceases. When there is vijja then the suffering ceases. In any
moment when there is true mindfulness and wisdom there is no suffering.



http://thetaoofwealth.files.wordpress.c ... umedho.pdf
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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