Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

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Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby eddie martin » Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:58 pm

Hi

What is the Theravada view of recognizing rebirths like they do in the Tibetan Mahayana school and its tulku system?Do they even have a view or does it vary?Basically the idea of being able to locate various rebirths through lama's dreams,visions and intuitions etc.I know both schools adhere to the teachings of rebirth but how likely is it that one could have insight in to another's rebirth?
I'm sure there is cases where political influence has decided various tulku's appointments but leaving that aside is it possible have knowledge of rebirths?For example the 16th Karmapa from the Kagyu traditions was undoubtedly a very accomplished yogi,was this maybe because of efforts in a past life or just because he had access to teachings from a very young age.(i'm not truly looking anyone to answer that i'm just curious).i guess i'm just wondering is it actually possible to recognize rebirths,is there any mention of this in Theravada Buddhism?
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby cooran » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:49 pm

Hello Eddie,

Maybe read this article by Bhikkhu Pesala - especially the part "Rebirth is NOT reincarnation":

http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=9257

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Eightfolder » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:06 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 4.html#ch1

I was just reading this today on Kamma and Rebirth and it raised additional questions for me as well.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:16 pm

cooran wrote:Maybe read this article by Bhikkhu Pesala - especially the part "Rebirth is NOT reincarnation"

I see some comments there that are wrong, but I cannot respond.

Please refer to my articles on my own web site
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby eddie martin » Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:57 pm

Thank you for the links :smile:
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Disciple » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:28 am

To give a simple answer. Recognizing rebirths is not seen as important as some Arahats will not recall theirs. In TB which is all about achieving "full Buddhahood" recognizing rebirths is seen as something that will come naturally to all those who will become Buddhas.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Aloka » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:37 am

Disciple wrote:To give a simple answer. Recognizing rebirths is not seen as important as some Arahats will not recall theirs. In TB which is all about achieving "full Buddhahood" recognizing rebirths is seen as something that will come naturally to all those who will become Buddhas.


Hi Disciple,

Could you provide some textual evidence for both of those statements, please ?

Kind regards,

Aloka

.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Disciple » Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:39 am

Aloka wrote:
Disciple wrote:To give a simple answer. Recognizing rebirths is not seen as important as some Arahats will not recall theirs. In TB which is all about achieving "full Buddhahood" recognizing rebirths is seen as something that will come naturally to all those who will become Buddhas.


Hi Disciple,

Could you provide some textual evidence for both of those statements, please ?

Kind regards,

Aloka

.


With regards to some Arahats not remembering their rebirths, I believe I read that from one of retro's posts.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:11 am

Aloka wrote:
Disciple wrote:To give a simple answer. Recognizing rebirths is not seen as important as some Arahats will not recall theirs. In TB which is all about achieving "full Buddhahood" recognizing rebirths is seen as something that will come naturally to all those who will become Buddhas.


Hi Disciple,

Could you provide some textual evidence for both of those statements, please ?

Kind regards,

Aloka

.


Regarding the first point, SN 12.70
SN 12.70: Susima Sutta wrote:Then Ven. Susima went to those monks and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with them. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to them, "Is it true, as they say, that you have declared final gnosis in the Blessed One's presence: 'We discern that "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world"'?"

"Yes, friend."

SN 12.70: Susima Sutta wrote:"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you recollect your manifold past lives (lit: previous homes), i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand births, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction & expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here'?"

"No, friend."

"Then, having known thus, having seen thus, do you dwell touching with your body the peaceful emancipations, the formless states beyond form [the formless jhanas]?"

"No, friend."

"So just now, friends, didn't you make that declaration without having attained any of these Dhammas?"

"We're released through discernment, friend Susima."
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby Aloka » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:13 am

.

Thank you, culaavuso.

Regarding Tibetan tulkus mentioned #1 & #6, when I was a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner,I privately asked two different tulkus if they could remember their past lives and they said "No".

.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby pulga » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:10 pm

The Susimasutta is a great sutta and worth reading in full.

http://suttacentral.net/sn12.70/pi

http://suttacentral.net/sn12.70/en

Api pana tumhe āyasmanto evaṃ jānantā evaṃ passantā anekavihitaṃ pubbenivāsaṃ anussaratha, seyyathidaṃ– ekampi jātiṃ dvepi jātiyo tissopi jātiyo...

It's interesting that pubbenivāsaṃ is neuter singular in this stock passage, but is almost invariably translated as plural. Ven. Ñanamoli translates it as singular in his manuscript translation of the MN. It alters the nuance a bit:

Then knowing and seeing thus, do you venerable ones recollect your manifold past life -- that is, one birth, two births, three births....


It seems to shift the emphasis more to the present, i.e. a "past life" is something one has in the here-and-now that is recollected. Does anyone know what the Pali term for "literal rebirth" is, or is there such a term? I'm not denying rebirth, only that the phenomenon might be more subtle than what a straightforward interpretation implies.

Another interesting passage in the sutta is:

“Pubbe kho, susima, dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ, pacchā nibbāne ñāṇan”

Ven. Bodhi translates it as:

“First, Susı̄ma, comes knowledge of the stability of the Dhamma, afterwards knowledge of Nibbana.”

Ven. Ñanamoli's preferred rendering for dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṃ is "knowledge of the structure of things" which at least for me offers a more fruitful line of thought than Ven. Bodhi's translation.
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 25, 2014 3:13 pm

Isn't it singular in the sense of an uncountable noun, like 'water', and not in a true sense of singularity, like 'one drop of water'? Maybe a rendering of 'past living' covers it...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Theravada view on recognizing rebirths?

Postby pulga » Sat Jan 25, 2014 5:02 pm

daverupa wrote:Isn't it singular in the sense of an uncountable noun, like 'water', and not in a true sense of singularity, like 'one drop of water'? Maybe a rendering of 'past living' covers it...


Can the word "life" itself be taken as uncountable, especially given the nature of personal identity -- not in the bad sense of sakkāya, but in the individual manner of our experience? One might render it "life in the past", but I prefer a straightforward, literal rendering of "past life" keeping it in the singular and a little ambiguous.
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