mikenz66 wrote:I presume we agree that sila is an absolutely essential part of the Path, but this rather trivailized version of sila wasn't my point at all.
Well said. Just on the issue of the importance of sila to the path, what isn't highlighted in many of these discussions is the impact of moral and immoral conduct on one's state of mind and whether that state of mind is then open and conducive to the development of samadhi and panna. And for me, personally, abiding by sila is pragmatic having seen and known the impact of immoral conduct on my own life and my own happiness.
As for rebirth - until we become ariya with the supernormal powers of being able to see our past lives, it remains an unknowable. So developing a view as to whether rebirth is a real phenomenon or is a metaphorical device is just speculation based on our own predelictions. What we do know is that the concept of rebirth is repeated hundreds of thousands of times throughout the suttas, there is scant evidence that the Buddha reserved teachings of rebirth to the dumb peasantry and that the excision of rebirth from the Dhamma makes it largely unintelligible.
As you know, when the Buddha was questioned by the householders of sala who were sceptical of rebirth, in the Apannaka Sutta (MN 60), he didn't try to convince them that they were wrong but used logical inference to direct them to the conclusion that living one's life as though one believed in rebirth will lead to their welfare. And I think that remains a potent message for all of us.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725Compassionate Hands Foundation
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