the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:08 am

Aloka wrote: . . .
However one takes Buddhadasa, he is one commentator, taking something of an idiosyncratic view and interpretation of the Buddha and hardly the final word on the subject. Basically, however, the point still holds that to try to read the Buddha's statements about rebirth strictly in figurative terms is to render the Buddha as being an inept, misleading teacher.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:37 am

Tiltbillings wrote:

Basically, however, the point still holds that to try to read the Buddha's statements about rebirth strictly in figurative terms is to render the Buddha as being an inept, misleading teacher.


That's a very extreme view, Tilt. If, instead of having blind faith, people who are Buddhists attempt to further investigate the teachings, that is clearly not their intention.

Time to leave the Internet now and attend to offline life.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:46 pm

I quoted the part relevant to showing that Ajahn Sumedho doesn't deny rebirth. You've already explained how he doesn't see it as particularly relevant to everyday practice



Mike, please show where anyone in this thread has denied rebirth


What is being argued is that

A) Its not part of the Buddhas own teachings

and

B) Its comes from clinging and hence leads to dukkha (and so ties in with point A)



This is a quite repetitive straw man argument that keeps coming up in these debates
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:54 pm

Tilt

You keep saying stuff like that but for the Buddha, rebirth was not a view. It is how the world functions, which makes all the "view" quotes beside the point.


The rebirth of "I" due to clinging was a known process to him yes. As was the process by which views, such as rebirth as a deva, arise. This is via clinging


The Buddhas own Noble Right View is non-clinging. It then leads one to non adherence to views, i.e. there is no view of

Rebirth after death as a cow

No rebirth ...

Nothing after death

Is something after death

Soul, Atman/Brahman, jivas, etc etc


The Buddha way leads out of the net of views. Out of being caught up in them and trying to rise out of one to fall into another


We have seen this happen here. "If there is no rebirth then there is nothing and ......"

You are simply making the point that even the clearest teachings can be badly grasped.


Yes they can


Here is a perfect example of a text that shows that if the anti-rebirthist claim is correct, then the Buddha was a clumsy, inept teacher. Thanks for quoting it. As for what it means, I would take it at face value.


Only because it doesnt fall in line with what you expect the Buddha-way to be about

On a side note we also know that many of the teachings were condensed, to make it easier for recitation. This would mean many of the in depth explanations and meanings would be left out
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:58 pm

Alex

That has nothing to do with speculative views. It is what follows from the assumption of 1 life only.


Speculative view arising from grasping


If parinibbana is guaranteed, then why practice for it?



All the views you are putting forward are arising from clinging to the aggregates, or one amoung them. You have the view of rebirth as a frog and your considering what will happen if there isnt. Your holding one view and your thinking about jumping into another view.

The net of views
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:05 pm

5heaps

completely ridiculous
.

Not ridiculous. The idea of "rebirth-linking consciousness" to which your refering to did come later. Like I said, I may be wrong on exactly who, but If my memory serves me well I think it was Vasubandhu


im getting quite tired of inept people dissing the historical giants of buddhism. get some class.


Why are you on the defensive? Also who is "dissing" the historical giants of buddhism?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:08 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Oh, dear. Ven Sumedho takes rebirth literally and what can we say about Buddhadasa's comments?

The funny thing is that I bought Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree back in 2007 when I was in Hong Kong and read it without realising that he was considered to be a denier of literal rebirth. Since a large chunk of that book (actually, a collection of talks) is devoted to advice on how to attain nibbana at the instant of death (not to have a good life before death), the whole book would seem to be a little pointless if nothing persisted after death.

:anjali:
Mike



Buddhadasa didnt deny rebirth as a deva view (from what I have read and from what I have heard). He simply said that it was not part of the Buddhas own teachings. Also on a side note you have given a straw man again. There is a different between not having a view and denial


Not holding a view of rebirth isnt the same as saying there is no rebirth


Now as to the time of death, why wouldnt you want to help someone die without dukkha?


Also the idea that Ajahn Buddhadasa was concerned with such speculative views is wrong, as the above quotes my aloka clearly show


Heartwood From The Bodhi Tree opens as follows:

Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indis criminately believe the answer he's given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proofs, he's just going to speak according to his memory and feeling. The listener can't see for himself and so has to blindly believe "the other's words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it's something else altogether, unconnected with the extinction of Dukkha.



Also:


Concerning death, there's no need to speak about what happens after the people language version. Why talk about what happens once we're in the coffin? Instead, please deal with this most urgent issue of ego-birth, that is, don't get born and there will be no suffering. Without the feeling of being born, there is no person anymore and all the problems disappear with it. That is all. When there isn't this continual being born, there is no longer a "somebody" to have problems. It's as simple as that.

NO RELIGION by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:13 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:My point was simply that Ajahns Buddhadasa and Sumedho seem, from their writings, to acknowledge that the Buddha taught some sort of post-mortem rebirth.


That's my understanding - it isn't that they are denying rebirth, rather that their focus is on practice in the here and now.
Perhaps it's ultimately about skillful means - for some a belief in rebirth will support their practice, for others it may be a distraction.

Spiny




Which was the Buddhas way of teaching. Rebirth as a deva view does have its uses to some, such as promoting morality. However it was a tainted view and was not part of his own noble teachings


The Buddha-way means having no views, since they arise via clinging. The Buddha taught noble right view which leads out of all this and, in the end, even this is let go of
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:10 pm

Aloka wrote:Tiltbillings wrote:

Basically, however, the point still holds that to try to read the Buddha's statements about rebirth strictly in figurative terms is to render the Buddha as being an inept, misleading teacher.


That's a very extreme view, Tilt.
Calling it extreme does not make it so. I hve no problem with people reading the texts figuratively where it seems warranted, but what is extreme is to insist that that is the only way they must be read, which would then render the Buddha a clumsy, inept and misleading teacher.

If, instead of having blind faith, people who are Buddhists attempt to further investigate the teachings, that is clearly not their intention.
Blind faith? On my part, not at all. I have looked carefully at the "arguments" presented aby the anti-rebirthers. While I find that in some cases some texts can be read variously, the exteme reading of the texts that insists that the Buddha did not teach literal rebirth is less than convincing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:13 pm

clw_uk wrote:]



Which was the Buddhas way of teaching. Rebirth as a deva view does have its uses to some, such as promoting morality. However it was a tainted view and was not part of his own noble teachings
And we have seen very recently two texts quoted the tie rebirth to the Four Noble Truths.


The Buddha-way means having no views,
And this statement is a view.
since they arise via clinging. The Buddha taught noble right view which leads out of all this and, in the end, even this is let go of
Of course and there is no reason you have presented that shows rebirth is not part of the Right View.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:29 pm

clw_uk wrote:Tilt

You keep saying stuff like that but for the Buddha, rebirth was not a view. It is how the world functions, which makes all the "view" quotes beside the point.


The rebirth of "I" due to clinging was a known process to him yes. As was the process by which views, such as rebirth as a deva, arise. This is via clinging
If wanting rebirth as a deva is one's goal, then that is clinging, but that does not mean that rebirth is not what the Buddha taught as the way the world works.

The Buddha way leads out of the net of views. Out of being caught up in them and trying to rise out of one to fall into another
But for the Buddha rebirth was not a view.

We have seen this happen here. "If there is no rebirth then there is nothing and ......"
Now, you have very recently above said there is no rebirth, so what happens after death of the body to the conditioned/conditioning process? The Buddha never addressed that? Is that what you are saying?

I wrote:You are simply making the point that even the clearest teachings can be badly grasped.


Yes they can
And you continually try to take the clearest teaching fit into one point of view.

Here is a perfect example of a text that shows that if the anti-rebirthist claim is correct, then the Buddha was a clumsy, inept teacher. Thanks for quoting it. As for what it means, I would take it at face value.


Only because it doesnt fall in line with what you expect the Buddha-way to be about
Expect? Hardly. It is a result of a very long, careful study of the texts. I see no reason to try to cram them all into one box when various readings of some texts are are quite reasonable, which is to say that some texts can carry multiple meanings.

On a side note we also know that many of the teachings were condensed, to make it easier for recitation. This would mean many of the in depth explanations and meanings would be left out
And you are using this to make what point?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:30 pm

Tilt

Craig - The Buddha-way means having no views,

Tilt -And this statement is a view.



"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:37 pm

Tiltbillings wrote:

Blind faith? On my part, not at all. I have looked carefully at the "arguments" presented aby the anti-rebirthers. While I find that in some cases some texts can be read variously, the exteme reading of the texts that insists that the Buddha did not teach literal rebirth is less than convincing.


I have never stated that the Buddha didn't teach about rebirth and I don't recall anyone else doing that either. So...who are these people? Please give names so that I can look out for them ! :coffee:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 7:48 pm

If wanting rebirth as a deva is one's goal, then that is clinging, but that does not mean that rebirth is not what the Buddha taught as the way the world works.


The Buddha taught that clinging gives birth to "I" and the myriad of specualtive views that arise in the world. Rebirth view arises via ignorant based contact, which leads to clinging, regardless of if you want it or not. Having a view of rebirth but not wanting that rebirth still means the view arises via clinging. The fact that it arises via clinging is also why its called a tainted right view. Same with annihilationism, it arises via clinging.


The Buddha-way is not concerned with speculative metaphysics but with four simple points

Dukkha
Cause
Cessation
Path

The rest is outside Buddhism


Craig -The Buddha way leads out of the net of views. Out of being caught up in them and trying to rise out of one to fall into another

tilt - But for the Buddha rebirth was not a view.


No, he didnt have the view of "rebirth as a ...." since he abandoned the means for which it arises, namely clinging to the aggregates.


Craig - We have seen this happen here. "If there is no rebirth then there is nothing and ......"

Tilt - Now, you have very recently above said there is no rebirth, so what happens after death of the body to the conditioned/conditioning process? The Buddha never addressed that? Is that what you are saying?



Where have I said that?


Craig - On a side note we also know that many of the teachings were condensed, to make it easier for recitation. This would mean many of the in depth explanations and meanings would be left out

Titl - And you are using this to make what point?


You said that what I am claiming would make the Buddha a clumsy teacher. I am saying that this was his meaning and the in depth meaning is to be found. Reading it at a basic level, such as looking at birth meaning birth into another world, is to miss the deeper meaning that was lost as a result of making the teachings as simple as they could possible be, without all the in depth detail.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:09 pm

Hi Aloka,
Aloka wrote: I have read quite a lot of Buddhadasa so I feel able to comment.

Death is an occassion where people ordinarily suffer. In fact, death is ordinarily where human beings suffer the most. It is really vital that human beings have Nibbana at death (as well as at other times). Buddhadasa gave Nibbana at death the highest urgency. I think he was unconcerned with what occurs after death.

Your statement "the whole book would seem to be a little pointless if nothing persisted after death", with respect, Mike, appears to me to be an inaccurate one.

That's a good point, but I was explaining how I read it. If he was denying any possible kind of rebirth why didn't he just say:
"Look, face it folks, death is the end of everything, let's prepare for it properly so you don't have to suffer through it."?

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:14 pm

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:What is being argued is that

A) Its not part of the Buddhas own teachings

Well, I'm really unclear what this means. I took you to be saying that whenever the Buddha mentioned rebirth it was always moment-to-moment rebirth. Are you now saying that the Sutta's do have references to post-mortem rebirth?

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:25 pm

When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have."

"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."



Now notice here that they ask Anathapindika what his view is. His answer is that basically their views have been "brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated" and its dukkha. This falls in line with the process of the Honey ball sutta


They then try to trap him by saying

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."



To which he answers


"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."



He sees the escape from all views via non-clinging, which means he doesn't give birth to any view. He directly knows the process by which "I" and views come into being. With Right discernment he understands the four noble truths and so abandons all clinging, this is the higher escape from all views and "I" making and dukkha



An important point is that noble right view arises via non clinging and wisdom.


This then funells into the other parts of the NEFP down into noble concentration which leads to vision, which then leads to greater understanding of the Four Noble Truths (like a feedback loop). This is done via non clinging because craving to get or get rid of leads to dukkha (and so isnt NEFP)


Tainted right view is tainted with grasping and so is tied with dukkha. So "there is rebirth as a deva" ties into dukkha. Noble Right view leads to the cessation of dukkha and the ending of views. The idea that the Buddha taught Right view with taints, which leads to dukkha, is ridiculous since he claimed to teach the way out of dukkha, not the way further into it



"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Tainted Right View

There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' [b]This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.[/b]


which funnels into


"And what is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness. This is the right resolve that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.


into


"And what is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Abstaining from lying, from divisive tale-bearing, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter. This is the right speech that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.


into


"And what is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? Abstaining from killing, from taking what is not given, & from illicit sex. This is the right action that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.


into


"And what is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abandons wrong livelihood and maintains his life with right livelihood. This is the right livelihood that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.



So notice that Tainted Right view leads into morality, ideas of merit making for future lives and grasping.


Now for Noble Right View


"And what is the right view [b]that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.
[/b]

which leads into


And what is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The thinking, directed thinking, resolve, (mental) fixity, transfixion, focused awareness, & verbal fabrications of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right resolve that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


into



"And what is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the four forms of verbal misconduct of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right speech that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.



into



And what is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of the three forms of bodily misconduct of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right action that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.


into


"And what is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The abstaining, desisting, abstinence, avoidance of wrong livelihood of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is without effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right livelihood that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.



So Noble Right View is the understanding of dukkha and non-clinging, or not adverting or wanting

This then funnels into the other factors and down into right mindfulness and concentration which leads to insight. This is why in the Anapanasati sutta, for example, the Buddha advises to bring "mindfulness to the forefront".

On the night of his enlightenment, the Buddha practiced mindfulness with breathing. He did this via bringing mindfulness to the forefront. This then lead to the establishment of Noble Right view, via non clinging. This was something he had come to understand at a basic level before hand because of the understanding that sensual pleasure and wanting to get (his life at the palace) lead to dukkha. However wanting to get rid off also did (his life as an ascetic), so he needed a middle way. This middle way way was not wanting to get or get rid off. This was Noble Right view, which then progressed into vision. After progression through a few feedback loops of this, all clinging was abandoned and there was nibbana


Tainted Right View is about not doing bad because of being born after physical death in hell. This leads to wholesome intention, speech etc. This then helps develop good mental states, which is beneficial if one is to move into the Buddha Noble Right view

Noble Right View is about dukkha and its cessation. Therefore one does not act unwholesomely for a different reason, a different route, a different understanding


No the Buddha held no views. He just directly knew how views come into being, how "I" comes into being and the escape from it
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:29 pm

Mike -That's a good point, but I was explaining how I read it. If he was denying any possible kind of rebirth why didn't he just say:
"Look, face it folks, death is the end of everything, let's prepare for it properly so you don't have to suffer through it."?


Because such language wouldn't be in line with out Ajahn wrote
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:34 pm

Mike - Well, I'm really unclear what this means. I took you to be saying that whenever the Buddha mentioned rebirth it was always moment-to-moment rebirth. Are you now saying that the Sutta's do have references to post-mortem rebirth?



The Buddha set out to understand dukkha and how to cease it. When this was completed he was enlightened. During his time in India the Buddha was surrounded by a whole bunch of speculative views. The Buddha, as part of understanding the Four Noble Truths, understood how such views come to be (via clinging and birth of "I"). However he did see merits in one particular view. This was the view of being reborn after death. He saw that such a view could lead to development of morality in people. Hence he encouraged such a view to some. However it was/is a tainted view. That is to say it is bound up with grasping, I-making and dukkha. It is therefore not part of his own teachings but rather something he made use of


N.B. He didnt always make use of this view. Some people could directly understand the Four Noble Truths without it. Others he could teach just the golden rule
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:04 pm

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:However he did see merits in one particular view. This was the view of being reborn after death. He saw that such a view could lead to development of morality in people. Hence he encouraged such a view to some. However it was/is a tainted view. That is to say it is bound up with grasping, I-making and dukkha. It is therefore not part of his own teachings but rather something he made use of

Could you please indicate how you came to this conclusion? Could you please provide textual evidence that supports your conjecture?
thanks

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Ben
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