Critique of "jhana among Western converts"

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
KevinSolway
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the Solway rebirth "debate"

Postby KevinSolway » Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:43 am

Last edited by KevinSolway on Fri Nov 30, 2012 4:58 am, edited 3 times in total.

SamKR
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby SamKR » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:32 am


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polarbear101
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby polarbear101 » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:55 am

I think there's something more important than accepting rebirth on faith. Rebirth and kamma would be non-existent in the Buddha's teaching if he had not had direct experiences confirming their reality. It is only through the attainment of the fourth jhana when the mind has been "thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability" that one can direct the mind to the recollection of past lives and to the passing away and re-arising of beings according to their kamma and it is by means of what would be called extra-sensory perception in modern terms. Thus, one must accept that ESP is at least possible and that the specific ESP's of retrocognition and clairvoyance were attained by the Buddha in the first and second watches of the night. So for me personally, I want to verify these teachings and if I ever ordain it would be with the intent of gaining the three knowledges not just the third. Without ESP though, rebirth and kamma are just metaphysical speculations and views.

EDIT: Obviously, you have to invest a great deal of confidence in the Buddha if you are willing to try to confirm the dhamma for yourself.

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:36 am


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Ben
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:17 am

“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 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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DAWN
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:14 am

Water evaporation can be considering like reberth ?
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:26 am


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Aloka
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:26 am


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DAWN
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:32 am

Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

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Aloka
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:49 am


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DAWN
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:03 am

Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

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gavesako
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby gavesako » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:18 pm

... People don't see the danger. This is really amazing, isn't it? You'd think they could see it but they can't. If they can't see it even then, then there's no way they can get out. They're determined to whirl around in samsāra. This is how things are. Just talking about simple things like this we can begin to understand.
If you were to ask them, ''Why were you born?'' they'd probably have a lot of trouble answering, because they can't see it. They're sunk in the world of the senses and sunk in becoming (bhava). Bhava is the sphere of birth, our birthplace. To put it simply, where are beings born from? Bhava is the preliminary condition for birth. Wherever birth takes place, that's bhava.
For example, suppose we had an orchard of apple trees that we were particularly fond of. That's a bhava for us if we don't reflect with wisdom. How so? Suppose our orchard contained a hundred or a thousand apple trees... it doesn't really matter what kind of trees they are, just so long as we consider them to be ''our own'' trees... then we are going to be ''born'' as a ''worm'' in every single one of those trees. We bore into every one, even though our human body is still back there in the house, we send out ''tentacles'' into every one of those trees.
Now, how do we know that it's a bhava? It's a bhava (sphere of existence) because of our clinging to the idea that those trees are our own, that that orchard is our own. If someone were to take an ax and cut one of the trees down, the owner over there in the house ''dies'' along with the tree. He gets furious, and has to go and set things right, to fight and maybe even kill over it. That quarreling is the ''birth.'' The ''sphere of birth'' is the orchard of trees that we cling to as our own. We are ''born'' right at the point where we consider them to be our own, born from that bhava. Even if we had a thousand apple trees, if someone were to cut down just one it'd be like cutting the owner down.
Whatever we cling to we are born right there, we exist right there. We are born as soon as we ''know.'' This is knowing through not-knowing: we know that someone has cut down one of our trees. But we don't know that those trees are not really ours. This is called ''knowing through not-knowing.'' We are bound to be born into that bhava.
Vatta, the wheel of conditioned existence, operates like this. People cling to bhava, they depend on bhava. If they cherish bhava, this is birth. And if they fall into suffering over that same thing, this is also a birth. As long as we can't let go we are stuck in the rut of samsāra, spinning around like a wheel. Look into this, contemplate it. Whatever we cling to as being us or ours, that is a place for birth.
There must be a bhava, a sphere of birth, before birth can take place. Therefore the Buddha said, whatever you have, don't ''have'' it. Let it be there but don't make it yours. You must understand this ''having'' and ''not having,'' know the truth of them, don't flounder in suffering.

- Ajahn Chah

http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Flood_Sensuality1.php
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:45 pm


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DAWN
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby DAWN » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:52 pm

Thanks you Bhante :anjali: :bow:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:11 pm

Here are my major objections to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's so-called (2012)

1. The first major problem with Thanissaro's work is the length of it. If Thanissaro understood the subject then he would have been able to explain it perfectly well in a couple of paragraphs at the most. So anything beyond two paragraphs is a testament to the degree he is speaking about something he is not qualified to speak about. This soon becomes evident.

2. Thanissaro doesn't clearly define the extremely key term of "birth", and then uses the word "birth" inconsistently to refer to both the birth of ignorance (ignorant consciousness), as well as physical birth.

If the word "birth" is being used to refer to the birth of ignorance - which is a mental birth, happening moment-to-moment, here-and-now - then it doesn't follow that all physical births are also the birth of ignorance. The birth of ignorance and physical birth are two entirely different things, and Thanissaro conflates the two.

He also conflates "life" and "death" with physical life and death, rather than the moment-by-moment life and death of ignorant minds. Again, the two are different things, and need not have any relation. Physical birth may be a birth of an ignorant mind, but need not be, and likewise it may result from an ignorant mind, but need not do.

3. Thanissaro's interpretation of scripture is terribly bad, in nearly every case where he attempts it.

For example, where the scripture states "There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world.", Thanissaro says that "the phrase 'next world' in this passage refers to life after death."

He is mistaken. In fact, "the next world" refers to the next world. Each moment brings a new world.

But since Thanissaro conflates physical life and death with momentary psychological changes, it's impossible to make any coherent sense from his words.

4. Thanissaro says "Simply stating, 'I don't know,' is not an adequate response to the questions of rebirth".

I disagree.

In the case that you don't know if it is possible for any person to be reborn as a frog (say), after their physical death, then you should say "I don't know".

Likewise, if you don't know that all physical birth is a part of samsara, the cycle of "life and death", then you should say "I don't know".

5. Thanissaro mentions two arguments against his personal understanding of rebirth, but he only mentions extremely weak arguments which he appears to have made up himself, since no person would be so cartoonish as to make up those arguments in real life. He doesn't tackle any of the very strong arguments against his position, such as the argument from cause and effect, which concerns causal changes over time.

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gavesako
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the Solway "debate"

Postby gavesako » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:02 pm

Perhaps you have not read other texts by Thanissaro, such as Paradox of Becoming and Shape of Suffering, where he goes into a lot of detail about the way the Buddha explained the term "bhava" in the Suttas, and also in the context of Dependent Arising. Then he explains why this principle works the same way on different levels of existence, comparing it with chaotic systems which can be found everywhere in nature. So your objection to his unclear definition of "birth" does not really apply. Or at least you should read his detailed explanations first.
If you read the Suttas in Pali, rather than rely on inconsistent English translations which use words laden with meanings from another social context, you would see that for example the term "other world" (paraloko) is always found in passages which clearly describe the passing away of beings in this life and reappearing in another life. It is just a matter of usage.
Unless one is willing to spend a bit of time going through the Suttas and pulling together the many references the Buddha makes to rebirth in different contexts, one will not be able to understand the topic. Certainly not in a few paragraphs.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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polarbear101
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby polarbear101 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:15 pm

"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:37 am


SamKR
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby SamKR » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:44 am


KevinSolway
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby KevinSolway » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:56 am



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