the great rebirth debate

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If the Buddha said ...

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:56 am

Greetings

This is tied with another thread going on. To those who accept that there is rebirth after death i would like to ask a question

If the Buddha said that D.O. wasnt three lives and that rebirth wasnt part of his teachings would you still practice Buddhadhamma?



metta
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Re: If the Buddha said ...

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:04 pm

But he didn't did he? (rhetorical question)
Wishful thinking doesn't make inconvenient doctrine go away.
The Buddha taught rebirth. I suggest you get over it.
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Re: If the Buddha said ...

Postby clw_uk » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:07 pm

Ben wrote:But he didn't did he? (rhetorical question)
Wishful thinking doesn't make inconvenient doctrine go away.
The Buddha taught rebirth. I suggest you get over it.



Im not arguing if he did or didnt i was just wondering if people would continue to practice regardless of rebirth


Its just a what if question, sometimes these are good to get us thinking about things


Wishful thinking doesn't make inconvenient doctrine go away


Slightly off topic but this is an assumption on your part

:focus:

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Re: If the Buddha said ...

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jul 07, 2009 1:04 pm

clw_uk wrote:If the Buddha said that D.O. wasnt three lives and that rebirth wasnt part of his teachings would you still practice Buddhadhamma?

Yes, of course.

Please see the Apaṇṇaka Sutta from the Majjhimanikāya

“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is not holds a wrong view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is not has wrong thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is not uses wrong speech and is opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this untrue Dhamma praises himself and disparages others, thus any former morality he had is abandoned and replaced with bad conduct. All of these various unwholesome things — wrong thought, wrong speech and so forth — have wrong view as their origin.”

“A wise man reflects thus: ‘If what these recluses and Brahmins say is true, and there is no other world, then on the dissolution of the body after death they are safe enough, but if they are wrong and there is another world, they will be reborn in the lower realms, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, or in hell. He has wrongly undertaken this incontrovertible teaching in a one-sided way that excludes the wholesome alternative.

“Householders, it is to be expected that those recluses and Brahmins who hold the latter view — that there is a fruit of good and evil deeds, and so forth — will avoid evil deeds and cultivate wholesome deeds because they see the danger and impurity of evil deeds, and see the benefit and purity of wholesome deeds.

“Since there is another world, one who holds the view that there is holds a right view. Since there is another world, one who thinks that there is has right thoughts. Since there is another world, one who says there is uses right speech and is not opposed to those Arahants who know there is another world. One who convinces another to accept this true Dhamma does not praise himself and disparage others, thus any former corrupt morality he had is abandoned and replaced with virtuous conduct. All of these various wholesome things — right thought, right speech and so forth — have right view as their origin.”

“A wise man reflects thus: ‘If what these recluses and Brahmins say is true, and there is another world, then on the dissolution of the body after death they will be reborn in a happy destination, or in heaven. Even if there is no other world, this good person is praised by the wise as virtuous and for holding the right view of moral responsibility. He has rightly undertaken this incontrovertible teaching in a two-sided way that excludes the unwholesome alternative.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:27 am

Edited to save time and effort. If interested in this hole I dug for myself, please refer to the following posts.

Hope you have a good day
Jack.
Last edited by BlackBird on Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:39 am

Greetings Blackbird,

Whilst I believe in rebirth, I don't find these arguments particularly convincing or logical...

1. If rebirth did not exist, there would be no point in liberation from suffering, because death would be the liberation from suffering.

This ignores the fact there's suffering in this life and that's more than enough incentive to practice the Dhamma for most - rebirth or not. It also ignores that there is happiness in life.

2. If death was the liberation from suffering there would be no Kamma, as there would be no person to experience the ripening of Kamma after death.

Kamma is not some sort of invisible cosmic judicial system that casts judgement at the time of death. Kamma is volition, and kamma stems from ignorance. The results of kamma can be experienced here-and-now. That however doesn't preclude them being experienced post-death.

3. If there is no Kamma, there is no purpose in morality; for after death there is nothing/no-one to experience the results.

See point #2... plus I'm sure there's plenty of atheists around who can tell you there's benefits to be gained from morality. Before you became Buddhist, could you see a purpose in morality? I know I could.

4. If there is no purpose in morality then there is no happiness to be gained from ones actions.

See point #3... there is a purpose in morality.

5. Therefor we are bound to the state we are in until death, where as there is no longer a being to 'experience' phenomena, there can be no suffering.

I find this confusing.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:42 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Blackbird,

Whilst I believe in rebirth, I don't find these arguments particularly convincing or logical...


I'm not very clear about trying to communicate what I think.
To a degree my logic is flawed, but I wouldn't say it's untrue.

retrofuturist wrote:
1. If rebirth did not exist, there would be no point in liberation from suffering, because death would be the liberation from suffering.


This ignores the fact there's suffering in this life and that's more than enough incentive to practice the Dhamma for most - rebirth or not. It also ignores that there is happiness in life.


It overlooks suffering in this life, true. But to state that there is no rebirth infers that there is no being to experience suffering after death, and therefor, by simply ending one's life, one would end suffering - which would make the whole business of enlightenment fairly pointless - wouldn't it?

retrofuturist wrote:
2. If death was the liberation from suffering there would be no Kamma, as there would be no person to experience the ripening of Kamma after death.

Kamma is not some sort of invisible cosmic judicial system that casts judgement at the time of death. Kamma is volition, and kamma stems from ignorance. The results of kamma can be experienced here-and-now. That however doesn't preclude them being experienced post-death.


If death is an unconditioned state, then it would not arise. If we accept, that all conditioned states are impermanent. Then we must accept death as a reality of life, but if death is a state, then it must arise dependant upon conditions. Therefore death must be impermanent if it has arisen due to conditions. Ie. Birth.

To accept that death is impermanent is part and parcel to accepting rebirth, is it not?

On the note of Kamma: If death was the end of suffering, there wouldn't be much point in skillful/unskillful actions because one could simply decide "Time to end all suffering" and commit suicide, thus ending Kamma for good.

If Kamma is a law, then it's illogical that the volition of killing ones self, would bring about the highest happiness (the end of suffering), but then killing other beings (An immoral deed) would bring about untold suffering in the here and now, in the future up until the time of death, but not thereafter. That is inconsistant, and a law by it's nature isn't inconsistant. So if death is the end of all suffering, then Kamma cannot exist, because it would not be a law.

retrofuturist wrote:
3. If there is no Kamma, there is no purpose in morality; for after death there is nothing/no-one to experience the results.

Plus I'm sure there's plenty of atheists around who can tell you there's benefits to be gained from morality.


See above. The logical road of rebirth denial, if one accepts the Noble Truth of suffering, is suicide. But to say that suicide as it's volitional reaction brings about the end of suffering renders Kamma unimportant, useless, and illogical.

retrofuturist wrote:Before you became Buddhist, could you see a purpose in morality? I know I could.


I think most people do believe in Kamma, perhaps in a secularised sense. There is just such a complete lack of mindfulness or awareness of whats happening, that one cannot put the idea of Kamma into much practise. Pot calling the kettle black - I am aware.

I was a very immoral person for much of my life, as soon as I saw that my immorality led to unhappiness I started to seek out the path to happiness, thus I came to Buddhism. So I'm really not sure on this one.

retrofuturist wrote:
5. Therefor we are bound to the state we are in until death, where as there is no longer a being to 'experience' phenomena, there can be no suffering.

I find this confusing.


If you accept the logical implications that there is no rebirth, then you have to accept that there is no suffering past death, if there is no suffering past death then there is no point in Buddhism. In fact there would be no point in continuing to live.

Ultimately, it is rebirth denial which is illogical, without merit. It conjours up a whole lot of "Ifs and buts" scenarios, exceptions and really a whole mass of suffering. Buddhism with rebirth however, doesn't tend to contradict itself.

BlackBird wrote:I'm only going to state my view once.

It is here that I must accept the obvious hypocrisy of my words.

Sorry about all this, seems too late to shut my mouth and stay out of it.

Jack.
Last edited by BlackBird on Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:29 am

Greetings Blackbird,

BlackBird wrote:But to state that there is no rebirth infers that there is no being to experience suffering after death, and therefor, by simply ending one's life, one would end suffering - which would make the whole business of enlightenment fairly pointless - wouldn't it?


That may be a rhetorical question to you, but it's not to me.

blackbird wrote:If death is an unconditioned state, then it would not arise. If we accept, that all conditioned states are impermanent. Then we must accept death as a reality of life, but if death is a state, then it must arise dependant upon conditions. Therefore death must be impermanent if it has arisen due to conditions. Ie. Birth.


I don't think I would classify "death" as a state at all - it's an abstract representation signifying that there is no longer conjoinment of mental and physical aggregates.... making the rest of your point moot.

blackbird wrote:To accept that death is impermanent is part and parcel to accepting rebirth, is it not?


No - I would suggest it is post-mortem continuance that is part and parcel of accepting rebirth.

blackbird wrote:On the note of Kamma: If death was the end of suffering, there wouldn't be much point in skillful/unskillful actions because one could simply decide "Time to end all suffering" and commit suicide, thus ending Kamma for good. If Kamma is a law, then it doesn't make much sense that the volition of killing ones self, would bring about the highest happiness (the end of suffering). But then to turn around and say killing other beings would bring about untold suffering in the here and now and in the future up until the time of death, but not thereafter.


It's worth pointing out that nibbana is expressed in positive terms as something that exist, and isn't just the end of suffering. A conventional atheistic style death doesn't constitute nibbana... that constitutes the complete and total snuffing out of mentation. Do not forget than nibbana can be experience here-and-now, so should not be conflated with death.

blackbird wrote:If there is no result of past actions, or present actions, then there is no such thing as Kamma. If however there is a result of past actions and present actions, then there is Kamma. To accept that there is a purpose in morality, is to accept Kamma.


I think that's too simplistic. I can think of plenty of people who believe "there is a result of past actions and present actions" that do not believe and kamma... and of those who do believe in kamma, understand it in completely different ways (e.g. Hindus)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:50 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Blackbird,

BlackBird wrote:But to state that there is no rebirth infers that there is no being to experience suffering after death, and therefor, by simply ending one's life, one would end suffering - which would make the whole business of enlightenment fairly pointless - wouldn't it?


That may be a rhetorical question to you, but it's not to me.


I don't get it

retrofuturist wrote:
blackbird wrote:If death is an unconditioned state, then it would not arise. If we accept, that all conditioned states are impermanent. Then we must accept death as a reality of life, but if death is a state, then it must arise dependant upon conditions. Therefore death must be impermanent if it has arisen due to conditions. Ie. Birth.


I don't think I would classify "death" as a state at all - it's an abstract representation signifying that there is no longer conjoinment of mental and physical aggregates.... making the rest of your point moot.


I really don't get it. If it's not a state, what is it?

If it's unconditioned - Then it cannot be suffering
If it's conditioned - Then it must be impermanent.

But what of a 'no state' this I cannot understand.


retrofuturist wrote:It's worth pointing out that nibbana is expressed in positive terms as something that exist[s], and isn't just the end of suffering.


Yeah, you're right.

retrofuturist wrote:A conventional atheistic style death doesn't constitute nibbana... that constitutes the complete and total snuffing out of mentation.


But then how would one interpret that in Buddhist words - I can't think of any interpretation according to the Dhamma. Hence why I think holding to an atheistic concept of death, cannot possibly be reconciled with the Dhamma.

retrofuturist wrote:
blackbird wrote:If there is no result of past actions, or present actions, then there is no such thing as Kamma. If however there is a result of past actions and present actions, then there is Kamma. To accept that there is a purpose in morality, is to accept Kamma.


I think that's too simplistic. I can think of plenty of people who believe "there is a result of past actions and present actions" that do not believe and kamma...


Well, that's kamma by it's definition. Isn't it? Volitional actions whether past or present, give results.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:00 am

Greetings Blackbird,

BlackBird wrote:I really don't get it. If [death]'s not a state, what is it?


Approach the question in terms of the five aggregates, not in terms of a "person" who experiences "death" because it's the flux of the five aggregates that represent reality, not what we conventioally call a "person". Thus, what is "death" other than an abstraction? Death is a concept.

BlackBird wrote:Well, that's kamma by it's definition. Isn't it?


It's an aspect of it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:08 am

Well, I think it's time to bring my role in this to an end. Sorry for wasting your time Retro.

Hope you have a good day.
Jack.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:43 am

Greetings Jack,

I just thought of a simile, perhaps it will help.

Compare the death of a person, to the collapse of a building. The collapse of the building was conditioned (e.g. dynamite, strong winds, terrorist attack, erosion). "Collapse" is an abstract term indicating what has happened... in this case, that the elements of the building have changed into a new configuration. Just because the "collapse" of the building was conditioned, doesn't mean that that (abstractly defined) "collapsed state" is impermanent and that it's going to "de-collapse".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby appicchato » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:01 am

I'll jump in here just for a second...Jack, I wouldn't take this too hard...it's not a big deal not to get it right immediately...the Buddha said (so we're told) that this is a topic that's not easily understood...he didn't say that about everything...

On another note, I've read some of your posts and find you to be astute on many things, that's a real plus in my book (if I were asked)...keep swinging, we're all struggling... :smile:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:03 am

appicchato wrote:I'll jump in here just for a second...Jack, I wouldn't take this too hard...it's not a big deal not to get it right immediately...the Buddha said (so we're told) that this is a topic that's not easily understood...he didn't say that about everything...

On another note, I've read some of your posts and find you to be astute on many things, that's a real plus in my book (if I were asked)...keep swinging, we're all struggling... :smile:

:focus:


Thank you for that. I agree with you.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:10 am

Greetings Jack,

Like the others, I don't want you to be discouraged...!

I've certainly enjoyed reading some of your recent posts.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nathan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:50 am

For those who have posed questions with my perspective in question, I don't attend thinking about "if" questions. When I notice the mind contacting the "if" word I recognize immediately that in my mind this reasoning is simply speculative delusion and return attention to what is arising in the present. I attend to what we are instructed to attend to.

When considerately practiced, attending mindfully provides the appropriate kinds of insights into resolving questions about the accuracy of the teachings. Arguments contribute nothing to the kind of confidence that direct observation and verification of the teachings affords. It puts an end to questions and contentions about this stuff. Think of it this way, however rebirth might be viewed, let go of that concern also, relax about it and simply wait until you know, and then reflect on what becomes known.
:anjali:

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge...

the following excerpted from
MN 101
PTS: M ii 214
Devadaha Sutta: At Devadaha
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"And how is striving fruitful, how is exertion fruitful? There is the case where a monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain, nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not fixated on that pleasure. He discerns that 'When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.' So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity is exhausted.

"Suppose that a man is in love with a woman, his mind ensnared with fierce desire, fierce passion. He sees her standing with another man, chatting, joking, & laughing. What do you think, monks: As he sees her standing with another man, chatting, joking, & laughing, would sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair arise in him?"

"Yes, lord. Why is that? Because he is in love with her, his mind ensnared with fierce desire, fierce passion..."

"Now suppose the thought were to occur to him, 'I am in love with this woman, my mind ensnared with fierce desire, fierce passion. When I see her standing with another man, chatting, joking, & laughing, then sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair arise within me. Why don't I abandon my desire & passion for that woman?' So he abandons his desire & passion for that woman, and afterwards sees her standing with another man, chatting, joking, & laughing. What do you think, monks: As he sees her standing with another man, chatting, joking, & laughing, would sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair arise in him?"

"No, lord. Why is that? He is dispassionate toward that woman..."

"In the same way, the monk, when not loaded down, does not load himself down with pain, nor does he reject pleasure that accords with the Dhamma, although he is not infatuated with that pleasure. He discerns that 'When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.' So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity is exhausted.

"Furthermore, the monk notices this: 'When I live according to my pleasure, unskillful mental qualities increase in me & skillful qualities decline. When I exert myself with stress & pain, though, unskillful qualities decline in me & skillful qualities increase. Why don't I exert myself with stress & pain?' So he exerts himself with stress & pain, and while he is exerting himself with stress & pain, unskillful qualities decline in him, & skillful qualities increase. Then at a later time he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain. Why is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was exerting himself with stress & pain. That is why, at a later time, he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain.

"Suppose a fletcher were to heat & warm an arrow shaft between two flames, making it straight & pliable. Then at a later time he would no longer heat & warm the shaft between two flames, making it straight & pliable. Why is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was heating & warming the shaft. That is why at a later time he would no longer heat & warm the shaft between two flames, making it straight & pliable.

In the same way, the monk notices this: 'When I live according to my pleasure, unskillful mental qualities increase in me & skillful qualities decline. When I exert myself with stress & pain, though, unskillful qualities decline in me & skillful qualities increase. Why don't I exert myself with stress & pain?' So he exerts himself with stress & pain, and while he is exerting himself with stress & pain, unskillful qualities decline in him, & skillful qualities increase. Then at a later time he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain. Why is that? Because he has attained the goal for which he was exerting himself with stress & pain. That is why, at a later time, he would no longer exert himself with stress & pain.

"This is how striving is fruitful, how exertion is fruitful."


"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives.2 He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and 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 and 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 and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes and details. This, too, is how striving is fruitful, how exertion is fruitful.
Last edited by nathan on Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:58 am

nathan wrote:When I notice the mind contacting the "if" word I recognize immediately that in my mind this reasoning is simply speculative delusion and return attention to what is arising in the present. I attend to what we are instructed to attend to.


Well said, Nathan!
Thank you for reminding us of the importance of the task at hand and dismissing that which is extraneous.
Metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BlackBird » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:20 am

appicchato wrote:I'll jump in here just for a second...Jack, I wouldn't take this too hard...it's not a big deal not to get it right immediately...the Buddha said (so we're told) that this is a topic that's not easily understood...he didn't say that about everything...

On another note, I've read some of your posts and find you to be astute on many things, that's a real plus in my book (if I were asked)...keep swinging, we're all struggling... :smile:

:focus:


retrofuturist wrote:Like the others, I don't want you to be discouraged...!


Thank you for the encouragement Bhante, All. Although I think I've got a lot of work to do before I can safely contribute something worthwhile - As I saw today, when mindfulness is not at the fore I am liable to either conceit and arrogence, or mental self-abasement. I think this is something that will change with time, as habits get reinforced over the years it's unreasonable to expect to undo them in a matter of months.

But please note that after today I will be inclining my posting habits to clearing my doubt and fostering certainty as opposed to opinions and lectures, as I don't think it's right to preach what I seemingly cannot practise.

May you all have a good evening.
:anjali:
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:14 am

Hey Blackbird


It overlooks suffering in this life, true. But to state that there is no rebirth infers that there is no being to experience suffering after death, and therefor, by simply ending one's life, one would end suffering - which would make the whole business of enlightenment fairly pointless - wouldn't it?



a being experiences suffering? What happened to Anatta


If death is an unconditioned state, then it would not arise. If we accept, that all conditioned states are impermanent. Then we must accept death as a reality of life, but if death is a state, then it must arise dependant upon conditions. Therefore death must be impermanent if it has arisen due to conditions. Ie. Birth.

To accept that death is impermanent is part and parcel to accepting rebirth, is it not?


Or just dont go into speculation about it?


On the note of Kamma: If death was the end of suffering, there wouldn't be much point in skillful/unskillful actions because one could simply decide "Time to end all suffering" and commit suicide, thus ending Kamma for good.


Buddha didnt say "life is suffering" he said "there is suffering"

When people commit suicide its usually because they see everything as misery

Kamma is a law, then it's illogical that the volition of killing ones self, would bring about the highest happiness (the end of suffering), but then killing other beings (An immoral deed) would bring about untold suffering in the here and now, in the future up until the time of death, but not thereafter.



If you kill something you dont suffer non-stop forever

See above. The logical road of rebirth denial, if one accepts the Noble Truth of suffering, is suicide. But to say that suicide as it's volitional reaction brings about the end of suffering renders Kamma unimportant, useless, and illogical.



Only if you mistake the first noble truth as saying "everything is suffering and misery". The first noble truth states "there is dukkha" is a reconition of a problem

If you accept the logical implications that there is no rebirth, then you have to accept that there is no suffering past death, if there is no suffering past death then there is no point in Buddhism. In fact there would be no point in continuing to live.


No because saying "there is no suffering past death" or "at death there is nothing" is just as much a speculative view as "there is rebirth" or "there is God and Jesus" etc

The last sentence is also coming accross as pessimistic nihilism

if there is no suffering past death then there is no point in Buddhism


So there is no dukkha here and now?

"it is good that you have gone forth with the view I am a victim of birth, ageing and death" - Buddha

Ultimately, it is rebirth denial which is illogical, without merit. It conjours up a whole lot of "Ifs and buts" scenarios, exceptions and really a whole mass of suffering.


Only if your stuck in the net of specualtive views

Buddhism with rebirth however, doesn't tend to contradict itself.


Thats been debated a lot in this thread

The best teaching ive heard about this comes from Ajahn Sumedho

The only thing that’s certain about the future—the death of the body—is something we try to ignore. Just thinking about the word death stops the mind, doesn’t it? It does for me. It’s not particularly polite or politically correct to speak of death in casual conversation. What is death? What will happen when I die? Not knowing upsets us. But it is unknown, isn’t it? We don’t know what will happen when the body dies.We have various theories—like reincarnation or being rewarded by a better rebirth or being punished by a worse birth. Some people speculate that once you’ve attained human birth, you may still be reborn as a lower creature. And then there’s the school that says no, once you’ve taken birth in the human form, then you cannot be reborn as a lower creature. Or the belief in oblivion—once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Nothing left. Finito. The truth of the matter is that nobody really knows. So we often just ignore it or suppress it.

But this is all happening in the now. We’re thinking of the concept of death in the present. The way the word death affects consciousness is like this. This is knowing not knowing in the now. It’s not trying to prove any theory. It’s knowing: the breath is like this; the body like this; the moods and mental states are like this. This is developing the path. Saying “like this” is just a way of reminding oneself to see this moment as it is rather than to be caught in some idea that we’ve got to do something or find something or control something or get rid of something.

Developing the path, cultivating bhavana is not only formal meditation that we can only do at a certain place, under certain conditions, with certain teachers. That’s just another view we’re creating in the present. Observe how you practice in daily life—at home, with your family, on the job. The word bhavana means being aware of the mind wherever you are in the present moment. I can give you advice about developing sitting meditation—so many minutes every morning and every evening—which is certainly to be considered. It’s useful to develop discipline, to take some time in your daily life to stop your activities, the momentum of duties, the responsibilities and habits. But what I’ve found to really help me the most has been to reflect and pay attention to the here and now.



All the best :smile:

metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nathan » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:31 am

Recommended reading for ending one's internal debate.
:anjali:
Majjhima Nikaya 1
The Mulapariyaya Sutta: The Root Sequence

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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