the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:49 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:As it ever occured to you that you might be wrong ? I started from an assumption that literal rebirth could not possibly be entertained and a combination of events and of relationship with people to whom the reality of Rebirth was a living a vital matter changed me and changed my views. There are other ways to arrive at a view of the nature of things than ruminating on their philosophical expression. There is also the politics of experience.




Yes but I cant live my life in doubt. I could spend my life worrying that I might be wrong about Jesus and will end up burning in hell for eternity because who knows, they could be right. In the end we have to make a choice dont we. I started with rebirth view but found it lacking because I just didnt see the evidence for it upon closer inspection of the Suttas and the arguments given for why its not within the Buddhas own teachings (so 4nt's etc) are more rational than the arguments on the other side. Also my practice has given my understanding some weight as well

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:55 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:So, generations of Buddhist sages were either delusional or practising sleight of hand, but despite that you think we should take them seriously or even emulate them ? Why ?




Leaving beside the delusional argument, I believe we should emulate them because the moral and mental training that the Buddha laid down leads on to leave behind all dukkha. What is more important than that?



Rebirth view is useful to some because it steers them away from some seriously wrong views such as nihilism etc and the God belief and instead sets them in a world view where the emphasis is on your own actions. It therefore develops a sense of responsibilty and fosters a mind set of caring about your actions in relation to not just their own self but also others. This leads the person to develop very strong wholesome mind states. They can then either practice the NEFP or, if they choose not to do that, lead a relatively happy life


This is all its for IMO, a handy view for people to adopt to help them end their dukkha, one which the Buddha (and others) have made use of. However if one wishes to put of the flames of greed hated and delusion then one must eventually leave behind the view of rebirth as a frog after death, since for there to be nibbana all views must be put down


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:59 pm

Jesus is just another strawman, begging his pardon.
We are not talking about a belief system, we are talking about a systematic assertion of the truth of things rediscovered by the Buddha and verifiable to those who are prepared to do the spadework. And many people in different cultures and over the millenia have done the spadework and have verified what the Buddha rediscovered. I suspect that what they rediscovered was not a sophisticated con trick for peoples own good, neither was it a delusional belief awaiting correction by the illuminated offspring of the 21st century.
The very concepts of Dukkha and Rebirth form a seamless whole, removal of any aspect of the Buddhas teachings reduces it it to a self help manual to churn out happy and good citizens. It becomes a means of reducing people to capitalist work fodder. The Buddhadhamma is far more radical than that.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:06 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Jesus is just another strawman, begging his pardon.
We are not talking about a belief system, we are talking about a systematic assertion of the truth of things rediscovered by the Buddha and verifiable to those who are prepared to do the spadework. And many people in different cultures and over the millenia have done the spadework and have verified what the Buddha rediscovered. I suspect that what they rediscovered was not a sophisticated con trick for peoples own good, neither was it a delusional belief awaiting correction by the illuminated offspring of the 21st century.




rebirth is a belief system/view since you believe it to be true despite there being no evidence for it to be true other than what someone has said/what (you think) a text says

You could also argue that an eternal God is true because many people throughout the ages had done the spadework and verified what Jesus, Mohammed etc etc discovered/rediscovered (the re bit for hinduism and some New Age)


Tell me then how you take this passage


So, Anuruddha, it is not for the purpose of scheming to deceive people or for the purpose of flattering people or for the purpose of gain, honour, and renown, or with the thought " let people know me to be thus", that when a disciple has died, the Tathagata declares his reappearance thus "so-and-so has reappeared in such-and-such a place" Rather, it is because there are faithful clansmen inspired and gladdened by what is lofty, who when they hear that, direct their minds to such a state, and that leads to their welfare and happiness for a long time"



lofty
Adjective
[loftier, loftiest]
1. of majestic or imposing height
2. morally admirable: lofty ideals
3. unpleasantly superior: a lofty contempt


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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Laurens » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:13 pm

I fail to see how anyone can interpret the suttas as saying anything other than; after this body dies, we are reborn in another body according to our kamma. I don't think the Buddha would have said such things if he did not mean them literally.

If you study the suttas you will notice that when the Buddha is speaking metaphorically, using a similie he begins by saying something along the lines of; "Suppose, monks a man...." he clearly instructs us to suppose prior to speaking metaphorically.

In no instance can I find that the Buddha says 'Suppose, monks after the breakup of the body, upon death, a person is reborn' when he speaks about rebirth, he does not ask us to suppose anything, so it is only reasonible to assume that he is speaking literally in such cases.

The Buddha was an astounding teacher, I cannot see that he would have made it unclear as to what he was talking about, on any subject. If he was not talking literally he would have said so, as he did in other cases when he was not speaking literally.

All the best
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:15 pm

The very concepts of Dukkha and Rebirth form a seamless whole, removal of any aspect of the Buddhas teachings reduces it it to a self help manual to churn out happy and good citizens. It becomes a means of reducing people to capitalist work fodder. The Buddhadhamma is far more radical than that.




Why? Because you say so? You havent provided any evidence at all



I teach suffering and the end of suffering. I teach only two things



The Buddha saw the only real question in life is dukkha and how to end it, everything else is pretty unimportant


We must see that there is no reason to be born. Born in what way?
Born into gladness: When we get something we like we are glad over
it. If there is no clinging to that gladness there is no birth; if there is
clinging, this is called ‘birth’. So if we get something, we aren’t born
(into gladness). If we lose, then we aren’t born (into sorrow). This
is the birthless and the deathless. Birth and death are both founded in
clinging to and cherishing the san?kha¯ras.

So the Buddha said. “There is no more becoming for me, finished
is the holy life, this is my last birth.” There! He knew the birthless and
the deathless. This is what the Buddha constantly exhorted his disciples
to know. This is the right practice. If you don’t reach it, if you don’t
reach the Middle Way, then you won’t transcend suffering



As for the capitalist work fodder comment I dont know where your getting that from


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:17 pm

:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:18 pm

Laurens wrote:I fail to see how anyone can interpret the suttas as saying anything other than; after this body dies, we are reborn in another body according to our kamma. I don't think the Buddha would have said such things if he did not mean them literally.

If you study the suttas you will notice that when the Buddha is speaking metaphorically, using a similie he begins by saying something along the lines of; "Suppose, monks a man...." he clearly instructs us to suppose prior to speaking metaphorically.

In no instance can I find that the Buddha says 'Suppose, monks after the breakup of the body, upon death, a person is reborn' when he speaks about rebirth, he does not ask us to suppose anything, so it is only reasonible to assume that he is speaking literally in such cases.

The Buddha was an astounding teacher, I cannot see that he would have made it unclear as to what he was talking about, on any subject. If he was not talking literally he would have said so, as he did in other cases when he was not speaking literally.

All the best
Laurens




Hace you read my last few posts? I dont deny the Buddha mentioned such things to some people, just that he made use of it for a specific reason


The Buddha tells us why he mentions these things, because there are "faithful clansmen, who when they here that turn their minds to wholesome states which lead to their wellfare and happiness for a long time"


In other words its a better view for them to have rather than say, after death there is nothing, since it lends itself to good moral behaviour however this doesnt mean it is in anyway related to the 4nt's, which are the Buddhas own teachings which are concerned with the ending of dukkha right here and now


On closer inspection of the Suttas, i have found that rebirth as a rabbit after death is not an integral view that one must adopt. However i do say it does help some


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Laurens » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:31 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Laurens wrote:I fail to see how anyone can interpret the suttas as saying anything other than; after this body dies, we are reborn in another body according to our kamma. I don't think the Buddha would have said such things if he did not mean them literally.

If you study the suttas you will notice that when the Buddha is speaking metaphorically, using a similie he begins by saying something along the lines of; "Suppose, monks a man...." he clearly instructs us to suppose prior to speaking metaphorically.

In no instance can I find that the Buddha says 'Suppose, monks after the breakup of the body, upon death, a person is reborn' when he speaks about rebirth, he does not ask us to suppose anything, so it is only reasonible to assume that he is speaking literally in such cases.

The Buddha was an astounding teacher, I cannot see that he would have made it unclear as to what he was talking about, on any subject. If he was not talking literally he would have said so, as he did in other cases when he was not speaking literally.

All the best
Laurens




Hace you read my last few posts? I dont deny the Buddha mentioned such things to some people, just that he made use of it for a specific reason


The Buddha tells us why he mentions these things, because there are "faithful clansmen, who when they here that turn their minds to wholesome states which lead to their wellfare and happiness for a long time"


In other words its a better view for them to have rather than say, after death there is nothing, since it lends itself to good moral behaviour however this doesnt mean it is in anyway related to the 4nt's, which are the Buddhas own teachings which are concerned with the ending of dukkha right here and now


metta


I apologise for not making it clear, but I wasn't necessarily addressing you personally with my post - it was merely directed at those who do deny that the Buddha taught literal rebirth.

Personally (and maybe I misunderstand you) I don't think that the Buddha would have taught rebirth as being literal just as a means of getting his followers to lead a moral life. I don't think he would have taught something as fact, if he did not believe it to be fact or if it was questionable in his eyes because that is misleading and essentially false speech.

The Buddha attained insight into his past lives, he saw for himself the truth of rebirth and taught it to his followers. I don't think it is something he taught as a means for his followers to be good people, he taught it because he saw that it was the truth.

I apologise if I misunderstand.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby enkidu » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:34 pm

clw_uk wrote:
The very concepts of Dukkha and Rebirth form a seamless whole, removal of any aspect of the Buddhas teachings reduces it it to a self help manual to churn out happy and good citizens. It becomes a means of reducing people to capitalist work fodder. The Buddhadhamma is far more radical than that.




Why? Because you say so? You havent provided any evidence at all



I teach suffering and the end of suffering. I teach only two things



The Buddha saw the only real question in life is dukkha and how to end it, everything else is pretty unimportant


What is dukkha if not rebirth? What is ending dukkha if not ending rebirth?

I apologize for essentially restating my earlier question for I know you already stated you have no intention of discussing this particular bit, but I believe this is the very heart of the discrepancy.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Justsit » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:37 pm

So, CLW, am I understanding you correctly, you deny cyclic existence?

If so, could you please explain your understanding of Kamma?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Laurens » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:40 pm

clw_uk wrote:
I teach suffering and the end of suffering. I teach only two things



The Buddha saw the only real question in life is dukkha and how to end it, everything else is pretty unimportant


Yes indeed the Buddha only taught that which leads to the end of suffering, he did not teach other things. If rebirth was not key to his dhamma, and non beneficial to the ceasation of suffering he wouldn't have mentioned it.
Last edited by Laurens on Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby nowheat » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:49 pm

nowheat wrote:It may have already been answered at length in this thread, but do you think you can briefly summarize for me what is consistent about telling me I should focus on the well-being of some aspect of myself in a future life, when the rest of the teaching asks me to let go of a belief in a self? I can understand that developing a concern for a future-self could be of use in developing morality, if I wasn't particularly moral to begin with; if I needed some kind of threat of future punishment to get me to act in a way that takes into consideration the effect of my actions and intentions on others, but given that the Buddha's view of how we create our own suffering, when truly understood, generates actual compassion from which moral behavior comes naturally, rather than applying morality from the outside by fear of retribution, I just don't see that that teaching an already moral person to cling to some aspect of self while teaching them to let go of the view of self has any value at all, never mind consistency.

Things get buried fast in this thread! I have this question about the practical aspects of the Buddha teaching rebirth that I put here this morning and it's already 2 pages back!

Maybe I should change the words "do you think you can" to "can anyone please"?

:namaste:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby enkidu » Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:07 pm

nowheat wrote:
nowheat wrote:It may have already been answered at length in this thread, but do you think you can briefly summarize for me what is consistent about telling me I should focus on the well-being of some aspect of myself in a future life, when the rest of the teaching asks me to let go of a belief in a self? I can understand that developing a concern for a future-self could be of use in developing morality, if I wasn't particularly moral to begin with; if I needed some kind of threat of future punishment to get me to act in a way that takes into consideration the effect of my actions and intentions on others, but given that the Buddha's view of how we create our own suffering, when truly understood, generates actual compassion from which moral behavior comes naturally, rather than applying morality from the outside by fear of retribution, I just don't see that that teaching an already moral person to cling to some aspect of self while teaching them to let go of the view of self has any value at all, never mind consistency.

Things get buried fast in this thread! I have this question about the practical aspects of the Buddha teaching rebirth that I put here this morning and it's already 2 pages back!

Maybe I should change the words "do you think you can" to "can anyone please"?

:namaste:


As I see it:

Rebirths are said to be favorable or unfavorable only insofar as they afford Dhamma practice. Rebirth results from self-clinging which is to be abandoned. Actions are said to be virtuous or non-virtuous only insofar as they are causes for Liberation or causes for Samsara, rebirth. Actions motivated by self-clinging must necessarily be causes for Samsara, rebirth, and are thus non-virtuous. And so on.

By thinking in this way, there is no inconsistency.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:09 pm

Justsit wrote:So, CLW, am I understanding you correctly, you deny cyclic existence?

If so, could you please explain your understanding of Kamma?




Samsara is the spining of the mind, not a metaphysical hey im a frog now


When the Buddha talks about "worlds" and such he is refering to how we percieve the world, that is the use of the term "world" in Buddhadhamma. So if there is birth in a hell realm, one is in hell since one experiences existence in a completely negative way, this is fully in line with these suttas


It's a gain for you, monks, a great gain, that you've gained the opportunity to live the holy life. I have seen a hell named 'Contacts Sixfold Base.' Whatever form one sees there with the eye is undesirable, never desirable; displeasing, never pleasing; disagreeable, never agreeable. Whatever sound one hears there with the ear... Whatever aroma one smells there with the nose... Whatever flavor one tastes there with the tongue... Whatever tactile sensation one touches there with the body... Whatever idea one cognizes there with the intellect is undesirable, never desirable; displeasing, never pleasing; disagreeable, never agreeable.

"It's a gain for you, monks, a great gain, that you've gained the opportunity to live the holy life. I have seen a heaven named "Contacts Six Fold Base.' Whatever form one sees there with the eye is desirable, never undesirable; pleasing, never displeasing; agreeable, never disagreeable. Whatever sound one hears there with the ear... Whatever aroma one smells there with the nose... Whatever flavor one tastes there with the tongue ... Whatever tactile sensation one touches there with the body... Whatever idea one cognizes there with the intellect is desirable, never undesirable; pleasing, never displeasing; agreeable, never disagreeable.

"It's a gain for you, monks, a great gain, that you've gained the opportunity to live the holy life."



and


that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world - this is called the world in the noble ones discipline
"

SN - 1190 - book of the six sense media


The Buddha is using words in his own way, problem arises when you apply the everyday use of a word to Buddhas use of it. Further more the Buddha was concerned with the mind, everything he taught had to do with mental states. Samsara is the spinining of the mind, not the spining of "you" through different wombs


Look at this passage for instance


Four Kinds of Generation

32. "Sariputta, there are these four kinds of generation. What are the four? Egg-born generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation and spontaneous generation.

33. "What is egg-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out of the shell of an egg; this is called egg-born generation.

What is womb-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out from the caul; this is called womb-born generation.

What is moisture-born generation? There are these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation.

What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.



Now then, humans are born from a womb and so are included in womb born generation yet they are also mentioned in the last catergory of spontaneous generation. Now obviously this doesnt mean people just pop into existence out of no where, and since we already covered humans unnder womb born, it is refering to the mental state of being a human, just like Buddha was refering to hell beings as a mental state. Just like Heaven and Hell and Gods and Hungry ghosts are mental states. Just like samsara is about the spining of the mind through ignorance, craving and clinging to impermanent dhammas which are all discussing mental states and not physical places in a so called rebirth after death as a fish





As for Kamma, Buddha that kamma is intention, this is a radical thing for him to do at the time. Before him kamma was ritualistic duty or general a causes be causes c causes d kinda view. The Buddha removes this and makes use of the notion of Kamma that was prevaling at the time by saying no your intention will have results in the samsara of the mind, rob someone and there will be an unwholesome state, give to charity and there will be a wholesome state. Foster wholesome states for they help lead to nibbana


The problem of kamma is actually your problem since you can only see it through the lense of rebirth after death as a frog kinda way and so you see any removal of that as a problem with what Buddha was saying


that in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world, this is called the world in the noble ones discipline


Not external physical world somewhere but the inner mental world, thats how Buddha uses the term. He makes the word his own



I have seen a hell named 'Contacts Sixfold Base.' Whatever form one sees there with the eye is undesirable, never desirable; displeasing, never pleasing; disagreeable, never agreeable



Hell is a mental state of being, which is what Buddha is saying above and not some place after death


tbh ive never known why hell can only seem real if its in some metaphycial etheral realm somewhere when it can be experienced directly here



metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:19 pm

What is dukkha if not rebirth? What is ending dukkha if not ending rebirth?

I apologize for essentially restating my earlier question for I know you already stated you have no intention of discussing this particular bit, but I believe this is the very heart of the discrepancy.



Dukkha is the sense of suffering or a sense of "hard to bear" that comes from clinging to things which are impermanent, mostly the aggregates. When one clings to, lets say the body, then one is seized with the idea "I am body" and when body ages there is the mistaken view "i am ageing" (and so some stress/dukkha) when the body dies there is the mistaken view "i am dying", or even "i am hurt, I am ugly, I am fat, I am too thin" etc etc


However if one removes craving and clinging in relation to form then there is no "I am ageing, I am fat, I am ugly, I am dying, I am in pain" etc (last one is more feeling) and so there is no dukkha there




"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.

"He assumes feeling to be the self, or the self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in the self, or the self as in feeling. He is seized with the idea that 'I am feeling' or 'Feeling is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his feeling changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.

"He assumes perception to be the self, or the self as possessing perception, or perception as in the self, or the self as in perception. He is seized with the idea that 'I am perception' or 'Perception is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his perception changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self, or the self as possessing fabrications, or fabrications as in the self, or the self as in fabrications. He is seized with the idea that 'I am fabrications' or 'Fabrications are mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his fabrications change & alter, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over their change & alteration.

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. He is seized with the idea that 'I am consciousness' or 'Consciousness is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his consciousness changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration.


SN 22.1


birth of "I" or "I am" which comes to be via craving

Craving leads to clinging which then leads onto the jati (birth) of I am which leads to dukkha. However if you practice the Buddhas teachings then there will be no craving or clinging and so no arising of "I am" and so no dukkha. No thinking "I am this and I am that" and no thinking "I am form, I am in pain, I dont want to be in pain, Why do I suffer" etc


We must see that there is no reason to be born. Born in what way?
Born into gladness: When we get something we like we are glad over
it. If there is no clinging to that gladness there is no birth; if there is
clinging, this is called ‘birth’. So if we get something, we aren’t born
(into gladness). If we lose, then we aren’t born (into sorrow). This
is the birthless and the deathless. Birth and death are both founded in
clinging to and cherishing the san?kha¯ras.

So the Buddha said. “There is no more becoming for me, finished
is the holy life, this is my last birth.” There! He knew the birthless and
the deathless. This is what the Buddha constantly exhorted his disciples
to know. This is the right practice. If you don’t reach it, if you don’t
reach the Middle Way, then you won’t transcend suffering



Ajahn Chah


Read what he says in relation to the above sutta. All in line with Dhamma, all in line with the 4nt's and all without reference to rebirth after death as a toad


even if you dont like what Ajahn Chah says, look at the sutta itself. Its discussing dukkha, which you assert has to mean rebirth after death, yet has no mention of that at all in fact it doesnt even hint at anything like it. Its talking about dukkha (which includes birth, as in birth of I) happening right now as mind states


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Justsit » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:23 pm

Was that a yes or a no? :shrug:

Also; frog???
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:28 pm

Justsit wrote:Was that a yes or a no? :shrug:

Also; frog???




well of course there is samsara because there is the spinining of the mind and the many births of "I am" in different realms every second. Just earlier "I" was in a hell realm




what your asking is does this apply to a metaphysical realm of spining throug wombs etc. I am saying that I really dont think thats what the Buddha meant. It may be true and it may not be true, its a metaphysical view that has no real bearing on removing dukkha in the here and now (remember buddha said its for the here and now) however it can be helpful for some to foster the view, at least initially, since it helps develop wholesome mind states
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Justsit » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:34 pm

Thank you.
Justsit
 
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby meindzai » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:35 pm

So how do you account for the Buddha's recollection of his prior lives, including his meetings with the prior Buddha Dipankara. These were all hallucinations?

And what's an Aeon? Just a metaphorical time period like waiting in line at the DMV? :zzz:

-M
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