the great rebirth debate

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:23 pm

Greetings,

A few comments....

1. The subtext for this forum states that partipants must "Be nice". If we had picked up stuka's comment in question prior to it being quoted multiple times, it would have been removed because it wasn't really "being nice". I have now clarified our standards for Stuka so that he is aware in future of what is permissable and not permissable.

2. Thus, please continue to use the "Report Post" button should you see objectionable posts that do not match the subject matter or scope of any given forum. We will attend to them as quickly as practicable, given our available staff.

3. Another reason to use the "Report Post" button is to stop the thread going off-topic with complaints. Public complaints, regardless of how legitimate, take threads off-topic and have a tendency to become a sideshow unto themselves.


Now, let's return to the topic at hand...

Thanks.

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 zamis » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:56 pm

I don't.


Meaning that I don't bother to postulate anything that "carries kammic imprint". No need at all here to run after the past or the future, or to be perplexed about the present:


So you don't postulate anything in order to verbally postulate something because not postulating anything would be invisible on a forum? Dear Stuka why show up at all if you only shoot down the clay pigeons?
"You're almost at the end of your lease in this burning house and yet you continue latching onto it as your self. It tricks you into feeling fear and love, and when you fall for it, what path will you practice? " Upasika Kee Nanayon

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:09 pm

zamis wrote:
I don't.


Meaning that I don't bother to postulate anything that "carries kammic imprint". No need at all here to run after the past or the future, or to be perplexed about the present:


So you don't postulate anything in order to verbally postulate something because not postulating anything would be invisible on a forum?


That is not the case.

Dear Stuka why show up at all if you only shoot down the clay pigeons?


What is it that you are trying to say?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby zamis » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:59 am

Dear Stuka,

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 44.9

Emphasis mine. Do not confuse being with self.
"You're almost at the end of your lease in this burning house and yet you continue latching onto it as your self. It tricks you into feeling fear and love, and when you fall for it, what path will you practice? " Upasika Kee Nanayon

http://www.bhikkhuni.net
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:23 pm

zamis wrote:Dear Stuka,

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 44.9

Emphasis mine. Do not confuse being with self.



...and the relevance to this discussion is...?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:29 pm

"By and large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (ie, takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence and non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one.

"By and large, Kaccayana, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings (sustenances), & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on 'my self.' He has no uncertainty or doubt that what arises is just suffering; what passes away is just suffering. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It's to this extent, Kaccayana, that there is right view.

"'Everything exists': that is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': that is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma via the middle: From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite… From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress and suffering.”

What is interesting to note in this passage is the mention, in conjunction with this dichotomy describing the sassatavāda and ucchedavāda ideologies, of the notion of a fixation on the concept of a ‘self’ or ‘soul’ (ātman). Indeed, it is by means of this notion that the Buddha was able to discern a commonality between these apparently diametrically opposed viewpoints. Sassatavāda, (particularly in its Brahmin articulation), for instance, held the existence of ‘a permanent, self entity impervious to change’, and featuring ‘a spiritual substance… which relates… to some kind of transcendental reality serving as the ultimate ground of existence’. Although holding the view of the non-permanence or temporality of a being, ucchedavāda too can be seen to essentially agree with sassatavāda in its belief in a self-sustaining, independently constituted entity, consistent with the idea of a (relatively enduring) self or personality. By forwarding the notion of ‘non-self’, Buddhism thus established a contrast delineating itself, at the one time, from these two extreme positions.

It is important, however, that the notion of ‘non-self’ not be interpreted in the nihilistic sense as the absolute ‘non-existence’ of a subjective entity, but rather be perceived as the avoidance of the understandings of the self that define the ideological positions of sassatavāda and ucchedavāda. In this sense, non-self (also defined as ‘impersonality’), as it is understood in Buddhism, could essentially be defined as another side of the doctrine of paṭicca samuppāda as applied to the constitution of a (conventionally designated) person, being, or self-entity – with ‘non-self’ negatively describing the very conditionality of the ‘self’ concept, whilst dependant origination explains the basis for the ‘self’ being regarded as ‘conventional’ yet ultimately insubstantial.


Dependant Origination and the Middle Doctrine in Early Buddhism

Prof. Y. Karunadasa and Corey Bell

http://www.buddhistdoor.com/journal/issue001-3c.html
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby zamis » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:58 pm

stuka wrote:
zamis wrote:Dear Stuka,

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 44.9

Emphasis mine. Do not confuse being with self.



...and the relevance to this discussion is...?


Dear Stuka, there is no relevance when one chooses, as a rhetorical device, to question it. From this side, the above directly relates to the string of exchanges leading to the post. What carries a kammic imprint? The being of a moment. Who takes refuge? The being of a moment. Who enters a stream? The being of a moment.

"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found.
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there,
Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.
The path is, but no traveller on it is seen" (Visuddhimagga)

On this post, I shall add that I can't contribute more. I thought the thread in a new forum would be educational. I've no desire to engage in the same old tired arguments. The house is on fire and words are not water. Fortunately for all of us the Buddhist path is experiential. It is for one to know, to see, to purify. Awesome. Be well, live long and prosper, NaNu Nanu.
"You're almost at the end of your lease in this burning house and yet you continue latching onto it as your self. It tricks you into feeling fear and love, and when you fall for it, what path will you practice? " Upasika Kee Nanayon

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:34 pm

zamis wrote:
zamis wrote:Dear Stuka,

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 44.9

Emphasis mine. Do not confuse being with self.


stuka wrote:...and the relevance to this discussion is...?


Dear Stuka, there is no relevance when one chooses, as a rhetorical device, to question it. From this side, the above directly relates to the string of exchanges leading to the post. What carries a kammic imprint? The being of a moment. Who takes refuge? The being of a moment. Who enters a stream? The being of a moment.

"Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found.
The deeds are, but no doer of the deeds is there,
Nirvana is, but not the man that enters it.
The path is, but no traveller on it is seen" (Visuddhimagga)

On this post, I shall add that I can't contribute more. I thought the thread in a new forum would be educational. I've no desire to engage in the same old tired arguments. The house is on fire and words are not water. Fortunately for all of us the Buddhist path is experiential. It is for one to know, to see, to purify. Awesome. Be well, live long and prosper, NaNu Nanu.


Text without context is pretext.

Looks like you are stuck in the sassatavada vs.uddedavada trap, and can't see out. The Buddha's Noble teachings rose above -- transcended, as it were -- the entire cesspool of sassatavada/uccedavada philosophical debates.

These are not "rhetorical devices" at all, friend. It is just that what you think you see has been distorted by your own inability to step out of your own sassatavadin mode of thinking. Other philosophers accused the Buddha of the same things you do me here, and for the same reasons: They -- and you -- simply couldn't see, or refused to see the "outside of the box" that the Buddha was -- and I am -- pointing to.

Your quesiton, "What carries a kammic imprint?" illustrates this clearly. We are not even in agreement of your sassatavadin assumption that there is such a thing as "a karmic imprint" at all. Again, it's a Box Thang.

Good idea for you to retreat, however. Nanu Nanu yourself. :lol:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:50 pm

What has convinced me of rebirth is this debate itself. It never dies for good, nor does it pass into parinibbanna. It must have strong attachments to dukkha.:lol:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:45 am

Bubbabuddhist wrote:What has convinced me of rebirth is this debate itself. It never dies for good, nor does it pass into parinibbanna. It must have strong attachments to dukkha.:lol:

J/Bb


Actually, it dies out right quick when examined in the light of the Buddha's Noble teachings. It wasn't really a Buddhist's debate in the first place. The Buddha's Noble teachings negate either speculative view ("There is/There is not reincarnation/'rebirth' "), rendering them both irrelevant.

It has just taken Buddhists at large the last 2500 years or so to start to figure that out... 8-)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:18 am

Greetings,

The Noble Eightfold Path remains the same, regardless.

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 stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

The Noble Eightfold Path remains the same, regardless.

Metta,
Retro. :)




Yup, and most importantly! 8-)
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:25 am

stuka wrote:
zamis wrote:Dear Stuka,

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."
SN 44.9

Emphasis mine. Do not confuse being with self.


Text without context is pretext.


The above quote illustrates this point quite well.

You lifted a single line out-of-context, and laid it on the table as if it were some kind of obvious trump card.

Here is the whole Sutta, a la Thanissaro:

Kutuhalasala Sutta
With Vacchagotta
Translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

PTS: S iv 398
CDB ii 1392
Source: Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.
Copyright © 2004 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight edition © 2004
For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.

Then Vacchagotta the wanderer went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, "Master Gotama, a few days ago a large number of contemplatives, brahmans, and wanderers of various sects were sitting together in the Debating Hall when this conversation arose among them: 'This Purana Kassapa — the leader of a community, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, honored and famous, esteemed as holy by the mass of people — describes a disciple who has died and passed on in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there." Even when the disciple is an ultimate person, a foremost person, attained to the foremost attainment, Purana Kassapa describes him, when he has died and passed on, in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there."

"'This Makkhali Gosala... This Nigantha Nataputta... This Sañjaya Velatthaputta... This Pakudha Kaccana... This Ajita Kesakambala — the leader of a community, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, honored and famous, esteemed as holy by the mass of people — describes a disciple who has died and passed on in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there." Even when the disciple is an ultimate person, a foremost person, attained to the foremost attainment, Ajita Kesakambala describes him, when he has died and passed on, in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there."

"This contemplative Gotama — the leader of a community, the leader of a group, the teacher of a group, honored and famous, esteemed as holy by the mass of people — describes a disciple who has died and passed on in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there." But when the disciple is an ultimate person, a foremost person, attained to the foremost attainment, the contemplative Gotama does not describe him, when he has died and passed on, in terms of places of rebirth: "That one is reborn there; that one is reborn there." Instead, he describes him thus: "He has cut through craving, severed the fetter, and by rightly breaking through conceit has made an end of suffering & stress."'

"So I was simply befuddled. I was uncertain: How is the teaching of Gotama the contemplative to be understood?"

"Of course you are befuddled, Vaccha. Of course you are uncertain. When there is a reason for befuddlement in you, uncertainty arises. I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance, Vaccha, and not of one without sustenance. Just as a fire burns with sustenance and not without sustenance, even so I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance and not of one without sustenance."

"But, Master Gotama, at the moment a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a flame is being swept on by the wind and goes a far distance, I designate it as wind-sustained, for the wind is its sustenance at that time."

"And at the moment when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, what do you designate as its sustenance then?"

"Vaccha, when a being sets this body aside and is not yet reborn in another body, I designate it as craving-sustained, for craving is its sustenance at that time."




It seems rather obvious that this business of someone asking the leader of each sect to speculate as to the fate of whoever has recently died was pretty common in the Buddha's time. And, from this Sutta, it seems that the leaders of the Buddha's major rival sects were more than happy to offer a speculative answer, and that every one of their answers always seems to "put the deceased back into play", no matter how accomplished he was.

But, in the case of the Buddha's response with respect to those who had reached the ultimate goal of the Buddhadhamma, the Buddha gave a very different answer, though, didn't he?

"He has cut through craving, severed the fetter, and by rightly breaking through conceit has made an end of suffering & stress."'

Now, that's not an answer that is based in an assumption of "rebirth" or an afterlife at all, is it? The Buddha doesn't say, "He has completed the Holy Life, and will no longer be 'reborn' here or there", does he? The Buddha simply states that "He...has made an end of suffering and stress."


And as for the sentence you quote, it is the implementation, the manifestation, the demonstration of what the Buddha declared in the text that is bolded above: I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance, Vaccha, and not of one without sustenance. Just as a fire burns with sustenance and not without sustenance, even so I designate the rebirth of one who has sustenance and not of one without sustenance."

This clearly refers back to the Buddha's distinction between "right view with effluents" and "Noble Right View", as outlined in the Maha Cattarisaka Sutta. "One who has sustenance" is one who has not transcended the speculative views that drive the morality of samma ditthi sasava, and "One without sustenance" clearly one who has transcended such views, into the samma ditthi anasava of one who does not take sustenance or fuel of the asavas.

With respect to the above sentence you cite out-of-context, Bhikkhu Bodhi offers a rather confused footnote (#382, CDB ii 1456) about this statement:

Bodhi wrote:Tam aham tanhupadanam vadami. The Buddha's statement seems to imply that a temporal gap can intervene between the death moment and reconception. Since this contradicts Theravada orthodoxy, Spk contends that at the death moment itself the being is said to be "not yet reborn" because the rebirth-consciousness has not yet arisen.


Of course, Bodhi's (as well as SPK's) comment is based in his own assumption of reincarnation/"rebirth". He openly admits his confusion.

There is no confusion at all in one who understands this, with respect to the sentence you cite: Vaccha, failing to grasp what the Buddha has explained to him, asks the Buddha a further question that is still based in the Brahmanic assumptions of eternal reincarnation/"rebirths", and receives an answer that is also based within the context of those same assumptions, but which points toward the Buddha's own Noble teachings, that is, to the notion that it is craving that is the fuel or sustenance that drives one toward suffering.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby appicchato » Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:41 am

stuka wrote:The Buddha's Noble teachings negate either speculative view ("There is/There is not reincarnation/'rebirth' "), rendering them both irrelevant.

What do you suppose the Buddha was referring to when he spoke about his 'previous lives'?...
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:20 am

appicchato wrote:
stuka wrote:The Buddha's Noble teachings negate either speculative view ("There is/There is not reincarnation/'rebirth' "), rendering them both irrelevant.

What do you suppose the Buddha was referring to when he spoke about his 'previous lives'?...


Hello, Bhante,

But it's not really "previous lives", though, is it? It is "previous homes", or "past dwellings", no...? :



http://www.suanmokkh.org/archive/as/n10-45.htm

[AS 498] Niddesa 10, #44

Paticca-samuppada Home
44. Genuine Pubbenivasanusattinyana
or Recollection of Past Dwellings
(not-eternalism)

Bhikkhus, any group of Samanas or Brahmins when recollecting pubbenivasa (previous dwellings), naturally recollect such previous dwellings in diverse numbers; in doing so, all of those Samanas and Brahmins recollect the five upadana-khandhas or any one of the five upadana-khandhas. What are these five? The five are …

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect rupa (form) as "in the distant past we had a rupa like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect vedana (feeling) as "in the distant past we had vedana like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect sanya (recognition, perception) as "in the distant past we had sanya like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect sankhara (concocting, thinking, emotions) as "in the distant past we had sankhara like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect vinyana as "in the distant past we had a vinyana like this."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of rupa? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally disintegrates (ruppati, vexed, oppressed), for this reason it is called "rupa." Why does it disintegrate? It disintegrates due to cold, due to heat, due to hunger, due to thirst, and due to the contacts of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and crawling animals. This nature naturally disintegrates, for this reason it is called "rupa."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of vedana? Bhikkhus, this nature is felt (vedayati), for this reason it is called "vedana." What does it feel? It feels pleasure, pain, and neither-pain-nor-pleasure. Bhikkhus, this nature feels, for this reason it is called "vedana."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sanya? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally recognizes (sanjanati, perceives), for this reason it is called "sanya." What does it recognize? It recognizes green, yellow, red, and white. Bhikkhus, this nature naturally recognizes, for this reason it is called "sanya."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sankhara? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things (abhisankharonti), for this reason it is called "sankhara." What does it concoct? It concocts rupa as something concocted with "formness," it concocts vedana as something concocted with "feelingness," it concocts sanya as something concocted with "recognition-ness," it concocts sankhara as something concocted with "concoctingness," it concocts vinyana as something concocted with "cognition-ness." Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things, for this reason it is called "sankhara."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of vinyana? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally cognizes (vijanati), for this reason it is called "vinyana." What does it cognize? It cognizes sourness, bitterness, spiciness, sweetness, astringency, non-astringency, saltiness, and non-saltiness. Bhikkhus, this nature naturally cognizes, for this reason it is called "vinyana."

Bhikkhus, in these five khandha, the well trained noble disciple naturally investigates until seeing clearly that "Right now, I am devoured by rupa (form); even in the past, I was devoured by rupa, just as I am devoured by present rupa right now. If I indulge in future rupa, I will be devoured by rupa even in the distant future, just as I am devoured by present rupa right now." When this noble disciple investigates and clearly sees in this way, she doesn’t dwell on past rupa, doesn’t seek pleasure in future rupa, and practices for disenchantment with, the fading away of, and the quenching of present rupa.

(The Buddha then discussed vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)

Bhikkhus, how do you consider the following statements? Is rupa permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, Venerable Sir."

If something is impermanent, is it dukkha or sukha?

"It’s dukkha, Venerable Sir."

Something that is impermanent, dukkha, and naturally changes all the time, is it fitting to contemplate it as "this is mine," "this is me," or "this is my atta (self)"?

"One shouldn’t think that way, Venerable Sir."

(The Buddha then covered vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)


Bhikkhus, for these reasons in this matter, any rupa whether past, future, or present; whether internal or external, coarse or refined, crude or subtle, distant or near; all these rupa should be seen with right wisdom according to reality that "this isn’t mine, this isn’t me, this isn’t my self."

(The Buddha then covered vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)

Bhikkhus, we speak of this noble disciple as "she shrinks and doesn’t build up," as "she throws away and doesn’t cling," as "she scatters and doesn’t pile up," and as "she makes die out and doesn’t make flare up."

This noble disciple shrinks and doesn’t build up what? She shrinks and doesn’t build up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple throws away and doesn’t cling to what? She throws away and doesn’t cling to rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple scatters and doesn’t pile up what? She scatters and doesn’t pile up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple makes die out and doesn’t make flare up what? She makes die out and doesn’t make flare up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

Bhikkhus, the well trained noble disciple when seeing in this way, is naturally disenchanted with rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana. When disenchanted, naturally becomes dispassionate. Because of this dispassion, he is liberated. When liberated, he naturally has the insight that liberation has occurred. This noble disciple clearly knows that "birth is ended, the brahmacariya is fulfilled, the duties to be done are completed, and no further duties for the sake of liberation remain."

Bhikkhus, we speak of this bhikkhu as "she doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk, dwells there"; as "she doesn’t cling, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away, dwells there"; as "she doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered, dwells there"; and as "she doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made die out, dwells there."

This noble disciple doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk what, dwells there? She doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble disciple doesn’t cling to, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away what, dwells there? She doesn’t cling to, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered what, dwells there? She doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble disciple doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made what die out, dwells there? She doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana die out, dwells there.

Bhikkhus, all the devas, together with Indra, Brahma, and Pajapati bow to the bhikkhu who is liberated in this way. Coming from afar they say:

Noble Thoroughbred, Supreme One, we bow in honor of you because there is no way that we can comprehend what you have realized dwelling therein."

[Tan Ajarn's comment: Students should note that this sense of pubbenivasanusattinyana isn’t in conflict with the Great Standards of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (sutte osaretabbam vinaye sandassetabbam), and has none of the hints of sassataditthi (eternalism) that appear in the usual explanations of the Three Vijja. Please ponder this with especial care.]
Last edited by stuka on Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:39 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:25 am

Thanissaro:

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, he directs & inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives (lit: previous homes).


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

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:38 pm

Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:And Sati also held that the Buddha taught that "consciousness" was "that which 'carries karmic imprint'".


No, Sāti didn't say just "consciousness"; he said "this very same consciousness." The qualifier is what places his view outside the Buddha's teaching. To expand...


Sāti’s view:

    tadevidaṃ viññāṇaṃ sandhāvati saṃsarati anaññaṃ

    “It is this very same consciousness that continues and wanders on, not another.”

Classical Theravāda:

  • This present consciousness is dependently arisen, and so is the one after it, and so is the one after that...etc. etc.
  • There is no single consciousness that persists through time, but rather, each consciousness is discreet and to be reckoned in accordance with the sense-base and sense-object upon which it depends (“just as fire is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it burns – when fire burns dependent on logs, it is reckoned as a log fire...etc.”).
  • There is, however, a continuity of consciousnesses (in the present life at least, this is evident, for how else could any sense of personal identity be sustained?).
  • For beings who die with ignorance and craving still intact, the continuity of consciousnesses will outlast the present body.

Sāti’s view:

    katamaṃ taṃ, sāti, viññāṇan ti?

    yvāyaṃ, bhante, vado vedeyyo tatra tatra kalyāṇapāpakānaṃ kammānaṃ vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedetī ti.

    “What is this consciousness, Sāti?”

    “It is this, bhante, that speaks, that feels, that experiences now here, now there, the ripening of kammas that are virtuous or vicious.”

So, in Sāti's view not only does a single consciousness persist, but while persisting it also performs diverse functions. It speaks and it feels; it experiences both pleasures (the ripening of virtuous kammas) and pains (the ripening of vicious ones).

Classical Theravāda:

  • An arisen eye-consciousness performs the function of seeing, an arisen ear-consciousness the function of hearing etc. No consciousness performs more than one function, and (as mentioned already) each consciousness is discreet and different from those that came before it and those which come after.
  • No single consciousness can experience both pleasure and pain.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby stuka » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:27 pm

We are not in disagreement, Bhante. Sati describes a reified "consciousness" as an entity, as an Atta. The Buddha refutes this and emphasises that each of the six forms of consciousnesses in his schema arise dependent upon a sense organ and sense objects, and that none of them constitute any sort of "entity".

However, the Buddha does not declare a "continuity of consciousness" that "will outlast the present body".

....for how else could any sense of personal identity be sustained?).


Through the mental function (sankhara) of memory, of course.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:25 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings JC,

Oh, go on then! :twisted:

I believe the Buddha taught conventional rebirth, but I think it's more important to realise that there's nothing to 're' and nothing to be 'born'. There are the five aggregates, interconnected, and nama-rupa and consciousness have a mutual dependency as explained in suttas such as the wonderful DN 15 - Mahanidana Sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html). As I understand it, conventional death is not the end of this process. One moment of consciousness is the condition for the next, and so it is over conventional 'lives'. I also believe that the Buddha was more intent on removing the 'self' or 'atman' from people's perceptions, and thereby removing eternalist and annihilationist views than he was about convincing people about 'rebirth'.

I'll leave it at that for now until we see some other responses to your challenge.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Dear Retro,

Your explanations of post-mortem continuance have provided me the final pieces of the puzzle, and I've finally been able make sense of "rebirth" without eternalism. You've written it a couple of times times in a couple of places so your view had time to sink into my head. It's been a very big benefit to me, and I want to thank you.

Best,
Drolma
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Element » Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:27 pm

Dhammanando wrote:There is, however, a continuity of consciousnesses (in the present life at least, this is evident, for how else could any sense of personal identity be sustained?).

The sense of personal identity occurs due to sankhara khanda & sanna khanda (memory). It is a formation, as described in the Parileyyaka Sutta.

Well then — knowing in what way, seeing in what way, does one without delay put an end to the effluents? 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 to be the self. That assumption is a fabrication. Now what is the cause, what is the origination, what is the birth, what is the coming-into-existence of that fabrication? To an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, touched by that which is felt born of contact with ignorance, craving arises. That fabrication is born of that. And that fabrication is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. That craving... That feeling... That contact... That ignorance is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen. It is by knowing & seeing in this way that one without delay puts an end to the effluents.


"This, monks, is the path of practice leading to self-identification. One assumes about the eye that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about forms... One assumes about consciousness at the eye... One assumes about contact at the eye... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

"One assumes about the ear...

"One assumes about the nose...

"One assumes about the tongue...

"One assumes about the body...

"One assumes about the intellect that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.' One assumes about ideas... One assumes about consciousness at the intellect... One assumes about contact at the intellect... One assumes about feeling... One assumes about craving that 'This is me, this is my self, this is what I am.'

Chachakka Sutta

Therefore, I cannot see why the sense of personal identity would be sustained by or reliant upon a continuity of consciousness? In short, the sense of personal identity is sustained by ignorance.
.
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