Reincarnation

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:16 am

Greetings,

More words bundled under the banner of English banner of "rebirth"...

abhinibbatti
punabbhava
upapannā
opapātikā
upapajjati
upapatti
sopapajjati
ponobhavika
upapatti-bhava
patisandhi
jati

.... I wonder if any mean "reincarnation"?

Whatever they do mean, I doubt they all mean exactly the same thing.

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: Reincarnation

Postby Dan74 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:42 am

As a digression, an anecdote (from one of the main temple's in Korea) I came across today that may be of interest. Apologies if it's off-topic - please remove it or ignore it as appropriate.

[...] about a monk he knows who was staying in Haein Temple, when Zen Master Seong Chol was still alive. The monk left the temple to do a long retreat in the Jiri Mountainsand was living off what ever he could find in the forested slopes.

After eating something he shouldn’t have, maybe a poisonous mushroom or something else inedible, he became seriously ill and collapsed on the ground. He came to awareness back in Haein Temple, about 100km or more away and saw two of his friends in the hall doing what seemed like a death ceremony. They didn’t seem to notice him and he found it curious that instead of reciting the appropriate sutras, the monk with the mok-tak (a wooden percussion instrument) was repeating the word, “Chek, chek, chek…” (“Book, book, book…”) and the monk with the bell kept repeating, “Yeom ju, yeom ju, yeom ju…” (“prayer beads, prayer breads, prayer beads…”)

In a flash, he was in his mother’s house. He was standing next to her as she was loading wood in the fire. She didn’t notice him so he reached over and touched her shoulder. She let out a shriek and crumpled over in pain.

Just as he had found himself at the temple, then at his mother’s, he was standing back in the mountain. He noticed the scent of bulgogi, marinated beef, wafting up from the river bank and a group of men in white hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) calling, “Hey! Come down and join us, there’s plenty to go around!” Just as he was about to join them he remembered he is a monk and shouldn’t eat meat.

Making his way back into the hills, he came across an old man with an old fashion jigae, a wooden A-frame carrying rack, on his back. But instead of carrying wood, he was carrying a man down the mountain. He put the man down on the ground and the monk, thinking the man looked familiar, went over to take a closer look. As he stared at the man’s face, he couldn’t get over how much the man looked like himself. He touched the body and at that instant, his consciousness was sucked into the body, and he woke up with a jerk. He was laying near the village where he’d seen the old man put the body. He was also probably feeling a little disoriented from the strange experience he’d just had.

Returning to the temple, he went to his friends and told them about what he had seen. They replied that Seong Cheol Sunim spoke to them that he had died in the Jiri Mountains and that they should perform a death ceremony immediately. He continued, telling them that they were chanting the words “book” and “prayer beads” instead of the proper sutra’s they should have been chanting. Surprised, the first one admitted that he knew the monk had a collection of really nice books and was wondering if he could have them. A bit ashamed, his second friend also admitted that he was thinking about the monk’s nice “yeom ju” and also wondering if he could have it. So, even though they were speaking the mantra, all that he could hear from them was their thoughts.

He visited his mother and told her of the experience. She replied that she remembered a sudden sharp pain in her shoulder.

Going back to the stream in the mountain, where he’d seen the men eating bulgogi, he found no remnants of barbecue. What he did see disturbed him though. Laying by the river bank was the corpse of a magpie, entirely infested with maggots. He realized that what appeared to him as men by the river were actually larva calling him to dine on the flesh of the dead bird. He wondered if he hadn’t reminded himself that he was a monk and had instead joined them, would he have been reborn as the larva of a fly? How difficult would it have been to work his way back to being born in human form again? When he left his body, he had no ears, no eyes, no nose, no tongue, no hands. All he was left with was his perception and his illusion of what surrounded him. He couldn’t hear words, only intentions.
_/|\_
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby chownah » Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:05 pm

I really didn't expect to get the kinds of replies that are being posted.....I don't know just what I expected but so far I feel lost in the thread I started....it's probably mostly that I guess I didn't define the topic well enough or else there are aspects to it which I am not following well.

I thought that reincarnation and rebirth would not need defining...so here is what I see as the main points which are relevant to what I'm trying to get at.
Reincarnation is the belief that there are spirits, souls, personalities, selves which incarnate (manifest in a body) from time to time......that is a soul which for example after the death of one body will after a time (or perhaps immediately) re-establish itself in another body. The key idea here is an eternal soul/spirit/self which can exist without a body but which manifests in a body form time to time.
Rebirth is what the Buddha taught....there is no soul/spirit/self involved as far as I have been able to tell from what the Buddha taught primarily in that the Buddha taught to have no doctrine of self whatever which sort of rules out the soul/spirit/self idea. (there are other reasons too)

So....what I'm trying to get at is that an understanding of rebirth must be coincident with an understanding of the not-self teachings and the "have no doctrine of self whatever" teachings. My view is that the reason for this is that unless one is holding no doctrine of self whatever then it is unlikely or perhaps inevitable that what one will ideate when considering "rebirth" would actually be "reincarnation"....it seems to me that unless the self has been penetrated then rebirth can not be understood and the mind will go toward reincarnation instead.

Maybe this is clearer....maybe not....
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:37 pm

I think I see what you are saying, Chownah. My thinking is that anyone can have mistaken views of life and death; even a monk who has practiced his whole life. If a view of reincarnation is held by someone and through that view they try to live more ethically and try to practice mindfulness and try to follow what they understand the Buddha to have taught, it isn't unskillful. Clinging to the wrong view would be unskillful, but just having a wrong view isn't the end of the world (I think everyone has some wrong views except those who have attained Nibbana). Some views are more wrong that others, and some lend themselves to clinging.

Maybe what you understand as rebirth isn't as wrong as what others understand as reincarnation, but maybe there are better understandings than yours. I don't mean that insensitively, I have no doubt my own understand is far from correct.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:23 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

More words bundled under the banner of English banner of "rebirth"...

abhinibbatti
punabbhava
upapannā
opapātikā
upapajjati
upapatti
sopapajjati
ponobhavika
upapatti-bhava
patisandhi
jati

.... I wonder if any mean "reincarnation"?

Whatever they do mean, I doubt they all mean exactly the same thing.

Metta,
Retro. :)
While the dictionary is the place to start to understanmd these words, there actual meanings are seen in terms of how they are actually used.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:30 pm

chownah wrote:I
I thought that reincarnation and rebirth would not need defining...so here is what I see as the main points which are relevant to what I'm trying to get at.
The problem is that there are those for whom the idea of literal rebirth is something of a problem and they seem to want to insist that words indicating rebirth supposedly do not mean it literally, thusly this sort of constant attempt at redefining the Dhamma by a one-eyed point of view.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:35 pm

Hi chownah,
chownah wrote:I thought that reincarnation and rebirth would not need defining...so here is what I see as the main points which are relevant to what I'm trying to get at.
Reincarnation is the belief that there are spirits, souls, personalities, selves which incarnate (manifest in a body) from time to time......that is a soul which for example after the death of one body will after a time (or perhaps immediately) re-establish itself in another body. The key idea here is an eternal soul/spirit/self which can exist without a body but which manifests in a body form time to time.
Rebirth is what the Buddha taught....there is no soul/spirit/self involved as far as I have been able to tell from what the Buddha taught primarily in that the Buddha taught to have no doctrine of self whatever which sort of rules out the soul/spirit/self idea. (there are other reasons too)

That's what I thought you meant, but as I pointed out, this is a Theravada-Buddhist definition of the term "rebirth", not an English Dictionary definition so it really needs to be spelled out.

And, perhaps to get back to your point, are you trying to say either:
1. Those who object to what I understand as the standard Theravada view (that there is some sort of causality between lives, but no "soul" or "self" to transfer) are objecting because they still hold too much to a concept of self?
or:
2. The standard Theravada view is a misunderstanding that implicitly drags in a concept of self, even while purporting to deny it?
or:
3. something else?

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby chownah » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:15 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi chownah,

3. something else?

Mike

Yeah...it's something else. I think an important point I forget to include is that what I am saying applies both to those who hold to the view of "literal rebirth" (for example at the break up of the body there is rebirth in the womb) and to those who hold to the view of "moment to moment rebirth" (for example our delusion of self is not a long lasting and durable one which recurs contiuously but rather it is a series of delusions that arise and then pass away to be replaced by a new and different delusion of self every moment and each of the arisings of a delusion of self is a rebirth)....what I am saying applies to both of these.

For those who hold the view of "moment to moment rebirth" if they have not penetrated the self then their concept of self guides their thinking to the concept of "moment to moment reincarnation" instead of "moment to moment rebirth". When they try to think of "moment to moment rebirth" the mind distorts to make the concept of rebirth into a similar concept which encompasses the self, that concept being reincarnation so they really end up thinking about "moment to moment reincarnation"....this is in my view how the delusional self arises...it arises through a distortion of mental objects which are distorted in such a way as to encompass or accomodate the delusion of the existence of self.....and if this process applies when one is considering "rebirth" the mind is actually considering "reincarnation" even though the name "rebirth" might still be attached to the thinking......one thinks that one is thinking about rebirth but the delusional self gets inserted into the mix and you end up with thoughts about what is actually reincarnation.

The same can be said for those who hold to views of "literal rebirth"...their thoughts would be distorted by the insertion of self so that what they would have would really be "literal reincarnation.

One more try: It's like if somone was totally obsessed with bananas and you held up an apple and told them to think about apple pie.....what they would think of would be banana cream pie even if they kept saying "apple pie" what they would be thinking of would be banana cream pie....the banana keeps getting inserted into all their thinking.....
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:20 am

Thanks for clarifying, Chownah. I think that is an interesting idea to discuss in more detail. I'll think about it first...

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:27 am

Greetings,

Excellent, Chownah.

:clap:

Well said!

Simply calling it "rebirth", but thinking "reincarnation" (due to being putthujana) is simply accommodating an eternalistic thought that ought not be brought to mind.

Perhaps it's better not to think of future lives at all, for this reason. (This is my approach)

"If a bhikkhu is absorbed in speculation about the other world, then his mind is obsessed." (MN 48)

Chownah ~ if you've not read anything by him before, I'd strongly encourage you to investigate the works of Bhikkhu Nanananda. He approaches the Dhamma and matters like bhava from a deep, subtle perspective, and I think you'll find his insights complementary to your investigations.

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: Reincarnation

Postby alan » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:45 am

One hundred dollars to the first person who can decipher what chownah said, and make it sound reasonable.
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:49 am

Greetings Alan,

alan wrote:One hundred dollars to the first person who can decipher what chownah said, and make it sound reasonable.

Until you have become an arahant, it's possible to think in terms of asmi (I am) over time - whether that time be moments, or lives.

This mana (conceit) is obscured and self-justified to whatever extent the truth of "sabbe dhamme anatta" has yet to be penetrated.

To the extent there are thoughts of "I am", what is being called "rebirth" is really being conceived as "reincarnation", regardless of the words used.

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: Reincarnation

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:52 am

retrofuturist wrote:Chownah ~ if you've not read anything by him before, I'd strongly encourage you to investigate the works of Bhikkhu Nanananda. He approaches the Dhamma from a deep, subtle perspective, and I think you'll find his insights complementary to your investigations.
Ven Nanananda. And he does not reject rebirth (at least in his early major writings).
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:54 am

Greetings Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Chownah ~ if you've not read anything by him before, I'd strongly encourage you to investigate the works of Bhikkhu Nanananda. He approaches the Dhamma from a deep, subtle perspective, and I think you'll find his insights complementary to your investigations.
Ven Nanananda. And he does not reject rebirth (at least in his early major writings).

Non-sequitir.

Why would he reject rebirth? The falsity of rebirth is a speculative view that cannot be verified.

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: Reincarnation

Postby ground » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:55 am

So what then is actually the meaning of what the Buddha taught and what is conventionally translated as "re-birth"?
From what has been written so far it may appear that it is easy to say what it is not but then what is it?
Why would the Buddha teach using speach and concepts when that the concepts shall refer to cannot be grasped conceptually?


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:58 am

Greetings TMingyur,

TMingyur wrote:So what then is actually the meaning of what the Buddha taught and what is conventionally translated as "re-birth"?

I would challenge your implicit assumption that they are one and the same thing.

TMingyur wrote:From what has been written so far it may appear that it is easy to say what it is not but then what is it?

That will depend on what word the Buddha used.

TMingyur wrote:Why would the Buddha teach using speach and concepts when that the concepts shall refer to cannot be grasped conceptually?

Who is to say they can't?

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: Reincarnation

Postby ground » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:59 am

Why has he taught about hells and lower birth states resulting from wrongdoing? Fear mongering and fooling his audience?


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby ground » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:07 am

retrofuturist wrote:
TMingyur wrote:So what then is actually the meaning of what the Buddha taught and what is conventionally translated as "re-birth"?

I would challenge your implicit assumption that they are one and the same thing.

I said "conventionally translated as" ... this is an observation not an assumption.

retrofuturist wrote:
TMingyur wrote:From what has been written so far it may appear that it is easy to say what it is not but then what is it?

That will depend on what word the Buddha used.

But we do not know since the words transmitted are not his own.

retrofuturist wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Why would the Buddha teach using speach and concepts when that the concepts shall refer to cannot be grasped conceptually?

Who is to say they can't?

Assuming that the nuances of meanings of pali words comply with what the buddha actually taught (which is a matter of belief) one may want to caution people against buddhism if they have not studied pali before in order to be able to study the original pali suttas. Because otherwise they may either fall prey to belief in "literal" rebirth and its concomitant fear-mongering or they may erroneously reject kamma theory altogether.


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Re: Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:21 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:Why would he reject rebirth? The falsity of rebirth is a speculative view that cannot be verified.

As Tilt says, Ven Nananda appears to follow a fairly standard line on kamma and rebirth in his Nibbana seminars. His point of difference is separating it from Dependent Origination.

You having your opinion on the subject is perfectly fine, but from my memory it doesn't match what Ven Nananada expresses. I could be misremembering, of course...

:anjali:
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Re: Reincarnation

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:23 am

Greetings TMingyur,
TMingyur wrote:Why has he taught about hells and lower birth states resulting from wrongdoing? Fear mongering and fooling his audience?

I think that's best explained by the following sutta...

MN 60: Apannaka Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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