the great rebirth debate

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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:54 am

kirk5a wrote:
Skeptic wrote:
chownah wrote:in fact I often wonder how one can have a view of the Buddha's teachings that would make one even consider that rebirth is important.....for me it is absolutely a non-issue.......


Yes, when living in present moment, not thinking much about past and future, the question of afterlife becomes completely irrelevant.

Except "living in the present moment" has to include an understanding of causality.

The truth of what you are saying is not apparent to me....can you explain it a bit?...especially explain it in relation to rebirth?
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby kirk5a » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:14 am

chownah wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Except "living in the present moment" has to include an understanding of causality.

The truth of what you are saying is not apparent to me....can you explain it a bit?...especially explain it in relation to rebirth?
chownah

What I meant was, "living in the present moment" - as part of following the Buddhist path - requires understanding and working with the underlying mechanism of rebirth. Contact -> Feeling -> Craving -> Clinging -> Becoming -> Birth -> Aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Dependent origination - the causality of suffering. So rebirth is actually vividly relevant to living in the present moment, in that sense.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:31 am

kirk5a wrote:
chownah wrote:
kirk5a wrote:Except "living in the present moment" has to include an understanding of causality.

The truth of what you are saying is not apparent to me....can you explain it a bit?...especially explain it in relation to rebirth?
chownah

What I meant was, "living in the present moment" - as part of following the Buddhist path - requires understanding and working with the underlying mechanism of rebirth. Contact -> Feeling -> Craving -> Clinging -> Becoming -> Birth -> Aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Dependent origination - the causality of suffering. So rebirth is actually vividly relevant to living in the present moment, in that sense.

I don't see "rebirth" in there anywhere......it is not in my view a foregone conclusion that "birth"equals "rebirth" here or anywhere else. I think I understand dependent origination fairly well and I do not rely on the concept of "rebirth" in that understanding......the one I have difficulty with is "becoming".....can you explain what "becoming" is?
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby kirk5a » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:49 am

chownah wrote:I don't see "rebirth" in there anywhere......it is not in my view a foregone conclusion that "birth"equals "rebirth" here or anywhere else. I think I understand dependent origination fairly well and I do not rely on the concept of "rebirth" in that understanding......the one I have difficulty with is "becoming".....can you explain what "becoming" is?
chownah

The Buddha was not referring to a process that only happens once.

I'll just quote Ven. Thanissaro on "bhava" (becoming)
Notice that the Buddha, instead of giving a definition of becoming (bhava) in response to this question, simply notes that becoming occurs on three levels. Nowhere in the suttas does he define the term becoming, but a survey of how he uses the term in different contexts suggests that it means a sense of identity in a particular world of experience: your sense of what you are, focused on a particular desire, in your personal sense of the world as related to that desire. In other words, it is both a psychological and a cosmological concept. For more on this topic, see The Paradox of Becoming, Introduction and Chapter One.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-1
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby Aloka » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:27 am

Skeptic wrote:
chownah wrote:in fact I often wonder how one can have a view of the Buddha's teachings that would make one even consider that rebirth is important.....for me it is absolutely a non-issue.......


Yes, when living in present moment, not thinking much about past and future, the question of afterlife becomes completely irrelevant.




Absolutely ! Personally I remain neutral on the whole issue of rebirth, for me to do otherwise would be speculative and irrelevant to the here and now.
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby chownah » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:50 pm

kirk5a wrote:The Buddha was not referring to a process that only happens once.

I think you are right that there is more than one birth....I just don't know about the thing called "rebirth".....it wasn't mentioned in the dependent origination schematic you posted and for me it doesn't seem necessary to interject "rebirth" into it at all.....if you feel a need to do that then that is ok with me but you have not said anything that persuades me to think that "rebirth" needs to enter in at all and I really doubt that something could be written that would persuade me in that way because I have read alot of people's attempts to persuade and none of them have impacted me at all.....I think I will have to have some experience of some sort which points to "rebirth" if I am to develop a view of its existence...until then I have no problem interpreting the Buddha's teachings without it and have full respect for those who iterpret the Buddha's teachings using it.
kirk5a wrote:I'll just quote Ven. Thanissaro on "bhava" (becoming)
Notice that the Buddha, instead of giving a definition of becoming (bhava) in response to this question, simply notes that becoming occurs on three levels. Nowhere in the suttas does he define the term becoming, but a survey of how he uses the term in different contexts suggests that it means a sense of identity in a particular world of experience: your sense of what you are, focused on a particular desire, in your personal sense of the world as related to that desire. In other words, it is both a psychological and a cosmological concept. For more on this topic, see The Paradox of Becoming, Introduction and Chapter One.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .html#fn-1

Seems to me that "becoming" is the real mystery here......since becoming is the condition that gives rise to "birth" it seems that understanding "becoming" would be crucial in understanding "birth"....but I don't know for sure because I don't have a good enough understanding of "becoming".....hard for me to see how someone can full heartedly interpret "birth" as meaning "rebirth" in dependent origination unless they have a really good grasp of what "becoming" is all about.....but I fully respect those who do think that "birth" means "rebirth" in dependent origination even without a complete understanding of "becoming" since I think the lesson to be learned in dependent origination is not really to just understand the particular words used in expressing it....my view is that dependent origination can be seen as a process and the words used to express it are just worldly approximations to give us a shove in the right direction.....if the words were precisely and exactly what constitutes dependent origination then it would be easy to explain to anyone and it would be grasped immediately by most people....but clearly that is not the case.....so I think that the words do not provide a precise and accurate constitution of dependent origination but just an approximate idea to give us a hint....I guess....but don't know for sure....
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby kirk5a » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:05 pm

chownah wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The Buddha was not referring to a process that only happens once.

I think you are right that there is more than one birth....I just don't know about the thing called "rebirth"


This:
Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in...


Rebirth. We could call it "reappear" instead, in order to use the word that is used in the translations. You can google "dissolution of the body, after death" on ATI to see the many contexts for that.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby reflection » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:39 am

DarwidHalim wrote:Christianity actually accepts the continuity of life, isn't it?

If Mr. A born in 1950 and die in 2010.

Life span of Mr A
Christianity: Starting 1950 until infinite time in the future, whether hell or heaven.
Age from earth perspective = 60 years
Age from overall perspective = unlimited.

Buddhism: Starting from infinite from the past until infinite in the future
Age from earth perspective = 60 years
Age from overall perspective = unlimited.

Infinite life span is not an issue. If it is an issue, the infinity life span of Christianity in the future is also an issue.
If life span is without end in the future, there is no reason why life span is also without end in the past.

Without a rocket science and without going to the logic reasoning, my human sense can already tell me:

If life span can spread unlimited to the future, why life span can't expend as well unlimited to the past.

Without beginning, without end.

Scientist talks about bing bang. My question is which big bag they are talking about since time has no beginning.

In Buddhism, rebirth isn't eternal. It has an end with nibanna. Also probably it ever had a beginning, although very long ago and even the Buddha couldn't see it.
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby chownah » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:07 am

kirk5a wrote:
chownah wrote:
kirk5a wrote:The Buddha was not referring to a process that only happens once.

I think you are right that there is more than one birth....I just don't know about the thing called "rebirth"


This:
Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in...


Rebirth. We could call it "reappear" instead, in order to use the word that is used in the translations. You can google "dissolution of the body, after death" on ATI to see the many contexts for that.

I have no idea what this "reappear" thing is all about......I certainly don't think that my "self" will reappear since my "self" as "I" know it is a completely fallacious concept....I guess.....
Do you think lhat if I read some stuff I will start believing in the existence of something? It really seems that you have a need to try to convince me of something....do you think that you have a need to convince me of something?
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Re: Some thoughts about rebirth

Postby kirk5a » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:45 pm

chownah wrote:Do you think lhat if I read some stuff I will start believing in the existence of something? It really seems that you have a need to try to convince me of something....do you think that you have a need to convince me of something?
chownah

Nope. Elsewhere there was a question about what Pali word for rebirth, where it appears in suttas. I think that's the place, the quote I posted. I try not to engage in personal speculations.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Rebirth

Postby Ludwig » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:46 am

Hello everyone,

Not sure if I should have put this under the "the great rebirth debate" thread, anyway. First let me locate my position: Due to not having any direct memory or personal experience/evidence of a past life ( I do have memory and other evidence of how dependent arising formed "me" in my childhood, youth etc), and following Gotama's directive not to believe others' views without testing them I am strongly inclined to the "one life-time" view of rebirth rather than the major alternative which involves, as far as I can make out, "something" or maybe "non-something" transmigrating from one physical body to a new one upon the disintergration of the earlier physical body. (let me make myself absolutly clear nere: I do not pretend to refute this view, I simply cannot "hook on to it" in any way currently due primarity to the above noted reasons).

To my question: I'm wondering how other's on this (very excellent) forum who adhere to the "one life-time" version of rebirth account for Gotama's clear statement that rebirth involves the disintegration of the physical body (there is a sutta that clearly states this). I am particularly interested in the views of supporters of Buddhadasa, who's view I tend to agree with (although I have not read all of what he has written). As someone who is trying to clarify the "one life-time" view of rebirth this sutta presents a difficulty. While difficult, this sutta is by no means fatal for me, as noted above I hold as a prime directive of Gotama that one should not believe anyone, including Gotama, I'm sure he would agree.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Zom » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:07 pm

Due to not having any direct memory or personal experience/evidence of a past life ( I do have memory and other evidence of how dependent arising formed "me" in my childhood, youth etc), and following Gotama's directive not to believe others' views without testing them I am strongly inclined to the "one life-time" view of rebirth rather than the major alternative which involves, as far as I can make out,


Please read this:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html
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Re: Rebirth

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:28 pm

And also this wonderful essay from Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_06.html
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Re: Rebirth

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:44 pm

I don't think this passage can be over-emphasized with respect to exploring 'rebirth' as a newcomer to the Dhamma:

Sabbasava Sutta (MN 2) wrote:"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

...This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

..."He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.


:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Rebirth

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:09 pm

And obviously the Sabbasava Sutta confirmed the Buddha's teaching of rebirth as He did in many other Suttas:

"...This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair."

(ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html )
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Re: Rebirth

Postby contemplans » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:40 pm

Thanissaro says quite plainly that rebirth has no empirical proof. He says the belief is based on pragmatic proof. The whole Buddhist view of the four noble truths is based on rebirth in the conventional sense.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby ground » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:47 pm

contemplans wrote:Thanissaro says quite plainly that rebirth has no empirical proof.

Who would know if he didn't say this? :smile:

contemplans wrote:He says the belief is based on pragmatic proof.

Funny "pragmatic proof" ... I never came accross this before. Is it really so difficult to leave belief be just belief?

contemplans wrote:The whole Buddhist view of the four noble truths is based on rebirth in the conventional sense.

Not necessarily.

Kind regards
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Alex123 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:49 pm

contemplans wrote:Thanissaro says quite plainly that rebirth has no empirical proof. He says the belief is based on pragmatic proof. The whole Buddhist view of the four noble truths is based on rebirth in the conventional sense.


Four Noble Truths can be seen in this life and applies even to this life. This is why I prefer Buddhism, for its teaching on 4NT.

Rebirth, makes more sense than various theistic ideas of God by different religions for which pragmatic argument would not work.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: Rebirth

Postby whynotme » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:12 pm

Alex123 wrote:
contemplans wrote:Thanissaro says quite plainly that rebirth has no empirical proof. He says the belief is based on pragmatic proof. The whole Buddhist view of the four noble truths is based on rebirth in the conventional sense.


Four Noble Truths can be seen in this life and applies even to this life. This is why I prefer Buddhism, for its teaching on 4NT.

Rebirth, makes more sense than various theistic ideas of God by different religions for which pragmatic argument would not work.


I agree and want to add that if you see 4 noble truths you will see rebirth as part of it without seeing past lives.
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Re: Rebirth

Postby Alexei » Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:34 pm

whynotme wrote:if you see 4 noble truths you will see rebirth as part of it without seeing past lives.

In what way?
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