the great rebirth debate

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:55 am

Even if it was proved that rebirth did not exist and there was only this one life, I would still carry on meditating and doing Buddhist practice - because the possibility of seeing things as really are is just amazing - and the journey of discovery is fascinating and rewarding.
So there! :tongue:

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:46 am

First of all


Even if it was proved that rebirth did not exist and there was only this one life, I would still carry on meditating and doing Buddhist practice - because the possibility of seeing things as really are is just amazing - and the journey of discovery is fascinating and rewarding.



Sadhu! The way to end all dukkha is the best life


one greek philosopher (forgot which one) once said somethint that hit me quite deeply


"We are dealing with something of upmost importance, how to live the best life"
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:47 am

Can someone delete this, it got copied twice for some reason
Last edited by clw_uk on Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:52 am

And why exactly do you find rebirth absurd? I thought that it was taught by Buddhism?

Cheers, Thomas






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


and


Now we hear talk of rebirth, birth again and again, and of the suffering that inevitably goes with it. Just what is this rebirth? What is it that is reborn? The birth referred to is a mental event, Something taking place in the mind-the non-physical side of our make-up. This is "birth" in Dharma language. "Birth" in everyday language is birth from a mother; "birth" in Dharma language is birth from ignorance, craving, clinging, the arising of the false notion of "I" and "mine". These are the two meanings of the word "birth".


This is an important matter, which simply must be understood. Anyone who fails to grasp this point will never succeed in understanding anything of the Buddha's teaching. So do take a special interest in it. There are these two kinds of language, these two levels of meaning: everyday language, referring to physical things, and Dharma language, referring to mental things, and used by people who know. To clarify this point here are some examples.


Consider the word "path". Usually when we use the word "path" we are referring to a road or way along which vehicles, men, and animals can move. But the word "path" may also refer to the Noble Eightfold Path, the way of practice taught by the Buddha - right understanding, right thoughts, right speech. right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration -which leads to Nirvana. In everyday language "path" refers to a physical road; in Dharma language it refers to the eightfold way of right practice known as the Noble Eightfold Path. These are the two meanings of the word "path".


Similarly with the word "Nirvana" (nibbána). In everyday language this word refers to the cooling of a hot object. For example, when hot coals become cool, they are said (in Pali or Sanskrit) to have "nirvana'd"; when hot food in a pot or on a plate becomes cool it has "nirvana'd". This is everyday language. In Dharma language "Nirvana" refers to the kind of coolness that results from eliminating mental defilements. At any time when there is freedom from mental defilements, at that time there is coolness, momentary Nirvana. So "nirvana" or "coolness" has two meanings, according as the speaker is using everyday language or Dharma language.


Another important word is "emptiness" (sunyata, sunnata). In everyday language, the language of physical things, "emptiness" means total absence of any object: in Dharma language it means absence of the idea "I," "mine". When the mind is not grasping or clinging to anything whatsoever as "I" or '"mine," it is in a state of "emptiness". The word "empty" has these two levels of meaning, one referring to physical things, the other referring to mental things, one in everyday language, the other in Dharma language. Physical emptiness is absence of any object, vacuum. Mental emptiness is the state in which all the objects of the physical world are present as usual, but none of them is being grasped at or clung to as "mine". Such a mind is said to be "empty". When the mind has come to see things as not worth wanting, not worth being, not worth grasping at and clinging to, it is then an empty of wanting, being, grasping, clinging. The mind is then an empty or void mind, but not in the sense of being void of content. All objects are there as usual and the thinking processes are going on as usual, but they are not going the way of grasping and clinging with the idea of "I" and "mine". The mind is devoid of grasping and clinging and so is called an empty or void mind. It is stated in the texts: "A mind is said to be empty when it is empty of desire. aversion, and delusion (raga, dosa, moha)." The world is also described as empty, because it is empty of anything that might be identified as "I" or "mine". It is in this sense that the world is spoken of as empty. "Empty" in Dharma language does not mean physically empty, devoid of content.


You can see the confusion and misunderstanding that can arise if these words are taken in their usual everyday sense. Unless we understand Dharma language, we can never understand Dharma; and the most important piece of Dharma language to understand is the term "birth".


The kind of birth that constitutes a problem for us is 'mental birth', the 'birth' or rather the arising of the false notion of "I". Once the idea "I" has arisen, there inevitably follows the idea "I am Such-and-such". For example, "I am a man," "I am a living creature," "I am a good man," "I am not a good man," or something else of the sort. And once the idea "I am Such-and-such" has arisen, there follows the idea of comparison: "I am better than So-and-so," "I am not as good as So-and-so," "I am equal to So-and-so". All these ideas are of a type; they are all part of the false notion "I am," "I exist". It is to this that the term "birth" refers. So in a single day we may be born many times, many dozens of times. Even in a single hour we may experience many, many births. Whenever there arises the idea "I" and the idea "I am Such-and-such," that is a birth. When no such idea arises, there is no birth, and this freedom from birth is a state of coolness. So this is a principle to be recognized: whenever there arises the idea "I," "mine," at that time the cycle of Samsara has come into existence in the mind, and there is suffering, burning, spinning on; and whenever there is freedom from defects of these kinds, there is Nirvana, Nirvana of the type referred to as tadanga- nibbána or vikkhambhana-nibbana.


Tadanga-nibbana is mentioned in the Anguttaranikaya. It is a state that comes about momentarily when external conditions happen, fortuitously, to be such that no idea of "I" or "mine" arises. Tadanga-nibbana is momentary cessation of the idea "I," "mine," due to favorable external circumstances. At a higher level than this, if we engage in some form of Dharma practice, in particular if we develop concentration, so that the idea of "I," "mine" cannot arise, that extinction of "I," "mine" is called vikkhambhana-nibbana. And finally, when we succeed in bringing about the complete elimination of all defilements, that is full Nirvana, total Nirvana.


Now we shall limit our discussion to the everyday life of the ordinary person. It must be understood that at any time when there exists the idea "I," "mine," at that time there exists birth, suffering, the cycle of Samsara. The "I" is born, endures for a moment, then ceases, is born again, endures for a moment, and again ceases-which is why the process is referred to as the cycle of Samsara. It is suffering because of the birth of the "I". If at any moment conditions happen to be favorable, so that the "I"-idea does not arise, then there is peace-what is called tadanga-nibbana, momentary Nirvana, a taste of Nirvana, a sample of Nirvana, peace, coolness.


Ajahn Buddhadasa


However there are other things

One of them is the use of the word "loka" which translates as "world","cosmos" or "realm" so hell realm is hell loka

Buddhadhamma has a specific meaning of this term, it doesnt mean the physical world but how we perceive the world


For example


"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


and

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One: "'The world, the world'1 it is said. In what respect does the word 'world' apply?

"Insofar as it disintegrates,2 monk, it is called the 'world.' Now what disintegrates? The eye disintegrates. Forms disintegrate. Consciousness at the eye disintegrates. Contact at the eye disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"The ear disintegrates. Sounds disintegrate...

"The nose disintegrates. Aromas disintegrate...

"The tongue disintegrates. Tastes disintegrate...

"The body disintegrates. Tactile sensations disintegrate...

"The intellect disintegrates. Ideas disintegrate. Consciousness at the intellect consciousness disintegrates. Contact at the intellect disintegrates. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too disintegrates.

"Insofar as it disintegrates, it is called the 'world.'"


and also

[When this was said, the Blessed One responded:] "I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."



Now if we look at D.O.

We all know that this sense of "I" comes to be via clinging. "I am body" is clinging to body, no clinging there is no "I am"

So clinging leads to "I am". If we look at paticcasamuppada it states

clinging
becoming
birth

Therefore if we follow this its obvious that in Buddhadhamma clinging leads to birth of "I" or "I am" and not birth of aggregates


To bring in some Ajahn Chah here

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



Therefore in Buddhadhamma, as i understand, when the Buddha states "reborn in hell realm" it means that clinging has lead to birth of an "I" into a mode of percieving the external world via the six sense media in a negative way

which goes with this sutta

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."


Khana Sutta - SN


So when we read "reborn into hell" it means that clinging has lead to birth of "I" into a negative state, like when someone is depressed or full of self pity and therefor, tying in with the abandoning of speculative views, rebirth doesnt mean after death in Buddhadhamma but something else that, for me, is far more profound


So you could say yes there is rebirth in the Buddhadhamma but its not the way people usually think of it (well really there is no rebirth since there is nothing to repeat, there is only birth). I think problems arises when we view Buddhadhamma with wordly understandings



metta all
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 5:59 am

And why exactly do you find rebirth absurd? I thought that it was taught by Buddhism?

Cheers, Thomas




Also this


Now we come to the most important matter. The Buddha said that, "I teach only one thing: dukkha and the quenching of dukkha." That is what all the teachings are about, dukkha and the quenching of dukkha. He didn't talk about other things. Whether or not there is rebirth is not the fundamental question, because once one is born here and now, there is dukkha like this and it must be quenched like this. Even if you are born again, dukkha is like this and must be quenched in the same way. Why bother talking about birth or no birth? Talk only about how dukkha arises and how dukkha is quenched. Just this is already enough. For this reason the Buddha taught anattā. Once anattā is fully realized, there is no dukkha. When there is no attā, dukkha isn't born, anymore. Therefore, he taught the quenching of dukkha, that is, he taught this matter of not-self. The teaching of anattā is essential for the ending of dukkha. Arguments and discussions about whether there is rebirth or not area waste of time. Whether "it" will be born or not, there is still this business of quenching dukkha like this. It's better to speak about this quenching of dukkha instead. This quenching of dukkha is the fact that there is no attā, is understanding that everything is anattā. (33)
We can conclude by saying that if you understand anattā correctly and truly, then you will discover for yourself that there is no rebirth and no reincarnation. The matter is finished.


http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... ebirth.pdf

(at bottom)

and

To call something a foundation of the Buddhist Teachings is only correct if firstly, it is a principle which aims at the extinction of Dukkha [2] and, secondly, it has a logic that one can see for oneself without having to believe others. These are the important constituents of a foundation.

The Buddha refused to have any dealing with those things which don't lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there. is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance [3] ? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indis­criminately believe the answer he's given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proofs, he's just going to speak according to his memory and feeling. The listener can't see for himself and so has to blindly believe "the other's words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it's something else altogether, unconnected with the extinction of Dukkha.

Now, if one doesn't raise those sort of problems, one can ask instead, "Is there Dukkha?" and "How can Dukkha be extinguished ?". To these questions the Buddha agreed to answer and the listener can see the truth of every word of his answer without having to blindly believe them, see more and more clearly until he understands. And if one understands to the extent of being able to extinguish Dukkha, then that is the ultimate understanding. One knows that, even at this moment, there is no person living; one sees without doubt that there is no self or anything belonging to a self. There is just a feeling of "I" and "mine" arising due to the foolishness whereby one is deluded by the beguiling nature of sense - experience.



http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... o_Tree.htm


Now from my me, if you think you have an afterlife, or if you are reborn etc then you are deluded (same as if you think you are annihilated)


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:03 am

I have difficulties to see what you are arguing here and to what conclusion the quotations are supposed to lead. Could you perhaps put that into a more compact format?

If you argue that rebirth is not to be understood as continuing after death and being born again into samsara, then the entire Buddhist doctrine collapses. The four noble truths, the eightfold path, the codependent origination, all that would be useless and contrived, because you can simply end suffering right now by jumping off the next building.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Aug 01, 2009 7:50 am

Pannapetar wrote:If you argue that rebirth is not to be understood as continuing after death and being born again into samsara, then the entire Buddhist doctrine collapses. The four noble truths, the eightfold path, the codependent origination, all that would be useless and contrived, because you can simply end suffering right now by jumping off the next building.
Cheers, Thomas


that's not correct. you're talking about your suffering if you would jump off the next building. it seems you're thinking: by jumping off the next building my suffering will end. that's wrong view. do you really think if one human being would jump off the next building this would simply end suffering? with respect do sabbe dhammā anattā there isn't anybodys suffering, all there is is suffering and it won't end by anyone jumping off the next building. I mean suffering does not end by any-body finishing it's functionality which usually is called "life".

I do think clw_uk means that rebirth is to be understood as continuing after death. But not after physical death, not after death of the body but after death of a "self which is glad" into a "self which is sad" and so on...

best wishes
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:41 am

It's funny. Every Buddhist forum has a "great rebirth debate". As if rebirth is something that is left open in Buddhism.

acinteyyo wrote:that's not correct. you're talking about your suffering if you would jump off the next building. it seems you're thinking: by jumping off the next building my suffering will end.


This was actually the logical conclusion of what clw_uk suggested, not of what I suggested. For that matter, it is irrelevant whether you jump off a cliff, or the entire planet decides -by majority vote- to blow itself up. If the end of suffering could be had simply by ending physical existence, then the four noble truths would make no sense at all. Rebirth and reincarnation do of course imply continuation after death. It's really a no-brainer.

The phrasing "continuation after death" is a bit problematic, however, because ultimately there is no death and no birth. These are just aspects of samsara. What we call afterlife is a phase or "bardo" -as the Tibetans say- of a larger process. From our perspective, the afterlife might look like an illusion, but from the perspective of someone on the other side, life probably looks like an even greater illusion. You continue after death as consciousness. Some Buddhists, particularly in the West, have problems with this understanding, but -as already mentioned- Buddhism hardly makes sense without it.

If you find the tenet of rebirth difficult to accept, I recommend that you focus your meditation practice on this particular question. Ask someone on the other side, perhaps a deceased teacher, arahat, or bodhisattva to assist you in this quest. The truth about rebirth can be established through meditation practice. If you are serious about it, you will find out long before you die.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:03 am

Hi Thomas
Pannapetar wrote:It's funny. Every Buddhist forum has a "great rebirth debate". As if rebirth is something that is left open in Buddhism.


I'm glad you can see the funny side!
We decided to start a 'great rebirth debate' because many of us have come from another forum where discussion of, and the challenging of the literal rebirth doctrine was banned. We also thought that for many practitioners, rebirth is a subject that conjures up a lot of questions and uncertainties, probably due to the influence of the judeo-christian and now secular societies where many of us live.
I don't think its open, but that is my personal opinion.
Metta

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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:36 pm

Hey


This was actually the logical conclusion of what clw_uk suggested, not of what I suggested. For that matter, it is irrelevant whether you jump off a cliff, or the entire planet decides -by majority vote- to blow itself up. If the end of suffering could be had simply by ending physical existence, then the four noble truths would make no sense at all. Rebirth and reincarnation do of course imply continuation after death. It's really a no-brainer.


Firstly the Buddha did not say that life is suffering, he said there is suffering. By saying one should kill oneself is, to me, a misunderstanding of the 4nt's. People kill themselves because all they see is suffering and because they think that everything is suffering. Secondly you have jumped right into another speculative view that death is nothing, this is no differernt than saying after death there is something be it hades or valhalla

The phrasing "continuation after death" is a bit problematic, however, because ultimately there is no death and no birth. These are just aspects of samsara. What we call afterlife is a phase or "bardo" -as the Tibetans say- of a larger process. From our perspective, the afterlife might look like an illusion, but from the perspective of someone on the other side, life probably looks like an even greater illusion. You continue after death as consciousness. Some Buddhists, particularly in the West, have problems with this understanding, but -as already mentioned- Buddhism hardly makes sense without it.


"You continue after death as consciousness" you are obviously clinging to consciousness as self here, similar to what the monk Sati did, bit shocked to hear a Buddhist say this

If you find the tenet of rebirth difficult to accept, I recommend that you focus your meditation practice on this particular question. Ask someone on the other side, perhaps a deceased teacher, arahat, or bodhisattva to assist you in this quest. The truth about rebirth can be established through meditation practice. If you are serious about it, you will find out long before you die.


Your assuming here that I find it difficult to accept which isnt the case I just dont see it being that at all in the Buddhas teachings. As for asking somone who has died to help me, this (to me) goes against Buddhadhamma and it more in line with Christianity, Islam etc


Buddhism hardly makes sense without it


Makes perfect sense

http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm


Best teaching i have heard that relates to this topic is this by Ajahn Sumedho

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

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


http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... nd_Now.htm


metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:50 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Sun Aug 02, 2009 12:38 pm

Hey

If you argue that rebirth is not to be understood as continuing after death and being born again into samsara, then the entire Buddhist doctrine collapses. The four noble truths, the eightfold path, the codependent origination, all that would be useless and contrived, because you can simply end suffering right now by jumping off the next building.



The only thing that collapses is your metaphysical view not the Buddhas teachings


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Pannapetar » Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:18 am

clw_uk,

It is clear to me that you speak from a position of opinion and I am not very interested in "bookish" positions. I've had personal experiences which made it clear to me that you and I continue. Since I can't prove it to you, I suggest we leave it at that.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Individual » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:24 pm

In another thread, someone said:
Sanghamitta wrote:I think that there are many good reasons for accepting a literal view of post-mortem rebirth. However if you want to undermine your own case then citing hypnotherapy is a pretty good place to start.

:anjali:

Whether calling one's rebirth view "literal" or "metaphorical," I think these terms aren't necessarily very clear and we should be more clear than saying one's view is either fact or poetry.

When saying one's view of rebirth is metaphorical, it should be asked: Does one's actions have meaningful consequences for the future, even after death? (i.e. suicide is not without consequence) And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?

When saying one's view of rebirth is literal, it should be asked: Is there a personality, essence, soul, person, agent, or any other possible synonym, such as a karmic seed, astral body, divine body, spirit, subtle mind, psychic energy, karmic energy, which transmigrates eternally? And is consciousness dependent on the body, ceasing with the dissolution (death) of the body?

These pertinent questions may reveal either an annihilationst's denial of rebirth or an eternalist's convoluted, speculative superstitious theory of the reincarnation of the soul, both of which can disguise themselves as a view of rebirth.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:34 pm

Individual wrote:In another thread, someone said:
Sanghamitta wrote:I think that there are many good reasons for accepting a literal view of post-mortem rebirth. However if you want to undermine your own case then citing hypnotherapy is a pretty good place to start.

:anjali:

Whether calling one's rebirth view "literal" or "metaphorical," I think these terms aren't necessarily very clear and we should be more clear than saying one's view is either fact or poetry.

When saying one's view of rebirth is metaphorical, it should be asked: Does one's actions have meaningful consequences for the future, even after death? (i.e. suicide is not without consequence) And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?

When saying one's view of rebirth is literal, it should be asked: Is there a personality, essence, soul, person, agent, or any other possible synonym, such as a karmic seed, astral body, divine body, spirit, subtle mind, psychic energy, karmic energy, which transmigrates eternally? And is consciousness dependent on the body, ceasing with the dissolution (death) of the body?

These pertinent questions may reveal either an annihilationst's denial of rebirth or an eternalist's convoluted, speculative superstitious theory of the reincarnation of the soul, both of which can disguise themselves as a view of rebirth.



Is thi a question or a statement, or both? Do you want me an sanghamitta to expand?


metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Individual » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:25 pm

clw_uk wrote:
Individual wrote:In another thread, someone said:
Sanghamitta wrote:I think that there are many good reasons for accepting a literal view of post-mortem rebirth. However if you want to undermine your own case then citing hypnotherapy is a pretty good place to start.

:anjali:

Whether calling one's rebirth view "literal" or "metaphorical," I think these terms aren't necessarily very clear and we should be more clear than saying one's view is either fact or poetry.

When saying one's view of rebirth is metaphorical, it should be asked: Does one's actions have meaningful consequences for the future, even after death? (i.e. suicide is not without consequence) And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?

When saying one's view of rebirth is literal, it should be asked: Is there a personality, essence, soul, person, agent, or any other possible synonym, such as a karmic seed, astral body, divine body, spirit, subtle mind, psychic energy, karmic energy, which transmigrates eternally? And is consciousness dependent on the body, ceasing with the dissolution (death) of the body?

These pertinent questions may reveal either an annihilationst's denial of rebirth or an eternalist's convoluted, speculative superstitious theory of the reincarnation of the soul, both of which can disguise themselves as a view of rebirth.



Is thi a question or a statement, or both? Do you want me an sanghamitta to expand?


metta

Both. You can say whatever you like.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:36 pm

Very well



When saying one's view of rebirth is metaphorical, it should be asked: Does one's actions have meaningful consequences for the future, even after death? (i.e. suicide is not without consequence)


Of course they do, an evil intentional action leads to jati in a hell realm where much sadness is found while a good intentional action leads to a good realm. As for the suicide question i think its important to remember the Buddhas teaching

"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:

"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.

"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires.

"'If evil is done through acting, still I have willed no evil for anyone. Having done no evil action, from where will suffering touch me?' This is the third assurance he acquires.

"'But if no evil is done through acting, then I can assume myself pure in both respects.' This is the fourth assurance he acquires.



Thinking "there is nothing after death so I can just kill myself" is, in this respect, the thought of a fool. Suicide is an unwholesome intentional action and if there is life after death, there will be a birth into an unwholesome place. Its a foolish risk, even more foolish because its based on a speculative view of annihilation and oblivion

So is the thought of "no afterlife, can do what I like"


And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?


If your asking about after death, this is a speculative metaphysical question that the Buddha said was unwise to engage in



These pertinent questions may reveal either an annihilationst's denial of rebirth


Annihilationism = I have a Self/There is a Self and at death this gets annihilated, ends, no longer exists. Your point would only be valid if the person held such a view of Self

metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby Individual » Tue Aug 04, 2009 11:17 pm

clw_uk wrote:
And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?


If your asking about after death, this is a speculative metaphysical question that the Buddha said was unwise to engage in

It's not speculative because of the way the question is put. With the re-arising of the supports of an object, the re-arising of the result is implied.
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:33 am

Individual wrote:
clw_uk wrote:
And does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports?


If your asking about after death, this is a speculative metaphysical question that the Buddha said was unwise to engage in

It's not speculative because of the way the question is put. With the re-arising of the supports of an object, the re-arising of the result is implied.




Does it involve speculation about what happens after death? What I mean is, are you asking

does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports after physical death?
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:05 am

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:Does it involve speculation about what happens after death? What I mean is, are you asking

does consciousness re-arise with the re-arising of its supports after physical death?

Can you point to a Sutta reference where the Buddha says that there is something speculative about discussing processes that occur in the past and future?

There are, for example, various speculative views in SN 44.7 Moggallana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
The Buddha takes no position on the ten speculative views because he does not identify any of the six senses as "self."

But can you find a case which goes something like the following?
"Vaccha, this has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'That nama-rupa arises dependent on causes and conditions that may include kamma that occurred before the physical birth of a being."

Metta
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Re: the great rebirth debate

Postby clw_uk » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:18 pm

Hey mike


There is no such sutta, not that i have come across anyway. However the question was clearly about "do i survive death" or "is there life after death" (same thing really) hence why its unwise to ask, since its riddled with "I"


Even if you say its about a "process" there is still some level of "I" since this is where the questions comes from in the first place "do I have a afterlife" etc.


I mean think about it, where does the question of living after death come from?


The more you engage in a habbit, the stronger it gets


If one truly understands anatta then such questions are meaningless anway, even to think about let alone ask


"Vaccha, that too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The cosmos is not eternal.'"

"Then is the cosmos finite?"... "Is the cosmos infinite?"... "Is the body the same as the soul?"... "Is the body one thing, and the soul another?"... "Does the Tathagata exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"... "Does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"


Glad you brought this in

the last 4 questions are interesting. To me they are asking "does .... life after death" to which the answer is that its not a question the Buddha answers. Individual and many others was basically asking "does ...... live after death" and is a question that shouldnt be answered (and i would say discouraged)



"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?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. 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.




Ask a question of "shall I be in the future" and you are encouraging or strengthening "I" even if you intellectualy understand anatta because these very questions arises because of "I" in the first place (and so any answer given will also be out of line with Dhamma as well)


Take for example the question "Am I"

If i say "Am I Ill" then there is a strengthening of "I", increase of taints and of dukkha. One cannot ask "Am I" without a prior view of "I" (ignorance and dukkha) and a strengthening of "I" (ignorance and dukkha). Since we are not arahants any question of "do i live after death" is engaging in clinging and increasing the taints and dukkha, even if one intellectualy understands anatta, its riddled with the same problems as "Am I" because its all about "I" even the questions and view of afterlife or no afterlife




But can you find a case which goes something like the following?
"Vaccha, this has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'That nama-rupa arises dependent on causes and conditions that may include kamma that occurred before the physical birth of a being."


He wouldnt say any of that in the way your thinking of it (rebirth model) but thats another topic


The Buddha answered questions that fitted dukkha and its quenching, not metaphysical theories that may or may not be


metta

P.S. I might not have been to clear on some points, im a bit tired, so ask me to clarify if you like
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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