DO without rebirth?

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chownah
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DO without rebirth?

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:47 pm

Seems like I have heard it said that DO requires the concept of rebirth to make sense. Seems like DN 15 is a detailed discussion of DO but it doesn't seem to mention rebirth. It does mention birth and it contains a section on how to understand the concept of birth but after having read this it does not seem to me that birth is being defined as rebirth. Do others get the same from reading it?

I'm not wanting a discussion on rebirth per se since there is already a pinned thread for that discussion....I was just surprised to find this Sutta and surprised at what it says about DO and birth.....also I was surprised to read it's statements on how consciousness and name&form are dependent on each other...seems like this is markedly different from how I've seen DO described before.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
chownah

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by santa100 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:32 pm

chownah wrote:Seems like I have heard it said that DO requires the concept of rebirth to make sense. Seems like DN 15 is a detailed discussion of DO but it doesn't seem to mention rebirth. It does mention birth and it contains a section on how to understand the concept of birth but after having read this it does not seem to me that birth is being defined as rebirth. Do others get the same from reading it?
There're 2 places where the Buddha mentioned the important link of rebirth with DO, the first one being the exact reason why He gave this discourse, and the second one in explaining the two aspects of craving:
1. [The Buddha:] "Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Deep is this dependent co-arising, and deep its appearance. It's because of not understanding and not penetrating this Dhamma that this generation is like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, and bad destinations (and Maurice Walshe's version: unable to pass beyond states of woe, the ill destiny, ruin and the round of birth-and-death)
2. [Dependent on Craving section:]...Thus this is a cause, this is a reason, this is an origination, this is a requisite condition for seeking, i.e., craving. Thus, Ananda, these two phenomena [the chain of conditions leading from craving to birth, aging, and death, and the chain of conditions leading from craving to quarrels, etc.], as a duality, flow back into one place at feeling.

and Maurice Walshe's note from "The Long Discourses of the Buddha":
The two aspects[Thanissaro: two phenomena] of craving: 1. as primary craving, the basis of rebirth, and 2. craving-in-action (samudācāratanhā) (DA)

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reflection
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:32 pm

There was no such word as 'rebirth' at the time, as far as I understand. So if you were expecting the Buddha to use the word as in "from this-and-that condition comes rebirth", you will never find it. But that birth is conditioned by clinging effectively says the same; since there are other factors before birth, there has to be a previous existence where these occurred. Like feeling, it is before birth, it leads to birth (if clung to).

chownah
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by chownah » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:11 am

reflection wrote:There was no such word as 'rebirth' at the time, as far as I understand. So if you were expecting the Buddha to use the word as in "from this-and-that condition comes rebirth", you will never find it. But that birth is conditioned by clinging effectively says the same; since there are other factors before birth, there has to be a previous existence where these occurred. Like feeling, it is before birth, it leads to birth (if clung to).
I am not surprised that there is (probably) no seperate words for birth and rebirth in that if one believes in rebirth then all births are rebirths and if one does not believe in rebirth then all births are just births....in either event only one word is needed.

So you seem to be suggesting that since the word for birth can tell us nothing to differentiate between the two birth concepts then we must look to see if birth is preceded by other factors which lead to birth. Let's consider a hypothetical situation where there is a birth with NO preceding factors. I think this would be called spontaneously being born which is something the Buddha rejects I think. So are we left with only one alternative to spontaneously being born?....that is to say if there are factors which preceded a birth can this only be viewed as rebirth? I think there is another possibility namely the common every day idea that for humans (for instance) you need an egg and a sperm in a suitable environment for a long enough period of time with the right nutrients being supplied......and these are all conditions or factors that need to be present before a birth does happen. But of course these are not at all similar to the factors the Buddha mentions (craving, feeling, becoming, etc.)......but do remember that it is a mother and father (usually) which provide the conditions I've mentioned which are necessary for a birth to occur and the mother and father are subject to the factors the Buddha is dealing with (craving, feeling, becoming, etc.) and clearly the odds are that the mother and father could have only become a mother or father (Aside: is this an example of "becoming"?) because they were subject to those factors which the the Buddha was dealing with.

Now, the reason this Sutta has sparked this new idea of mine is that it states for "Birth":

Birth
"'From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.' Thus it has been said. And this is the way to understand how from becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. If there were no becoming at all, in any way, of anything anywhere — i.e., sensual becoming, form becoming, or formless becoming — in the utter absence of becoming, from the cessation of becoming, would birth be discerned?"

"No, lord."
---------------------------------

The key here is "if there was no becoming at all, in any way, of anything anywhere". This idea is presented with all of the factors which precede birth(clinging, craving, feeling, becoming).......and clearly if the mother and father had no feeling, clinging, craving, and becoming then they would not have provided the more mundane factors required before a birth could happen (egg, sperm, etc.). The phrasing of this Sutta casts the factors needed for birth onto a wider domain than the entity being born......it makes perfect sense to me that no births are spontaneous so there must be prior factors and one can view these prior factors as being inherent in the newborn (at the risk of falling prey to a doctrine of self) or one can look at a broader perspective as to where they may arise....like they taught you in health class.....sort of.....
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reflection
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by reflection » Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:37 am

Of course you can interpret a sequence of twelve words to mean all sorts of things. But the Buddha only meant one thing with it. If he had meant sexual conception surely that would have been made a bit more obvious. Some important factors are missing so to speak. :tongue: Also, that way it has no practical use. Because how could you have prevented your parents from getting you as a kid? So how can you prevent anything? There is the opposite of dependent origination, where things cessate. And the point is of course that we can end our own craving.

chownah
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:46 am

reflection wrote:There was no such word as 'rebirth' at the time, as far as I understand. So if you were expecting the Buddha to use the word as in "from this-and-that condition comes rebirth", you will never find it. But that birth is conditioned by clinging effectively says the same; since there are other factors before birth, there has to be a previous existence where these occurred. Like feeling, it is before birth, it leads to birth (if clung to).
My last post did not communicate what I intended so I'll back up and try again.
Yes, there are factors before birth. It seems that you are understanding these factors to be associated with the being about to be born or with the being that has just died and is in some way connected with the being about to be born.....but in this Sutta the Buddha says that these factors are to be understood in a very general sense namely, "if there was no feeling/craving/clinging/becoming AT ALL, IN ANY WAY, OF ANYTHING ANYWHERE." I want to point out that this does not seem to be trying to limit to the narrow field of association with the entity being born and it's precursor entity. Seems to me that it includes everything in the world existing prior to the birth.....and as an example that can be easily seen if a man or woman has no manifestation of these factors then they will not procreate....hence these factors must arise somewhere in the world for a birth to occur......

In short it seems to me that this sutta is not so much about rebirth as it is about demonstrating the fallacy of spontaneous birth and of course showing the dynamics of the arising of all kinds of trouble in the world.
chownah

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by BlackBird » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:58 am

It's only the traditional interpretation of Paticcasamupada that requires rebirth, there is more than one way of looking at it. In my opinion if rebirth had anything to do with paticcasamupada the Buddha would have explicitly stated that it was to be taken over 3 lifetimes. It seems a rather important thing to leave out, the Buddha was not in the habit of leaving important distinctions out.

What he states is that with X as condition: Y, with the ceasing of X: Y ceases.
In other words, the dependence of one thing upon another.

Sorry for flogging my dead horse folks. Must be getting old, but I feel I cannot let this topic go by without mentioning the above as an option.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

Path Press - Ñāṇavīra Thera Dhamma Page - Ajahn Nyanamoli's Dhamma talks

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:34 am

Hi Jack,

I think that it is a false dichotomy to contrast the "traditional" and "modern" interpretations. The Theravada tradition recognises not only multiple-lifetime DO, but also single-lifetime and momentary versions.

See the discussion on the following threads:

http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=9565
E.g. See PP 293 and PP 303 of "A comprehensive manual of Abhidhamma":
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=hxo ... &q&f=false" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From Ven Bodhi's notes on page 294:
Teachers explain them by mixing both methods: A mixed treatment of the methods is found in the visuddhimagga, Chapter XVII, where the twenty-four conditional relations are used to elucidate the relationship between each pair of factors in the twelve-fold formula of depending arising.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 42#p146710
This note by Ven Nanamoli clarifies that the Theravada Canon and Commentaries (and therefore, of course, Ven Buddhaghosa) discuss both momentary and "three lives" interpretations.

Footnote to Visuddhimagga XV11.309, page 607-608 of the PDF from Access to Insight.
Nanamoli wrote:In this work, for convenience because of the special importance attached here to the
aspect of the death-rebirth link, the dependent origination is considered from only
one standpoint, namely, as applicable to a period embracing a minimum of three lives.
But this is not the only application. With suitable modifications it is also used in the
Vibhanga to describe the structure of the complex in each one of the 89 single type-
consciousnesses laid down in the Dhammasaògaóì; and Bhadantácariya Buddhaghosa
says: “This structure of conditions is present not only in (a continuity period consisting
of) multiple consciousnesses but also in each single consciousness as well” (Vibh-a
199–200). Also the Paþisambhidámagga gives five expositions, four describing
dependent origination in one life, the fifth being made to present a special inductive
generalization to extend what is observable in this life (the fact that consciousness is
always preceded by consciousness, cf. this Ch. §83f.—i.e. that it always has a past and
is inconceivable without one) back beyond birth, and (since craving and ignorance
ensure its expected continuance) on after death. There are, besides, various other,
differing applications indicated by the variant forms given in the suttas themselves.
:anjali:
Mike

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BlackBird
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by BlackBird » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:52 am

Hi Mike

I was not aware that more than one interpretation was present within the Visuddhimagga, I was only aware of the 3 life interpretation. My apologies for my deficiency in this regard, thank you for bringing this to my attention :)

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

Path Press - Ñāṇavīra Thera Dhamma Page - Ajahn Nyanamoli's Dhamma talks

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Anders
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by Anders » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:06 am

chownah wrote:Seems like I have heard it said that DO requires the concept of rebirth to make sense. Seems like DN 15 is a detailed discussion of DO but it doesn't seem to mention rebirth. It does mention birth and it contains a section on how to understand the concept of birth but after having read this it does not seem to me that birth is being defined as rebirth. Do others get the same from reading it?

I'm not wanting a discussion on rebirth per se since there is already a pinned thread for that discussion....I was just surprised to find this Sutta and surprised at what it says about DO and birth.....also I was surprised to read it's statements on how consciousness and name&form are dependent on each other...seems like this is markedly different from how I've seen DO described before.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
chownah
Of a sort, though I wouldn't put it like that - It is more the case that rebirth is the natural and logical extension of DO.

It's actually a fairly simple logic - DO postulates that the causes of the mind are antecedent to the causes of the body. And thus its cessation is not tied up to the cessation of the body.

That is to say, having a mind (with fuel at any rate, if we want to be precise) will inevitably result in the production of a body. But since the mind does not originate in the body, then the mind can not cease simply upon the cessation of the body, as per the completely standard

  • When this is, that is.
    From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
    When this isn't, that isn't.
    From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

It needs the cessation of other causes, antecedent to itself (in Buddhist DO, ignorance), to cease its propagation. Putting it in simple terms, If we were to play a bit with the verse above, inserting pieces from DO:
  • When mind is, body is.
    From the arising of mind comes the arising of body.
    When mind isn't, body isn't.
    From the cessation of mind comes the cessation of body.
Rebirth is a natural extension of this, as is the impossibility of materialism in such a causal system.

Modern science can be called a kind of dependent origination too. But the materialist postulates a different kind of causal chain than the Buddha did, namely one where the mind has its origin in the body (if a mind is at all asserted). In such a setup, rebirth is hard to make sense of.

If you want Buddhism without rebirth, you have to start moving the pieces around in the DO puzzle and start putting Form and the senses ahead of consciousness and ignorance in that causal chain.

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reflection
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:55 am

chownah wrote:
reflection wrote:There was no such word as 'rebirth' at the time, as far as I understand. So if you were expecting the Buddha to use the word as in "from this-and-that condition comes rebirth", you will never find it. But that birth is conditioned by clinging effectively says the same; since there are other factors before birth, there has to be a previous existence where these occurred. Like feeling, it is before birth, it leads to birth (if clung to).
My last post did not communicate what I intended so I'll back up and try again.
Yes, there are factors before birth. It seems that you are understanding these factors to be associated with the being about to be born or with the being that has just died and is in some way connected with the being about to be born.....but in this Sutta the Buddha says that these factors are to be understood in a very general sense namely, "if there was no feeling/craving/clinging/becoming AT ALL, IN ANY WAY, OF ANYTHING ANYWHERE." I want to point out that this does not seem to be trying to limit to the narrow field of association with the entity being born and it's precursor entity. Seems to me that it includes everything in the world existing prior to the birth.....and as an example that can be easily seen if a man or woman has no manifestation of these factors then they will not procreate....hence these factors must arise somewhere in the world for a birth to occur......

In short it seems to me that this sutta is not so much about rebirth as it is about demonstrating the fallacy of spontaneous birth and of course showing the dynamics of the arising of all kinds of trouble in the world.
chownah
I can say "I can't find my keys anywhere". Obviously, I am not looking in the entire universe. Of course I mean, I can't find them in my room - for example. So the word "anywhere" is not always the direct opposite of "everywhere in the universe", you have to see it in context. And so the sutta defines what it means with 'anywhere' every time. Let's just take craving as an example. Here, with anywhere it means anywhere in the six senses, as the sutta itself states:
If there were absolutely and utterly no craving of any kind anywhere—that is, no craving for visible forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tangibles, or craving for mental objects.
http://suttacentral.net/dn15/en/
It does not mean anywhere as in anywhere in the entire world for nobody. It means anywhere in ones own senses. Otherwise all the hundreds of references to "I/he made an end to craving" in the suttas also would not make any sense.

Somebody with more knowledge of Pali will undoubtedly be able to explain the origin of the translation 'anywhere' in more detail, but I think it should already be quite clear now that it is not 'anywhere in the universe'.

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:05 pm

reflection wrote: I can say "I can't find my keys anywhere". Obviously, I am not looking in the entire universe. Of course I mean, I can't find them in my room - for example. So the word "anywhere" is not always the direct opposite of "everywhere in the universe", you have to see it in context. And so the sutta defines what it means with 'anywhere' every time. Let's just take craving as an example. Here, with anywhere it means anywhere in the six senses, as the sutta itself states:
If there were absolutely and utterly no craving of any kind anywhere—that is, no craving for visible forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tangibles, or craving for mental objects.
http://suttacentral.net/dn15/en/
It does not mean anywhere as in anywhere in the entire world for nobody. It means anywhere in ones own senses. Otherwise all the hundreds of references to "I/he made an end to craving" in the suttas also would not make any sense.

Somebody with more knowledge of Pali will undoubtedly be able to explain the origin of the translation 'anywhere' in more detail, but I think it should already be quite clear now that it is not 'anywhere in the universe'.
If I say that I can't find my keys anywhere it means that I looked in a wider area than just in my pocket.....

All the hundreds of references in the suttas you mention can very well mean something entirely different from DN15 which is the sutta we are discussing. it seems that since there do seem to be suttas describing rebirth in the DO scheme then it seems to me that your view is that it must be that all DO schemes MUST be interpreted as including rebirth as well....you might be right...but you might be wrong. I see DN15 as being distinctly different from other suttas in that it seems to me that it is concerned with aspects of DO other than rebirth....I might be right....but I might be wrong.

You seem to be confusing the KIND of craving with the ANYWHERE of craving. Clearly the list of cravings is a list of the KINDS of cravings but it seems that the ANYWHERE of the cravings is still left with its implication of a wide field...

Do you really think that it should already be clear now that your views on this matter are the right views and that my views are the wrong views?
chownah

chownah
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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by chownah » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:35 pm

Anders wrote:
chownah wrote:Seems like I have heard it said that DO requires the concept of rebirth to make sense. Seems like DN 15 is a detailed discussion of DO but it doesn't seem to mention rebirth. It does mention birth and it contains a section on how to understand the concept of birth but after having read this it does not seem to me that birth is being defined as rebirth. Do others get the same from reading it?

I'm not wanting a discussion on rebirth per se since there is already a pinned thread for that discussion....I was just surprised to find this Sutta and surprised at what it says about DO and birth.....also I was surprised to read it's statements on how consciousness and name&form are dependent on each other...seems like this is markedly different from how I've seen DO described before.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
chownah
Of a sort, though I wouldn't put it like that - It is more the case that rebirth is the natural and logical extension of DO.

It's actually a fairly simple logic - DO postulates that the causes of the mind are antecedent to the causes of the body. And thus its cessation is not tied up to the cessation of the body.

That is to say, having a mind (with fuel at any rate, if we want to be precise) will inevitably result in the production of a body. But since the mind does not originate in the body, then the mind can not cease simply upon the cessation of the body, as per the completely standard

  • When this is, that is.
    From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
    When this isn't, that isn't.
    From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

It needs the cessation of other causes, antecedent to itself (in Buddhist DO, ignorance), to cease its propagation. Putting it in simple terms, If we were to play a bit with the verse above, inserting pieces from DO:
  • When mind is, body is.
    From the arising of mind comes the arising of body.
    When mind isn't, body isn't.
    From the cessation of mind comes the cessation of body.
Rebirth is a natural extension of this, as is the impossibility of materialism in such a causal system.

Modern science can be called a kind of dependent origination too. But the materialist postulates a different kind of causal chain than the Buddha did, namely one where the mind has its origin in the body (if a mind is at all asserted). In such a setup, rebirth is hard to make sense of.

If you want Buddhism without rebirth, you have to start moving the pieces around in the DO puzzle and start putting Form and the senses ahead of consciousness and ignorance in that causal chain.
I'm assuming that you are using the term mind to mean one of the six sense doors. Did you notice that in DN15 that DO starts with consciousness and name&form co-arising..I.e. they are mutually dependent and then name&form is antecedent to contact and contact is antecedent to feeling etc...........doesn't this disagree with what you are saying?....or maybe I misunderstand what you are saying.
I agree with you that rebirth is a logical extension of DO but I do not see it as necessary unless specifically included.....with dn15 being an example of a sutta where it seems to me that it is not specifically called out. I do not see why antecedents must by necessity outlive the body. I already have Buddhism without rebirth....and with rebirth....and with no birth at all....and with birth.....I just think that DN15 is a sutta about DO without rebirth. :smile:
chownah

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by reflection » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:33 pm

chownah wrote:
reflection wrote: I can say "I can't find my keys anywhere". Obviously, I am not looking in the entire universe. Of course I mean, I can't find them in my room - for example. So the word "anywhere" is not always the direct opposite of "everywhere in the universe", you have to see it in context. And so the sutta defines what it means with 'anywhere' every time. Let's just take craving as an example. Here, with anywhere it means anywhere in the six senses, as the sutta itself states:
If there were absolutely and utterly no craving of any kind anywhere—that is, no craving for visible forms, craving for sounds, craving for smells, craving for tastes, craving for tangibles, or craving for mental objects.
http://suttacentral.net/dn15/en/
It does not mean anywhere as in anywhere in the entire world for nobody. It means anywhere in ones own senses. Otherwise all the hundreds of references to "I/he made an end to craving" in the suttas also would not make any sense.

Somebody with more knowledge of Pali will undoubtedly be able to explain the origin of the translation 'anywhere' in more detail, but I think it should already be quite clear now that it is not 'anywhere in the universe'.
If I say that I can't find my keys anywhere it means that I looked in a wider area than just in my pocket.....

All the hundreds of references in the suttas you mention can very well mean something entirely different from DN15 which is the sutta we are discussing. it seems that since there do seem to be suttas describing rebirth in the DO scheme then it seems to me that your view is that it must be that all DO schemes MUST be interpreted as including rebirth as well....you might be right...but you might be wrong. I see DN15 as being distinctly different from other suttas in that it seems to me that it is concerned with aspects of DO other than rebirth....I might be right....but I might be wrong.

You seem to be confusing the KIND of craving with the ANYWHERE of craving. Clearly the list of cravings is a list of the KINDS of cravings but it seems that the ANYWHERE of the cravings is still left with its implication of a wide field...

Do you really think that it should already be clear now that your views on this matter are the right views and that my views are the wrong views?
chownah
I do think the Buddha had one single meaning with dependent origination and that because understanding it is of such importance, he explained it in many ways. But if you are just wanting to speak in terms of one sutta, thanks for clearing that up. If you want to do that, then well, perhaps you can indeed come to a conclusion that this particular sutta is not about rebirth. But I won't be examining (or challenging) that further because I don't think it is very useful for me to look at suttas in this way. I think it is always useful to see suttas in the light of all other suttas. So since we look at it differently I am also not going to say what's right or wrong here.

:anjali:

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Re: DO without rebirth?

Post by SDC » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:01 pm

Any PS model that includes rebirth can be nothing more than a broad snapshot of samsara lacking both specificity and functionality. Why would the "origin of this whole mass of suffering" need more than this lifetime to be explained? Let's not forget that the entire point of the PS is to explain how dukkha arises. How rebirth ever made it into the scheme is astounding to me.

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