Evidence of reincarnation

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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lionking
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by lionking » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:35 pm

Aloka,
Aloka wrote:Well if its true, all the more reason to ignore past-life regression hypnotherapy.
Well, actually it humiliates the entire profession. Its quite unfair I think. Read an excerpt below. Trust me this is how Skepticism works.
Hypnotherapists resist licensure. I have been told that licensing only needs to be a requirement for professions that could harm the general public, and hypnosis/hypnotherapy "has never harmed anyone." Maybe it hasn't been proven in a court of law ... yet ... Based on my own experience, I think anyone attempting to perform therapy should be licensed and held to a standard of competency. Calling hypnotherapy "behavior change" is bulls**t. Why are you calling yourself a hypnotherapist if you aren't doing therapy?
grr ..

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Aloka
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Aloka » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:54 pm

lionking wrote:
Aloka wrote:Well if its true, all the more reason to ignore past-life regression hypnotherapy.
Well, actually it humiliates the entire profession. Its quite unfair I think. Read an excerpt below. Trust me this is how Skepticism works.
Hypnotherapists resist licensure. I have been told that licensing only needs to be a requirement for professions that could harm the general public, and hypnosis/hypnotherapy "has never harmed anyone." Maybe it hasn't been proven in a court of law ... yet ... Based on my own experience, I think anyone attempting to perform therapy should be licensed and held to a standard of competency. Calling hypnotherapy "behavior change" is bulls**t. Why are you calling yourself a hypnotherapist if you aren't doing therapy?
Humiliation is in the ears or eyes of the receiver, Mr King. Luckily I also have qualifications in relaxation therapy, stress management, counselling, and reflexology (as well as in Secondary Education as a schoolteacher) so I can just apply them to myself if I've been humiliated, as you seem to be suggesting. :)

Oh...and the article's about hypnotherapy in the USA. I don't live in the USA.

:focus:
Last edited by Aloka on Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

YouthThunder
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by YouthThunder » Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:25 pm

Personally i am skeptical of visions ,I feel at least some of them can be fabricated by Mara or a figment of imagination under rare mental states(hypnosis). It is the birth marks and knowledge of the deceased that seem a bit more credible, even then i am not fully convinced.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by m0rl0ck » Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:11 pm

lionking wrote: Rebirth is central to Buddhism. Unless there there is some sort of faith in re-birth then the whole point of being a Buddhist is lost.
Why do you beleive that? Lost how?
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:34 pm

Aloka wrote:There's nothing about DO with literal rebirth in Ajahn Amaro's "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell," have a look at what he has to say under "Dependent Origination - the source code."
I took a look at how the last verse of the Metta Sutta is translated in his book:
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense-desires,
Is not born again into this world. (S. 143-52)
The Pali text says:
Diṭṭhiñca anupaggamma, sīlavā dassanena sampanno.
Kāmesu vinaya gedhaṃ, na hi jātuggabbhaseyya punaretīti.
I wonder how “na hi jātuggabbhaseyya punaretī ” got changed like that? I see that Access to Insight also adopts this interpretation. I always though it meant not getting born into a womb again, i.e. attaining Non-returning or Arahantship. Either way, not getting born into a womb also means not getting reborn as a human being, animal, or other type of living-being on this planet, but uprising (nibbattitvā) among the Pure Abodes (suddhāvāsesu) or attaining Arahantship and final cessation (parinibbātī).
PTS Dictionary wrote:Gabbha (p. 244) [Vedic garbha, either to *gelbh, as in Lat. galba, Goth. kalbo, Ohg. kalba, E. calf, or *gṷe bh, as in Gr. delfu/s womb, adelfo/s sharing the womb, brother, de/lfac young pig; cp. *gelt in Goth. kilpei womb. Ags. cild, Ger. kind, E. child. Meaning: a cavity, a hollow, or, seen from its outside, a swelling] 1. interior, cavity (loc. gabbhe in the midst of: angāra° J III.55); an inner room, private chamber, bedroom, cQll. Of a Vihāra: Vin II.303; III.119; IV.45; VvA 188; 220; -- J I.90
The Commentary on the Metta Sutta agrees with what I recalled:
SNA wrote:Tato paraṃ yopāyaṃ vatthukāmesu gedho kilesakāmo appahīno hoti, tampi sakadāgāmianāgāmimaggehi tanubhāvena anavasesappahānena ca kāmesu gedhaṃ vineyya vinayitvā vūpasametvā na hi jātu gabbhaseyya puna reti ekaṃseneva puna gabbhaseyyaṃ na eti, suddhāvāsesu nibbattitvā tattheva arahattaṃ pāpuṇitvā parinibbātīti.
I will leave you to work out what it says if you really wish to know what the Buddha taught, and not be content with a modern interpretation to make the sceptics feel comfortable.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Lazy_eye » Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:52 pm

lionking wrote:
Skeptics by nature are negative and close minded. If evidence exists they will say it isn't adequate. You need to be careful siding with skeptics because they can even pull the rug under your own feet.
Hello, Lionking,

As I tend towards skepticism myself, I would like to respond to your comment.

I would not describe myself as "negative and close-minded," although it's possible that there are some hardened skeptics who fit that description. I would describe myself as curious and open-minded about the universe and our role within it.

However, at nearly 50 years of age, I have come to be aware of a few things. For example, I'm aware that when I receive an unsolicited Facebook friend request from an improbably gorgeous-looking stranger, this is probably a scam of some kind. When someone tries to interest me in a guaranteed-to-make-you-rich-overnight sort of business venture, I know that this most likely isn't going to deliver. To put it briefly, I have some BS-detection skills. I would rather not waste my time on BS, because time is valuable, and at my age I don't have as much of it as I'd like.

Along the same lines, I know from experience that when a supernatural claim is put forward, it stands a very high probability of being debunked. This isn't a question of deeply ingrained bias on my part. I find the supernatural an interesting topic. I used to play Ouija board with my friends, and am still convinced that parts of London are haunted. Nevertheless, supernatural claims almost always turn out to be bogus, and as I said, I don't like to waste my time. Chances are, if you put such a claim before me, I won't have to Google very far before I find it has been called into serious question or debunked entirely. And when I come back to you with this information, you will accuse me of being "negative and close-minded."

Because I have studied a little bit about argumentation and logic, I can recognize certain known fallacies. And I notice that, over and over again, the people speaking up on behalf of the supernatural rely on logically fallacious arguments. When people routinely make unsound arguments, I trust them less -- for the same reason I don't trust Donald Trump to be my next president, or Deepak Chopra to be my kids' science instructor. It's true that the quality of someone's argumentation does not necessarily determine whether the argument is valid (someone can make a crappy case for a true proposition). Nevertheless, when I see time and time again that supernaturalists resort to unsound arguments -- and, even worse, often don't seem to know what a sound argument is -- then I trust them less. You see, if they had really good arguments at hand, they would surely use them. But they don't. Why is that?

On a fairly regular basis, I come across people referring to "the fact of rebirth" or "the truth of rebirth." When they use this phrasing, I know they are lying. They may not be intending to lie, but the choice of words is dishonest. It is pushing (like a slick used car salesman) for us to accept what has not been established. Rebirth, at present, is a belief. I don't reject this belief (I'm agnostic on the question), but to refer to it is a "fact" is just plain misleading. The facts as present are as Ben put them:
Ben wrote:There is no credible scientific evidence of rebirth or reincarnation. People either take it a metaphor or take it on faith.
Kind regards,
Ben
So -- negative? Close-minded? I suppose you could accuse me of being "close-minded" towards the spam folder on Gmail and the diet pill and Russian bride offers contained within. My feeling is that when folks accuse skeptics of close-mindedness, what they're really asking for is a free homework pass. They want to be given credit for work they have not done. They're not willing to apply the sort of rigorous scrutiny that is needed to establish a claim, probably because they're not fundamentally interested in that sort of inquiry -- their minds are already made up. And yet they want their claims to be recognized as "fact."

Sorry for the rant -- it's not meant to be harsh....just to help explain a perspective. An apologia of sorts...

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Aloka
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Aloka » Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:59 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I will leave you to work out what it says if you really wish to know what the Buddha taught, and not be content with a modern interpretation to make the sceptics feel comfortable.
The same version used by Ajahn Amaro in the UK (and at Access to Insight) is also used in the Dhammaloka community chanting in Australia, so it appears to be an accepted translation :
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/community/ ... 3-Chanting
:anjali:

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:20 pm

Aloka wrote:The same version used by Ajahn Amaro in the UK (and at Access to Insight) is also used in the Dhammaloka community chanting in Australia, so it appears to be an accepted translation:
Yes, it's the version accepted by the Thai Forest Sangha, but it is inaccurate. Several other versions are hosted on Access to Insight and all of them refer to rebirth in a womb. It is hard to see how anyone could take this to mean anything other than literal rebirth.
Acharya Buddharakkhita wrote:Holding no more to wrong beliefs,
With virtue and vision of the ultimate,
And having overcome all sensual desire,
Never in a womb is one born again.
Ñanamoli Thera wrote:But when he has no trafficking with views,
Is virtuous, and has perfected seeing,
And purges greed for sensual desires,
He surely comes no more to any womb.
Piyadassi Thera wrote:"Not falling into wrong views — being virtuous, endowed with insight, lust in the senses discarded — verily never again will he return to conceive in a womb."
Thanissaro wrote:Not taken with views,
but virtuous & consummate in vision,
having subdued desire for sensual pleasures,
one never again will lie in the womb.
The Amaravati version is also difficult to take in any way other than as a literal rebirth on planet Earth.
Amaravati wrote:The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:32 pm

lionking wrote:Skeptics by nature are negative and close minded. If evidence exists they will say it isn't adequate. You need to be careful siding with skeptics because they can even pull the rug under your own feet.
It is true regarding some skeptics, one should qualify the term as "hardened skeptics" as there is no convincing them regarding anything that is beyond the realm of scientific proof. However, a wise follower of the Buddha should certainly maintain an inquiring mind and not take anything at face value.

An Excellent Man is Not Credulous

“The man who is not credulous (asaddho), who knows the uncreate,
who has cut off rebirth, who has destroyed all results,
and expelled all desires, he is truly an excellent man.” (Dhammapada v 97)

Beyond Reasoning and Speculation
Mahāsi Sayādaw wrote:When the Buddha was first considering whether or not to teach, he thought, “This truth that I have realised is very profound. Though it is sublime and conducive to inner peace, it is hard to understand. Since it is subtle and not accessible to mere intellect and logic, it can be realised only by the wise.”
This passage by the Sayādaw is, I think, derived from the episode described in the Brahmayācanakathā of the Vinaya Mahāvagga, where Brahma, knowing in his mind the Buddha's reflection on the profundity of the Dhamma, and his disinclination to teach it:
“kicchena me adhigataṃ, halaṃ dāni pakāsituṃ.
rāgadosaparetehi, nāyaṃ dhammo susambudho..
“paṭisotagāmiṃ nipuṇaṃ, gambhīraṃ duddasaṃ aṇuṃ.
rāgarattā na dakkhanti, tamokhandhena āvuṭā”ti.

itiha Bhagavato paṭisañcikkhato appossukkatāya cittaṃ namati, no dhammadesanāya.
TW Rhys Davids translates this passage as follows in Sacred Buddhist Texts:
TW Rhys Davids wrote: 'Given to lust, surrounded with thick darkness, they will not see what is repugnant (to their minds), abstruse, profound, difficult to perceive, and subtle.

When the Blessed One pondered over this matter, his mind became inclined to remain in quiet, and not to preach the doctrine. '
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Anagarika
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Anagarika » Tue Oct 27, 2015 6:44 pm

Aloka wrote:
Anagarika wrote:
Without rebirth, we have no dependent origination, we have no teaching of kamma and its results, we have no Four Noble Truths.
There's nothing about DO with literal rebirth in Ajahn Amaro's "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell," have a look at what he has to say under "Dependent Origination - the source code."

https://tisarana.ca/static/books/amaro_ ... tshell.pdf

So, I did have a look when I had some spare time today. This is what Ajahn Amaro states in the same article that you cite:

" By breaking the chain of causation at clinging or craving, or where feeling turns
into craving, or even at the very beginning — by not allowing ignorance to arise but
sustaining awareness — then the causes of dukkha are removed. If there are no causes,
then suffering will not arise. “When there is not this, then that does not come to be.
When this ceases, that also ceases.” This is what we mean by the ending of birth and
death, the ending of rebirth.

The process of Dependent Origination as a whole is also known as the
bhavacakka, the cycle or wheel of rebirth. The terminology ”getting off the wheel” or
”ending birth and death,” describes the very process that I’ve just described. Principally
this is what Theravadan Buddhist practice is all about: the ending of rebirth, not being
born again. "

Aloka, respectfully, I feel your general statement : "There's nothing about DO with literal rebirth in Ajahn Amaro's "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell," may be incorrect. But, no matter. Each of us has the Dhamma at hand and we can draw our on conclusions on these issues. My sense is that all of us can take positions on these issues (such as rebirth as taught by the Buddha) , and make an effort to be as informed as possible, especially if we begin to share this information with others. Whether others share our views precisely is of no real consequence...all that we can do is respectfully discuss these matters, and let newcomers to the site, such as the OP, draw their own conclusions, or seek new or better resources.

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kirk5a
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by kirk5a » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:01 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:The facts as present are as Ben put them:
Ben wrote:There is no credible scientific evidence of rebirth or reincarnation. People either take it a metaphor or take it on faith.
Kind regards,
Ben
Since there have been those, from ancient as well as in modern times, who say they have seen the truth of rebirth for themselves, Ben's statement is hardly an adequate description of "the facts."
"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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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:28 pm

YouthThunder wrote:Are there any good conclusive evidence of reincarnation? Note that I am not 100% convinced on Buddhism and I am researching about religions, so this isn't exactly an idle question but a serious one. I am have read some claims of reincarnation on the Internet but I am not sure whether I should believe in them or not.
It is absolutely right to remain sceptical about any claims made on the Internet or elsewhere. However, it is difficult to remain sceptical whether the Buddha taught the doctrine of rebirth or not. He clearly did if we pay any regard at all to the only sources that we have regarding his teachings.

There is plenty of scope for misunderstanding his teachings about rebirth as opposed to reincarnation. A monk named Bhikkhu Sāti misunderstood the teaching in the Buddha's own lifetime, and the Buddha had to admonish him to clarify what his teaching was about Dependent Origination and not Transmigration of a soul. There are no shortcuts, if one wants to understand correctly what the Buddha taught one has to study this profound teaching on Dependent Origination carefully and thoroughly.

The Greater Discourse on the Destruction of Craving

However, if that all sounds like too much hard work, just study the basic teachings first:
Dhammapada wrote:“Not to do any evil, to cultivate good,
to purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of the Buddhas.”(Dhammapada v 183)
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JiWe
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by JiWe » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:27 pm

kirk5a wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:The facts as present are as Ben put them:
Ben wrote:There is no credible scientific evidence of rebirth or reincarnation. People either take it a metaphor or take it on faith.
Kind regards,
Ben
Since there have been those, from ancient as well as in modern times, who say they have seen the truth of rebirth for themselves, Ben's statement is hardly an adequate description of "the facts."
Yes, for some people it seems to be based on meditative perception. For example in "Yogis Of Tibet", see one minute starting here:



or this
“When my concentrated mind was thus purified, bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births…
https://suttacentral.net/en/mn36" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I don't think "rebirth" is a metaphor or something taken on faith in either of those cases.
The focus of Pramana is how correct knowledge can be acquired, how one knows, how one doesn't, and to what extent knowledge pertinent about someone or something can be acquired.

Buddhism holds two (perception, inference) are valid means...

For example, Buddhism considers Buddha and other "valid persons", "valid scriptures" and "valid minds" as indisputable, but that such testimony is a form of perception and inference pramanas.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pramana" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Is meditative perception a valid "means of knowledge"? Or inference based on meditative perception? Or the testimony of some "valid persons" who have had such experiences?

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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by samseva » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:43 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Rebirth, at present, is a belief. I don't reject this belief (I'm agnostic on the question), but to refer to it is a "fact" is just plain misleading. The facts as present are as Ben put them:
Ben wrote:There is no credible scientific evidence of rebirth or reincarnation. People either take it a metaphor or take it on faith.
Kind regards,
Ben
Rebirth can be real without most holding the belief that it is real. If you read what Ben wrote and listen to what most skeptics say about rebirth or reincarnation, you will see that the usual argument is that there is no scientific evidence of rebirth. That there is no documented scientific evidence (which is false, Stevenson's research being reasonably meticulous) doesn't mean that there is no evidence at all. It is not because something hasn't taken place under supervision of highly educated scientists in white coats that it means that something isn't evidence.

Although science has its strong points, it isn't everything.

I am going to partially skip discussing about the irony of this argument after such a long rant on fallacies and incorrect argumentation. :tongue:
Last edited by samseva on Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Aloka
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Re: Evidence of reincarnation

Post by Aloka » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:43 pm

Anagarika wrote:
So, I did have a look when I had some spare time today. This is what Ajahn Amaro states in the same article that you cite:

" By breaking the chain of causation at clinging or craving, or where feeling turns
into craving, or even at the very beginning — by not allowing ignorance to arise but
sustaining awareness — then the causes of dukkha are removed. If there are no causes,
then suffering will not arise. “When there is not this, then that does not come to be.
When this ceases, that also ceases.” This is what we mean by the ending of birth and
death, the ending of rebirth.

The process of Dependent Origination as a whole is also known as the
bhavacakka, the cycle or wheel of rebirth. The terminology ”getting off the wheel” or
”ending birth and death,” describes the very process that I’ve just described. Principally
this is what Theravadan Buddhist practice is all about: the ending of rebirth, not being
born again. "
That's not in the section I mentioned which has the sub-heading "Dependent Origination- the source code," its in the section "A lesson from a chocolate eclair" and you've missed out the end part of it which says:
"This cycle of rebirth is what was illustrated in that last story: my being born into my negativity and then being shown that there really wasn’t anything to be negative about. The other monk was born into his chocolate éclair. We get born into all kinds of things. It’s not just what happens in the maternity ward. Birth is happening many, many times a day. We can look at it on an external, physical level, but more directly we can see over and over the whole process on a psychological level."
:anjali:

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