If there is no self how can we reincarnate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Monkey Gift of Honey
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by Monkey Gift of Honey » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:12 am

devaloka:
If there is no self how can we reincarnate
We can't.

The Buddha never taught the idea of reincarnation.
Last edited by Monkey Gift of Honey on Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:52 am, edited 2 times in total.
As a mother watches over her child, willing to risk her own life to protect her only child, so with a boundless heart should one cherish all living beings, suffusing the whole world with unobstructed loving kindness. Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, during all of one's waking hours, one should sustain this heart and this way of living.
- Karaniya Metta Sutta

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The Thinker
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by The Thinker » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:29 am

Craving to get rid of craving? interesting thought!
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by Dinsdale » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:20 am

The Thinker wrote:Have Dinosaurs reincarnated? ,
Yes, they all came back as birds. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

binocular
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by binocular » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:52 am

davidbrainerd wrote:From the realist position (that matter is real and individuation is real, i.e. Samkhya) the souls would just have always existed and either (1) they were always intermingled with matter, or (2) by ignorane of what it would mean to intermingle with matter, they did so and got stuck.
In the suttas, this formulation comes up many times:
From an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on.
It seems that how exactly one got into this mess called samsara didn't matter much to the Buddha.
binocular wrote:Either way, it seems that as soon as we posit a(n eternal) soul, we're faced with the problem of how this soul got into samsara out of which it now desperately tries to escape.
I.e. if Buddha was a Samkhyan, then saying that ignorance and craving causes reincarnation/rebirth makes perfect sense, because you have individual souls to be ignorant and crave. But with no soul, craving and ignorance exist with no self to crave or be ignorant, so craving and ignorance become Vedanta style corporate selves shooting forth false illusory individuations. No soul leads back to the non-realist school, back to corporate soul. Simple as that.
There is a problem though if we posit a self: To make such positing meaningful, we have to make some assumptions about this self's/soul's nature or identity, so that we have some idea of what it is that we're actually talking about (so that we don't talk about something that amounts to a mere placeholder).

Is this self's/soul's by nature good, or is it by nature bad? What inherent characteristics does it have? How does the self's/soul's act, do anything? If it is by nature good, then how come it ended up in samsara? If it is by nature good, then does it actually need anything to get out of samsara, or is it simply destined to get out of samsara and so doesn't actually need to do anything towards that end? If it is by nature bad, then how can it hope to get out of samsara? If it is neither good nor bad, then why bother with anything?

That doesn't mean that positing no self/no soul solves anything, though.

Positing a self/soul, while seemingly solving some problems, opens up a number of other problems.



On a side-note:
From the non-realist position (i.e. Vedanta) that neither matter nor indivuation is real...their position does not make sense to me.
The realist position makes enough sense to me....but I think without a soul its harder to explain.
I find it interesting (to say the least) that you say how this or that makes sense to you or doesn't make sense to you. In many religions, one gets told that it doesn't matter whether their claims make sense to you or not, what matters is that they are true, The Truth, and that what you think about them is irrelevant.

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Nicolas
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by Nicolas » Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:25 pm

The Thinker wrote:Craving to get rid of craving? interesting thought!
Bhikkhunī Sutta (AN 4.159) wrote: ‘This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.’ Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, ‘The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for himself in the here & now.’ The thought occurs to him, ‘I hope that I, too, will—through the ending of the fermentations—enter & remain in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having known & realized them for myself in the here & now.’ Then he eventually abandons craving, having relied on craving. ‘This body comes into being through craving. And yet it is by relying on craving that craving is to be abandoned.’ Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by pegembara » Sun Sep 04, 2016 3:39 pm

binocular wrote:
chownah wrote:Put another way, effort in understanding self will probably yield more benefits than efforts in understanding rebirth.
Efforts to understand suffering may yield even better results.
They are interrelated. To know what self is, is to know how suffering comes about.
What is the Noble Truth of Suffering? Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering: in short the five aggregates affected by clinging are suffering.
"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated.
Anattalakkhana Sutta
"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.
Sabbasava Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by davidbrainerd » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:03 pm

pegembara wrote:Anattalakkhana Sutta
"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.
Sabbasava Sutta
Of course logically, however, if you don't know what you are trying to liberate, you can't liberate it. I'd say this sutta is out of the mainstream for the suttas, because in almost Vedantist fashion it is saying that the distinction between self and not-self is irrelevant (easy to say if you believe both are the same thing, i.e. Brahman), whereas Buddha's normative doctrine is that seeing the distinction is life and death. Normally the problem with the "uninstructed run-of-the-mill person" according to Buddha is that they think the 5 aggregates are the self, but whoever is speaking here sees the problem as thinking about the subject at all, so even Buddha's normal doctrine that the 5 aggregates are not the self is a damnable heresy to the speaker here.

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by practitioner » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:10 pm

Craving to get rid of craving? interesting thought!
There is no craving to get rid of craving.

There is insight meditation to observe the emergence of craving and not abiding to the craving.

davidbrainerd
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by davidbrainerd » Sun Sep 04, 2016 9:18 pm

practitioner wrote:
Craving to get rid of craving? interesting thought!
There is no craving to get rid of craving.

There is insight meditation to observe the emergence of craving and not abiding to the craving.
So just passively wait for craving and say 'no' to it when it magically arises out of nowhere. That seems like a bandaid, a quick fix, a stop gap, a wholly impermanent solution that could not possibly achieve full release or liberation. Whereas training the self to stop craving, taming the self (Dh 323), sounds like a permanent solution leading to full release.

Say my sink was leaking, and I sat there in sink leaking meditation to observe the emergence of leaking water, and not abide it (i.e. stick a bowl under it each time it looks like a leak is arising). Wouldn't it be better to fix it at the root cause?

practitioner
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by practitioner » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:00 am

Smile. Just keep reading, learning, and practicing. Eventually, you will understand.

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tiltbillings
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:15 am

davidbrainerd wrote:
practitioner wrote:
Craving to get rid of craving? interesting thought!
There is no craving to get rid of craving.

There is insight meditation to observe the emergence of craving and not abiding to the craving.
So just passively wait for craving and say 'no' to it when it magically arises out of nowhere. That seems like a bandaid, a quick fix, a stop gap, a wholly impermanent solution that could not possibly achieve full release or liberation. Whereas training the self to stop craving, taming the self (Dh 323), sounds like a permanent solution leading to full release.

Say my sink was leaking, and I sat there in sink leaking meditation to observe the emergence of leaking water, and not abide it (i.e. stick a bowl under it each time it looks like a leak is arising). Wouldn't it be better to fix it at the root cause?
And this is how you understand vipassana/insight meditation to be?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:And this is how you understand vipassana/insight meditation to be?
No.

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by badscooter » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:12 pm

I believe in the "not self" teaching... For if there is "no self", then what lets go of stress? Who lets go of the idea of "self"? Who/what becomes enlightened? Something, a "self", must be able to drop the identity of self! If not, then who or what is letting go of the idea of "self"?

If you look at the teachings as "not self", instead of "no self", then rebirth tends to make more sense..
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by Saoshun » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:43 pm

Compare rebirth to a seed and the tree. Tree is not a seed and seed is not a tree. Seed needs to have a ground to grow if have no ground there is no way it's can grow and other elements so it's not only the "I" or no "I" which can be affected by birth of death but others factors must be eliminated too so to speak.

So how we reincarnate? Just by dropping our seeds on the ground from lifetime to lifetime.
Remember… the Buddha had said that everyone living in this world is crazy, by the phrase, “Sabbē prutajjana ummattakā”; excluding the Arahants, everyone else is crazy. Would you get angry if a mad person scolds? Do we get angry for a crazy thing done by a crazy person? Just think about it! :candle:

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L.N.
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Re: If there is no self how can we reincarnate

Post by L.N. » Mon Sep 05, 2016 4:35 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:So just passively wait for craving and say 'no' to it when it magically arises out of nowhere.
Your method of rephrasing/framing the proposition is unfortunate. I don't believe anybody is talking about magical occurrences. But there is much to be said for recognizing that which presents itself at the mind door (just as that which presents itself at any other sense door), even if we perhaps do not know the source (similar to a loud, unidentifiable noise in the distance). Why, in your view, should one not maintain awareness with equanimity with regard to that which presents itself at the mind door?
davidbrainerd wrote:That seems like a bandaid, a quick fix, a stop gap, a wholly impermanent solution that could not possibly achieve full release or liberation.
The way you have framed it, yes. But then, I believe you have put forward what some refer to as a "straw man" position.
davidbrainerd wrote:Whereas training the self to stop craving, taming the self (Dh 323), sounds like a permanent solution leading to full release.
Apologies, are you referring to the Dhammapada passage? ("... one who is self-tamed goes by his own tamed and well-controlled mind.") If so, I don't think you'll get there by gritting your teeth and forcing yourself not to crave. (And I realize that I may now be the one oversimplifying your position.)
davidbrainerd wrote:Say my sink was leaking, and I sat there in sink leaking meditation to observe the emergence of leaking water, and not abide it (i.e. stick a bowl under it each time it looks like a leak is arising). Wouldn't it be better to fix it at the root cause?
Perhaps you would like to rephrase the question? As stated, I do not see how this question will lead to any helpful discussion. Metta
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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