If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by SarathW » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:14 pm

Hence all the threads and questions and not moving from the spot for years.
Agree.
I hit a brick wall and I need your help to remove it.
But do not tell me that there is no brick wall.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Sam Vara
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:32 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:50 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:21 pm
OK, you help him, and I'll watch.
Uh. I'm not presuming to be able to help. I was exploring what would happen if I point a person to the context of their question.
Good luck with the exploration.

Upeksha
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by Upeksha » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:38 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:50 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:21 pm
OK, you help him, and I'll watch.
Uh. I'm not presuming to be able to help. I was exploring what would happen if I point a person to the context of their question.
I'm assuming that Sarath is Sri Lankan Buddhist by birth, so we'll see how well he takes to "speculative non-Buddhism"...
Speculative non-Buddhism is nowhere near as fancy as some think it is.
:toast:
Oh, that place. Could potentially be interesting, if only they were able to criticize their fidelity to Lacan and Althusser as much as everyone else's fidelity to Buddhadhamma.

Upeksha
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by Upeksha » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:42 pm

SarathW wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:14 pm
Hence all the threads and questions and not moving from the spot for years.
Agree.
I hit a brick wall and I need your help to remove it.
But do not tell me that there is no brick wall.
:anjali:
At the end of the day, the ability to question sincerely and analyse critically are wonderful qualities. I think they are at the most crucial ingredients to spiritual maturity - so make sure you rejoice a bit in what qualities you have already uncovered. The brick wall comes down in only one way: by you developing and exercising your panna. Keep at it!

:anjali:

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ganegaar
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by ganegaar » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:46 pm

Why do we need to look at before death and after death I wonder, we can just look between just two "breaths"!.
The one who breaths the next breath, is not the one who took the previous one!.
Curious? for if it were the same, we would never have grown old!
There are countless breaths we've taken, they come and go, just like we cannot see beyond death, we cannot see the next breath!
Just like I cannot remember the last life, I cannot remember my last breath too, for that matter, any of my previous breaths!
A stream of fuzzy memories of "my" past "actions (or reactions)" of current life remains, but where was the "I" ?
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

binocular
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:36 pm

Upeksha wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:38 pm
Oh, that place. Could potentially be interesting, if only they were able to criticize their fidelity to Lacan and Althusser as much as everyone else's fidelity to Buddhadhamma.
I don't see speculative non-Buddhism as a criticism of other people's fidelity to the Buddhadhamma, but as an attempt to make one's own committment to the Dhamma more realistic and such that one can really stand for it, as opposed to one's commitment being merely a leap to faith and a compulsion.

binocular
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by binocular » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:52 pm

SarathW wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:14 pm
Hence all the threads and questions and not moving from the spot for years.
Agree.
I hit a brick wall and I need your help to remove it.
But do not tell me that there is no brick wall.
Not saying there is no brick wall. But saying there are many ways to deal with brick walls: tear them down, make a hole through them, make a tunnel under them, climb over them, walk around them, jump over them ... and see that some brick walls are actually made of cardboard painted like a brick wall.

I'd like to suggest reading a passage from this book, on pg. 9-10 (it's available in Amazon's preview). The book is about difficult conversations, but it introduces an interesting concept, namely, applying the philosophy of parkour to difficult conversations. I think this philosophy can also be applied to how one deals with one's spiritual/religious problems.

Upeksha
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by Upeksha » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:40 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:36 pm
Upeksha wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:38 pm
Oh, that place. Could potentially be interesting, if only they were able to criticize their fidelity to Lacan and Althusser as much as everyone else's fidelity to Buddhadhamma.
I don't see speculative non-Buddhism as a criticism of other people's fidelity to the Buddhadhamma, but as an attempt to make one's own committment to the Dhamma more realistic and such that one can really stand for it, as opposed to one's commitment being merely a leap to faith and a compulsion.
That's quite charitable. I agree there's a lot to be said about very unrealistic relationships to the Dhamma being a huge problem. But I'm not sure the way to resolve it is by having such strong (and I think, uncritical) commitments to post-structuralism, post-marxism and psychoanalysis - and using them as the sole levers of critique. The issue for me is not those particular frameworks/theories (in fact I think used wisely they are very useful), but the sense in which they are adopted so uncritically, and universalised: I think this mirrors (rather than resolves) the issue. i.e. it only speaks to people who already know those theories and can speak within their contexts - a tiny minority of people who work in the humanities and social sciences, who are already committed to those theoretical perspectives. So it becomes a self-referential bubble, in constant danger of being the very thing it wants to deconstruct: unreflexive ideology/papanca.

:anjali:

binocular
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by binocular » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:51 am

Upeksha wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:40 pm
But I'm not sure the way to resolve it is by having such strong (and I think, uncritical) commitments to post-structuralism, post-marxism and psychoanalysis - and using them as the sole levers of critique. The issue for me is not those particular frameworks/theories (in fact I think used wisely they are very useful), but the sense in which they are adopted so uncritically, and universalised: I think this mirrors (rather than resolves) the issue. i.e. it only speaks to people who already know those theories and can speak within their contexts - a tiny minority of people who work in the humanities and social sciences, who are already committed to those theoretical perspectives. So it becomes a self-referential bubble, in constant danger of being the very thing it wants to deconstruct: unreflexive ideology/papanca.
For me, there is no such commitment or adoption of those theories for the purpose of making my own commitment to the Dhamma more realistic. When I first read some of Wallis' work, it simply made sense to me and addressed concerns I'd been having for a long time, put into words things that I was unable to do so. I'm possibly reading his and others' speculative non-Buddhist texts in ways they weren't intended by their authors, especially since I see no need to divest Buddhism of its transcendental references.

It's interesting that you say that only a tiny minority of people can relate to speculative non-Buddhism. While I agree that this seems to be the case, I don't understand how come this is so. I see the troubles that some people have with the idea of the buddhistic decision, for example, and I don't understand how they cannot relate to it.
So it becomes a self-referential bubble, in constant danger of being the very thing it wants to deconstruct: unreflexive ideology/papanca.
Conversely, there seems to be no meaningful entry point into Buddhism (or any other religion for that matter) for someone who was not born into it. Without a leap to faith, there seems to be no way to begin in a religion.

davidbrainerd
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:31 am

SarathW wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:14 pm
Hence all the threads and questions and not moving from the spot for years.
Agree.
I hit a brick wall and I need your help to remove it.
But do not tell me that there is no brick wall.
:anjali:
The brick wall is the claim that Buddha said there is no self. He didn't. He said the body is not the self, emotions are not the self, character dispositions are not the self, perception is not the self, and the emodied consciousness is not the self (for vijnana corresponds directly to ahamkara [aka I-maker] in Samkhya philosophy, or in other words that sit-in control mechanism the spirit/soul emanates into the world to grasp a body on its behalf). All of this is said to eliminate what cannot be the self so you can figure out what the self is, i.e. the thing doing the clinging and initiating the process of all this other crap coming into being via the process of dependent arising (i.e. because you cling to a desire to exist in the physical world, a vijnana is formed and emanated from you to sit in a physical body on your behalf). He makes this clear by explaining how he knows these things are not self: "Monks, is the body permanent or impermanent? Impermanent, Lord. So then it is not the self. Monks, are emotions permanent or impermanent? Impermanent, Lord. So then they are not the self. etc. etc." He knows the 5 aggregates are not the self because they are impermanent. The implication is he knows this because he knows the self is permanent, is the permanent soul/spirit that is supramundane, outside the world, and due to ignorance clings and emanates a sort of "extension" of itself (which nonetheless is separate from itself and impermanent) into the world. If you apriori have rejected the very thing he is pointing to, then you will forever hit a brick wall. He is a finger pointing at the moon, but if you apriori denied the existence of the moon, well then its over because you'll never be able to understand.

But what of Buddha steering clear of both nihilism/anhihilationism and eternalism? Nihilism/anhihilationism is clear, and it is precisely the no-soul doctrine. Eternalism is not so clear. In that Buddha's system involves rebirth and therefore clearly requires an eternal soul, we should at least consider another meaning to eternalism than "eternalism means believing in an eternal soul," namely that eternalism means being eternally trapped in samsara in an embodied existence. Eternalism is beleiving that samsara and nibbana are one, or beleiving there is no nibbana, beleiving that there is no escape. When Buddha talks about the jhanas and how a monk in the first one "sees there is an escape" i.e. to the next one, up until the 4th, where many monks don't find that escape, but the monk who mediates rightly finds the escape there also, on and on, until they reach nibbana and see there is no escape to go any further than this. This is denied by the eternalist, who sees no escape beyond the 4th jhana. That is the meaning of eternalism. Just keep reading Mahjima Nikaya over and over until you realize that, because its in there.

pegembara
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by pegembara » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:12 am

Good point. How can belief in rebirth end dukkha? Instead one should pay attention to what is happening right here and now.
"Because such a person considers attentively the factors which should not be considered and does not consider attentively the factors which should be considered, there arise in him āsavas that have not yet arisen and there increase in him āsavas that have already arisen.

18. "That person considers improperly thus: 'Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? Who was I in the past? How was I in the past?[15] In the past, who had been I and who was I [in the subsequent existence]? Will I exist in the future? Will I not exist in the future? Who will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? In the future, having been who, who will I be?'
"Also as regards the present, uncertainty arises in him thus: 'Do I exist? Do I not exist? Who am I? How am I ? From where has this soul come? Where will this soul go?'

"Bhikkhus! This wrong view is called a false belief, a jungle of false beliefs, a desert of false beliefs, a thorny spike of false beliefs, an agitation of false beliefs and a fetter of false beliefs. Bhikkhus! The ignorant worldling who is bound up with the fetter of false beliefs cannot escape rebirth, ageing, death, grief, lamentation, pain, distress and despair. I declare that he cannot escape dukkha.[19]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bpit.html
"He considers properly: 'This is dukkha; this is the cause of dukkha; this is the cessation of dukkha; this is the practice leading to cessation of dukkha.' In him who thus considers properly, the following three fetters disappear, namely, the illusion of Self,[20] uncertainty[21] and belief in the efficacy of mere rites and rituals.[22] These are called the āsavas which should be removed through vision.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Upeksha
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by Upeksha » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:13 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:51 am
Upeksha wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:40 pm
But I'm not sure the way to resolve it is by having such strong (and I think, uncritical) commitments to post-structuralism, post-marxism and psychoanalysis - and using them as the sole levers of critique. The issue for me is not those particular frameworks/theories (in fact I think used wisely they are very useful), but the sense in which they are adopted so uncritically, and universalised: I think this mirrors (rather than resolves) the issue. i.e. it only speaks to people who already know those theories and can speak within their contexts - a tiny minority of people who work in the humanities and social sciences, who are already committed to those theoretical perspectives. So it becomes a self-referential bubble, in constant danger of being the very thing it wants to deconstruct: unreflexive ideology/papanca.
For me, there is no such commitment or adoption of those theories for the purpose of making my own commitment to the Dhamma more realistic. When I first read some of Wallis' work, it simply made sense to me and addressed concerns I'd been having for a long time, put into words things that I was unable to do so. I'm possibly reading his and others' speculative non-Buddhist texts in ways they weren't intended by their authors, especially since I see no need to divest Buddhism of its transcendental references.

It's interesting that you say that only a tiny minority of people can relate to speculative non-Buddhism. While I agree that this seems to be the case, I don't understand how come this is so. I see the troubles that some people have with the idea of the buddhistic decision, for example, and I don't understand how they cannot relate to it.
So it becomes a self-referential bubble, in constant danger of being the very thing it wants to deconstruct: unreflexive ideology/papanca.
Conversely, there seems to be no meaningful entry point into Buddhism (or any other religion for that matter) for someone who was not born into it. Without a leap to faith, there seems to be no way to begin in a religion.
Well, it's great that it works for you. I do agree that they have their minds attuned to diagnosing a problem which many contemporary Buddhists want to entirely avoid. I also agree that having some non-Buddhist philosophical tools is very helpful - maybe even crucial - to succeed as a Buddhist practitioner. I suppose the problem I have is that I think they offer a very limited range of those tools, and the tools themselves become something bigger than everything else. Certainly bigger than 'dhamma.'

Sorry everyone for going off topic. :focus:

pegembara
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Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by pegembara » Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:21 am

ganegaar wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:46 pm
Why do we need to look at before death and after death I wonder, we can just look between just two "breaths"!.
The one who breaths the next breath, is not the one who took the previous one!.
Curious? for if it were the same, we would never have grown old!
There are countless breaths we've taken, they come and go, just like we cannot see beyond death, we cannot see the next breath!
Just like I cannot remember the last life, I cannot remember my last breath too, for that matter, any of my previous breaths!
A stream of fuzzy memories of "my" past "actions (or reactions)" of current life remains, but where was the "I" ?
Sankharas (breath) arising and sankharas (breath) ceasing. No one is doing the breathing which is/are a process or processes.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

davidbrainerd
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:12 am

Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:07 am

pegembara wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:21 am
ganegaar wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:46 pm
Why do we need to look at before death and after death I wonder, we can just look between just two "breaths"!.
The one who breaths the next breath, is not the one who took the previous one!.
Curious? for if it were the same, we would never have grown old!
There are countless breaths we've taken, they come and go, just like we cannot see beyond death, we cannot see the next breath!
Just like I cannot remember the last life, I cannot remember my last breath too, for that matter, any of my previous breaths!
A stream of fuzzy memories of "my" past "actions (or reactions)" of current life remains, but where was the "I" ?
Sankharas (breath) arising and sankharas (breath) ceasing. No one is doing the breathing which is/are a process or processes.
I'm holding my breath right now and therefore its not just a process that takes place without a will.

davidbrainerd
Posts: 1011
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:12 am

Re: If I am reborn it is not me. So why I care about the rebirth?

Post by davidbrainerd » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:13 am

pegembara wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:12 am
Good point. How can belief in rebirth end dukkha?
Because rebirth is ultimately the very definition of dukkha (as the Dhammapada quote below will show) and is what you're supposed to be trying to end. If you merely live once and then die, then dukkha just ends with death and you don't need to do anything to end it but wait for death to end it. Therefore, by not believing in rebirth, one remains subject to it because they don't have the wherewithall to end the clinging that causes it. And in some of the suttas around the 100s in Mahjima Nikkaya Buddha explicitly says that denying rebirth is wrong view. And I think he explains why also.

From the Daw Mya Tin translation of the Dhammapada:
VERSE 153: I, who have been seeking the builder of this house (body), failing to attain Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) which would enable me to find him, have wandered through innumerable births in samsara. To be born again and again is, indeed, dukkha!

VERSE 154: Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house (for me) again. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained.

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