Kamma determined birth ?

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chownah
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by chownah » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:15 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:49 pm
chownah wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:54 pm
I couldn't believe it when I read this sutta....it says that human rebirth happens by sheer coincidence:

Sheer coincidence?
chownah
My guess is that this is a translation issue. "Coincidence" literally means "happening together", as well as the more common understanding of "happening without any causal connection".

Unfortunately, this is not one that Ven. Sajato has translated on SC, so we can't check the word out, and my Pali isn't good enough to go through the whole thing.
I agree that it is likely a translation issue.....but it is not just with the word "coincidence"....issue should also be taken with the word "sheer" as its use in "sheer coincidence" usually means "happening without any causal connection." The translator has presented an interpretation which in my mind is pointing at "happening without any causal connection" which is likely in error but I don't think it is just a matter of "coincidence" having two meanings....it seems to me that the translator has presented an interpretation which is at odds with the great bulk of the teachings and in a very important way.

I really would like it if someone could find a reliable source addressing this unusual presentation of this sutta....or maybe I'm completely wrong and if so I would be glad to find out.

I could see that if the buddha was teaching someone who did not believe in kamma but instead believed in rebirth by chance then the buddha could be simply teaching them that even by their beliefs a human rebirth is rare and to be cherished....I guess.....seems unlikely.....
chownah

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cappuccino
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:40 am

faith is much easier

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Sam Vara
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:54 am

chownah wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:15 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:49 pm
chownah wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:54 pm
I couldn't believe it when I read this sutta....it says that human rebirth happens by sheer coincidence:

Sheer coincidence?
chownah
My guess is that this is a translation issue. "Coincidence" literally means "happening together", as well as the more common understanding of "happening without any causal connection".

Unfortunately, this is not one that Ven. Sajato has translated on SC, so we can't check the word out, and my Pali isn't good enough to go through the whole thing.
I agree that it is likely a translation issue.....but it is not just with the word "coincidence"....issue should also be taken with the word "sheer" as its use in "sheer coincidence" usually means "happening without any causal connection." The translator has presented an interpretation which in my mind is pointing at "happening without any causal connection" which is likely in error but I don't think it is just a matter of "coincidence" having two meanings....it seems to me that the translator has presented an interpretation which is at odds with the great bulk of the teachings and in a very important way.

I really would like it if someone could find a reliable source addressing this unusual presentation of this sutta....or maybe I'm completely wrong and if so I would be glad to find out.

I could see that if the buddha was teaching someone who did not believe in kamma but instead believed in rebirth by chance then the buddha could be simply teaching them that even by their beliefs a human rebirth is rare and to be cherished....I guess.....seems unlikely.....
chownah
Yes, I comletely agree. It's very odd - almost as if the translator made the initial error and then made it worse by insisting on "sheer" as an intensifier. It is, however, completely at odds with things the Buddha said elsewhere, as DNS pointed out. If you can find a Pali version I could go slowly through the relevant bit, but I don't seem to be able to simply bring up the Pali suttas on SC any more.

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Polar Bear
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Polar Bear » Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:12 am

I think the idea is that it is so rare for a meritorious kamma to have an opportunity to bear fruit as human rebirth once one has fallen into the lower realms, or even if the previous life was human or divine, that it’s like winning the lottery. You have to own a lottery ticket to win and so the lottery isn’t exactly random but in a sense it is a sheer coincidence if you win the lottery. Of course the more tickets you buy the greater your chances of winning but compared to all the tickets out there, yours may not guarantee a win. In the same way, beings probably tend to have more negative kamma stored up than good kamma. It’s not a perfect analogy though because the brahmaviharas and other practices can make past bad kamma count for next to nothing, at least for a time. In any event, the moral of the story is that we better practice while we have such a rare opportunity.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?”
“The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn’t even count. It’s no comparison. It’s not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.
“In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell.
“Therefore your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress.’ Your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’”
Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, “What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?”
“The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It doesn’t even count. It’s no comparison. It’s not even a fraction, this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail, when compared with the great earth.
“In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in the animal womb… in the domain of the hungry ghosts.
… “In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among devas. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell… in the animal womb… in the domain of the hungry ghosts.
… “In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn among devas. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn in hell… in the animal womb… in the domain of the hungry ghosts.
… “In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the deva realm, are reborn in hell… in the animal womb… in the domain of the hungry ghosts.
“Therefore your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress.’ Your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’”

https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/SN/SN56_102.html
:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Sam Vara
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:10 am

Polar Bear wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:12 am
In any event, the moral of the story is that we better practice while we have such a rare opportunity.
Excellent point. I think it is always more useful to look at kamma in terms of where we might be going, rather than where we've been. A bit like driving, really...

2600htz
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by 2600htz » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:12 pm

Hello:

Why make it so complicated haha.

-Yes, kamma determines rebirth.

-Yes, being reborn a human is a mere coincidence but its subject to causality.

-Its not that males are superior to women, but certain roles fit better a manly figure, just like certain roles fit better a female figure. Buddhas need to have strong presence in order deliver in a more appealing way the teachings, so having a deep voice, being tall and muscular helps (among other practical reasons).

Regards.

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ganegaar
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by ganegaar » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:57 pm

2600htz wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:12 pm
..certain roles fit better a female figure. Buddhas need to have strong presence...
I have heard that only a mother can become a buddha in a future life., that is atleast one of the previous lives of a buddha must be female.
Also, I have heard that, to be a buddha, one must receive blessings from his mother in a previous life, in the sense " may you be a buddha someday".

not sure above have sutta references.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

Digity
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Digity » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:08 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:54 pm
I couldn't believe it when I read this sutta....it says that human rebirth happens by sheer coincidence:
SN 56.48
Chiggala Sutta: The Hole
https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn ... .than.html
"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
Sheer coincidence?
chownah
I checked out Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of this sutta and he was a footnote (409) for the "by chance".
...
"So too, bhikkhus, it is by chance409 that one obtains the human state; by chance that a Tathagata, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One arises in the world; by chance that the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagatha shines in the world."
...

409: Adhiccam idam The statement has to be taken as rhetorical rather than philosophical in intent. At the doctrinal level, all three occurrences mentioned here come about through precise causes and conditions, not by chance
The great thing with Bhikkhu Bodhi is he has great footnotes. I'm always amazed by the level of detail and information in them. So, I highly recommend his translations if you want to delve deep into the suttas.

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cappuccino
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:42 pm

I wonder why you listen to a scholar and ignore the Buddha.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:59 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:42 pm
I wonder why you listen to a scholar and ignore the Buddha.
You're always listening to a scholar. The Buddha, apart from speaking very poor English, is unfortunately dead. We are always reliant upon a string of translators and interpreters.

Digity
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Digity » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:11 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:59 pm
cappuccino wrote:
Sun Mar 18, 2018 11:42 pm
I wonder why you listen to a scholar and ignore the Buddha.
You're always listening to a scholar. The Buddha, apart from speaking very poor English, is unfortunately dead. We are always reliant upon a string of translators and interpreters.
That's the irony of the statement...without scholars would we even know the words of the Buddha?

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cappuccino
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:56 am

Thank you scholars, yet I need not your opinion.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:25 am

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:56 am
Thank you scholars, yet I need not your opinion.
Whether an English word or phrase accurately and usefully translates a Pali word or phrase is an opinion. It's opinions all the way down, I'm afraid.

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cappuccino
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:59 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:25 am
Whether an English word or phrase accurately and usefully translates a Pali word or phrase is an opinion. It's opinions all the way down, I'm afraid.
Not quite.

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TamHanhHi
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Re: Kamma determined birth ?

Post by TamHanhHi » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:06 pm

Polar Bear wrote:
Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:12 am
In the same way, monks, few are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn among human beings. Far more are the beings who, on passing away from the human realm, are reborn in hell.
“Therefore your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress.’ Your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’”
This sutta just came to my mind, but looks like you already posted it. :goodpost:
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."AN 5.38 :candle: | Blog at http://dhammareflections.wordpress.com

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