If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

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Sam Vara
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:36 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:18 am

Does someone know of a canonical reference for the claim "Those who believe there is no rebirth hold wrong view"?

Thank you.
And what is wrong view? ‘There’s no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife....'
https://suttacentral.net/mn117/en/sujato

boundless
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by boundless » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:55 am
boundless wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:26 pm
What about people who do not believe in rebirth or think that "no rebirth" is the "more likely scenario" and lead a "good" life? Do they accumulate "mixed" kamma, i.e. "good" from deeds and "bad" from views?
See the Apaṇṇaka Sutta — The Incontrovertible Discourse
Greetings Bhante,

thank you for the reply and the link :anjali:
The Incontrovertible Discuorse wrote: “A wise man reflects thus: ‘If what these recluses and Brahmins say is true, and there is another world, then on the dissolution of the body after death they will be reborn in a happy destination, or in heaven. Even if there is no other world, this good person is praised by the wise as virtuous and for holding the right view of moral responsibility. He has rightly undertaken this incontrovertible teaching in a two-sided way that excludes the unwholesome alternative."

Good point! One can be skeptical, but at the same s/he can choose to believe.

After all, assuming that there is no afterlife means that our moral responsibility simply ends at death. I think that materialists do not understand this point. Many of them, also, do not understand that believing in afterlife is not consolatory. Of course, there are some people who believe that see it as a consolation.
However, believing that even death is not an "escape" from moral responsibility leads to a higher resolve to live morally. And living morally is difficult. Also, I think believing in an afterlife helps to be dispassionate from the “every-day” matters (because there is a stronger awareness of the transiency) and at the same time helps to cultivate virtues. Since the consequences of actions are not limited in this life, then morality becomes very important in one's life.


Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 7:25 am
boundless wrote:
Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:26 pm

Interesting. I think that here the problem is about the meaning of "view" (Pali: diṭṭhi).
For example:

1) Is "diṭṭhi" merely an opinion?
2) is "diṭṭhi" an (almost irremovable) convinction?


Let's take rebirth for example.
If I am in doubt about "rebirth" then of course, then according to "2" I cannot have neither "right view", nor "wrong view". I might, for example, believe that rebirth is the "more likely scenario", but this is not a really convinction. In the same way if one thinks that rebirth is the "less likely" scenario but s/he is not tatally sure about it, if "2" is true then s/he has not "wrong view", strictly speaking.

If "1" is true, then the "mere fact of believing" (I mean simply having an opinion, not a convinction) is "kammically" significant, i.e. by simply having the belief that there is rebirth one accumulates good kamma(?).

What about people who do not believe in rebirth or think that "no rebirth" is the "more likely scenario" and lead a "good" life? Do they accumulate "mixed" kamma, i.e. "good" from deeds and "bad" from views?

For example the five precepts can be followed even if the belief in rebirth is absent.

Thank you in advance!

:anjali:
Thanks for raising an interesting point.

I might be wrong here, but I tend to see this more as a matter of degree rather than a qualitative distinction between the two. The more important distinction is between one who knows for sure, and those who have views or opinions. Having any kind of doubt would mean that one was not convinced that all one's thoughts, words (including unspoken mental verbalisations) and actions were kamically significant; which in turn would mean that the kamma was less wholesome.
In a person of wrong view, wrong resolve comes into being. In a person of wrong resolve, wrong speech. In a person of wrong speech, wrong action. In a person of wrong action, wrong livelihood. In a person of wrong livelihood, wrong effort. In a person of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness. In a person of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration. In a person of wrong concentration, wrong knowledge. In a person of wrong knowledge, wrong release.

This is how from wrongness comes failure, not success.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

The closer one's views are to the truth (i.e. the truth regarding the kammic significance of what one does) then the more progress one will make.
Hi Sam Vara,

I agree that the more one “believes” to “right views” the more s/he tends to behave “rightly” (the same is true for the opposite case). At the same time, however, “blind” faith IMO is discouraged in Buddhism. In fact, one should be both open and skeptical. After all, there is a “right” kind of skepticism, namely the one that leads to investigation: one strives to know by her/himself. But this striving is not possible if there is no openness: this was, after all, the criticism to the various “Ajnana” schools. Their skepticism was simply an a-priori rejection of investigation. Instead “whole-some” skepticism is the one that leads to learn, to investigate etc.

Ironically, total skepticism is a sort of “blind faith”, i.e. the irremovable conviction that it is impossible to know. At a certain point we must choose our beliefs, without being too dogmatic (i.e. subject to possible revision). At the same time we should investigate to find the truth ourselves. However, being at least open to the idea that our actions matter and our moral responsibility does not end even at death, certainly helps to behave in a moral way.

All the best!

:anjali:

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binocular
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:35 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:37 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:17 am
Depending on how one conceives of this _you_, one will either be able to see _oneself_ as reborn, or not.
If that's the case, then tell us how you conceive of this _you_, and we can take it from there.
That would amount to claiming some attainment! :tongue:

I'm trying to figure out a succint formal approach to the rebirth issue (treading the thin line between truisms and actual explanations).

We get these possible situations:
There is not knowing rebirth, being reborn, and not knowing one has been reborn.
There is knowing rebirth, being reborn, and knowing one has been reborn.
There is knowing rebirth, being reborn, knowing one has been reborn, and knowing one will not be reborn again.

The _you_ is that which gets reborn; and rebirth takes place depending on how this _you_ is conceived of. If no _you_ is conceived, there is no rebirth.

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:45 pm

there is a process of one day to the next, one life to the next

it's not personal, similar to nature, and the seasons

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binocular
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:03 pm

boundless wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 pm
Ironically, total skepticism is a sort of “blind faith”, i.e. the irremovable conviction that it is impossible to know.
It's also a bad faith, not just a blind one.
Bad faith rests on the conviction that if one acted honestly, in good faith, and as one sees fit, this would _necessarily_ lead to suffering for at least oneself. This conviction, when pursued, leads to active malice or ill will.
At a certain point we must choose our beliefs, without being too dogmatic (i.e. subject to possible revision). At the same time we should investigate to find the truth ourselves. However, being at least open to the idea that our actions matter and our moral responsibility does not end even at death, certainly helps to behave in a moral way.
This seems very complicated and abstract. I think it's more helpful (and quicker) to look into one's bad faith.

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binocular
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:22 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:36 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:18 am
Does someone know of a canonical reference for the claim "Those who believe there is no rebirth hold wrong view"?
And what is wrong view? ‘There’s no meaning in giving, sacrifice, or offerings. There’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds. There’s no afterlife....'
https://suttacentral.net/mn117/en/sujato
Thank you for the reference.
And what is wrong view? ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no contemplatives or brahmans who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.’ This is wrong view.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/MN/MN117.html
So we have here as an example of wrong view the belief that there is no rebirth, and not a mere lack of beliefs about rebirth (as in the case of the Kalamas, who were confused and unsure about the matter).

So it would seem that not being sure about rebirth is not pernicious (and isn't said to lead to rebirth as an animal or in hell); but being sure that there is none, is.

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Sam Vara
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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:35 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:37 pm
binocular wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:17 am
Depending on how one conceives of this _you_, one will either be able to see _oneself_ as reborn, or not.
If that's the case, then tell us how you conceive of this _you_, and we can take it from there.
That would amount to claiming some attainment! :tongue:
Not really, but feel free if you want to!

I meant just to pick one of the possibilities, and take it from there.
rebirth takes place depending on how this _you_ is conceived of. If no _you_ is conceived, there is no rebirth.
I'm not sure what you mean here; whether the "conceiving" here is by the being that is subject to rebirth; or by us, as onlookers and speculators who conceive what a being must have in order for it to be reborn. The three possibilities you give seem to refer to the former. But if so, there is no reason why a being that does not conceive of itself should not be reborn.

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by boundless » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:00 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:03 pm
boundless wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:26 pm
Ironically, total skepticism is a sort of “blind faith”, i.e. the irremovable conviction that it is impossible to know.
It's also a bad faith, not just a blind one.
Bad faith rests on the conviction that if one acted honestly, in good faith, and as one sees fit, this would _necessarily_ lead to suffering for at least oneself. This conviction, when pursued, leads to active malice or ill will.
Hi binocular,

thanks making this good point. I think that the concept of "blind faith" is deep.

I agree that to a certain extent extreme skepticism is due to both "bad faith" and "blind faith". In fact, this kind of skepticism is certain that it is impossible to know: it is a refusal of investigation. IMO it is also "bad faith" because it stops investigation even if the skeptic knows that there is no proof that it is impossibile to know.

Also, the extreme skeptic refuses to admit that there can be other reasons, other than knowledge, to believe.

I do not understand your explanation, however. Why a skeptic would be convinced that "if one acted honestly, in good faith, and as one sees fit, this would _necessarily_ lead to suffering for at least oneself"?.


binocular wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:03 pm
At a certain point we must choose our beliefs, without being too dogmatic (i.e. subject to possible revision). At the same time we should investigate to find the truth ourselves. However, being at least open to the idea that our actions matter and our moral responsibility does not end even at death, certainly helps to behave in a moral way.
This seems very complicated and abstract. I think it's more helpful (and quicker) to look into one's bad faith.

Well, I agree that it is very important to (and challenging sometimes) resolve the issue of bad faith. I can see how it leads to behave morally.

But how does this help with taking sides on karma and rebirth?


:anjali:

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:56 pm

boundless wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:00 pm
I do not understand your explanation, however. Why a skeptic would be convinced that "if one acted honestly, in good faith, and as one sees fit, this would _necessarily_ lead to suffering for at least oneself"?.
A person of bad faith is convinced of that.
Mere skepticism carries no emotional or moral impetus. It's when bad faith is added to the skepticism that the skepticism becomes an emotional or moral impetus.
Well, I agree that it is very important to (and challenging sometimes) resolve the issue of bad faith. I can see how it leads to behave morally.
But how does this help with taking sides on karma and rebirth?
I assume that a person without bad faith feels no need to "take sides" (in matters of karma and rebirth, or anything else).
If one lives without the conviction that even one's best efforts could be for naught, everything looks very different.

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm
rebirth takes place depending on how this _you_ is conceived of. If no _you_ is conceived, there is no rebirth.
I'm not sure what you mean here; whether the "conceiving" here is by the being that is subject to rebirth; or by us, as onlookers and speculators who conceive what a being must have in order for it to be reborn. The three possibilities you give seem to refer to the former. But if so, there is no reason why a being that does not conceive of itself should not be reborn.
(Leaving aside that I've been heavily relying on the words having multiple of complex meanings --)
You said earlier:
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:40 pm
And in causal, temporal terms, it might be claimed that the Right View involving rebirth was part of the perfection of the path which led to one knowing the truth of rebirth.
If not conceiving of oneself is arrived at through the right practice (as opposed to being an infant (who also doesn't conceive of himself), or being a person who consumes psychoactive substances (and who due to the effects of those substances doesn't conceive of themselves)), then that should entail the end of becoming.
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm
I'm not sure what you mean here; whether the "conceiving" here is by the being that is subject to rebirth; or by us, as onlookers and speculators who conceive what a being must have in order for it to be reborn. The three possibilities you give seem to refer to the former. But if so, there is no reason why a being that does not conceive of itself should not be reborn.
I'm not sure wht you mean here.
Do you think it is possible for an arahant to be reborn, and for this rebirth to be attested by other people?

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:30 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:46 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm
I'm not sure what you mean here; whether the "conceiving" here is by the being that is subject to rebirth; or by us, as onlookers and speculators who conceive what a being must have in order for it to be reborn. The three possibilities you give seem to refer to the former. But if so, there is no reason why a being that does not conceive of itself should not be reborn.
I'm not sure wht you mean here.
Do you think it is possible for an arahant to be reborn, and for this rebirth to be attested by other people?
No, I mean that it would be possible for a being that did not conceive of itself (an animal, for example) to be reborn.

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by boundless » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:41 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:56 pm
boundless wrote:
Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:00 pm
I do not understand your explanation, however. Why a skeptic would be convinced that "if one acted honestly, in good faith, and as one sees fit, this would _necessarily_ lead to suffering for at least oneself"?.
A person of bad faith is convinced of that.
Mere skepticism carries no emotional or moral impetus. It's when bad faith is added to the skepticism that the skepticism becomes an emotional or moral impetus.
Well, I agree that it is very important to (and challenging sometimes) resolve the issue of bad faith. I can see how it leads to behave morally.
But how does this help with taking sides on karma and rebirth?
I assume that a person without bad faith feels no need to "take sides" (in matters of karma and rebirth, or anything else).
If one lives without the conviction that even one's best efforts could be for naught, everything looks very different.
Thank you for this insight! Very interesting.

I have to reflect on this.

:anjali:

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:51 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:30 pm
No, I mean that it would be possible for a being that did not conceive of itself (an animal, for example) to be reborn.
I don't know whether animals conceive of themselves, so the point is moot. (Although my intuition is to think that they do conceive of themselves.)

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:59 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:51 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:30 pm
No, I mean that it would be possible for a being that did not conceive of itself (an animal, for example) to be reborn.
I don't know whether animals conceive of themselves, so the point is moot. (Although my intuition is to think that they do conceive of themselves.)
My point is that animals might well be reborn despite having no conception of themselves, so in general terms a lack of "belief in rebirth" is no bar to that rebirth.

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Re: If _you_ don't believe in rebirth, can _you_ be reborn?

Post by binocular » Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:59 am
My point is that animals might well be reborn despite having no conception of themselves, so in general terms a lack of "belief in rebirth" is no bar to that rebirth.
Like I said earlier:
binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:46 pm
If not conceiving of oneself is arrived at through the right practice (as opposed to being an infant (who also doesn't conceive of himself), or being a person who consumes psychoactive substances (and who due to the effects of those substances doesn't conceive of themselves)), then that should entail the end of becoming.
We state that being an animal is not the right practice with which to arrive at not conceiving of oneself.

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