What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bundokji
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:05 pm

Zom wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:02 pm
But that was the main Buddha's goal - to end rebirth .)

As for "knowledge" - there is absolutely no sense in any kind of knowledge if it can't be used somehow in this very life.
I don't think this was the main Buddha's goal. When the Buddha, before his enlightenment, left the world, he did to search for answers, not to end rebirth. The insights he had about his previous lives came at a very late stage. If ending rebirth is the necessary intention to attain enlightenment, then the Buddha would have never attained it because he did not know about it. It came to him as an insight.

I believe that those who practice to end rebirth are confusing cause and effect according to the Buddha:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Vajjians at Bhanda Village. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "It's because of not understanding and not penetrating four things that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I. Which four?

"It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble virtue that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

"It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble concentration that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

"It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble discernment that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

"It's because of not understanding and not penetrating noble release that we have wandered & transmigrated on such a long, long time, you & I.

"But when noble virtue is understood & penetrated, when noble concentration... noble discernment... noble release is understood & penetrated, then craving for becoming is destroyed, the guide to becoming (craving & attachment) is ended, there is now no further becoming."

That is what the Blessed One said. When the One Well-gone had said that, he — the Teacher — said further:

Unexcelled virtue, concentration,
discernment, & release:
have been understood by Gotama of glorious stature.
Having known them directly
,
he taught the Dhamma to the monks —
the Awakened One
the Teacher who has put an end to suffering & stress,
the One with vision
totally unbound.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

So, according to the above sutta, rebirth is a mere effect, not a cause. The cause is "not understanding" or "having not known directly".

Now, it is up to the practitioner who did not have a direct knowledge regarding rebirth to ask himself/herself the following questions: If you made it the purpose of your life to end something that you have no direct knowledge of, what does that say about your state of mind? about your mental health? about your intentions? about your inner integrity? why you are so miserable? what made ending rebirth (without direct knowledge/without evidence) seem so appealing to you?

In my mind, the attempt to answer the above questions brings us to square one, that we lack true knowledge, which should be the focus. If rebirth scares us a lot, then we should ask why and try to find answers instead of making it a life purpose.

As for your remark about knowledge, as long as the aim of attaining knowledge is to be used, then this knowledge has to be conditioned by the mind to be used as a condition (which is the mark of worldly knowledge). I don't see how such knowledge can be liberating.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:08 pm

some people take rebirth for granted

in some cultures, sages have said, there is rebirth

in other cultures, they forgot

Buddha took it for granted
Last edited by cappuccino on Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bundokji
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:11 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:09 pm
I always thought, never mind your reason, I would say it relates to rebirth
I appreciate your insights about rebirth deduced from my avatar :tongue:

By the way, i am neither denying Kama nor rebirth. I am saying that if the whole aim of your practice is to end rebirth, then you are driven by fear and greed, the very mental states that the Buddha warned us against.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Nwad
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Nwad » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:12 pm

I will practice as today. Because I enjoy freedom from attachhments, enjoy seclusion, enjoy sense restraint, enjoy morality, enjoy meditation, enjoy simplicity... actually I shaved my head before meeting Dhamma, so it would be the same life for me I think ;) I think i was a monk i previous lives ....
But it's true that rebirth give to my practive a more "epic" taste ^^ But even today I know that these 5 khandhas will die, all memories will die, so formally it will be not the same person as I am today, these new 5 khandhas will experience a kammic flow after this life actions but I will not be me of mine or miself, as these 5 khandhas too actually ;) So no matter ...

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:14 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:11 pm
if the whole aim of your practice is to end rebirth, then you are driven by fear and greed
well, Buddha was afraid, for a while

that's OK, existence couldn't be more dangerous

the strange thing is, people couldn't be less concerned

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Bundokji
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:26 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:14 pm
well, Buddha was afraid, for a while

that's OK, existence couldn't be more dangerous

the strange thing is, people couldn't be less concerned
I don't recall the Buddha was afraid. When he left the world, he took enormous risks. Do not seem to be the action of someone who was afraid.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:32 pm

Yes, brahman, so it is. It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration. Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me as well: 'It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration.'

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:33 pm

"I stayed in the sort of places that are awe-inspiring and make your hair stand on end, such as park-shrines, forest-shrines, & tree-shrines. And while I was staying there a wild animal would come, or a bird would make a twig fall, or wind would rustle the fallen leaves. The thought would occur to me: 'Is this that fear & terror coming?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'Why do I just keep waiting for fear? What if I were to subdue fear & terror in whatever state they come?' So when fear & terror came while I was walking back & forth, I would not stand or sit or lie down. I would keep walking back & forth until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was standing, I would not walk or sit or lie down. I would keep standing until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was sitting, I would not lie down or stand up or walk. I would keep sitting until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was lying down, I would not sit up or stand or walk. I would keep lying down until I had subdued that fear & terror."
Last edited by cappuccino on Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bundokji
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:36 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:32 pm
Yes, brahman, so it is. It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration. Before my Awakening, when I was still an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me as well: 'It's not easy to endure isolated forest or wilderness dwellings. It's not easy to maintain seclusion, not easy to enjoy being alone. The forests, as it were, plunder the mind of a monk who has not attained concentration.'
Where is the fear in that?!

Also there is a difference between experiencing fear, and allowing fear to be the main driver behind our actions. If someone is following the Buddha's teachings only to end rebirth, and if the hypothetical question raised in the OP would let him abandon the practice, then this would be quite telling, would it not?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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budo
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by budo » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:22 pm

My current state of living has nothing to do with future lives. For the most part nothing really excites me, but I am not depressed either, I am content. I've also traveled many parts of the world in my life and have done a lot, I feel there isn't anything left for me to do anyways. There isn't really anything on my bucket list and I don't have any desire for anything in particular. For me just sitting in the sun and drinking water in a quiet environment is bliss on its own. Having rebirths or not doesn't change that and if rebirth did exist there would be no reason for me to be reborn as there's nothing I want.

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:34 pm

tonight you could die, and be reborn unaware of this teaching

a mistake could be made, after a while, you would find yourself in hell perhaps

suffering for millions of years, and millions of lives could pass

until this opportunity comes again

dharmacorps
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:43 pm

If you have a fixed "belief" that rebirth doesn't exist, then there's not much you can do there because you've already decided. Fact is we don't know with certainty, at least those of us not fully enlightened. If you just leave your mind open and don't make conclusions, then you have some opportunity.

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cappuccino
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by cappuccino » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:45 pm

if you were enlightened you would believe

that makes rebirth true

you're a Buddhist, it should be accepted

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Bundokji
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by Bundokji » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:05 pm

Its worth noting that rebirth would come as a good news to the bulk of humans, not the opposite.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

uojm
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Re: What would you do if there is no rebirth ?

Post by uojm » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:16 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:36 pm
If someone is following the Buddha's teachings only to end rebirth, and if the hypothetical question raised in the OP
The view ‘what would you do if there is no rebirth’ is a invalid question. It is not a matter of belief. You can belief there is rebirth or not, people belief a lot of things, but that is a different thing. The way this question was framed showed it was about eternalism vs nihilism (and not the kind of “rebirth” the sermons talk about). No self (nihilist) is explained as a wrong view. That things are not-self, changing, suffering we can all see. Thus, say the sermons, these things are dependently arisen, not not depended. Self wouldn’t suffer, wouldn’t ‘do’, wouldn’t change. To talk about existence which is not depended (yet changing, doing, engaging)... what then is there to say? It is a contradiction. Invalid questions should not be accepted as valid. It might look like an innocent play, but it covers up. It engages, reaffirms, holding to this self view.

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